Throwing a punch is a science, no really it is. Not one that has been perfected by men in white coats but rather by men who have had to punch for a living. With this being said occasionally a boxer has taken time to sit back and think about what exactly makes a punch powerful. While certainly things like heaving practice punching matter there is still a technique to it and principles that are going to matter to throw a heavy punch that does damage to whatever it makes contact with.
However how punches and punching are taught by your average trainer (even boxing trainer) aren’t going to cut it. How the average person punches isn’t going to do too much damage unless it hits a person’s jaw or guy, which doesn’t take much to do damage too. A halfway decent punch to the jaw even throw by an untrained man will knock the average guy out. Which is why it’s so important to keep your jaw down as well as know where to hit your opponent in a boxing match or a simple scrap.
Punching comes down to physics. A good punch comes from making the most of physics and understanding how that is going to apply to the punches that you throw. Alright time for a basic physics lesson. You want to throw a punch with a lot of force behind it. It’s force that causes the damage that you are looking to cause with a good punch. The formula for force is F = MA where F equals force, M equals mass, and A equals acceleration. For practical purposes and for the sake of punching we’ll replace mass with weight.
So force is going to equal the weight times the acceleration. So naturally when someone looks to throw a good punch they look to increase their acceleration or speed. However this is very hard to do and overall doesn’t make that big of a difference. Speed is not the variable we should focus on for powerful punching rather we should focus on mass or weight, that is the variable we can control. And no I’m not recommending you get fat either.
Look at it this way. If you had a smart car that ran into a tree at 30 MPH the car would do so much damage. In this case depending on the tree probably not that much. Compare that with a fully loaded semi running into the tree at 10 MPH. Which is going to do more damage? Let’s calculate it.
The average smart car weights 1,500 lbs so 30 x 1,500 = 45,000
The average semi (unloaded) weighs 80,000 lbs so 10 x 80,000 = 800,000
Obviously the semi is going to pack a much bigger punch. Now many who throw punches hit like the smart car using only the weight of their fist, arm, and a little bit of lean which translates to not that much. Those who can throw a good portion of their body weight behind a punch are the ones that can throw punches that do damage.
Body Weight In Motion
There are two ways to get your body weight in motion behind a punch so you can really deliver punches that are going to hit more like semis then smart cars. And those two ways are utilizing something called the falling step popularized by the great boxer Jack Dempsey and following the power line of your body, something else that I picked up from Jack Dempsey. Alright so let’s get into each of these respective techniques.
Alright we will start with the falling step. The falling step is where you are putting your body weight behind your punch. So instead of hitting with just the power of your shoulder, arm, and leaning you hit with a good chunk of your body weight behind you. First off shift your weight forward so that it is resting on your front foot. Then take a long quick step with your leading foot towards the object you want to punch. This is done from a regular boxing stance. You should feel like you are “falling” forward and that is what will deliver the power behind the punch.
Now for the power line. Here is how Dempsey describes the power line “What is the power line? The power line runs from either shoulder – straight down the length of the arm – to the first knuckle of the little finger”. That is the power line through which the power from your punch flows. Meaning that to hit with maximum power from your punch you would hit someone with the knuckle on your pinky. However your pinky knuckle is not strong enough for that so instead you aim your punch with the knuckle of your ring finger. Not with the first or second knuckle as is commonly done. This puts much more power behind your punch as to do with taking advantage of how the human body is built.
Punching with power is all about physics. It’s all about utilizing what you have and making the most out of it. With the techniques described here a male that weights 150 lbs can out punch a man weighing 300 lbs who doesn’t know these techniques. These two things alone will put more power in your punches than anything else. Remember use the fall step. Practice it when you can. Practice just the step alone first, remember you should feel like you are falling forward. Then practice it with the a punch, then practice it on a heavy bag. Also remember to punch striking with the knuckle on your ring finger. This will take time to get in the habit of but once you start your punches will be hitting a hell of a lot harder. And remember it’s all about physics, force equals mass times acceleration.
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