Striking with a closed fist (boxing) figures prominently in the ancient greek world, almost disappears in the medieval european world, and reappears in the modern. I suspect that it is a function of armor. Punching a metal breastplate... not so good. So it all but disappears from toolbox until that armor goes away.
Boxing didn't disappear from the Greek/Roman world (or the modern civilized world at the time) till it was made illegal by the religious (largely Christian) influence on the emperor at the time. In the original conception of boxing, fighters armored their fists to make striking more effective (this is how it came to be know as "boxing" in the first place). This resulted in a LOT of deaths, which is why it was banned by law. It was seen as too barbaric, which one could argue that it was too martially effective... depending on your definition.