Cupped Hand Strike

The Cupped Hand Strike is one of the basic techniques we teach in our Gutterfighting.  This technique often seems fairly natural to women, and they appear to enjoy training it more than the other techniques.  Think of it as a slap, but with a little more curvature in the hand—in other words, it is cupped!  The hand should still stay fairly relaxed, though.  The target is the head, but if you are able to get the ear, it has a nice concussive effect upon the eardrum.  In fact, in Applegate’s book, Kill or Get Killed, the strike is called an “Ear Concussive Blow.”  He taught using both hands to hit both ears.  I can imagine the effect, literally slamming a pocket of air into each ear canal.  Yow!  If you ever watch some of Dr. Ruthless’ videos, she also likes to use both hands in a very close quarters situation.  I recall seeing a video of Paul Vunak teaching the Slap, and his hand makes almost a whipping motion because he keeps the hand so relaxed and the wrist very flexible.  This reminds me of what Kelly McCann talks about regarding weapons against the head, which is a very rigid, bony structure; flexible weapons work very well for rocking the brain and causing a KO.  We like to call this “rebooting the computer.”  Kelly often recommends using the open-hand, like palm strikes, face smashes, chin jabs, and cupped hand strikes, as opposed to punches, which also pits one bony structure (your knuckles) against another (his skull).  It stands to reason that with punches and no gloves, you have a good chance of sustaining a lot of damage.  Boxer’s fracture aside, learning to slap is a little easier skills-wise, and more readily available to the new practitioner; boxing skills take much more dedication to acquire!

I would teach this particular technique from the protective fence (arms outstretched and slightly bent, palms facing you), or a more aggressive fence (palms facing the aggressor).  The scenario might be that the adversary is encroaching on your space, has ignored your protective barrier (the fence), and you kick off.  However, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to basically shoot from the hip and strike from a ready stance, or with your arms at your sides.  Train from all these positions.  The Cupped Hand Strike can come from the front hand, but we usually start teaching it with the rear hand—folks just have an easier time with it.

I like the way Lee Morrison sets up the strike—a bit of misdirection!  Very cool:

Here is Dr. Ruthless with her “primal” self-defense–yeah!  She uses a double Cupped Hand Strike at the beginning of this video:

Ha ha!  Here is Paul Vunak teaching the “Ear Slap.”


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