A punch requires you to use your mass and energy properly to deliver the most effective blow to an opponent. A common mistake among many amateur and even professional fighters is winding up into the punch. Winding up not only ruins technique but it’s also very obvious to your opponent enabling them to see what’s coming. Most people don’t know that a punch doesn’t not start from the shoulder or the arm. A properly executed punch comes from the leverage you have with your footing and your ability to recruit mass and redistribute it into the focal point of your fist.
The process begins in the legs and feet. The foot opposite of the striking hand digs into the ground with a twisting motion that transfers energy up the leg into the hips, then into the stronger muscles of the back, chest and shoulders. The arm is merely used as piston or hammer. The hammer on it’s own does not move but the source of the force driving the hammer is in constant acceleration until impact. You may have seen similar technique with a skilled carpenter. A carpenter with experience and good technique can drive a nail into a board with a single blow, where-as an average joe might well take several strikes at the nail, constantly adjusting angle to effectively drive it through the board.
As with hammering a nail, a good punch requires performing this distribution of energy in a single continuous movement. Any break, stutter or hesitation in the chain distributing the energy will significantly reduce impact force. Likely requiring another attempt at achieving the goal of a knock out. Obviously a hammer and nail isn’t in constant motion there-fore it is more challenging to recruit energy and mass in the precise direction and speed needed to land a devastating blow. Yet the skilled fighters are able to do this more often than you might imagine.
It’s very important to keep the knees slightly bend when punching as you as you can recruit the mass and energy of your legs with each blow. Rotating your hips, to match the motion of your punch will ensure a continuous increase in velocity. Some of the most effective punches will involve rotating the upper body in concert with your hips as much as possible because. A closer range punch with full rotation of the body causes more damage than a longer range punch with no rotation at all. To ensure maximum distribution of energy to the focal point of impact (the fist) raising the shoulders will ensure there is less recoil when impact is made. Recoil in the shoulder can absorb a great deal of energy, which will make your punches far less effective.
Finally, ensure the punching fist is rotated so the knuckles are facing upwards to ensure the wrist doesn’t absorb the energy of impact unintentionally. This technique will also help prevent wrist damage. In certain cases when performing hooks it is ok to keep your fist vertical as the position of the arm when angled for a hook will create some complications for the wrist if the hook doesn’t land exactly where you expect it to. A vertical fist will help prevent damage to the hand and wrist in the smaller bones.