My name is Scott, and in this Instructable I will be demonstrating how to throw an effective punch. A little background: I have been studying Martial Arts for around eight years, teaching for three. I am a second degree black belt in Isshinryu karate, and brought home five medals- three gold, one silver, and one bronze - at the 2004 World Games in Athens, Greece. I was also recently inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Bunki Instructor of the Year (bunki means the application of a movement). I realize that this is "tooting my own horn," but I want you to know that I really do know how to throw a punch.
Disclaimer: This instructable is not a substitute for one-on-one training with a professional. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information in this instructable.
Step 1: The Fist and Arm
The fist should be almost vertical, with a slight turn to the inside. The punch described here fits very nicely into the space right below where the ribs divide. When punching high, angle the wrist down so you are still making contact with the first two knuckles.
A rule of thumb is "Out like an arrow, back like you touched fire." Basically, that means don't leave your punch out there - bring it back quickly so that:
1. You can throw another punch
2. You can block an opponent's punch
3. Your hand can't be grabbed (from which many bad things happen)
THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS TO A PUNCH!
Read this study, then go on to the next steps!
"The soviets looked at 120 boxers ranging from amateurs to experienced professionals. This study found that among the highest level boxers, the highest percent of their power (38.46%) came from the push-off of their back leg, whereas the arm extension and trunk rotation accounted for 24.12% and 37.42% respectively. "
I found this summary of the study on http://www.combatathletics.com/articles/Article_%20Punch_Power_Development.html and several other web sites, but was unable to find the original study.
Step 2: Upper Body Dynamics
Also, twist the hips when you punch. Otherwise, you are robbing the punch of much of its power. When throwing multiple punches, it is important to bring the fists all the way back and twist the hips when you punch, to avoid rapid little punches that don't do anything.
Step 3: Lower body dynamics
A good stance is one where the feet are shoulder width apart, with the the toe of the back foot in line with the heel of the front foot. While a wider, deeper stance will give you more power in your punch (many martial arts favor a deeper stance), it takes away some of your mobility. Your body type makes a difference in what stance would be best for you.
Another big issue is, do you punch with the lead hand or the back hand? (If your left foot is forward, your left hand is the lead hand and your right hand is the back hand). Both have advantages - your lead hand is faster, while your back hand has more power. This is where "the ol' one-two" comes in - a fast jab with the lead hand to the face to make them close their eyes followed by a reverse punch (back hand) to the midsection.
Step 4: Different Types of Punches
1. Straight punch/Reverse punch (what was used to demonstrate the previous steps)
2. Jab (quick punch off the lead hand)
3. Cross (Back hand punch to the head)
4. Hook punch (Coming in from the side, usually to the jaw)
5. Uppercut (upward strike to the chin, sending the head backward)
6. Twist punch (taught in many martial arts schools)
Again, all of these use the first two knuckles to strike with.
Step 5: Targets
Step 6: Training
1. THE MOST IMPORTANT: Only throw your punches 90%. Otherwise, you risk hyper-extending your elbow, which can create lasting damage to your joint and limit your training.
2. Use a heavy bag. If you only practice shadowboxing, you will not be prepared for the "equal and opposite reaction" when you punch something solid. Also, you may roll your wrist and damage it. (wear gloves with wrist support to prevent this in training).
3. Push-ups on knuckles. See photos below for proper technique.
I hope this instructable was a help to you!