Techniques>Punches>Punching basics

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Punching basics


Punches are hand attacks using a closed fist in mostly linear attacks, although some punches travel in an arc (such as hook punch) or travel upward (such as uppercut).


  • The fist is clenched with the fingers curled into the palm and with the thumb folded over them.
  • The wrist is held straight.
  • The fist may be held horizontally or vertically, palm up or palm down. 
  • The contact area is usually first two knuckles but it also may be the last two knuckles or the entire front of the fist. Power comes from the arms, shoulder, back, hip snap, and driving off the ball of the trailing foot. International Taekwondo Federation practitioners use a knee-snap or sine wave movement to supposedly add power. 
  • Punches may be "snapped" out and back very quickly or "pushed through" where, upon contact, the fist pushes into the target, such as done by boxers to overcome the effect of the padding of their gloves.
  • All the punches start from the hands and arms being held in a basic guard position: hands held in fists just below cheekbones with the palms toward the face and the forearms held almost vertical.
  • Don’t cock or “wind up” for a punch. 
  • Start punches from beside your face and keep your motions tight. 
  • Rotate your back foot and thrust off the ball of the foot while twisting the hips into the punch.

Basic punches

There are hundreds of martial arts styles and each one wants to be different, so they give exotic names to their techniques to make them sound special. There are a few basic punches that are common to most of the martial arts, boxing included. Boxing gave these basic punches common easy to under names, so these names have become universally used.

The four basic punches are the:
  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Hook
  • Uppercut
The next few articles discuss these punches plus few other punches, including the martial arts fore-fist (straight) punch, and offer tips on how to improve your punching skills.

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