Which is Your Better Hand?

Quick Question: What Do You Think?

The indomitable Joe Lewis was once asked about the best hand to lead with. The questioner identified ‘leading with the right’ as a kung fu trait, compared to the Western boxing idea of keeping the right hand back. Lewis always had a different take: side-stepping the issue he replied that as a professional fighter he did not have a better hand. I don’t think he was bragging, just pointing out the error of accepting the inequality of your two hands. He would say, I think, that having a “better hand” is the product of accepting a lower standard of skill.


art_whichhand1Still, it brings up some interesting variations. If, for instance, I were in a knife-vs.-hands fight, I would probably lead with my more secure hand (of course, if that got slashed I might also be in a pickle of trouble.) THAT brings up this idea: can the two hands ever really be equal? And are there certain advantages to inequality? For instance, many styles of Kung Fu traditionally train the left hand first. For one thing, if you train the left hand you have entered the back door and meet much less resistance from the over-educated right hand. Then, further in your training, you will generalize the right hand side from the already educated left.


Sometimes students find that their left side actually performs certain actions better than the right because, as we say, the left side has no opinion. I assume, of course, all of this is pretty much the same for all you lefties out there.


Can you really reach parity with the hands? Are there times when, regardless of coordination, one hand would be better than the other? Your thoughts on this…?


One Response to “Which is Your Better Hand?”

  1. Andrew Shinn says:

    For me the better hand is the one that can make the block or reach the target in a given moment. Timing, distance, angle, position (yours and the opponent’s) create different opportunities and threats. If we train to be ambidextrous (irrespective of whether we can really have our two hands move exactly the same) we will be better prepared to exploit those opportunities and nullify those threats.

    It would be really difficult for each hand to move exactly the same, since we tend to move through our lives with a dominant hand. That amount of daily habituation is hard to overcome. But the hands don’t have to move exactly the same in order to be able to do the same movements. I’m right handed, but when the opportunity presents itself, the left side of my body has a full range of offensive movements at its disposal.

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