Punching is defined to be any form of strong blow with fists potent enough to cause bodily harm, injury or even knock out an opponent. It is used in all forms of self-defense techniques and martial arts starting from Kung Fu to Boxing. And it has gained its fame outside the martial artists since it’s the only form of permitted offensive technique in boxing.
Due to the multitudinous array of styles or forms of martial arts. Over the centuries things got complicated step by step with ever-growing twists to the existing form and styles. Hence, came these form, styles or types of punches. Even pros make mistakes and have hell to pay for the slightest of mistake at times. So, you gotta know every movement in every step of the way for every type of punches in the book.
Here I am gonna talk about every type of punches that are popular and used by many fighters. And I’ll be talking about the pros and cons of each type. I’ll make you understand with logical explanations why each type of punches can and can’t be used in a particular scenario. And obviously which one will be the best choice under which circumstance.
It will be explained how to execute each type of punches with every movement in every step of the way. You can even start practicing the punches and become pro at it after you’ve gone through the instructions explained here.
So, let’s get down to it.
Four Basic and Popular Punches in Boxing
Punching is more popular in boxing than any other forms of martial arts. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t used in any other martial arts. All of the boxing depends on many types of punching. Among the four are very basic and has to be learned in the very beginning of learning boxing.
Let’s talk about some of them right now.
We’ve all heard of jabs. It’s the most common type of punch in boxing and is especially known and popular for not compromising the defense.
Yeah, it does not compromise the defense but it isn’t all that powerful either. Regardless of the weak impact, it has some very useful purposes like checking the opponent’s defense and measuring distance. Sometimes throwing a jab might even clear up a room for you to throw a punch.
Now, let’s get to the point, how it’s done. The punch has to be thrown with the lead hand and while you’re doing so, you’ll have to make sure that you’re rotating your fists, arms and also your torso. All of these rotations are to be done in a clockwise manner. And once you feel you’ve touched your opponent you’ll have to take your hand back.
And always remember, the punch must land on the opponent from the tip of your knuckles, not the entire fist.
Unlike jab punches, this one packs a hell lot of force to it. Cross is this popular due to it being the perfect counterpunch to jabs. If you can get clean connect with a cross you might just be lucky enough to get an instant K.O.
Cross is complicated as powerful it is. Now let’s get down on how you’re gonna have to execute a cross punch.
Cross is a straight punch with no rotation of your arms and fists like a jab. And the punch is thrown with the rear hand not with the lead hand from your guard position, there’s a reason to it. You have to keep your guard up with the lead hand since there’s a fat possibility that you’ll be hit with a counter punch. Rear hand instead of the lead hand is because you’ll be rotating your torso counter-clockwise, so weight will be shifted from the lead leg to the rear leg making the rear hand apparently your lead hand.
This complex process might be very hard to master but simultaneous rotation and weight transfer make the punch a very effective one. And if you add another half step to it, it’ll become a bomb.
The hook is one of the most crucial, critical and dangerous punches of all time. Despite the popular belief that punch means hitting with a fist, here the impact is done by the contact of the elbow.
Imagine the coordinates of your fists while you’re in your defensive stance. Now draw your elbow to that very position but do so horizontally. In the meantime rotate your torso to give the needed extra force. All of this has to be done by your lead hand while keeping your rear hand up for a guard.
The hook is usually aimed at the side of the opponent’s head. The position is not just chosen for the level of the elbow being high but also you can get an instant K.O if you get a proper connection.
Here’s another punch where you’ll have to be using your rear hand. It’s another one of those punch which results in an instant K.O. almost all the time.
So, here’s how you’re gonna have to do it if you want a good uppercut and injure your opponent real good. First, you’ll have to shift your torso to the right and bend your knees. This way you’ll get your hands right under opponent’s chin. Secondly, once you’ve got your hands under the opponent’s chin push up with your knees while rotating your torso counterclockwise.
Punches in Every Other Martial Arts & Boxing
All of these are also used in boxing and are also used in many other martial arts.
Let’s talk about ‘em.
Right Straight Punch
This one is very popular among the tall fighters, especially since it prevents close combat. Right straight punch gives an immense advantage over your opponent if you’re taller than your opponent. You can even K.O. you’re opponent if you’re tall enough and are good at this. And if you’re fighting against one of those guys who’s always trying to clinch up to you then this will come in real handy.
Enough jibber jabber, now let’s get down to how you’re going to do this.
First, take a very small step towards the opponent and also lean your body towards him to get a bit closer. Make sure that your chin is as close to the chest as possible and under you left i.e. rear hand and then throw the punch straight at the opponent and while you’re doing so, rotate your torso, shoulder as well as your rear foot counter-clockwise to give the punch that lethal blow.
