Thundering Hammers is the 10th required technique to obtain your purple belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Thundering Hammers is a defense against right step through punch from the front, placing it in the Punches category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Punches Family Group of the family groups Striking division.
Thundering Hammers, like Dance of Death, was designed to teach the value of initiating movements from their Point of Origin. These techniques are family related with each teaching you how to attack a different height zone. Thundering Hammers introduces you to various ways of hammering while generating tremendous power from torque, body momentum, marriage of gravity and synchronization with simultaneous checks and buckles.
Thundering Hammers – defense for a right straight punch.
- Step 1
- Step forward with your left foot toward 11:00 into a left neutral bow stance facing 12:00
- Deliver a left inward block to the outside of your opponent’s right arm (above the elbow).
- Have your right arm to hang naturally by your side.
- Step 2
- Shuffle forward (push-drag) toward 12:00 to form a left wide kneel stance.
- Deliver a right inward horizontal forearm strike across your opponent’s stomach.
- Cock your left fist by your left ear, palm facing outward.
- Step 3
- Pivot clockwise and drop lower to form a right close kneel stance facing 4:30.
- Deliver a left inward downward diagonal hammerfist strike to your opponent’s left kidney .
- Execute a right rolling check to the back of your opponent’s right shoulder.
- Step 4
- Slide your left hand to check the back of your opponent’s right shoulder
- Cock your right fights by your left ear, palm outward.
- Step 5
- Pivot counterclockwise to form a left close kneel stance facing 12:00.
- Deliver a right inward overhead hammerfist strike to the back of your opponent’s neck.
- Your left hand checks your opponent’s right shoulder.
- Step 5
- Shift your left foot back toward 7:30 forming a right neutral bow stance facing 1:30
- Right front crossover and cover out toward 7:30.
The name comes from the hammering action of your fists. As hot lightning comes ripping down through a cool sky to create thunder, your hammerfists come crashing down onto your opponent generating waves of thunder through your opponent’s body, thus the name Thundering Hammers.
In the ideal phase your opponent is directly in front of you, 12:00, in a left fighting stance. He steps forward with his right foot as he delivers a right punch toward your face. It is assumed that you are unable to evade the attack by moving back or to the sides.
There are many environments or situations in which you could be attacked that restrict your movement. You could be walking down a narrow alley that prevents any movement towards the sides. You could have someone behind you that you are protecting which prevents you from stepping back. You could be up against an object such as a wall. You could be at the top of a narrow stairway that prevents you from moving to the sides and stepping back means you fall down the steps. You could be stepping out of a car. As you can see, no situation is the same and no situation is perfect. When practicing techniques like this attempt to make practice more realistic so that you are not uncomfortable if ever in a similar situation.
Basics & Maneuvers
- Left Front Step Through
- Left Neutral Bow Stance
- Left Hammering Inward Block
- Forward Shuffle (Push-Drag Maneuver)
- Left Wide Kneel Stance
- Right Inward Horizontal Forearm Strike
- Right Close Kneel Stance
- Left Inward Downward Hammerfist Strike
- Left Close Kneel Stance
- Right Inward Downward Hammerfist Strike
- Right Neutral Bow
- Right Front Crossover
- Cover Out
- Outside of The Right Arm/Right Elbow
- Right Knee
- Stomach/Solar Plexus/Floating Ribs
- Left Kidney
- Back of the Neck (Cervical Vertebrae
Concepts & Principles
- Angle of Alignment
- Angle of Cancellation
- Angle of Disturbance
- Angle of Departure
- Angle of Deviation
- Angle of Disturbance
- Backup Mass
- Body Momentum
- Borrowed Force
- Cocking Check
- Depth of Penetration
- Gravitational Check
- Marriage of Gravity
- Obscure Zone
- Positional Check
- Preparatory Cock
- Sliding Check
- What if …
- your opponent does not step through?
- your opponent starts off in another stance and steps forward with the left?
- your opponent precedes his right punch with a right kick?
- your opponent follows his right punch with a left punch?
- your opponent throws a left punch followed by a right punch?
- your opponent punches toward your chest or stomach (medium and low heights)?
- your opponent uses full body momentum with his punch?
- your another opponent has you in a bear hug from behind?
- Attacking Mace (Y-9)
- Dance of Death (O-3)
- Sleeper (P-21)
- Flashing Wings (B-3)
- Crossed Twigs (B-15)
- Gripping Talon (B-20)
- Intercepting The Ram (G-20)
- Desperate Falcons (3Br-8)
- Twirling Hammers (2Br-2)
- Dance of Darkness (2Br-4)
- Bowing to Buddha (2Br-10)
- In the 1975 Accumulative Journal, Thundering Hammers was purple belt technique #11.
