Injury Prevention: wrist alignment

An alignment error I see a lot is over-extension of the wrist.

Yikes! Note the tiny angle on the pinky side and the wide open angle on the thumb side.
Yikes! Note the tiny angle on the pinky side and the wide open angle on the thumb side.

 

Your wrist alignment should be in a biomechanically-sound position.

sword extended, from the outside

 

sword extended, from the inside

Remember that when you’re using a sword, you are hoping to make contact with your adversary and therefore meet some resistance. If you are extending your sword in a structurally weak position, you will cause yourself damage.

It’s easy to experiment to find your alignment with pushups on your fists*.

Don’t panic! You don’t have to do full out push-ups… although if you can, go for it! But if push-ups aren’t for you, you find the alignment on a wall like this:

Note that the 3 different alignments are:
– the last three knuckles
– the first two knuckles
– the first knuckle

The extra resistance of gravity or pressure against the wall will help you to feel where your optimum alignment is. If you’re feeling pressure on the sides of your wrist joint, you’re probably over-extending.

 

The other reason I suspect that the wrist over-extension happens is because people have only one way to hang on to their sword. You will improve your sentiment-du-fer — not to mention saving your wrist — when you start to have a more responsive grip on your sword.

Note how much movement of the sword you achieve with a responsive grip.

 

And now a full cut, noting how the combination of a responsive hand grip and wrist movement achieves the full extension of the sword without compromising your joints. See how the wrist and fist move between the three-knuckle, two-knuckle, and one-knuckle push-up positions.

 

Once you have spent some time teaching your body what those alignments are, you’ll be able to identify when you are over-extending within your stage combat class.

*This exercise was first shown me by Guy Windsor who is, among other things, author of The Little Book Of Push-Ups, available in paperback and e-book.

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