Introduction

NamiBujutsu striking techniques combine methods from quite a few different martial arts. There are elements from White Crane, Wing Chun, Boxing, Silat and Karate among outhers. Our main focus is to create a smooth flow of techniques that transitions seamlessly between offense and defense while being powerful. When properly executed the enemy should feel as though they are drowning in the surf.

Hand Shapes

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Due to the martial philosophy behind NamiBujutsu, namely that situations must be ended quickly, our hand techniques serve two main purposes: 1) deliver distracting, or if necessary destructive, blows to the head and neck and 2) to gain control over our enemy's head, limbs and body. There are four primary striking surfaces used in NamiBujutsu hand techniques. Most common are the palm, palm heel and crane beak. Also commonly used is the fore fist and what I call the "soft fist". The tiger claw and panther fist are used only for special purposes. While these may all be self-explanatory, I feel the soft fist should require further explanation.


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Due to the martial philosophy behind NamiBujutsu, namely that situations must be ended quickly, our hand techniques serve two main purposes: 1) deliver distracting, or if necessary destructive, blows to the head and neck and 2) to gain control over our enemy's head, limbs and body. 


The palm heel, crane beak, fore fist, and soft fist are all used primarily for striking. The tiger claw and palm are used both for striking and for other purposes, such as grabbing, pressing, trapping and ripping. The panther fist is used rarely and is for piercing soft targets that are well guarded, such as the neck or floating ribs. In many ways, the panther fist and soft fist serve the same function, though the panther fist is more susceptible to structural failure. 


It is important to test the structure of all hand shapes to identify the proper ways to hold tension while otherwise staying relaxed. This type of testing and conditioning is covered in Chapter 3: Martial Fitness & Conditioning.

The Soft Fist

Other than the soft fist, the other hand shapes are all common in the martial arts and have many resources that help describe them. In consideration of the lack of resources regarding the soft fist, let us take a moment to explore it in greater detail.


As demonstrated in the picture, the soft fist is made by leaving the fingers and thumb loose while the top of the hand is aligned with the forearm. This structure provides several features that I like to utilize:

  • Leaving the fist loose allows the muscles in the forearm to be more relaxed, hence faster and more flexible.
  • The loose fist allows for easier transitions in tactics, such as grabbing or open hand blocking when abandoning the punch.
  • The knuckles penetrate deeper into the target upon impact.
  • The loose structure allows the fist to slide past hard obstacles and requires precise blocking from the opponent. 

As with all things, there are also drawbacks. Namely, the position of the thumb exposes it to catching an arm/elbow and being damaged. 

The Entire Body

The hand shapes described above are only a small part of using the upper body to strike. A key principle of NamiBujutsu is to remember that the entire upper body can be effective in delivering blows. Other areas often used for focused striking include the:

  • Inner forearm
  • Outer forearm
  • Side, front, bottom of the elbow
  • Front, side and back of the shoulder
  • Head

Motions of the Arm

Striking in NamiBujutsu is conceptualized through understanding that the striking surface is dependent on the range, target and arm motion. The hand shape or use of the elbow, forearm or shoulder is only a means to deliver the energy generated by our entire bodies into the target. (See Types of Power & Power Generation for more on this topic).

Using Our Heads

Sometimes the only, or best, option available is the head. The forehead, sides and back of the head are all solid striking surfaces making the head a great striking weapon when used proactively.  The key to the success of the head is to target softer parts of the opponents face, essentially from the eyes down, at times when the opponent does not expect it. Also, remember that simply grinding the forehead and sides of the head against these sensitive areas can cause great discomfort. 

Intent Defines Purpose

Part of the goal in martial training is to make each movement as effective as possible. The best way to achieve this is to realize that techniques do not have individual purposes. They are only motions that serve the intent of the practitioner. Internalizing this concept allows us to compartmentalize and conceptualize how the body moves, reducing our decision making steps and reaction times in combative situations. 


To train this method it is important to examine each motion from as many different contexts as possible. Each strike is a block, each block is a strike. Arm motions serve to hit, to grab, to control, to move, to push, to pull, to twist, to obstruct, to press. Any arm motion can provide any of these functions, stopping our thought process with only one function per motion greatly inhibits our progress. 

Glossary of Techniques

Links go to my YouTube Channel for detailed videos on each strike.

  • Techniques with the Hands
    • Straight
    • Hook
    • Smash
    • Inside-out 
    • Rising
    • Ripping
    • Grabbing
    • Pressing
    • Piercing
  • Techniques with the Elbows
    • Straight
    • Slashing
    • Rising
    • Falling
    • Downward
    • Reverse
    • Rolling
    • Smothering
    • Blocking
  • Techniques with the Arm
    • Forearm Smash
    • Cutting
    • Grinding
    • Bridging
    • Inverted Smash
    • Pop
    • Pressing
  • Shoulder Charge
  • Head butting