In the martial arts and unarmed defense communities, there’s always discussion about whether open- or closed-hand strikes are best. In reality, there are appropriate targets for each. The formula is simple: If you’re striking a soft surface, use a closed-hand strike because it creates a hard surface. If you’re striking a hard surface, use an open-hand strike, which creates a soft surface. Hard and soft targets on the body are pinpointed, and the reasons for not striking a hard surface with a closed hand or a soft surface with an open hand are discussed.