Characterized as a physical hit with any part of the body or an inanimate object, strikes are meant to cause pain, injury or death to an opponent. For martial artists, striking usually involves hitting with the legs or arms. For the legs, the practitioner strikes with his foot or knees. He also can stomp. For the arms, the practitioner uses his elbows, wrists, fists or fingers in a variety of ways.
Finger strikes can be executed by individual fingers or in combination for soft-tissue and vital strikes. Sometimes the practitioner will hold his hand in a clawlike grasp to rip at flesh or grab at soft tissues and vital points.
Closed-hand techniques include punches and hammerfist strikes. Various open-hand strikes like the spearhand target soft-tissue areas. Open-hand strikes like the knifehand, chop, cupped hand and palm strike instead attempt to bludgeon larger areas with powerful hits.
Depending on the martial art, the head, shoulders, butt and hips also can be used for striking an opponent.