Monday, 2 November 2009

Punching Power, Top 5 Methods

Punching with power is something that everybody wants to be able to do right from the start. Just like rookie weight trainers try to develop there pecs and biceps, rookie punches wish to develop there power.

However, a lot of people simply do not go about the correct ways in order to achieve there goal.

Below are the top 5 methods to produce harder punches, 5 being the least important and 1 being the most important. Obviously, some will disagree with this top 5 and may have there own opinions, which we invite you to comment about.

5) Weight Training

Weight training definitely helps to build muscle, ligament and tendon strength for hard punching, however, one can develop a hard punch without it and for this purpose, it is not considered as important as the methods below.

4) Heavy Bag Punching

By using the heavy bag, one will learn how to hit a stationary or slightly moving target, whilst also strengthening the wrists, so harder punching can then develop. However, a heavy bag is not an opponent, and learning how to hit a moving target which is what your opponent is, requires further, more important training.

3) Focus Pads/Sparring

The reason why focus pads and sparring are together here is that with both methods one learns how to punch hard against a moving target. A heavy bag may be still, a punching board such as a makiwara is also still. By hitting still targets one does not learn how to punch whilst also moving, which is much harder to do and something that is necessary when facing an opponent, hence it is more important than heavy bag work. By training on the pads and sparring whilst hitting and moving, one will learn the correct ways to develop power punches with movement.

2) Learning to Breath

Obviously you know how to breath, but many people who are just starting martial arts, tend to hold there breath whilst executing strikes. By doing this, your shoulders become tense, your body becomes rigid, movement becomes slower and as a result, strikes become weaker. By learning how to breathe whilst striking will aid in relaxation and as a result, punches will become more powerful. Without correct breathing and relaxation, one will never be able to use the bag properly or spar with finesse so it should be given much attention and is ranked as number 2.

1) Body Rotation/Positioning

Something many will not agree on, but here at, body rotation and positioning is given top priority when concerned with power punching. To punch with power one needs to turn there hips and bodies with each punch which helps to project the punching arm and hand forward with not only speed but with as much power as possible which works in the same way as a sling shot. Using arm strength alone may produce some power, but the body is much bigger and stronger than the arm and using it whilst punching will produce much better results. Also, positioning should be addressed. For example, a lot of people allow the elbow to fly out away from the body with straight punches, which restricts power. One should always keep there elbows in pointing towards the floor as much as possible when punching. (Apart from with hooks, but even here, they should also be tight and not too wild)

So this is the, top 5 ways to develop power punching. It is not something that can happen over night, but needs plenty of practise and even more patience. It is very easy for one to get carried away and start punching as hard as possible from the start. This will not only lead to sloppiness but it will be harder for one to develop power later as bad habits may develop and will prove difficult to break. Learn steadily and patiently and results will soon come.

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Rick said...

Thank you for including movement training with punching static punching power training


KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent("KS") on Karate / Bouncer vs. Good Street Boxer.

Rambling around internet, KS student ran across a another blog on the Boxer vs. Karate Fighter.
The bout was between friends in an ally behind a bar where the bouncer worked.

The karate fighter / bouncer fighter was able to score on the street boxer with kicks. When it came to fighting with hands, The karate / bouncer was completely at the mercy of the street boxer , who trounced him again and again.

On the use of karate / bouncer's backfist which was ineffective against stopping the street boxer, On that blog, MARKS commented on a typical mistake that the karate / bouncer fighter made in applying the backfist. As KS has said, in the contest between the boxer and karate, the boxer wins "everytime."

The puropose of kihon karate (basics) is to have good, polished technique. Big mistakes in basic techniques is unacceptable. If you make a serious mistake in your karate techniques, you can count on a skilled boxer to nail you every time! Not half the time, count on it every time.

The author of the blog also said his karate punches didn't deter the street boxer. By defintion, the Hard Style karates train to hit HARD. If you 'lunge punch' training isn't working and you have to fight full contact, by all means don't go out and fight in the street with sport or 'dojo' karate.

Do what many, if not most, Hard Style karate full contact competitors do and use boxing, sports physical training methods to produce punching power (MARKS above post).

Every karate school KS has attended has a heavy bag hanging from the ceiling. The lesson on punching power is hanging right in front of you.

richard said...

Punching power and basic technique are (often) to entirely different things. While basics stress defining a movement down to its finest detail, advocates of max punching power don't really care how you perform a given technique, the just care about the results. So it's nice to see that you strike a balance between the two extremes.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") Repy to "Richard" [Feb. 13th Repy] on 'Punching Power.'

Richard, I clicked on your link and see you are designing a site specializing in this area.

To KS, your comment EXACTLY highlights why so many karate practitioners fail to develop power under their traditional martial arts training.

Advocates of traditional martial arts training believe basics should be used to perfect technique. For example, the punching hand is extended a certain way and the other is 'chambered,' etc., etc. When this doesn't work in making them a strong striker, many of these traditionalists abandon basic (in my case karate), training and join the second avocacy, that of maximum effect.

