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How can I improve my punching technique?

You can improve your punching technique by practicing proper technique before adding in strength and power. It’s key to start with three (3) basic punches:

  • Jab

  • Cross

  • Hook


5. Left uppercut

This is a classic dangerous punch. It is used in response to what your opponent has thrown or during a close-range encounter. When it contacts the chin or jaw, it is a perfect knockout punch. When used rapidly, it destabilizes the opponent and takes away his strength. The uppercut throws the opponent off balance. You have to be uptight and very controlled because you are incredibly vulnerable.

What is required is a slight dip at the waist to the left with a raised back heel and pressure on your front foot. The fist is rotated upward and explodes up in sharp movement emanating from the front foot using the right angle. The elbow should be bent sharply and no extension of the arms. Do not punch too low or too high to avoid overexposure. Speed is of the essence since your challenger can catch you off-guard. Uppercuts are whole body upward motion.

Is Fist Fighting Too Risky in a Street Fight?

Believe it or not, there are self defense instructors who won’t even bother to teach their students how to punch. They claim that punching is too risky for the student because fisted punches can often cause a severe hand or wrist injury. To the uninitiated this may sound logical and prudent observation, but in reality it’s a big mistake that will drastically hinder your ability to effectively protect yourself or a loved one from harm.

What is the strongest punch technique?

The strongest punch you can throw is an uppercut, but it works best when it’s set up by a jab and cross. Learn the jab and cross first before progressing to an uppercut — get your body used to the motions you’ll be using for more advanced moves.

Most Importantly

One last thing before we get to the list. Assume nothing.

If you have never been in a real fistfight and I am not talking about a middle school slapfight, either, then you won’t quite have your own measure of what you are capable of, how you’ll react, and what kind of blow you can withstand before you are hearing bells ringing.

I am of the opinion that every, single man on Earth thinks himself a peerless fighter with catlike reflexes and the speed of a mongoose. Furthermore he is beyond assured of his own innate capability to take a falling grand piano on the chin with no ill-effect.

This is understandable, but foolish and very misguided. Tough talk and banter is fine but will not cover your shortcomings in the brutal arithmetic of a fistfight.

Train hard, practice accordingly. It is the only way to know for sure.

Throw the punch

Now it’s time to send some fingers flying. The first thing to remember is that the punch should go straight forward, rather than out to the side. The idea is to send your fist out and bring it right back to its original position, with as little extraneous motion as possible.

If you flare your arm out, like in the movies, your target will have plenty of time to avoid or block the strike—and you’re going to leave yourself wide open to getting a punch in your own face.

The full punch motion stems from turning your hips. Imagine swinging a baseball bat with just your arms and no hip swivel: It’s not very powerful. The same idea applies to hitting with just your fist.

When you start the punch, pivot your back foot on its ball and push your body forward. You don’t want to exaggerate the motion and throw yourself off balance, but you want to feel your lower body pushing your arm forward. As you push off your foot, turn your hips and extend your arm straight toward the target. Don’t flare your elbow or try to loop around in a big hook punch.

Also, don’t overextend into the punch. You want to feel in control and balanced at all times during the process. If you over-commit and fall forward, you’ll put yourself in a vulnerable position.

View this post on Instagram Every action has led to this || @lukerockhold #mma #ufc #lukerockhold #canon #perth #australia #ufc221 #redditphotography A post shared by Ryan Loco (@ryanloco) on Feb 9, 2018 at 8:55am PST

(Above: MMA fighter Luke Rockhold keeps his other hand up when he throws a punch so no one strikes his face. You should, too.)

Bring the hand back to the face

Once your strike lands, you might be tempted to leave your fist in midair or drop your hand to your waist. That’s an invitation for retaliation. Instead, as soon as your punch reaches the end of its journey, you want to bring it immediately back toward your face for defense, whether your original punch landed or not.

As your hand comes back, reset the rest of your body as well. You want to get back to that solid base, with your feet in a strong position and your arms ready to protect your face and core. Even if you’re just hitting a punching bag, establishing good habits during practice will prepare you for throwing a punch in the real world.

Rehearse these movements many times, and they’ll eventually start to feel natural. So when you actually have to throw a punch, your body can respond automatically. To get even better, we recommend finding a reputable self-defense or martial arts instructor—rather than feeding hundreds of dollars into that punching-bag arcade game.

Before and after the punch

Keith Horan is a vocal advocate for making a lot of noise while punching.

