By David Nishimoto
The Kempo hammer strikes are often misunderstood. Most individuals think the purpose of the hammer strike is to smash soft tisues or break bones. Its is true in some cases the potential for this level of damage may be obtained, since some of the most powerful arm muscle combined with weight distribution and leverage can be summoned to generate incredible force on one area. The hammer strike is similar to the foot stomp. The opponent is in a very vulnerable position to defend against the weapon. The contact area is the bottom of the hand. The hand will seem rock hard on contact. Attackers will think twice after receiving a raining series of hammer strikes to their bodies. The hammer strike increases in momentum as both hands counter balance each other, so as one strikes the other hand withdraws. The hammer strike can be used both defensively and offensively. In the case, both offensive and defensive hammer strikes can be applied: for example a right inward block to a left punch, right hammer to the opp right collar bone, or horizontal hammer to the throat, or right hammer to the left side of the neck. The kempo hammer strikes are immediately taught to the beginner students. The ancient masters wanted new students to immediately value the hammer strikes of kempo as one of their choicest weapons.
Pattern 1 (smashing compression from a sideways horse stance)
1. (Opp) Right Punch (Counter) Left Outward block, step with right foot between Opp, Left hammer, Right inverted hammer strikes to the left and right side of the neck.
Analysis: The technique becomes more fatal as the strikes compress the neck muscles and artieries taking blood to the brain.
Pattern 2 (stretch and smash from a sideways horse stance)
1. (Opp) Left punch (Counter Right) Outward block, Right shuffle forward, Left vertical punch to the solar plexus, Left heel of the hand and claw from the left side of the Opp’s face, Right hammer to the side of the neck
Analysis: The left punch increases in power as the weight of the body moves behind the punch. The left heel of the hand and claw from the left side of the face stretches the left side neck muscles, increasing the damage produced from the right hammer strike to the neck.
Pattern 3 (cut and smash from a sideways horse stance)
1. (Opp) Left punch to the face (Counter) Right outward block, Left knife hand to the right side of the neck, right hammer to the left side of the neck.
Analysis: The left knife hand, cuts into the neck muscles, craps the muscles and potential seals the artiery. The right hand smashes (Opp’s) left neck muscles and traumatizes the spine.
Pattern 4 (inverted hammer to the groin from a regular horse stance)
1. (Opp) Steps in with a right club, step in with a two hand hammer block. (Counter) Right circular hammer to the groin, right backfist to the temple.
Analysis: The two hand hammer block neutralizes opp motion. The left hammer strike open opp left hand. The left hammer strike can bruise the opp to the bone, and potentially break the arm. The right hammer traumatizes opp right shoulder. The right elbow can be extend during contain increase the damage to the sternum and soft tissue regions. The circular hammer to the groin moves the opponent backward and starts him falling. The right backfist stuns and disorients the opponent.
Pattern 5 (hammer strike combined with footwork)
1. (Opp) Right grab to the left lapel. (Counter) Step back into a left cover, right hammer to the opponents right bicept, right hammer to the groin, right backfist to the temple
Analysis: Kempo can be applied using footwork to make the art less lethal. The hands turn from fatal blows, to the empty hands of mercy. In this case, the foot work works move you away from opponent. The hammer strike to the bicept generates an incredible amount of pain instanteously to the opponent. The hammer strikes stings the groin and temple regions of the opponent. The elogation of the arm and back fist creates a whip like motion similar to cracking a whip. The focus area becomes a pinpoint region. The amount of power can be controlled to prevent lethal consequences, but is available if the circumstances dictate.
In short, the kempo hammer is one the most prized weapons of kempo. In a real confrontation, I’d used the hammer strike because of its effectiviness and the assurance that it will smash anything it touches will feel the rock hard consequences of the strike. If situation allows, footwork and power control permits the hammer strikes to be used to sting the opponent rather than smash the opponent. The governing moral force is the martial virtues believed to be threatened or maintained. Peace and security may be maintained without making the hands lethal.