KS calls this group (for discussion purposes) the 'applied fighter' camp. They are only concerned with results, in this case powerful strikes. They often engage in the physical, athletic type training; lifting weights, heavy bag work, focus pads, contact sparring that MARKS has set out above, as well as boxing.

Before KS continues any further, I do want to reemphasize the point which you have credited, that no marital artist, boxer, fighter has any business going into a confrontation without punching power. It is wise and completely legitimate to investigate and utilize the 'applied' methods above to supplement, complement, emphasize, or even replace the traditional martial curriculum to ensure you can punch hard. Your site should be a great help in this regard.

Before KS explains his belief in the traditional karate training, done PROPERLY, there is an expanded explanation of my positon at a Shukokai Karate (a type of non-sport Shotokan, I beleive) website on the internet.

The key point is that 'While basics do stress defining [and refining] a movement down to its finest detail... THIS IS THE WORKING OBJECTIVE OF THE BASICS EXERCISE, NOT THE GOAL. Take for example, the Tang Soo Do (TSD) front middle punch (Front Lunge Punch in Shotokan, japanese karates).

KS was fortunate to have a head instructor at his first martial arts school and an assistant instructor there who had backgrounds in Tae Kwon Do (korean karate) and Shorin Ryu (okinawan karate), respectively. Both had gone on to cross train in other styles.

They called the TSD front middle punch, a center punch because it was targeted to the center, midsection of the body. They taught the center punch with a certain, exact basic form.
About 1% of the time, they would come over and correct your form. About 4% of the time you would do the center punch slowly, with no strength, to get the proper placement, positioning, etc. For 95% of the time, you were doing the center punch with mediumn to moderately high strength put into the punch. THE TRADITIONAL MARTIAL ARTS PURPOSE OF THAT EXACT FORM WAS TO DEVELOP AND GATHER THE STRENGTH OF A STRONG, UNIFIED BODY AND PUT THAT POWER INTO THE PUNCH.

Do the majority of tradtional karate students do what I have highlighted. NOT REALLY. Some are slacking off, some can't get it right and keep repeating their mistakes (It's hard to do correctly--putting the muscular power of the entire body into a single action!), some don't understand what they are doing, some don't have the discipline to do the proper form, many aren't concentrating mentally, some run out of patience, others only see they are only punching air and punch lightly--you get the point.

The botton line is that everyone doing these actions are NOT PROPERLY doing traditional karate training; many are just performing empty rituals. Hence, we see where much of the poor results comes from in traditional karate training, and the ensuing criticism of traditional marital arts.

Summation To Follow:

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") Summing Up on Punching Power Gained From Traditional Martial Arts Training.

KS, elsewhere @ MARKS, has commented on the kung fu school he attended that fell into the 'McDojo-type' category. My experience there: The classes and students were doing 'aerobo-fu' and 'tofu-fu' with some limited self-defense thrown in, not really practical fighting arts.

What KS didn't comment on was my appraisal of the branch instructor himself, who was about 6' tall, 190 lbs., who impressed me as someone who had the power in his body to flatten a lot of people. He was well developed, without being over-muscled, similar to the guy in MARKS post on Parkour [sp?].

Though I quit the 'tofu-fu' school after six months, I left inmpressed by the rigorous manner the branch instructor trained and exhibited his own basic techniques. This was done more by the coordinated use of his entire body as opposed to a lot of aggressive, heavy physical, muscular action--and yet came across as very powerful.

As an editorial comment, KS would love to see a contact sparring match up between the kung fu school branch instructor (who was a bit arrogant and critical of my 'hard-style' karate); and the 'Slightly better-than average' 20-Years-experienced boxer @ Ross who claimed how he easily defended and dropped a karate black-belt at a McDojo-like school. I'm not saying the egotisitical kung fu instructor would win for sure, but I WOULD NOT want to be in the shoes of the boastful-boxer challenger. REASON, the apparent well-coordinated, full-body punching power of that kung fu instructor.

What KS likes at his current TSD school is the definite emphasis on physical power. If the head instructor sees you are slacking off, not placing strength and energy into your basic technique, HE IS ALL OVER YOU! The aggressive and heavy physicality of TSD practive makes it difficult to disguise a lack of effort; it's hard to fake without being obvious.

So, in the commentary above, we have instructors from four distinctly separate styles of traditional martial arts who advocate, demonstrate development of strength in a unified body through traditional maritial arts basics and conditioning.

My experience is that the traditional martial arts approach to creating punching power does this in a sutle and longer-term way, not just by good body mechanics. TMA forges the body's entire muscularture internally, inside, not just the external muscles. This is what the precise form of traditional basics is after.

So in the training of the traditional martial arts, the exacting form of Basic
Technique (your punch) AND Punching Power, are eventually, one in the same.

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