The most important part of throwing any punch: You’ve gotta yell. There’s a reason karate guys yell: It’s ferocious, gets the adrenaline pumping, and awakens that animalistic nature in us that will drive us to overcome our fears of the fight. So yell and punch, and don’t stop punching until they’re on the ground. But don’t follow them there, leave it at that and get out.

As for after the punch, Carville’s tip helps you have the proper followthrough. “Wherever you punch, aim for two inches beyond so you’re punching through it.” Farooq expands on this.

Followthrough is VERY important. Followthrough is actually, contrary to what one might believe, what will minimise the pain you experience when throwing a punch. The punch should follow a straight path in towards the target and out away from the target This is not to say that the punch should be slow, but there should be a full extension of your arm which allows for follow through followed by the hand coming back straight towards your face ready for blocking.

He also says that the stuff you do before you throw a punch is equally important.

Another key to punching is how the punch is prepared. Think of any fights you’ve seen. Compare a boxing match to a drunken brawl. The key difference in the punches is the part before the punch. Boxing has mastered the art of the effective and efficient punch. Typical untrained people will bring their hands as far back as possible in order to “wind up” their punches. This is extremely counter productive as it will actually lower the power of your punch and make it extremely telegraphed. You want to start your punches from right by your face and keep your motions tight. The way to maximise power is to engage the full body though and this is done by twisting your back foot and hips in to the punch. With a power punch (typically a right cross) you’ll pivot your right foot up to the ball of your foot as you extend the punch outwards and twist your hips as well, this allows you to push up from the floor and use that towards the power of your punch. Similarly with a jab (more of a speedy punch off of the front hand) you can do a lighter twist with your front leg in order to get a little more power.   While this is less related to the actual punch itself and more of a general fighting tip, it is VERY important to keep your hands up by your face, basically bringing the top of your knuckles to just below your eye level. When punching you want to punch from there and snap the hands straight back to there after the punch.

What types of punches should I throw?

If you’ve seen any boxing movies or played any type of fighting game, you’ll know there are different types of punches thrown with varying speeds and angles. You might be tempted to throw the largest, heaviest punch you can, because you want to finish off your attacker quickly and get out of there, but Carvill says that’s not the best idea. (It’s probably the worst idea.)

Instead, it should be the basic one-two (also known as the jab-cross) that gets thrown. The reason for this is that one-two punches travel in a straight line and, therefore, are harder for your opponent to detect. For a beginner, your defense will also be tighter. And it should be thrown from the correct stance—a good example is the video above. You should throw any punches so that your arms stay level with your shoulders. If you have your chin down and the punch comes out straight, the shoulder will rise automatically and further protect your chin. Throw out the jab but don’t throw it too hard—it’s a range-finder. Then detonate your cross.

Ready For Some Pain?

Taking a punch is not something that gets any easier or more enjoyable the more often you do it, but it is something you must prepare for.

Physical fights are far more common than any weapons-based confrontations, and knowing how to both dish out a beating and just as importantly absorb or avoid one is a fundamental prepper skill.

updated 03/04/2022

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  • If you aren’t engaging in a combat sport, never punch someone unless you’re being attacked and can’t get away. The goal of learning self-defense is to protect yourself, not start an unnecessary fight.

    Thanks! Helpful 10 Not Helpful 1

  • If you’re practicing your punching with a heavy bag, speed bag, hand pads, or sparring match, always wear hand wraps. If you don’t, you’re more likely to break your wrist or injure your hand.[22]

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2. Right Cross or Straight

This is the perfect knockout punch. You have the additional torque that is provided by both the shoulders and hip. Because of overextending the arm, you are incredibly vulnerable. It is therefore used as a follow-up to a jab or other hits.

When throwing it, the upper body is turned towards your fighting opponent. You pivot with your back foot and rotated hips. The arm extends in a coiled spring manner. All this time, guard your chin with your left hand and recoil the hand as fast as possible. After the cross is thrown, the hands should be retracted quickly and the guard position should resume.

The cross is also a powerful counter punch targeting the head or the body when the opponent throws a jab. Cross usually follows the jab, which is the classic 1-2 punch combination. But, we can find it in many other typical boxing combinations. Straight punches are used to quickly damage the opponent’s head or torso.

Learn more: Proper cross punch techniques

Here Are Some Helpful Resources That Can Get You On Your Way!

Here are some helpful products that will help you when learning how to punch correctly.

I am sure by now you realize that learning how to punch with your fists is truly an art form, requiring considerable time and training to master. However, with the proper attitude and substantial training it can be accomplished.

I wish you all the best of luck!


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