Want to increase your punching power? Contrary to popular belief, punching power is not predicated on just size, strength or body weight. There are many other factors that come into play when throwing a power punch. As a matter of fact, one crucial factor of punching power is learning to develop proper punching technique or “body mechanics” and it can be accomplished through professional training. Remember, when it come to punching power you must be capable of striking your opponent with knock out force. To put in bluntly, You have got to hit him hard!
Power in the Ring!
It doesn’t matter if you are training for self-defense or the boxing ring, you need an arsenal of punches that will make your adversary respect you. For example, if you were sparring with a training partner at the local gym and you have nothing behind your punches (meaning no power), he won’t feel threatened and will most likely attack you at will. I have seen this happen dozens of times to many beginner students.
Sparring effectively comes down to domination. That’s right! You must be able to dominate your opponent with several fighting attributes like speed, timing, distancing, non telegraphic movement, superior footwork and most importantly – power! Remember, a powerful punch is painful for the recipient and if will do what is necesssary to avoid it! For those of you who are interested, I have more tips and suggestions for dominating your opponent when sparring.
Power in the Streets
If you are training for street self-defense or reality based self defense, you are likely to face criminals that are larger and stronger than you. Some might also be drug induced or intoxicated making them more immune to pain. This is why it’s vitally important for you to have the necessary punching power to stop them from continuing their aggresssive actions. Just like a home defense firearm, you must possess “stopping power” that will protect you or a loved one from danger. In the streets, you cannot afford to have ineffective striking techniques that lack sufficient impact force.
Punching Power and the Martial Arts
Punching power separate the men from the boys and when it comes to the true art of delivering a power punch there’s a lot of misinformation out there. For example, the power punching techniques of karate are static, mechanical and lack the fluidity for overall efficiency. While at the same time, the punching power mechanic used in boxing and mixed martial arts often lack the bone shattering force necessary to knock out a powerful opponent.
Believe it or not, some martial arts claim that power punching can be achieved from your inner chi! I won’t get into this as it’s subject should be devoted to another article. However, if power punching is important to you, here are some important tips and suggestions from my Contemporary Fighting Arts self defense system that will help you along the way in your training. In conjunction, I would also like to recommend my Punching Power DVD and Punching Power Video Download. Both of these products are designed to teach you the skills and techniques necessary to master the art of power punching.
Power Punching on the Heavy Bag
The heavy bag or “punching bag” is the best piece of equipment for developing your punching power. Many boxing and martial arts equipment manufacturers make excellent heavy bags that can withstand the most punishing of blows. Remember, if you are looking to increase punching power for self defense purposes do not train on anything less than 75 pounds. When it comes to punching bags, the heavier the better!
Here are some points to keep in mind when developing punching power on the heavy bag, however if you are not familiar with heavy bag training you might want read how to use a punching bag.
Always Maintain Your Balance
Stay balanced when power punching on the heavy bag. Always maintain proper punching form and do not overextend your body when delivering punches and strikes. Losing your balance when delivering a power punch can be disastrous in a self defense situation. Always keep your feet directly under yourself and control your body when your transfer weight.
Keep Moving and Stay Relaxed
Be mobile and avoid the tendency to remain stationary when working out on the heavy bag. This doesn’t mean that you have to dance around the punching bag like Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard, just move around strategically and vary the speed and direction of your footwork.
Stay relaxed and try to avoid tensing your muscles when punching the bag. Tensing your muscles will significantly slow you down, lead to a possible injury and telegraph you power punch to your opponent.
Throw different “logical” combinations on the punching bag and avoid delivering one power punch at a time. Learn to harmoniously integrate your kicks, punches and strikes into devastating and logical compound attacks that you would apply in a realistic self defense situation. This means that you must know and understand the various ways of exploiting your assailants physiological reactions dynamics. Essentially, the only true way to maximize your compound attack techniques is to know how your opponent will react to your power punches before they are ever delivered. If you would like to learn more about exploiting your opponent’s reaction dynamics in a fight, see my Blitzkrieg In The Streets DVD.
Take Your Time
Take your time when performing power punches on the heavy bag. Full-force power punches are unforgiving on your hands, wrist, and arms. One mistake by skeletal misalignment could instantly spell disaster for you. Always remember to progressively build up your intensity and power over a period of time. Hitting the heavy bag too hard and too soon can quickly lead to a serious hand or arm injury.
If you would like to learn more about using the heavy bag to increase your punching power, see my book 1001 Street Fighting Secrets: The Principles of Contemporary Fighting Arts and my Heavy Bag Training DVD.
Don’t Forget These Important Punching Power Rules!
