What are the advantages to having a really strong karate punch? How do you get an effective karate punch? Which karate punch is best? When is it best to use a punch rather than another technique?
The advantages to having a really effective punch.
To know that you can hit hard will always give you confidence. Even if you are outnumbered or just meet your match you won’t feel such a victim if you know that you landed a few really good blows. You may take a beating but if you have made them pay a price they will respect you and more important you can still respect yourself and what you can do to defend yourself.
How do you get a really effective punch?
There is not one right way to train to have a really hard hitting punch. Several methods together combined with an open questioning mind and consistent practice are the vital ingredients to attaining your goal.
It could be a swinging bag focus mitt or kicking shield, better still a range of such tools but you need to train your body how to adjust to the shock of connecting with a solid object and still staying in alignment and balanced.
I have told disbelieving students that if they listen the punch bag will talk to You! The sound that you hear on impact will tell you if your strike is superficial, a slapping noise, or the dull thud of a penetrating blow.
On its own impact training is not enough but it’s one vital ingredient.
Boards don’t hit back.
~ Bruce Lee
Drilling step and punch in lines up and down the hall.
It’s very important to always question what you are doing but unfortunately many modern martial artists have thrown the baby out with the bath water!
They could quite rightly see that marching up and down punching thin air was not going to produce a knock out blow on the street on its own. They did not see the enormous benefits that this foundation training has or they would not have disguarded it.
When an untrained person punches they very often move their top half before the bottom half. It takes a lot of practice, drilling step and punch, to reverse this and move from the feet. With enough practice the step and punch will give you maximum power as you will hit from the ground up. Step and punch will give you the ability to move into range turn the hips and hit the instant that you are set up and balanced.
There is nothing like going up against another person to teach you how to punch another person.
Semi free sparring.
Performing a fixed sequence of prearranged movements with another person will give you vital practice in gaining timing and distance, this practice will teach you some control of your strikes avoiding most injuries.
Once you have a few well rehearsed tricks up your sleeve you will be eager to test them out in free sparring. Most things in life take more practice than you realise at the start and being able to land a well timed punch against a moving determined opponent is no exception.
Which karate punch is best?
Modern sport karate encourages a specialisation in a few long range punches as they have to be aware of their opponents kicking distance. On the street this distance is often cut down to short range in the first move or the confrontation starts in close from the onset.
The katas of all the major styles of karate contain a whole arsenal of fist strikes that are used at different angles and distances in different ways. An experienced and open minded instructor will be able to decode kata in a practical way, not everyone can do this, it pays to shop around. To sum it up the individual situation decides the best punch and you will need to have many tools in your tool box to have the right tool for the job!
When is it best to use a punch or another technique?
Boxers are excellent at punching because that’s all they do. To get very good at one thing is an excellent strategy but it can limit you if the situation is wrong or the distance is ant right. Punches combined with other techniques, say the instant after a successful leg sweep, can have even more shock power. Every situation is different and it’s best to expect the unexpected and improvise at that time. Having a really good punch will give you confidence but be prepared to adapt to the situation if something else is called for.
don’t put all your eggs in one basket
If it kicks off its never going to be what you would think and the more versatile and well versed you are in your skills the better. Being able to hit hard with the fist shoulder or foot, flowing with the situation and keeping balanced is the key to being exceptionally effective. However often being able to deliver a really hard punch combined with being able to take some pain to do it if you have to is enough to allow you to get by.