When you see a trained fighter throw punches they seem to flow with ease. Punching, as many of us learn, is not as easy some make it look.
One reason is that it is not a natural movement. If you watch footage of apes, monkeys, or children striking it is usually a hammering motion. For a visual visit Youtube and search “angry gorilla” or King Kong defending Naomi Watts in the 2005 film of the same name.
Another reason is that it requires precise technique to strike well and not injure your hand or wrist.
Here are some 6 tips to punch effectively.
1. Rotate. Rotating the shoulder, back and hips allows you to engage more muscles into the strike. It also allows you to extend further giving you greater reach. Many beginners only use their arms.
2. Hand/wrist alignment. (Aka don’t break your hand!). There are twenty-seven bones in the hand. Strike with the first two knuckles, with your fist at a 45-degree angle. This allows for structural support from the bones in your forearm.
3. Strike through the target. Strike through the target rather than just touching the target.
4. Recoil. Recoiling adds force to your strikes and helps you to protect yourself.
5. Hands Up. People tend to drop their hands, especially when recoiling. When you do this you are leaving yourself open to a counter strike.
6. Don’t “announce” your punch. Ideally, you are surprising the attacker with a punch. Don’t wind up, close your fist prematurely, grunt, or say, I’m gonna punch your lights out!
Some of our smaller students express worry that their lack of size won’t translate into strong punches. Mass can help. Heavyweight boxers George Foreman and Deontay Wilder punch harder than lighter weights Sugar Ray Robinson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mass, however, is not the only determining factor. Two of the better punchers at our Toronto school are a 170-pound man and a 130lb 17-year-old girl. Speed and technique can more than compensate for size.
In future blogs, we will explore circular punches – hooks and uppercuts.