The medical profession has precept known as Primum non nocere, Latin for "First, not to harm." As a martial arts instructor, I also use the precept “First, do not harm” when teaching new students. A student who naive to fighting who walks in the school door already instinctively knows how to punch horizontally. If he turns around and immediately walk out the door and is attacked, he will at least know now to instinctively punch and defend himself. If he stays until the end of class, and then is attacked after walking out the door, I don’t want to have taught him something that might cause him more harm than may have occurred without my instruction. If I taught him to ignore his instincts and force himself to punch vertically, and he was attacked as he walked out the door, he would not yet be effective at vertical punching and would probably use some hybrid punch that would be ineffective, meaning that my instruction had done him harm. I don’t think students should be taught vertical punching as a primary weapon; it should only be taught as a specialty weapon, such as the knife hand or hammer fist, to be used in special circumstances.
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