IntroWhen beginners are first taught to punch, they are taught to twist the fists and to pull one fist backward as the other is pushed forward. This motion is used to familiarize students with using equal and opposite reaction forces when using techniques. A question may be "Do the arms pull and push equally, or does one start or finish before the other?"
Pull and push, pull then push, or push then pullMost of us learned that the arms must start moving at the same time, move equally, and finish together, but is this true? While it does make learning the motion easier for beginning students, is this equal motion the best movement for more advanced students?
For maximum power, the pulling arm starts first but finishes last. The pulling arm starts moving backward first so the reaction it generates will push the other arm, which starts moving at a higher acceleration than the pulling arm. At the higher acceleration rate, the punching arm reaches the target before the pulling arm gets all the way back so that the reaction force is still pushing the punching arm when it reaches it focus point. All the forces generated by the pulling arm are used to rotate the torso around its centerline and to add this power to the opposite arm that is pushing.