As I will demonstrate later, I speak from personal experience when I say that failing to follow this sound advice will cost you time, money, embarrassment, self esteem, and the loss of your hand for several weeks. Sometimes, we learn the hard way.
Do not make contact with the ring finger nor the pinky.
Here is a picture that demonstrates how you should strike a board. Note how the ring and pinky knuckles do not come in contact with the surface of the board.
By slightly turning the wrist, the first two knuckles will line up with the metacarpal bones, which will be lined up with the bones of the arm. This means that all of the power of the punch will impact the target; making your punch more, well, impactful.
Push ups should be performed with the same slight wrist turn. Do a couple of push-ups on a hard floor and then look at your knuckles. If they are all red, need to turn your wrist a little more. Only the first two knuckles should touch the floor.
The bad news is that if you don’t heed this advice and strike with the ring and pinky knuckles you will learn about “Boxer’s Knuckle.” Here is an x-ray of a fractured right pinky knuckle, one of several bones that break far too easily.
If, by chance you don’t practice enough, or correctly… and you strike an object using the incorrect technique, … and you snap the little bugger knuckle of your pinky finger as I did as a Red Belt, you get to have two pins inserted (temporarily) into your hand (sideways) to keep everything immobilized until the bones can all heal up nicely.
So, start with some correct push ups. Then do some bag work. Make sure you are punching with the correct technique. If a fight ever comes your way, you will transition to autopilot mode right way - you won’t have time to think about proper positioning.
As a side note, when it came time for the doctor to remove the pins from my hand, he discovered that they had begun to calcify with the bones, i.e. they had become fused. He had to grip the exposed end of each pin with a pair of plyers and with his foot pressed against my hand, use his whole body to slide them out.
This is called, not fun.
I want to thank Michelle Deemer Photography and Kyo Sa Nim Brian Mattes for the great pics.