Identifying the free hand
There is saying within oriental martial arts, that translates into meaning “the free hand hits”!
At first it appears pretty straight forward. If the hand is free it should hit, simple enough right?
Simple! Yes and complex at the same time. Here is what I mean.
It’s pretty easy to interpret this saying when one hand is busy being engaged and the other is not. It becomes evident which one is free to hit.
But what happens in the case of close quarters combat when both hands are engaged? It would seem that this saying does not apply in such a situation. However, it does when being supported by the “centre line theory” (see article “Centre Line”).
This saying takes on a whole new meaning when applied within the centre line theory.
It goes like this:
When both hands are engaged in close quarters combat, the one that is not occupying, defending or sinking the bridge in the centre line is free to hit.
Occupying, defending or sinking the bridge in the centre line means that I am controlling the opponent’s balance. Therefore, that hand is not free to hit.
A hand that is free to hit may have stopped or arrested an intending strike, but is not occupied controlling the bridge in the centre line.
That being understood becomes the hand that is free to hit.
Incidentally, ”hand” in “free hand hits” can also refer to “foot” if you are stealing the opponents balance in some way.