Increasing The Power of Your Hooking Punch

We will define a hooking punch as a strike with a closed fist which, regardless of its start, strikes at a point in which the arm is parallel to the ground and the elbow is approximately bent at 90 degrees. For our discussion we will assume the hooking punch is thrown with the front hand which is the hand on the same side of the front leg.

One of the more unique ways I?ve seen some styles of martial arts throw a hooking punch involves chambering your fist, in other words starting with your fist near the bottom of your true ribs with the palm turned up, then snapping the fist up and across at head level ending with the fist pointed down at approximately a 45 degree angle. I see little to no hip rotation in this method, no shifting of weight to the opposite side, and very little stability in their front stance from the opposite direction of the punch. If the object of this strike is to throw a surprising, stunning blow, this method of execution would be alright. If, however, the object was to initiate an ending blow, some adjustments may be necessary.

Kinetic energy, which is energy of motion, is often what most people refer to as power. To keep things simplified, I too will use the term power. Power, as we are calling it here, is a combination of mass, velocity, and stability. You may either incorporate the mass of your arm, (strength), or the mass of most of your body,(coordination). Which do you think would give you the most power all other factors remaining consistent?

This is one of the most effective ways, in my 25 years of martial arts, I?ve found to have a powerful hooking punch.

  1. Stand in a front stance with your right leg back. Your left knee is bent and your right leg is straight.
  2. Pivot to your right, thus ending up in a front stance with your left leg back. Your right knee is now bent and your left leg is straight.
  3. Practice this movement until you understand the concept and can execute it fairly easily. Notice the hip rotation you get and the stability you receive from the left leg. 4. Draw your left arm back shoulder height bending the elbow approximately 90 degrees.

5. Do your pivot again, at a fast pace if that is possible. Again notice the stability you are getting from your left leg. If it seems you want to fall over, try widening your initial stance, as a narrow beginning stance will give you an extremely narrow ending stance.

6. Incorporate the speed and mass of your arm and shoulder by swinging your arm as you pivot, keeping the elbow at 90 degrees from beginning to end.

7. Practice these combination of movements until you understand the concept and can execute them fairly easily.

8. Put your left fist in your chamber, or if you prefer a more defensive position as I do, draw your arm back shoulder height until you feel the triceps muscle stretch. Supinate your wrist (turn the palm up) in order to add wrist snap to your punch. Why don?t you keep the elbow down which is more defensive? In a real situation, and once you become accustom to generating this type of power none of these gross motor movements will be necessary. For now, you chamber your fist or draw your arm back because a

stretched muscle is more efficient than a relaxed muscle. Think of it as a rubberband.

9. Now, let?s put everything together and practice that. The speed of your arm, the snap turning of your wrist, the pivot of your feet and hips all into one, eventually, fast, hard, stable punch. There will be a tendency to want to turn your head in the direction of your pivot. Remember the importance of keeping your eyes on your attacker.

10. Repeat these same procedures for the opposite side.

It is best to practice this hitting a target, or with a 2 1/2 to 5 pound weight in your hand. Again, since the best way to practice for an activity is to emulate that activity as closely as possible, the best way to learn to hit something hard is to hit something hard repeatedly, as you follow these guidelines.

Sensei J. Richard Kirkham

217-268-3329 Ext. 5

Sensei J. Richard Kirkham is a 25 year martial art veteran. He is a dual certified teacher with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Physical Education with a background in Special Education, Exercise Physiology, Movement Education, and Behavioral Modification. He is presently a full time in home tutor, self-defense instructor, and body guard. Mr. Kirkham is presently teaching in the Arcola IL area, located near Champaign-Urbana. Sensei Kirkham has one challenge which has yet to fail him, he can increase anyone?s striking power 50% to 100% in one lesson. For those who cannot see him in person. He offers the same service along with others on affordable custom video tapes has the unique service of offering in home classes so that people may learn self-defense in the privacy of their home without worrying about travel after a hard days work.

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