Slugging it out with a member of a rival Irish clan is a centuries old way of settling disputes and defending family honor. Bare Knuckle Boxing is a proud tradition that awards victory to the man with the most cunning strikes and the strongest will. It's a brutal fighting style based more on bludgeoning the opponent than on sport. The techniques are vicious and can render an adversary bleeding, broken or even unconscious.
The Heel of the Hand
Hitting someone in the face is a good way to break one of the 27 bones in the hand. That's why bare knuckle boxers often use the heel of the palm. A fighter modifies his punches by bending the wrist back and making contact with the meaty part of the base of the hand. He aims for the chin, nose or eyes. The blow is followed up with another heel hand or a regular knuckle punch. The heel hand method is used with uppercuts, hooks, jabs and overhand crosses.
Sliding Forearm Strikes
Bare knuckle fighters hit with the outside forearm and scrape the entire ulna bone along the opponent's face. The strike is a combination between a punch and a shove. It's also a good way to avoid a broken hand. Solid contact will get the other fighter to bend over or move backward, which sets him up for a knuckle punch, a second heel hand, a hook punch or an uppercut.
Hook to Hammerfist
In this shot, what starts as a regular hook punch off the rear hand is converted at the last second. The puncher turns his palm upwards at the end of the swing and uses the bottom of the fist and the forearm to make impact. This is another way to protect the hand bones. The target area is the side of the face or neck. A connecting blow will bend the opponent sideways. The fighter follows up with a heel hand uppercut or a hook punch.
Trapped Wrist Strikes
In an effort to protect himself, a bare knuckle fighter will sometimes raise his arm in a guard position. He'll try to block with his hand or the inside of his wrist directly touching his head. An opponent may see this as an opportunity to crush that wrist with his forearm. He will throw a hook punch and convert it to a hammerfist strike. The defending fighter's wrist will be trapped between his own head and his opponent's forearm impact.
Closing the Distance
A bare knuckle fighter can literally use his head against a foe's fist. If he steps into a blow before the shot reaches the effective strike zone, he'll get hit with less than the puncher's full power. The puncher will also hit his opponent sooner than he expects to, which means his first won't be tightly clenched. That could lead to the dreaded breaking of hand bones and the end of the fight.
- Complex Pop Culture: Interview: "Knuckle" Director Ian Palmer Talks Bare-Knuckle Boxing & Irish Traveller Feuds
- Guy Speed: 7 Things You Should Know About Bare Knuckle Boxing
- Mancunian Matters: Brutal Bareknuckle Boxing 'Very Close' To Legalisation In Europe, Irish Traveller James Quinn-McDonagh Tells MM