Why block with the forearm (rather than the palm)?
Introduction One of the most common queries I've had over the years from combat sports practitioners and eclectic martial artists is why traditional martial arts use the forearm as a blocking/deflecting surface. Why not use the palm? Indeed the palm is a useful tool in "blocking" (ie. deflection/parrying and sometimes even actual blocking/stopping). However what is inherent in the question is the assumption that the palm is fundamentally more useful than the forearm. The forearm is often seen as "brutish" or inelegant compared with the sensitivity afforded by the palm. Yet the traditional martial arts are full of forearm blocks. They are common throughout the Asian martial systems. They are even a well-established part of Western boxing traditions, going back as far as Ancient Greece right up to the more modern bareknuckle boxing era. [Consider the adjacent image as one of many examples one can find. As a side note, take a look at hip chamber being used!]