Hardening The Edge And The Heel Of The Hand


IN addition to using a striking post (in our opinion the single best way to harden the natural weapons) there are a few other ways well worth considering. This especially true for those who, for whatever reason, cannot build and use a striking post (“makiwara”) where they live.

We wish to describe a method that we personally have been using since the 1970’s in addition to an outdoor striking post. We freely admit that we have done (and sometimes do) much more than one needs to do in order to maintain formidability in the skills of close combat and personal defense. The simple truth is that we like to train. We assure you, however, that by investing only a tiny fraction of the time that we or other dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts invest in their training, you can achieve and maintain excellent capabilities.

The two most formidable, practical, versatile, powerful, and destructive open hand blows in unarmed combat are the CHINJAB SMASH and the EDGE-OF-HAND (or “handaxe”) CHOP. So if you really want to build up these two fabulous natural weapons, pay attention.

You will need a solid steel barbell bar and a chair.

Sit down on the chair and lay the steel bar across your legs.

Train the handaxe chop by striking down alternately with each hand onto the bar’s steel surface. Easy at first. Over a month’s time — practicing daily — build up to a reasonably strong chopping action; say 60-75% of the force you’d use to actually chop an attacker with the blow. After two to three months — training daily — you should easily be able to chop with full force on the bar, and feel no discomfort. An intense ten minute daily session is plenty. Start off, however, with five minutes, hitting lightly for the first week.

The same procedure works with the heel of the hand (for chinjabs, straight heelpalm thrusts, whipping heelpalms, overhead circular heelpalms, etc. Hold the bar steady with one hand and drive the heel of your hand into the steel. Easy at first, and gradually increasing until you’re slamming your heelpalm as hard as you would if you were hitting a mugger. Same plan as with the use of the handaxe chop.

This training will condition your hands and not cause calluses.

Remember that in addition to this hardening training, you must practice the actual blows full force and correctly. When you can deliver your strikes with great speed and accuracy you will then reap enormous benefits by doing do with hard, conditioned hands. By themselves well conditioned natural weapons are not enough. However, once your blows are correctly mastered, delivered with maximum speed, and reliably placed where they belong — i.e. smashing into the body’s vital targets — then your having done so with well-hardened natural weapons will be of immense value. Analogous to striking a man across the face with a steel bar, instead of with a length of wood. The wood alone is excellent; but the same blow delivered with a length of solid steel is literally awesome!

The purpose of this training is not to break boards or other objects. That type of activity belongs with classical karate demonstrations. This type of training is for the purpose of being able to beat a dangerous assailant senseless and helpless in real combat.


Never practice clenched fist punching against a steel surface! Use hard rubber pads on a striking post for that. Do not use sheaved straw or wound rope. These last produce calluses and swollen knuckles — impressive to little children; harmful to adults, and likely to damage the hands.

• Don’t overtrain. It is the constant, consistent daily training that produces the best results.

• Be patient. And never neglect your technical practice of your blows.

• One of the great benefits of this bar training is that you get to hit something without damaging a partner. Using realistic training dummies is also helpful here, but more so to practice the techniques. The hardening drills forge the natural weapons so that when they are correctly employed they do optimal damage.