Some of the renowned fighters who’re known to use this are Mohammad Ali, Jermaine Taylor, Tomasz Adamek, and many others.
Among all of the punches that I’ve talked till now and will be talking about, this one is the most lethal. Connecting a proper left hook is more or less confirmed to K.O. your opponent. Another reason to give this punch its fame and effectiveness is, it’s a great counter punch for right straight, right hook or even a right uppercut.
Now let’s guide you through how you’re gonna have to do this.
At first, you’ll have to raise your fist and elbow at the same time. A vital point that’s to be remembered is that you’ll have to keep your arm absolutely parallel to the ground and never ever swing your hand. If you ever do swing your hand, you’ll be left wide open.
After you’ve done all of that, throw the punch while you’re rotating your shoulder, torso and your rear foot to give it that explosive impact. And as soon as you feel that you’ve punched your opponent take your hand back.
It’s the same as the left hook, just the mirror opposite of the left hook. Impacts the same as that of the left and maybe even more if you’re right.
Uppercut is lethal as ever. But executing this means you can never be afraid clinching up to your opponents. If you can’t muster enough guts to do that, then you better quit boxing right now.
Once you get in arm’s reach of your opponent then and only then will you throw this punch. Otherwise, the repercussions will be severe. You’ll be wide open to all sorts of a counter punch.
Prerequisite of a good left uppercut is dropping your shoulder moments before throwing the punches. In the meantime, take your left fists down too. But never take your right hand off your face.
If you’ve done all of that, it’s time to throw the punch. Throw your punch straight at the target, no rotation of the arm or elbow is required. While you’re doing so never forget to do the following bending your knees but only slightly, rotating your shoulder and torso, shifting your weight partially from your left foot to your toes.
And right at the instant, you’ve punched the guy take your hand back to your face.
Just like the name indicates, this one’s the mirror opposite of left uppercut. Even you’ll have to be rotating your torso counter-clockwise unlike left uppercut. And do keep your left hand on your face at all times and rotate your shoulder counter-clockwise too.
Back Foot Punch
This is the best form of simultaneous defense and offense when your opponent is trying to clinch up to you.
When your opponent is trying to clinch up to you, he’s in full attack mode that means you gotta defend yourself and back off. But he’s wide open, you can easily take advantage of that with this punch.
The way you’re gonna do this is by taking a step back with your rear foot first. Then you’ll displace your head from the center line a bit and then while taking it down a little too. Next, you’ll throw your punch with the other hand, I mean one not on the same side as your head.
Superman punch aka dive punch is immensely popular in Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, Taekwon-Do, karate and obviously Mixed Martial Arts. It’s known to be what it is since you’ll be in the air almost flying like superman when you throw the punch.
Here’s how you’re gonna have o do this. First things first, get yourself airborne by jumping off with your lead leg. Now kick the air backward with your rear leg while you throw a right straight punch.
Now there’s two very similar type of superman punch, which I’ll discuss right now.
Long Superman Punch
It’s a very effective punch but before I get started, I’ll have to warn you “Among all the punches out there, this is by far the riskiest”. So, you’ll only resort to this punch when the opponent is staying too far away and not coming close enough or you think he’s weak and won’t be attempting a counter punch.
So, now about how you’re gonna have to do this. Take one or two steps to build a forward momentum and then jump off with your rear leg and get airborne. Once you get an airborne kick the air with your lead leg and build up more momentum.
And now once you get close enough to the opponent i.e. he gets within your arm’s reach extend your arm and shoulder as far as possible and while you’re at it rotate your shoulder to add in a little bit more force.
As usual, you’ll have to retract your hand as soon as possible you’ve hit the guy. Otherwise, you’ll be wide open to counter punch.
Front Superman Punch
It’s the same as the long superman punch with the same risk factor with only one slight difference. And that is you won’t have to build up the extra momentum by taking one or two extra steps. Why? Because in this case, the opponent won’t be that far away from you.
Over time it gets difficult to know the different types of punches that are out there. And to know the precautions that are to be kept in mind all the time. Otherwise, the repercussions will be devastating.
Now, it gets difficult to understand the difference there can be between the different types of punches, for something as simple as punching. And more importantly the types of punches that can and can’t be used under any specific circumstances.
So, I’ve explained carefully and logically every single movement of your body that you’ll have to make in every type of punches. And the things you should be knowing about ‘em, like when to execute which and their risk factors.
You may also like to read –
Best punching bag
Best speed bag
Best focus mitts