View Full Version : knuckle pushups

3rd May 2003, 04:23
Should you try to do knuckle pushups on the two primary knuckles or spread the load??

3rd May 2003, 06:18
It depends, and it doesn't really matter. How is that for a straight answer. If your fists are out to the sides with the thumbs pointing inwards, then post up on the first two knuckles and pay attention to wrist alignment. If you don't use your two knuckles here you could damage your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

If your fists are next to your sides with you palms inward to your body, concentrate more on the lower three knuckles if you want to. Still pay attention to your wrists. You can still post up on the first two this way as well. However, where you put your fists in relation to your shoulders will change a little.

The real purpose of knuckle pushups is to strengthen the wrists, not the knuckles. Joint alignment is much more important than lifeless, calloused knuckles.

Gene Williams
3rd May 2003, 12:28
Primary knuckles always...and lots of 'em, plus makiwara and heavy bag work (and I don't mean one of those silly water bags, a real heavy, rough canvas bag.:D Gene

Rob Alvelais
3rd May 2003, 13:46
Originally posted by gmanry

The real purpose of knuckle pushups is to strengthen the wrists, not the knuckles. Joint alignment is much more important than lifeless, calloused knuckles.

Agreed, and since we, as karate practitioners, are supposed to hit with the first two knuckles, it makes sense to do strengthen the wrists wile maintaining the allignment that we need in our strike. Doing the pushups on the last 3 knuckles has a different wrist allignment than the punch. Doing them on the first two knuckles, more closely simulates the wrist allignment during the punch.


Steven Malanosk
3rd May 2003, 17:31

I don't usually bother with answering stuff like this anymore, being that there are so many opinions "everybody has one, if you know what I mean," but..................................

Yes, the proper alignment as if executing seiken zuki, is basically the norm. But as progress is made over a period of years, one would be smart to work the radius of the fist / wrist / all other components effected.

My teacher, Peter Urban, would have us twist the fist on the up slide. But this is only for the folks who have been doing them a long time.

During a session at his hombu, Tadashi Nakamura showed us to do them on the sides of our index finger knuckle also.

Some southern Chinese schools use the flat fist with the wrist turning on impact as to thrust the minor knuckles, i.e., Ving Tsun.

That is contrary to your training as a KaraTeKa, but if you ever saw someone whacking a Mook Yan Jong = wooden man dummy, you would not pooh pooh it!

Callouses are a byproduct, not the ultimate goal, but a useful byproduct nonetheless.

Prince Loeffler
3rd May 2003, 19:39

Callouses are a byproduct, not the ultimate goal, but a useful byproduct nonetheless.

I recall several years back, there was a show about Martial arts and this old chinese master (whose name I do recall, but he was featured on the cover of Black Belt magazine several times last year) was demontrating on how he toughened up his hands.

According to him, He punches steel plates at least 1000 times per day, everyday. (number not acurate)

Anyway, in the cover of black belt magazine. his knuckles were so thick of callouses that it was a scary sight in itself.

A friend of mine who trains in kyokushin also tells me that one way of determining a hardcore karate person is to look at the thickness his callouses on his hands.

Guess, no more hand lotion for me then..:D

3rd May 2003, 20:02
Sounds like Pan Qing Fu .

Steven Malanosk
3rd May 2003, 20:22
The telltale knuckles are sadly a thing of the past.

Those of us who got em, wear them like jewelry, but these days, it's not too many and far in between, in the big scope of things.

Schools of thought vary, as to this, but I do remember when many judged you according.

In the mid 70s, I was at a fair in NYC, and saw a prominent Tae Kwon Do Sabumnim walking with his family. I, at around 14 or 15 yrs. old, introduced myself to him, and he immediately took my hand and rubbed between my first 2 knuckles. That was better than an organizational passport back then! Even to Korean TKD guys!!!!!

But that was then, and this is now. Guess honing the sword, is not that important anymore.............. but to each their own.

I know, I know, it's where and how you hit em, but without the HoJo Undo, Daruma Taiso, and makiwara / etc., some of the BunKai / Setsumei, may not serve as intended.

But that's just my opinion, or so the voices tell me.

Prince Loeffler
3rd May 2003, 20:48
Hi Ed !

I think you're right that its Master Pan Qing Fu. I also remember watching him doing chinese staff demonstration at the Wesley Snipe Tribute of the Martial Arts Masters.

His calloused hand really stucked out for the world to see.

4th May 2003, 09:50
An interesting tidbit to this thread-

Oshiro Sensei told me once that people who wear big nasty calloused knuckles do not know how to really hit the makiwara. The development of some callouses is something that can happen at the begining of makiwara training. But over time, as one progresses, one should have developed enought wrist and hand strenght to graduate into a higher level of makiwara training that actually errodes the callouses and the hands should look fairly normal without the nasty looking moles.

If you look at his Tape from Tsunami Videos (Uchinadi #2) you can see what he is talking about. Oshiro Sensei hits like a ton of bricks with this technique and will make your innards feel like you have been touched by a cattle prod (I felt it).

He also told me that many teachers in Okinawa laught at people who allow callouses to develop, for it shows off their (low) level of knowledge and it is culturally considered crude, a display of arrogance and lack of humility.

Steven Malanosk
4th May 2003, 13:31
Hi Angel,

You have a point, or should I say Oshiro has a point.

