How To Punch Properly

How to punch properly is relatively easy and anyone is capable of learning, even on their own. For those who have never taken a boxing, kickboxing, martial arts, or self-defense class, punching properly can be a challenge at first, but by mastering a few important principles one can successful learn to punch properly. Proper form and using your body and strength to add power to your punches will help result in more efficient and proper punching.

  1. The most important part of a proper punch is not the strength or force behind the punch, but rather proper fist formation. If you form a fist improperly you run the risk of breaking your fingers, thumb, hand, wrist, or at the very least causing immense pain. To form a proper fist, hold your hands flat and slight extended in front of you.
  2. Rotate so that your fingers all point upward and are all touching each other, and your palms are facing away from your body. Now, roll your four fingers closed so that your fingertips touch their bases, right at the top of your palm where your palm and fingers meet. For anyone who has studied American Sign Language, the fingers are in the position they would be in if forming the letter "E" but the thumb remains out to the side. Now, fold the fingers over at their first knuckle, so the backs of the closed fingers faces directly upward, but pal is still facing out. Wrap your thump over those fingers, usually covering the index and middle finger in a tight fist. Your thumb is always on the outside of a fist! Hold your two fists, elbows slightly bent, at about shoulder level.
  3. To throw a jab punch properly, which is basically a short, snap-like punch, you simply quickly extend the arm, fist facing forward, then pull back to original position. Jabs can be aimed at the opponent's face or chest, but can also be converted into blocks for on-coming punches. 
  4. To punch properly with a right or left hook, pull the desired shoulder back slightly then drive the punch in a hook-shaped motion as if aiming for the opponent's chin or jaw-line, while keeping the elbow slightly bent. At the same time, rotate the hip on that side of the body so that you throw the punch using your body weight and momentum, which can also help strengthen the punch and protect you from injury.
  5. To properly punch using an uppercut, start with your arms in the initial position, elbows slightly bent and fists held at about shoulder/chest level.  Pull your elbow back, keeping the arm in the bent position, and shifting your weight so your shoulder can move with it, then push the fist forward, in an upward arch but maintain the bent arm. As you push the punch forward and up, drive with your shoulder and hip, on that side of the body, allowing your weight and momentum to provide force behind the punch.
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