What is the proper way to hold your hands (no pun intended) when you practice your martial art?
I'm sure the answer is like everything-"it depends"-but maybe we can be a bit more specific.
When I was first practicing Hawaiian Kenpo, there was no strict preference for this matter. It was very important not to have your thumbs out so that they don't get broken or grabbed. I remember one member who always had his hands in fists like a boxer, but I didn't like that because it felt awkward, and I would rather parry or do something else initially besides punching; so I always kept my hands relaxed in my fighting stance with fingers directed towards the opponents eyes.
My first Tai Chi Chuan teacher (Kwan Ping Yang style, ever heard of it?) always made an emphasis on keeping your fingers stretched out as much as possible. It was something I had trouble maintaining, but I thought it looked good on him when he did the form, and he was very powerful and relaxed.
I've also read from and internal source that is important NOT to have your hands strained as it blocks the flow of chi in your hands.
Now, in my Aikido class, one of the black belts, who in my opinion is probably one of the dudes I would REALLY not want to mess with, he moves well and all his wrist locks are just deadly and don't let up in transitions...anyway, this guy always has his hands stretched out before a technique, and I think it may help him.
So, at this point, I don't want to have unnecessary tension in the body, but may give the extended fingers a try. One interesting thing I thought can be related to punching, or any movement actually. So, if you are flexing your arm when you punch, first, your body will have to relax the muscles in your arm, and THEN be able to punch. However, if your arm is relaxed, you can skip that and get to business! If you have your fingers outstretched and are going to grab someone, your hands will naturally just close around what it is you grab, INSTEAD OF having to extend your fingers around whatever it is you're grabbing AND THEN grab.
I'll get experiementing, but please comment on this with your ideas and experience!