But the Shorin guys at Shimabuku Eizo's, Seiki Arakaki's, and even Fuse Kise's dojos, must be low class then, since they have some pretty good show of hand conditioning going on their knuckles.

As a matter of fact, I seem to recall your own Shimabukuro Zenpo Sensei having some pretty buff hands, albeit not so ashy.

Not to mention the Pan Shikung like developement of Ueizu Angi's fists.

Either way, to each their own.

Incidentally, the golf balls on my teachers hands are nowhere as gross as they once where, but I still cringe at the thought of the hammer...........................:eek:

4th May 2003, 16:42
Thanks for the tips and the cultural background too! You guys are a collective wealth of knowledge.

5th May 2003, 21:33
I know, I know, it's where and how you hit em, but without the HoJo Undo, Daruma Taiso, and makiwara / etc., some of the BunKai / Setsumei, may not serve as intended.

Ahh, Daruma Taiso, my best friend. :D

Did you do much Daruma Taiso at Urban's school? I would be curious to compare the sequence.

We've done all sorts of pushups on our knuckles, including the yoga-esque and brutal Shorei-Kan pushups. We've also done pushups on the outer surface of the wrist joint, where one would strike during a open-handed Goju jodan uke.

Steven Malanosk
6th May 2003, 02:35
Hi! Mr. Fruhlinger,

The Taiso in Urban GoJu, is not so standard, but varies from teacher to teacher, at their discression.

My taiso comes from Sensei, from my experiences and limitations, but the actual Taiso Daruma that I attempt, comes from Dai Sensei, Kow Loon "Kayo" Ong, Chairman of Chi I Do GoJu Ryu, formerly of the ShoreiKan. Incidentally, it was he, that filled out the paperwork, for Tamano Sensei to enter the United States. The working visa stated that he would be bringing the better punch. Kayo got it from Kawakami Sensei and Sakiyama Sensei.

6th May 2003, 17:12
Mr. Malanoski:

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have heard of Kayo Ong on several occasions. The name seems to come up most often on Internet discussion boards. I hope to one day watch a class at his dojo - would be interesting to see the points of divergence after all this time (1972 I think it was?).

Our taiso is pretty structured with the occsaional variance. Starts with the toes and heads inward to the heart, going to shuto drills, sanchin breathing, eventually ending in the hard workout with the Shorei-kan pushups, sit-ups, etc. It's a great way to start things up.

Are you still in the NYC area? Do you train with Sensei Ong?

All my best regards and respect.

Steven Malanosk
6th May 2003, 22:25
Dai Sensei Kow Loon Ong is a friend and older brother of mine.

He actually started in the early 60s with my teacher at the Chinatown Doju where we where classmates until he and Thomas Boddi went uptown, Boddi's uptown dojo, where eventually they had Kawakami ans Sakiyama living there, as well as Matayoshi occaisionally.

I have had the same teacher " Urban " since I was a child, but have also dabbled both stateside and in Okinawa etc.

But Kayo is my senior and if there is anything of the old school that I need help with, I go to him.

No, I live in Florida now, but go home once a year for my organizations event at the John Jay Collage of Criminal Justice.

Was there a couple of weeks ago.

Only got to spend 15 minutes with Kayo at around 2:30 am on the sidewalks of Little Italy.

I have learned more from Kayo over the phone, than I have from many folks that I have trained with for extended periods of time.


End of Ong commercial..............................

6th May 2003, 23:02
Mr. Malanoski:

Thanks so much for your information. I'm relatively young and new to the art, so stories such as yours are of great interest to me.

I would love to go see Ong Sensei and his class, but I fear that there is still some bad feeling between the organizations, and I really don't want to have anything to do with that - I just want to learn and train.

Thanks again for your candor.

All the best.

Steven Malanosk
7th May 2003, 02:56
He is as nice as they come.

He can also be as mean as they come, but only when provoked or in the name of honor.

He is the most honest speaking guy that I know, and will tell you the truth whether you are prepaired to hear it or not. So if you approach him, you had better be prepaired for the truth.

He can and will back up anything he says.

But he is the most friendly guy that you will ever meet, and I am certain that he would be a gracious host to you.

8th May 2003, 21:12
Mr. Malanoski:

Thanks again for the reply. To be honest, and with all due respect, I'm not interested in discussions of past politics. I'm really just interested in learning karate and studying its history. I've been told enough "truths" as it is, and I have no interest in becoming involved in such discussions.

What's important to me, however, is how other people train and what knowledge we may be able to share in order to help one another.

Steven Malanosk
8th May 2003, 22:22
Oh! But you see, that's not what I meant!

I mean the truth, as in technique and the "old way."

I was not compairing or reffering to Tamano or Lenzi vs Ong etc.

I agree with you on the politics beat.

Although I am totally aware of, and have been emmersed in, the various politics involved, it's the training that is important.

Emmersed in, as in been there / done that, but unfortunately, we have our own political issues to deal with.

Either way, nice talking to ya, and keep punching!

9th May 2003, 12:54
Mr. Malanoski:

Cool. Sorry about my reaction - I've run into some characters who would rather talk about politics over technique, and that's not my bag.

It looks as though I missed the annual NYC Urban event, right? Too bad - I meant to check that out.