Do not pre-shape your hand for an attack. For example, if you normally fight with closed fists, do not open you hand into a knife hand shape before using a knife hand attack. Your hand should shape into its striking shape while it is on the way toward its target. This way, you do not telegraph your attack, and you may change the hand shape into a different attack shape if the opponent does something that precludes your using the originally intended attack. However, you may pre-shape the hand as a fake to make your opponent think you are about to use a technique.
Some people fight with closed fists, some with open hands. If you fight with open hands, keep the fingers bent and thumbs tucked in. When I fight an open-handed fighter who has straight fingers, I accidentally smack their fingertips; it discourages them very quickly. If you see a thumb sticking out, then accidentally snag it; it is difficult for an opponent to fight effectively with a strained thumb.
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