When training in the martial arts, or any sport really, it becomes ultimately important to maintain proper form. Having improper bone alignment can lead to pulled muscles, injuries in the tendons and other serious sports-related injuries.
As it relates to the martial arts, the power behind a strike comes not only from one’s brute strength but a number of different factors that people often don’t think about. For example, a properly executed punch will draw some of its power from the ground. Don’t believe me?
A good example is if you’ve ever seen two people on the street breaking out into a fight. You’ll never see someone throw a punch from a normal standing position. They’ll usually blade or take a step back or something to allow themselves the opportunity to properly chamber the strike.
Another very important aspect to examine is your body’s natural pronation and supination. These refer to the natural alignment and rotation of your bones and joints. It becomes extremely important to acknowledge these and to try not to move against it. For example, when doing a “horse stance” movement in karate, one should keep the back straight and allow for the feet and knees to point slightly outward from the body. This is the natural movement of the body and the only way to effectively perform this movement.
Some styles try to point the feet directly forward or keep the knees pointed forward, but as you squat down in a horse stance, this movement becomes unnatural and taxing on the body.
The same goes with any of the limbs or joints. When one throws a proper punch, it becomes important to strike, keeping the knuckles, wrist and elbow lined up perfectly. This not only guarantees a stronger punch, it also prevents injury.
This is one of the reasons why boxers, muay thai and MMA fighters generally have to wrap their hands. They have lots of striking power, but no precision or ability to align their joints. Without the additional wrapping, they would likely injure themselves after the first few strikes.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I sure as hell wouldn’t want to take a punch from any one of those types of athletes! They have tremendous power to their strikes. But in a situation of true self-defence, one needs to train the body to be ready to strike without the benefit of padding or wrapping.
Normally, your body will tell you if something is unnatural. But this doesn’t mean that the movement your body HAS gotten used to, is correct. Sometimes we need to be corrected and adjusted in order to promote that natural movement.