Knowing how to throw a punch is basic fighting 101. As simple as it seems, there is more to just making a fist and extending it towards your opponents face. Its complexity lies in the involvement of the whole body and how it presses off the ground, where power and leverage originates.
The video below explains important points on how to throw a punch.
- Staying relax during delivery and clenching your fists, forearm, and triceps only right before impact
- feet pressing off the ground
The Stance and How to Throw a Punch at a Moment’s Notice
There are several different stances a punch can be thrown from. For now, lets look at the classical on-guard stance in boxing. This will be the starting position on how to throw a punch at a moment’s notice.
- Feet Shoulder-width apart
- Back foot’s Heel lined up with the front foot’s toes
- Knees slightly bent
- One shoulder is slightly ahead of the other
- Shoulders is slightly more squared than your feet
- Hands raised and ready to protect
- Bearing your weight on the balls of your feet
- Slightly raising your heels off the ground
- Feet should always be ready to press off the ground at moment’s notice.
The Straight Right
All punches, needs to involve the ground, legs, hips, back, shoulders and arms. The picture above shows the ending position of the straight right (easiest punch to learn). observe the key details:
- Back foot turned (heel off the ground), pivoting off the ball of the foot, toes pointing at the target.
- Rear leg is slightly extended (not completely)
- Hips turned, completely squared and facing the Target
- Torso vertically straight/upright
- Right shoulder is extended passed the left
- Lead knee should be vertically lined up with the shoulder or slightly ahead
- Right arm extended towards the target but not completely straight as you hit with the knuckles
There are 2 options on which set of knuckles to hit with:
- The index and middle knuckle
- The middle, ring, and pinky knuckle.
I recommend the latter, it naturally aligns with the arm, also providing better support and solidity when landing punches. Examine the difference by doing a knuckle push-up with either position.
Resources to support the latter recommendation:
- Jack Dempsey – Championship fighting: Chapter 9 “The Power Line”
- Research Bruce Lee’s One-inch Punch
We examined the starting position, which is our classical on-guard boxing stance and we examined the ending position of the straight right punch. So next is how we are going to connect the two together in one complete motion.
- Push off the ground with your back leg and step forward with your front
- Pivot your rear foot, hips, and shoulders simultaneously
- Once the shoulders are completely squared to the target, the right arm starts extending towards the target while the right shoulder sightly extends passed the left shoulder.
- As the arm extends the hand rotates with the palm facing the ground.
- Driving the punch through the target
Common Punching Mistakes
- Lifting the elbow first before extending (telegraphic)
- Rocking the torso forward (harder to recover)
- Punching above the eye line (a good way to break your hand)
- Dropping the hand after the punch (opens you up for counters)
When punching the face you will want to aim anywhere below the eye line of your opponent, with the jaw being ideal if your looking for a knock out. Other targets you may want to consider:
- Base of the skull/top of the neck
- Floating rib
- Solar plexus
How To Throw A Knockout Punch
Throwing a knockout punch is mostly about catching your opponent stepping in. Below is a gif of Kimbo Slice getting KO’d with a weak punch, but most importantly it’s because he got caught stepping in.
The video below of Joe Louis reveals how he draws his opponents in and catches them stepping forward for the knockout.
Counter-punching is another way to look for the KO’s. I recently made a blog post of a specific counter-punching technique called splitting the jab.
Other Punches to Consider
- Overhand Right
- Rabbit punches (mostly refers to punches behind the head)
- Shovel hook
Various Reasons to Throwing a Punch
- To create distance
- To close distance
- To distract
- To damage
Using a Heavy Bag
Best thing to you can do to improve your punches is to invest in a heavy bag. You can search around craigslist for a used heavy bag for about $50. Or get a brand new one at a local sporting goods store or amazon.
The heavy bag is used for many reasons. It will help develop power and strengthen the hands.
How to throw a punch at the heavy bag to strengthen your hands:
- Moderately start off by punching the bag with no gloves. Slowly Increase the power over time as your hands and wrists gets stronger.
- Strike the heavy bag with a kung-fu style backfists to strengthen the back of the hands.
Tips on Heavy Bag Training:
- Land your Punches from the farthest distance possible
- Mind your technique at all times
- Use your feet to get in and out of range. Don’t just stand in front of the bag and throw punches the whole time. Maybe throw a short combination and move back out.
- Use your feet and change angles as the heavy bag moves around.
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