Hammer Fist: How to use it Effectively

Hammer Fist How to use it Effectively

The hammer fist is a strike delivered using the side part of your fist or arm where there is an accumulation of more muscles and less accessible bones. In karate, the hammer fist is referred to as tetsui uke and is taught as part of the introductory classes in karate. It is a useful move because it is easy to deliver and has a massive impact on your opponent. 

This move is also used in a traditional form of Karate, Gōjū-ryū, developed by master Okinawan in Japan during the 19th century. Gō refers to using the techniques with a closed hand technique while Jū refers to open hand techniques. The move focuses on pressure points located on the arms, groin, collarbone, neck, and throat.

Benefits of the Hammer Fist

It has a massive impact and can easily knock out your opponent because of the energy used to deliver it. The hammer fist can be delivered from different angles such as a lying position if your opponent is straddling you. It is also a natural move because it is based on gross motor skills, which also explains why karate beginners easily learn it.

When fighting with a stronger opponent, the larger the person, the higher your likelihood of hitting them with the hammer fist if you are fast enough.

As a transition move, you can use the hammer fist combined with a turn to move into the space vacated by the opponent after they have thrown the first punch and deliver an unexpected follow-up punch. It is also easy to focus on using single downwards hammer fist movements than multiple well-executed straight punches when your opponent is lying beneath you.

The hammer fist is a transitional move, meaning that it can be used after you have delivered a straight punch. For instance, after being hit on the chin with a straight punch, a descending hammer fist can be used to hit the person’s collarbone or neck area as both a defense mechanism and an attack.

Some of the other best places to strike with a hammer fist include the nose and jaw because being hit on these areas is painful and could lead to bleeding or a fractured nose. A hit on the throat can disable the opponent or even kill the person if targeted on the trachea. 

When to Use Hammer Fist

POWERFUL Hammer Fist Strikes: TRITAC Martial Arts Training

The hammer fist can be used as an alternative to the other punches. When delivering the hammer fist while standing, you can use it as the first hit to deliver a strong punch by twisting your body away from your opponent, rotating you’re your arm and delivering a side hammer fist on the target’s chin.

If the opponent is bending downwards, you can use the hammer fist to hit the back of your opponent’s head or neck. Inward hammer fists can be used when you have an additional weapon like a pen or another pointed weapon as this could cause bodily harm like stabbing the neck or eyes, which would subject the opponent to excruciating pain.

When using the hammer fist in Gōjū-ryū karate, the blows can be delivered downwards to target the joint near the groin. It is also used in the ground and pound techniques in mixed martial arts as a way to ensure that the opponent stays down.

Some of the mixed martial arts fighters who have effectively used this move include Branden Lee Hinkle and Mark Coleman while fighting in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). In mixed martial arts, hammer fists can be combined with other moves such as straight punches and spinning kicks.

What are Pros and Con of Hammer Fist


When compared to a hit delivered through the knuckles, hammer fists will hurt your arm unless and have maximum effect on the other person. They are also more solid because the muscle in this area has a higher likelihood of protecting the ulna and radius bones on the arm when compared to the knuckles and phalanges, which are located near the skin and can easily be fractured.

This can also be an effective comeback when someone tries to hit you, and you miss the hit because the person will be closer to you.

Unlike the punches delivered with the knuckles facing the target, hammer fists can be used when you are on top of your opponent, and you are fighting with an opponent on concrete.

In such cases, you would be less likely to hit your arm on the concrete if the opponent misses the hit. If you are not a trained fighter, you can still rely on hammer fists because they do not require complicated techniques.


The muscles in this area are more prone to bruising in a case where you hit a hard object like concrete. You could easily kill your opponent or cause excessive bodily harm like a fracture if the punch is delivered fast.

If not delivered well, you could easily hurt yourself or end up with a fractured elbow. This injury is common in cases where you try to strike someone with a hammer fist while your arm is straight.

Related article: Neko Ashi Dachi Stance

Consequences of Performing the Hammer Fist

If you perform the hammer when the arm is straight instead of being bent at the elbow joint, you risk dislocating your elbow, which might render your incapable of continuing the fight. It is also a very powerful hit, when delivered at full speed and knock out your opponent, cause bleeding, a fracture, or kill the opponent.

Jesse Arnett has used hammer fists before to knock out his opponents and win a UFC match. Using hammer fists in boxing is illegal and get you disqualified from the match.

You can easily break a person’s clavicle (the horizontal bone that serves as a support structure for the shoulder blade and the sternum). For instance, in the UFC fight against Niko Prince and KO of Randy Brown, Price hammer fisted KO while he was straddling him and managed to knock him out.

The hits were delivered on the side of KO’s neck and could have easily broken his clavicle.

Krav Maga Hammer Fist

Krav Maga is a hammer fist technique used by martial artists to protect the fist significantly when injured. Krav Maga’s hammer fist protects the top two knuckles from absorbing damage and makes a powerful punch by throwing a punch by the movement of your body.

