Proper Punching Technique

The fastest way to start throwing dynamite punches is to get a grasp of proper punching technique. Raw strength and speed can only get a fighter so far, and are most beneficial only when the technique is already perfect. Learning how to punch properly will increase your power much more than strength training, and this guide will show you how.

How to make a fist:

While throwing a punch, it’s essential that you know how to make a proper fist. Not doing so can lead to injury – and not the kind of injury you’re looking for, either. Your opponent will stay on their feet, but your fingers will be broken, or worse.

The correct way to punch is with your thumb wrapped around your second and third knuckle. Your fist should be aligned with your wrist. This means that the back of your hand should form a perfect straight line with your forearm. Don’t squeeze your fingers and keep your fist relaxed while throwing hits. Make it tight a moment before the strike lands.

If you find yourself in a bare-knuckle fight, the best way to strike is with your first two knuckles, rather than with your entire fist – force applied over a smaller surface area generates much more pressure than the exact same amount of force distributed over a larger surface.

Where to aim:

There are several “weak spots” in human anatomy, and landing a successful punch to any of them will have devastating results.

The best spot to aim for is the chin. It will provide the least resistance, and will cause the greatest amount of acceleration. Once a jaw punch lands, the head accelerates away from the source of the impact. This acceleration is suddenly stopped by bones, muscles and ligaments in the neck and shoulders – but while the head is no longer moving, the brain inside the head keeps accelerating. A well-executed chin punch will send the brain crashing into the skull, resulting in an immediate knockout.

How to punch properly:

Proper punching technique involves your entire body, not just your arms. Imagine your fist as a bullet, and your body as the gun. Even though the bullet does the killing, it’s worthless without the gun. Use your whole body to “shoot” your arm forward.

As you throw a punch, lift the heel parallel to your punching arm and rotate it outwards as if you were squashing a bug. Your thigh should follow until your knee is pointing inwards. The hips, torso and shoulders should all rotate with full force. Finally, the punch is completed with the fist transferring the force of your whole body into your opponent. This is the correct way to punch, and anything else doesn’t utilize the full potential of your body.

A common mistake I see with a lot of fighters is that they try to drive through their opponent with their fists. Don’t do this. Once impact is made, immediately retreat your arm to a defensive stance. This is done for two reasons:

  1. This is basic physics, and it applies to punching as well. If your punch stops dead after the impact, all the momentum will transfer to the target, and cause it to accelerate faster. If your fist continues, then both your arm and the target will carry a portion of the momentum from the impact, resulting in less acceleration and even damage to your hand.
  2. If you miss or get blocked, your opponent will using this opportunity to retaliate. Leaving your arms up can get you knocked out. Always keep a tight defense.

The most important thing to remember is that technique is the only thing in martial arts that comes from practice alone. You can be naturally strong, or you can be naturally fast, but there is no fighter that executed a perfect punch on their first try. Your punches will not be technically sound until you’ve put in the work.