Techniques>Strikes>Back-fist strikes

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Back-fist strikes


A back-fist strike is a strike that impacts with the back of the fist, which is the top of the hand.


A back-fist is usually used to the temples, nose, jaw hinges, or ribs.

How to perform the back-fist

  • The back-fist is executed by striking with the back of the clenched fist with the knuckles facing outward, in an inside to outside, horizontal motion, or in a downward, vertical motion. 
  • The striking surface is primarily the back of the base knuckle of the second finger. 
  • The back-fist can be as quick as the jab and it may do more damage than the jab since it has a smaller striking surface than the jab.
Three important points in delivering an effective back-fist are:
  • Form. Many instructors tell you to bring your elbow up and cock your arm, before throwing the back fist. Although this is not necessarily wrong, it does telegraph to your opponent that you are going to do something. Also, if you bring your elbow up, you expose your lower ribs to a counterattack. The best option is to start your strike from your standard guard and suddenly strike with no preparatory movement.
  • Move the fist in a straight line. As stated above, many instructors teach to throw the back-fist in an arcing motion as if your elbow was a hinge. This movement takes too much time to reach the opponent and the arcing movement is easy to block by just raising the lead forearm. The shortest and quickest distance between two points is a straight line; therefore, the back-fist should be thrown in a snapping, out and back motion with a twist of the wrist. The fist moves at an angle but in a straight line.
  • Strike like a snake.  Keep fist and wrist loose and relaxed for speed and deliver the back fist with a snapping movement. At impact, tighten the fist to create maximum focus and power. Quickly return the fist to the guard position.
The back-fist offers maximum protection since you don’t need to compromise your body position to use it effectively. If executed properly, you can suddenly lunge and strike, making it virtually unstoppable.


  • Inverted back fist strike. In this attack, the fist rotates inward so the thumb is pointed downward, the attacking shoulder rises, the opposite shoulder lowers, and the hand moves in an inward, horizontal movement as it strikes with the back of the base of the second knuckle.
  • Double inverted back fist strike. A strike that is usually used to the temple. Two inverted back fist strikes are executed at the same time to opposite sides of the same target.
  • Spinning back fist strike. A strike that is usually used to the temple or ribs. It is executed by rotating the body 360° toward the side that is executing the strike.
  • Flip back fist strike. A strike that is usually used to the face or temple. It is executed by striking with the back of the clenched fist in a backward motion over the top of your shoulder to a target directly behind the shoulder. 

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