Punching Fundamentals

Poor Fundamentals can Throw Away a Great Punch

Fundamentals of punchingDon’t set yourself up for failure with poor punching fundamentals. Too many times punches are thrown with poor form, which the costs are far more greater than the gain. Poor fundamentals can mean burning more energy for slow, sloppy, weak and useless punches. How can you fix or improve that? Keep reading!

There are 4 fundamentals to punches. Learn them and your punches will great ly improve GUARANTEED! Here they are:

Fundamental #1:  Muscle Relaxation

Easier said than done, right? Wrong! Easier done than said if you practice it. Muscle relaxation is not tensing up the whole time while punching. Stay loose, relaxed (whole body) to conserve energy. Then at that last fraction of a second at the point of impact, clinch your fist and tense your muscles to “snap” and “strike” your punch. Think of a rattlesnake striking. This will increase your speed and save your energy!

Fundamental #2:  Body Weight Transfer

Your arm is only so strong. Most of us can maybe curl 30 to 50 pounds (some less and some more, but I digress). How do you increase your punching power? Easy! Weight transfer! Weight transfer is accomplished by two mechanisms, horizontal (forward or backward) and vertical (up to down or down to up) movement.

Horizontal movement is done by either stepping forward or backward (depended on direction of strike) and rotating your hip and shoulders (horizontal rotation). It is definitely better to both!

Vertical movement is done by either dropping your body weight down (such as bending at the knees and waist) or up (by beginning from a bend or crouched positioned and standing up quickly, as seen with upper cuts).

You can combine both horizontal and vertical movement together (such as stepping in while executing an uppercut or delivering an overhand hook variation (think Mike Tyson)). Either way your punching power will be awesome! So instead of generating maybe 70-100 pounds of pressure with just your arm strength, you are now incorporating your body weight behind it. So if I weight 180 pounds, and if I was able to just add half of my body weight behind my punch, that would be about 190 pounds of force delivered in a single punch! Now isn’t that nice?

Fundamental #3:  Rapid Retraction

Grapplers know this saying, “An extended limb is a broken limb.” That is very true. A striker knows this, “A limb extended is an opening to a target that needs to be protected. Strike it!” The best protection to being struck is maintaining a good protective posture (such as keeping your hands up and protecting your jaw line and neck areas). When you punch, you leave that entire side wide open to attack (sucks way more if you punch with two hands…). So, rapid retraction is simply bringing your hand back immediately and quickly after delivering your blistering hot punch. Minimizing your exposure to counter attacks.

Fundamental #4:  Not Telegraphing

Telegraphing. Just think of a telephone or a telegram. What is there purpose? To send messages, to communicate. Same thing with punching. However, you don’t want to communicate with your opponent with your punches (other than you’re a force not to be messed with). Telegraphing is sending non-verbal ques to your opponent of your intended actions such as, “Look, I am going to punch you now!” See how that can really defeat your purpose?

How can you tell if your telegraphing? Easy. Dropping your hand before delivering a punch, inhaling quickly and holding your breath before punching, pausing before a punch, target gazing (staring at what you are going to hit), and etc (you get the idea).

To fix that is to either practice in a mirror, have a buddy call out when you telegraph or just be mentally aware and catch yourself doing it. If all else fails, your opponent will let you know. It is virtually impossible to eliminate all telegraphing. You can only minimize or cammoflage it (by using continuous head, hand and foot movement to confuse or distract). But practicing not telegraphing will put you leaps and bounds over your enemy, ensuring you success!


To avoid bad punches and failure, implement these four punching fundamentals to your practice. Any one of these fundamentals will improve your punches. But, if you use all four, you will have punches worthy of respect! When teaching or practicing your punches always remember:  Muscle relaxation, weight transfer, rapid retraction and not telegraphing.

Now get out there and make it happen! Enjoy!

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