- On the first step, both the 1975 Accumulative Journal and 1987 IKKA Studio Manuals indicate stepping “to your left on a 45° angle (toward 11 o’clock) with your left foot”
- On the third step, the 1975 Accumulative Journal has you pivot into a right wide kneel stance facing 4 o’clock with the first hammerfist strike and does not indicate any action or position for the right arm.
- On the third step the 1987 IKKA Studio manuals have you cock your right fist by your left ear while delivering the first left hammerfist strike instead of checking your opponent’s right arm.
- The 1987 IKKA Studio Manual skips the fourth step due to your already cocking your right fist on the third.
- On the fifth step, the 1975 Accumulative Journal has you pivot into a left close kneel stance facing 1 o’clock and the 1987 IKKA Studio Manuals (4th step) has you pivot into a left wide kneel stance facing 12 o’clock
1975 Accumulative Journal
THUNDERING HAMMER (front straight right punch)
- Standing naturally with feet together, step to your left on a 45° angle (to 11 o’clock) with your left foot into a left neutral bow as you strike with a left inward block to outside of opponent’s right arm (preferably at or above the elbow) and cock your right arm parallel to your right thigh as it hangs naturally to the side.
- Shuffle forward (push drag) toward 12 o’clock as you drop int a left wide kneel stance (to outside of opponent’s right knee so as to have opponent buckle and drop) and strike horizontally across your opponent’s stomach with your right inward horizontal forearm strike while cocking your left arm (your left hand at this point is cocked by your left ear with your palm facing away from you).
- Strike down to opponent’s left kidney with a left downward hammerfist as your right arm checks opponent’s right arm. You should be in a right wide kneel stance facing 4 o’clock.
- Have your left hand shift from the kidney into a horizontal forearm check outside of opponent’s right arm as your right arm cocks to your right ear. You should still be in a right close kneel stance facing 4 o’clock.
- Pivot to your left (toward 1 o’clock) into a left close kneel stance as you deliver a right downward hammerfist to back of opponent’s neck; your left hand at this point is still checking action of opponent’s right arm (left push down checks).
- Shift your left foot back and slightly to your left (between 7 and 8 o’clock) into a right neutral bow and execute a right front crossover and cover out toward the same angle.
1987 IKKA Studio Manual
THUNDERING HAMMERS (Front – Right Step Through Punch)
- Standing naturally, step to your left on a 45° angle (toward 11 o’clock) with your left foot into a left neutral bow (facing 12 o’clock) as you execute a left inward block to the outside of your opponent’s right arm (preferably at or above the elbow). Your right arm hangs naturally at your side. Be sure to positionally check your opponent’s right leg with your left leg. (Your inward block will nullify the width of your opponent’s body.)_
- Shuffle forward (push-drag) toward 12 o’clock as you drop into a left wide kneel stance (buckling the outside opf your opponent’s right knee with your own right knee). and strike horizontally across your opponent’s stomach with a right inward horizontal forearm while cocking your left fist near your left ear (palm facing away from you). (Your forearm strike should force your opponent to bend forward at the waist.)
- Pivot clockwise as you drop lower into a right close knee stance (facing 4:30 while buckling the back of your opponent’s right knee with your left knee. Simultaneously strike to your opponent’s left kidney with a left downward hammerfist strike as your right fist cocks near your right ear (palm facing away from you). (Your hammerfist strike combined with your buckle should drive your opponent’s body down as it snaps his head up).
- Pivot counterclockwise into a left wide kneel stance (facing 12 o’clock) while buckling your opponent’s right knee with your right knee. Have your left hand shift from his kidney into a left horizontal forearm check (GRAVITATIONAL CHECK) on top of your opponent’s right shoulder. Simultaneously deliver a right downward hammerfist strike to the back of your opponent’s neck. (Your hammerfist strike combined with your knee buckle should drive your opponent into the ground).
- Shift your left foot back and slightly to your left (toward 7:30) into a right neutral bow and execute a right front crossover and cover out toward 7:30.
- Make sure that you positionally check your opponent’s right leg with your left leg when you step forward. From that point on you will buckle your opponent’s knee with each stance shift starting with the shuffle forward into a left wide kneel stance.
- Practice this technique without your hands to learn how to disrupt your opponent’s foundation with your knees.
- When delivering your hammerfist strikes to your opponent’s body be sure to hammer “through” your opponent’s body.
- Once you have the steps understood practice this technique with a continuity of motions. Keep things flowing.
- Some schools teach this technique with a right reverse step through as opposed to a left forward step through.
- This works perfectly fine but takes away the environmental factors that this technique was based on.
- Some schools replace the right forearm strike with either a right underhand reverse hammerfist strike or a right underhand reverse handsword strike to the groin.
- This is perfectly acceptable but breaks family relationships (no pun intended).