Circling Palm – An Effective Gateway to Sticky Wrap-holding

Photo by Mari Martin on Unsplash

In the post Adhesively Wrap-hold a Weapon – Hold It Sticky, I suggested that practising circling palm is a direct way of turning the palm to hold sticky. In this post I’ll elaborate.

The circling palm is frequently performed in-between two moves, whenever a hand reaches the farthest extent in the front by progressing, punching, darting or striking.

At the position of the farthest extent, before circling, you must lay out the palm to completely flat, with all the fingers including the thumb all opened to align with the palm surface, so that the palm and all the fingers now melt together to form one surface.

Quite many learners prefer to keep the thumb crooked throughout the circling process, since a crooked thumb can strengthen the palm by expanding the wrist-palm bone structure (my umbrella analogy). However, this is not desirable for circling the palm because such expansion will in turn hamper the flexibility of the wrist part close to the thumb and jam it during the process of circling.

Melting the palm surface and all fingers together is to form a soft flexible plate, ready to be “flapped” by the wrist from the wrist’s centre. This “flapping” is like you flap the flippers worn on the feet to propel forward in water during diving. A flipper is maintained as one entire surface, so integral yet so flexible that it can disturb the maximum amount of water when being flapped with the minimum effort by the ankle-foot unit – a high efficiency of power transmission.

Before circling, you have to “feel” the same: When you flap the palm-fingers plate, it has to become very soft and very flexible so that it could disturb the maximum amount of, in this case, air. The flapping effort at the wrist is minimum but effective in opening up the wrist gateway for unceasing power transmission. Keeping the palm in such a state, you can then start circling.

Most learners would want to erect the palm as much upright as possible, even by bending at the wrist. While being able to make the palm surface perpendicular to the forearm is something good to achieve, which reflects the flexibility in the wrist, bending is not desirable if not completely wrong. Often the bending is accompanied by using fingers to force the wrist to fold into the 90 degrees, making the wrist actually more congested.

Instead of bending up the plate, you flap it up, i.e. the palm-fingers plate is ever kept “flappable”. As far as this state is maintained, whether the palm can be put upright at 90 degrees is of second importance. That can be improved over time once you have got familiar with the flapping method that gradually turns the wrist to become more dynamic.

By setting the intent to flapping, it helps you evade from the temptation of using fingers to force up the palm, since flapping encourages the initiation from the head of the flipper, i.e. from the wrist centre. Put it in another way: If you use fingers to force up the palm, you won’t feel it “flappable”.

You circle the flat palm-fingers plate from upward to downward (180 degrees) along the vertical pane facing you, and then change its course to another vertical pane perpendicular to the former where you circle it upward again into the protecting hand-form (woo sau), in which the thumb now crooks again. Thus the circling palm travels along and across two panes perpendicular to each other in one round.

Some learners think that, in order to capture the most benefit, the circling should be done to its largest possible extent. And this leads them to just focus on the first vertical pane (facing you), circling the palm well beyond the 180 degrees, often to 360 degrees to return the palm to its original upright position before ending it as the protecting hand-form, or closing it as a retreating fist. Such circling has only travelled one vertical pane, missing the training of the wrist flexibility along and across two panes perpendicular to each other in one shot. Travelling across the two perpendicular panes is also a pathway to breeding your ability in the wrist-hand to do Biu Jee at a later stage. In fact, when everything is on par between two practitioners, the one bearing higher such ability will excel, not only in Biu Jee, but in all aspects.

There is nevertheless one circling move in Siu Nim Tau that does exceed the 180 degrees: the second half of the third part which changes a darted tan sau to a middle cutting palm from the side. It is composed of the circling palm from upward to downward, immediately followed by the rotating of the palm-fingers unit to the opposite side beyond the 180 degrees, ready for a cutting palm strike to the front. The intent is not to continue circling along the same vertical pane to a full 360 degrees, though.

If you keep on practising circling palm as described above, I believe, wrap-holding a weapon sticky should be quite straightforward!


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