Left Handedness

A "Left-Handed" Follow Up to a High Thrust

A martial artist asked if I was left-handed, because in some ways my style appears left-handed. But in reality I am right-handed, and my style is right hand dominant.

Let’s start empty-handed. My inspiration is Bruce Lee, who fought with his dominant right side forward. This meant that his strong right hand jab and right side kick were forward. Since in boxing you will throw and land more often with the jab, why not jab with your strong arm?

The left hand, which is normally weaker, gains power because it builds up speed and momentum due to greater distance traveled and greater torque. So my knockout blows are the left straight, the left roundhouse kick, the left overhand elbow, and the left knee.

I was showing this empty-hand system to a friend this summer, but he just couldn’t do the left elbow. The initial tendency is to say right-forward stance and left elbow don’t work. But it makes sense, and it can be learned.

People will get lazy and throw the lead right jab, then move the left foot forward and hit with the right rear hand or elbow. This is because they haven’t developed their left side weapons, and they will be weak in combat.

With a weapon it also makes sense to have a right-forward lead. If you are right-handed you want your weapon hand in the lead. It’s easier to block and attack with a bolo in your right hand, which is forward, than your empty left hand if your left side is forward.

Now here is where I differ with a lot of people. Many (most?) guys who use the two-handed grip will hold the bat like a right-handed baseball player, with the left hand at the pommel and the right hand above it. Only instead of having the left foot forward like a baseball batting stance, they have the right foot forward (See Amo Guro Blackgrave here.). The Tapado stylists use a similar stance.Yet I argue that the more powerful stance would be that of the baseball stance with the left foot forward, because it allows you to step into the strike and get the full torque of the hips.

So for me, I have the dominant right hand at the pommel. This is how I swing the stick one-handed, which I may do on occasion. Now by adding the left hand above it, I can instantly go into bat strikes without any grip changes.  By standing with my right foot forward and placing the bat over my left shoulder, I can now get the full power of hip rotation.

If you think about it, there are other advantages of this “left” stance (right foot forward, right hand at pommel, left hand above it, and bat resting over the left shoulder.). For one, an opponent may throw up his left hand to entangle my bat while striking with his right. Because I am hitting from my left side, it is easier for me to avoid his left hand and hit his weapon hand.

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2 Responses to “Left Handedness”

  1. This suggestion has helped me greatly in martial arts training; however, I don’t think that everyone feels the same.

    Looking at many manuscripts from longsword fencing of Joachim Meyer, http://www.thearma.org/pdf/jmgsx2.jpg , or at many baseball players is that the right side is better for them. During adrenal situations people have a tendency to go to one side. It can be seen in countless athletes. Consequently, I firmly believe you should train what feels natural for you.

    I also firmly believe in bilateralism and stressing the complimentary side. Bilateral from the complimentary side can offer great effects for the individual’s opposite side. My body has deemed that consistency is not the best thing. I feel a left handed stance is great for me and my baseball swing; however, I still want to handle a single stick or tool in my right hand. In empty hand I have always trained bilaterally but I am a better fighter and stronger in the southpaw stance. I firmly believe that bilateralism is effectively doubling the amount of angles you can generate and creates a better fighter and a more balanced musculature.

  2. Adaptive Athletics,

    Thanks for posting. I agree that the more you can use your other side, the more effective you are. I’ve seen martial artists, athletes, and magicians who can only use one side of their bodies.

    I believe that the “left” batting stance (right foot forward, right hand at pommel) is actually the most powerful for the right-hander.

    You also make great points about “feel.” I think there’s a fine line between sensing what is natural, and not working until things become natural. You’re proof that humans are very flexible in their ability to move with either side of the body.

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