Instructables
Hi!
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.
 
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Step 1: The Fist and Arm

Picture of The Fist and Arm
S7301811.JPG
When throwing a punch, the goal is to make contact with the first two knuckles (index and middle fingers). The knuckles of the ring and pinky fingers do not have as much skeletal support and are more likely to break. Many styles teach that the thumb should be tucked to the side, however Isshinryu karate teaches to put the thumb on top to strengthen the fist (as well as to provide another striking surface).

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.
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freepancho6 months ago

I am a 2nd dan in Tae Kwon Do, and I would like to say that I found this very interesting!

I would like to add that in TKD (at least WTF) we put the thumb across the first two knuckles, instead of on the side
Great instructable!

u mind telling me why do them on your knucles will it make them tougher or something and will it cause damge if u do to many consequtive also wat type of material will it be good to do them all i have is tile and some creepy carpet
Doing the push-ups on your fists strengthens your wrists so your wrist doesn't collapse under the force of the punch.
also the stress on the bones should help to strengthen them directly, as well as maybe teaching you a bit of 'muscle memory' so you are more likely to strike with the first two knuckles when you throw a punch.

and you'll get some cool looking callouses on your knuckles
I have dense bones and dead nerve endings in my hands, I can punch a brick wall and feel only slight discomfort, the only problem is my wrists collapse :L I'll be doing this, we had to do this is tae kwon do on a wooden floor, hurt like hell a i was only 10 :P but that was years ago now :)
frikkie5 years ago
Its not about the medals you bring home. The important thing is we all must remember is it street effective?I also did pushups on fists.It helps to condition i must say.
That's a really good idea
 i agree 1000% a lot of martial arts are competition based so they arnt designed to hurt they are designed to hit targets. My tkd is military traditional. We arnt aloud to go to competitions and stuff. last time we did a contact lesson with the competition pads on i punched a guy and popped a disk in his spine. through his chest. so i agree 1000% unless there is sufficient force behind a strike then it is pointless
more likely because your joint will be hyper extended and broken by your opponent...
Amen. Beware of jujitsu practitioners.
Great post, loved the tricks. need to work harder on punch bags
Choky5 years ago
phh.. i gained a 2nd degree(blackbelt)in 3years.
hoihoi151 Choky4 years ago
 that just means ur school gives out degrees like candy. i study Rhee taekwondo in Australia. It is notoriously hard to get a 2nd dan here. My regional instructor got his after 20 years of training. I have been a black belt 1st dan for 8 years and i wont likely get 2nd dan for another 5 years or so. Its because your rank doesnt mean ur skill. for example some schools give out a rank just because u have been there for x amount of years. Rhee you have to have been training for a long time and develop certain skills before getting 2nd dan. the highest rank i have heard in Rhee is 3rd Dan took the guy 30 years.
mcdojang much?
your wrist is bent, making for an improper punch. Also isshinryu punch is no good when punching to to head as the wrist bones cannot be aligned.



Also why are you wearing blue. The Issinryu gi is white and the only patch that belongs on it is the megami.
suzukisuv5 years ago
Thanks for this great tips. I had few years Karate on my college and this tips just reminds me. But as you are very experienced you could write some more advanced tips for brick smashing and so.
Osirls5 years ago
Hi, I understand different Karate styles are different but in Shotokan it is very important to keep the back heel on the floor when punching. As you said, the power comes from the floor and it is difficult to 'kick' the floor with much power when you raise your heel as shown in one of your pictures. Yes, being truely flat-footed for that moment that you punch makes you less manueverable but it also means you can execute a real, powerful Karate punch. I'm not sure if Isshinryu teaches otherwise or if you just made a mistake in raise your heel but I would like to hear your take on the technique. I myself am a 1st Dan Shotokan Karateka having trained for 5 years. Thanks
Hello I'm a black belt in Kenpo and have been training for the past 13 years and teaching for the past 7. I am also an Orthopedic Surgeon. I found something interesting while reading your instructable. You claim that a straight heel-palm strike to the nose causes no serious damage. I beg to differ. Though unlikely, there is the possibility of breaking the cribous membrane of the ethmoid bone, right at the top of the nasal pyramid. It's a structurally weak point in the bone beacuse that's where the olfactory nerve traverses to the nose. If it breaks, it could lead to a cerebrospinal fluid fistula to the nose. This means the fluid arround the brain could leak outside, leading to infection. There's also a vascular plexus behind it, and you risk tearing an artery. Arteries arround the nose may be small, but they have a very high blood flow. Tearing one could lead to death, either from the bleading or from drowning in your own blood. It's an excellent strike, but when your life is at risk. Same applies to palm strikes to the sides of the jaw. Breaking the jaw poses the potential risk of tearing the internal carotid artery just beneath it. Great instructable, though, and congratulations on your achievements
Under UK law, you must take your victim as you find them. So if you punch someone with a brittle bone disease, shatter the skull and kill them, even though you only meant to slap them, you get done for murder, because you intended harm. Hitting anyone is anti-social. Don't do it unless you really need to. If you really need to, hit them as hard and as accurately as you can, then depart. Kicking someone once they are down is not going to help you when you end up in court - self-defence is a hard thing to prove, even if you took a kicking first, if you walk away and they don't! sametoko, you raise a good point. Only hit people if you absolutely have to. But in my opinion, if you really have too, and you hit them in the nose, the low odds of causing serious harm is outweighed by the effectiveness of a good strike to the nose and/or upper lip.
didnt you read about the ortho who talked about the nose
my vote goes to you
isn't it possible to jam there nose into there brain and kill them. I heard someone tell me that once. if you use a palm heel strike going slightly upwards under the nose.
sdanny Osirls5 years ago
i train muay thai (and i know isnt the same as karate) but u get the power from your hip movement not the floor. altho u need to be stabilised in order to punch of course :)
I've been doing the style you do for about fiveish - sixish years.
I studied budokan karate in which there are no hook punches and uppercuts. a little more tips.
svfox695 years ago
Congrats on the medals.
You can break Chuck Norris record.

