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Punching tips


Some tips on proper punching.


  • Power is lost in the joints. Power is lost in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Bones are perfect transmitters of force, but where one bone ends and another begins is where power is lost. Misaligned, over-tensed, or under-tensed joints will lessen your power. People who wing their punches tend to lose power at the shoulder and elbow. People who bend their wrist when they hook tend to lose the power of that punch at the wrist.
  • Elbow. Keep elbow close to the body so that the direction of the punch is parallel to the movement of the centerline of the body. Otherwise, the force of the impact will stop at the elbow and cause injury rather than being reflected back to and absorbed by the body.
  • Don't lock the elbows. When throwing a linear punch, do not to lock the elbow. If your elbow locks upon impact, it will have a pushing effect and rob you of critical power. If the elbow is locked, it means the punch has stopped. If the elbow is still bent on impact, it means the punch is stilling accelerating.
  • Apply full power. To apply full power, rotate shoulder into the punch, then the hip, and then the rear foot.
  • Straight line. For linear punches, the fist moves in straight line to the target and then back along the same line and returns to the guard position. Keep the elbow behind the fist; do not arc the punch.
  • Don't telegraph the punch. Telegraphing means inadvertently making your intentions known to your assailant. There are many subtle forms of telegraphing, here are just a few:
  • Cocking your arm back prior to punching or striking.
  • Tensing your neck, shoulders, or arms prior to striking.
  • Widening your eyes or raising your eyebrows.
  • Shifting your shoulders or weight.
  • Grinning, opening your mouth, or other facial expressions.
  • Taking a sudden or deep breath.
  • Keep wrist locked. When punching (circular or linear), ensure the wrist is correctly aligned with the forearm to transfer more power and help prevent its injury. If your wrist bends or collapses on impact, it may either sprain or break.
  • Tighten fist at impact. This augments the impact power of your punch and protects the fist.
  • Relax. Tension is the opposite of everything good or favorable in your performance. Tension is the opposite of speed. Tension is the opposite of power. Tension telegraphs your intentions. Tension is the opposite of mobility. Tension is a drain on endurance. In the case of punching, tension in the shoulders is detrimental to speed and power. 
  • Punch with the entire body. When you punch with the whole body, the opponent feels your mass behind the punch. A Thai saying states that a person who really knows how to hit moves fluidly but his touch is as heavy as a mountain.
  • Focus. Full power must come at precisely the right range at the right time, so the punch does not come up short or get jammed.
  • Virtual impact point. The point of impact of a fore-fist punch should be the valley space between the base knuckle of the first two fingers. This point will not actually strike the target but thinking about it as a striking point will ensure the first two knuckles strike the target first.
  • Power sequence. Punching power comes from a succession of coordinated muscle contractions and releases.
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