The technique involves hitting the side of the fist near the pinky finger or the two upper knuckles of the fist. Below is an in-depth instruction and explanation to help you learn how to perform a Krav hammer fist and utilize it.

-Steps to perform Krav Hammer Fist

  • Open your hands
  • Fold your fingers down and curl your fingertips into your palm.
  • Then lock the pointer and middle finger down with your thumb. It would be best if you did not leave the thumb hanging over the fist. Never allow the pinky finger to stick out and to put your thumb inside the fist.
  • To throw a Krav hammer fist, drive off the ground with your leg and rotate your hip and shoulder to load energy/power. The rotation of your leg, hip, and shoulder will help generate a powerful fist punch, while the striking force would be the side of your pinky finger.
  • When punching, ensure the side below the pinky finger lands on the surface you intend to punch to utilize the straight punch Krav hammer finger.

When you want to hit the surface using your top knuckles with a Krav hammer fist, you should follow the instructions above while employing the same body movement technique in mind. Then hit the surface using the top-two knuckles as your finger to strike the surface on the object you intend to hit or punch.

Krav Maga’s hammer fist is a combative technique that involves using the side of your pinky finger to hit the intended object. However, the striking force involves the natural movement of your leg, feet, and shoulder to load energy and balance your weight through pulling the strike and back.

The advantage of using the Krav hammer fist is that it is fast and gives you more advantage in delivering the punch on various angles, either on the vertical or horizontal plane.

Contrarily, a standard fist involves locking in your fingers like making a Krav hammer fist, but in a level, plane stretching from the knuckles to your elbow. This is to avoid injuring the wrist upon impact and helps generate more load or channel the kinetic energy from the forearm in a straight direction.

Moreover, the standard fist punch is delivered by landing the knuckles of the index and middle finger on the target with your shoulder straight and. Then your fingers and shoulder are snapped back to prevent a counterattack from the opponent.

Arakan Hammer Fist

Arakan hammer fist is an advanced back fist that involves the spinning momentum of your whole body. This fist technique is potent and lethal, making the target opponent not handle the force of the Arakan hammer fist. Below is a step-by-step guide to help utilize the Arakan hammer fist to your advantage.

Steps to perform Arakan Hammer Fist

  • Stand with your foot in the guard position with your knees slightly bent forward to the right or left foot with one step across your body around 30-50cm to make a stance. Avoid making a broader and longer stance because it will be harder to cover after hitting the target.
  • Turn either of your {one step across your body} one foot and transfer the weight to the same leg.
  • Lift the constant foot {the one not in across position with your body} right off the ground to balance your body while spinning your body.
  • Rotate the front foot {the one in across position} in a clockwise direction with your left/right arm on your chin and extend the other hand towards the target with a full swing of your hip, legs, and shoulder. The extended arm is your Arakan fist.
  • Hit the target with the extended arm using the back of your fist.
  • After hitting the target, step back with either left or right foot to return to the guard position with your hands raised or up.
  • Continue hitting the target or stop if necessary.

Arakan hammer fist is a much more advanced hammer fist thrown to the target while spinning your body in a whiplash motion. The purpose of the whiplash motion is to increase the power of the Arakan hammer fist, and your momentum is the full swing of your body.

The advantage of the Arakan hammer fist over the standard hammer is that it allows you to; return backward the same way whiplash motion was completed, deliver punches faster, provide you with more coverage, and add additional punches while in the same position.

Contrarily, a standard hammer fist is dependent on maintaining the fist in a horizontal plane position to generate more load or channeling of the kinetic energy from the forearm in a straight direction. While punching using a standard hammer fist in combat, the risks of damaging your knuckles or fingers are high. This is because of the action and reaction force impact while hitting the target.

Thus, when your throw a standard hammer fist, you should safeguard your knuckle or fingers against fracture or dislocation resulting from the force impact. Therefore, Arakan hammer fist is the best way to avoid injuring your knuckles than throwing a standard hammer punch.

Why is Hammer Fist illegal in lots of Sports?

The list of the sports where hammer fist is not allowed include;

  • Boxing
  • Karate
  • Judo


In Boxing, there are four basics of punches that are allowed. They include; jab, uppercut, cross, and the hook. A Hammer’s fist is not allowed in boxing because the pads are insufficient to reduce the punch’s powerful impact. Secondly, the full force impact of the hammer fist can cause severe head injuries or tissue damages leading to head/brain trauma or death. Lastly, it is considered intentional in boxing to turn away from the opponent and punch with a hammer fist.


In Karate, karate martial art moves are only applied on both the upper and lower parts of the body while in an upright position. However, hammer fist is illegal in Karate, and it should not be employed even when the opponent is grounded. This could result in head injury, abdominal tissue damage, and many more due to the powerful impact of the rotation force that can lead to compression of the body organs or tissues.


In judo, martial arts throwing, and pinning are the legal techniques that are allowed. However, kicking or punching is not allowed; therefore, employing a hammer fist will automatically disqualify you from the competition.