Steven
http://animalpump.com/

svfox695 years ago
lol , I thought you were going to say you use brass knuckles, haha.

Steven
http://animalpump.com
bassmonkey5 years ago
you look smart, but I throw punches i clench my pinky,ring finger,middle finger, and pointer finger, then bend my thumb,so someone's not right, can anyone help??
mushfiqc5 years ago
I was just in a fight and everything you have just stated was true but another thing you might want to add when your punching wouldn't it be more powerful to lounge back and then forward then forcefully throw the punch?
if you do that you are telegraphing which means you make a lot of movement and your opponent knows your going to lounge at them. In that case they could spear you with a kick or just move out of the way. I have been doing karate for six years(I know that does not sound like a lot), and I have learned not to telegraph. I help my teacher instruct sometimes, and when we spar, it is easy to tell what people are going to do next, because they do the same little twitch or something like that before every strike. to make a long story short, you should not make any unnecessary moves before a strike. My teacher said it sometimes helps to punch with your front fist or kick with your front foot because it takes your opponent by surprise. one last note, if you are trying to get out of a fight, you don't need to hit your opponent really hard. just do a snap kick or a quick pop with your fist and it will probably stun the the person enough for you to run away.
PKM mushfiqc5 years ago
It would, if you are
- doing a break test
- using one of those "punch strength tester" machines at fairgrounds
- punching someone who is letting you punch them, is immobile or has no idea you are about to hit them

In a real fight or any sort of self defence situation, "winding up" a punch is slow- making it obvious you are going in for a big punch is an invitation for your opponent to hit you first. A good straight punch of this form is plenty powerful enough unless you are fighting a boxer or seasoned street fighter, and is much, much quicker than winding up- in those situations you might be better off with a kick but a good kick is out of the scope of an Instructable.

If your opponent is further than arms reach or is retreating, stepping into a punch can make it more powerful but still makes it slower.
michael93195 years ago
you could have prepared me with how much knuckle push-ups actually hurts. does it keep on hurting? or is the point in doing them that throwing a punch will hurt less?
the more you do them, the less it hurts. your knuckles will become tougher in time. you should also try doing them on your wrists. that is the strengthen them for doing chicken strikes or blocks
When you do knuckle push-ups, you are placing your wrist in the proper alignment for punching. This strengthens the wrist, and helps build a form of 'muscle memory' to keep that alignment when you actually hit something. As a side affect, doing them fairly regularly on a hard surface will both toughen the knuckles and deaden the nerves in them so they hurt less as time goes on.
creator 15 years ago
in my system, we use a horizontal punch usually. only in katas do we sometimes use vertical punches. also i could not tell, but do you do your push ups on your two first knuckles. that's how we do them in our system. you should also try doing them on your wrists.
never mind, i just saw how you use the two first knuckles.
Choky5 years ago
no offense ironchopstix but i am a korean. taekwondo in korea is even harder because when you achieve 1st dan, they test me once a year in a place called Guck-Ki-Won.2nd dan also
its spelt kukkiwon...
naruto 7775 years ago
cool i learned something today, now to go practice......
static5 years ago
Interesting instructable, goes to show the variety topics here. Being legally blind without eyeglasses, getting myself in a situation where punches will be needed, isn't good option.
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