Punching Power Rule #1: DON’T LOCK YOUR ELBOWS. When throwing linear punches, be certain not to lock your elbows. Elbow locking is a common problem among martial art novices and beginner boxers. When delivering a linear blow like a lead straight punch or boxer’s jab, your arm should be extended toward its target until the elbow is not more than three inches short of full extension. After contact is made with the target, the fist is returned back to the hand guard position. Remember, if your elbow locks upon impact, it will have a pushing effect and rob you of critical punching power. A good punch should always snap or crack when it makes contact with its intended target.
Punching Power Rule #2: USE YOUR THREE POWER GENERATORS. When executing hand techniques from a stationary position, there are three anatomical power generators that will allow you to torque your body maximally. They include the following:
Maximally torquing your body into the blow will increase both the force and penetration of the punch. However, there is a very fine line between power and speed in relation to the three anatomical power generators. Shadow boxing on a regular basis or working out on the Body Opponent Bag will help you find the balance between these two important fighting attributes.
Punching Power Rule #3: YOUR LINE OF INITIATION IS YOUR LINE OF RETRACTION. When executing linear blows (lead straights, rear crosses, finger jabs, palm heels), remember that your line of initiation should always be your line of retraction. Avoid arcing or dropping your blow. Such sloppy body mechanics will throw you off balance, minimize your impact power, and open you up for a possible counterattack. Failing to maintain a straight-line trajectory is usually caused from the following: (1) your elbow does not travel behind your punch, (2) premature wrist torque.
A good way to test the line of retraction of your punches is to workout on the heavy bag with bare knuckles. If you’re skinning your knuckles you are most likely dipping your punch downward when impacting with the bag.
Punching Power Rule #4: DON’T TELEGRAPH YOUR PUNCH. Telegraphing means inadvertently making your intentions known to your assailant. There are many subtle forms of telegraphing that must be avoided in a street fight. Here are just a few:
(1) cocking your arm back prior to punching or striking
(2) tensing your neck, shoulders, or arms prior to striking
(3) widening your eyes or raising your eyebrows
(4) shifting your shoulders
(5) grinning or opening your mouth
(6) taking a sudden and deep breath
Punching Power Rule #5: KEEP YOUR WRISTS STRAIGHT. When throwing punching techniques (circular or linear), make certain your wrists are correctly aligned with your forearm. If your wrist bends or collapses on impact, you will either sprain or break it. Remember, a sprained or broken wrist will put you out of commission immediately when fighting. When used properly, the heavy bag will train you to keep your wrists straight when delivering powerful punches in the heat of battle.
Punching Power Rule #6: TIGHTEN YOUR FISTS ON IMPACT. Remember to tighten your fists upon impact with your selected target. This action will allow your natural body weapon to travel with optimum speed and efficiency, and it will also augment the impact power of your strike. When shadow boxing, get into the habit of always tightening your fists when you throw your punches. I have see many boxers (both amateur and professional) who often shadow box with semi clenched fists. This is a big mistake that can cost you in the ring and the streets. Remember, “train the way you will fight and fight the way you will train.”
Punching Power Rule #7: KNOW HOW TO MAKE A PROPER FIST. It’s ironic how some of the most experienced street fighters don’t know how to make a proper fist. Remember, that a protruding thumb or finger could spell disaster for the fighter. As a matter of fact, improper fist clenching can be disastrous for some of the following reasons:
(1) you can jam, sprain, or break your fingers when fighting
(2) you will destroy wrist alignment, resulting in a sprained or broken wrist
(3) you’ll lose significant power when striking.
To make a proper fist, tightly clinch the four fingers evenly in the palm of your hand. Make certain that your thumb is wrapped securely around your second and third knuckles and flexed down toward the wrist. Your fist should be similar to a concrete brick – flat, solid and compact!
Punching Power Rule #8: ADD QUALITY MUSCLE TO YOUR FRAME. There is no escaping the fact that the more body weight you have behind a punch, the more power it will have. This is the reason why there are weight divisions in boxing and mixed martial arts competitions. The simple fact is heavier fighters have more power. Period!
If you are serious about maximizing your punching power, you will need to build and add quality muscle mass to your frame. This means that you will need to visit the gym on a regular bassis and follow a solid weight training program. Proper nutrition is also important. You will need to follow a diet that is high in protein and low in fat that will allow you to pack on muscle mass. See my War Machine Program to learn more about building quality muscle mass.
Remember, developing punching power takes time and lots of practice and effort of your part. It won’t come over night, but with determination, commitment and proper training it can be accomplished. If you want to learn more ways to increase punching power, I suggest studying my Power Punching DVD and listening to my Punching Audio book.
Train hard and good luck!
Founder & President
Contemporary Fighting Arts
PUNCHING POWER. Copyright 2008- 2014. Contemporary Fighting Arts, LLC. All Rights Reserved.