Techniques>Punches>Hook punch

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Hook punch


A hook punch is a straight punch delivered in a tight arc from the outside of the body to the inside in a hooking motion. The hook is a very powerful and deceptive punch if executed correctly. It is powerful enough to end a fight.

How to perform trailing arm hook

  • Begin in a fighting stance with the knees slightly bent, chin down, and with the arms in a guard with the hands raised by the sides of your face with the palms facing inward with the elbows tight to your ribs. 
  • Don’t cock the trailing fist or the drop shoulder before executing the punch.
  • Begin hook by turning the heel of the leading foot inward by rotating on the ball of the foot as if you were crushing out a cigarette on the floor.
  • Rotate leading hip backward and you rotate the trailing hip and shoulder forward.
  • Fire the punch in hooking motion while pushing off the trailing foot. The arm should never straighten when throwing the hook. Because of the position of the punching hand, it is not practical to try to bring this punch straight over. The cross punch fits that situation better because of the hand position on impact 
  • Twist the punch by rotating the fist a quarter turn inward so the palm is facing downward at impact. 
  • When the target is the body, such as the ribs, then the path of the punch will be fairly level with the ground. If the target is the head of a taller opponent and you must punch under his or her guard, then the punch's path will become more vertical and the legs and hips will drive up into the punch as with an uppercut.
  • Focus on technique, speed, and accuracy, and using body rotation and hip snap to add power.
  • Contact should be made with the first two base knuckles with the wrist locked and the elbow level with the fist. In the horizontal version of the punch, the fist will hit the target with the palm facing downward; in the vertical version, the palm will face inward. 
  • If the punch misses its target, it terminates as the fist reaches the vertical center line of your body. At this point, the fist is pulled back to the guard position. If you allow the punch to travel past the center line, you expose yourself to counterattack. 
  • After impact, immediately re-chamber the fist to the guard position by pulling it directly back to the guard as if doing a biceps curl. Don’t pull the arm back in a reverse hooking motion.

How the hook is used

  • The hook is usually used to the side of the head or body.
  • A large close-in hook may be slightly out of your opponent's line of sight and thus not be seen before it impacts.
  • A hook can be thrown by either arm and from almost any position. It is usually used as a part of a punching combination. 
  • Setup for a hook by using a jab or cross. Since the hook has a shorter range than the jab, you must close the range for the hook. Shorter fighters, such as Mike Tyson or Roy Jones, had a low center of mass and used powerful hooks when in close. Taller fighters, such as Mohamed Ali and Joe Lewis, used the hook when the opponent moved in close.
  • Shovel hook. The shovel hook is a combination of a hook and an uppercut that is usually delivered to the body but may also be delivered to the chin by coming up and under the opponent's guard. The strike is delivered close to the body with the elbow close to your side, with the palm side of your fist upward as in an upset punch. 
  • Overhand hook. In an overhand hook. The hook comes from a slightly vertical or overhead position with the elbow higher than the fist. The punch is delivered in up and over hooking motion and comes down on top of the opponent as the body drops into the punch.
  • Check hook. A check hook is used against aggressive opponents who rush in with attacks. As the opponent rushes in, pivot to the inside on the leading foot as you fire a leading arm hook while swinging the trailing foot 180 degrees around behind you. This moves you out of the way of the attack and the hook may make contact as the opponent moves by you. When executed correctly, the rushing opponent will slide harmlessly by like a bull missing a matador who has pivoted to the side.

Defense against the hook

  • Tuck the chin into the shoulder and touch the hand to the ear to block a hook on that side. Keep the blocking fist against your head; otherwise, the impact of the hook will cause it to slam onto your head with almost as much impact as the punch would have had you not blocked it. 
  • The safest defense is evasion. Keep your hands up, bend the knees, roll your body under the hook, and come up fighting.
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