In this section we will discuss all the various boxing punches, and amongst other things i will also explain how to punch properly. There are four basic boxing punches to learn - The Jab, Straight Left/Right, Hook and Uppercut, so we will discuss in detail what those punches are and how to execute them properly for the maximum effect.
All the information here, for simplicity, makes the assumption that you are right handed. So if you are left handed, you obviously need to reverse the advice to suit. If the boxer is right handed (orthodox), his left fist is the lead hand and his right fist is the rear hand. For a left handed boxer (southpaw) the hand positions are reversed and the right fist becomes the lead hand, whilst the left fist is the rear hand.
You need to put your whole bodyweight behind an arms length punch for it to be really effective. Twist your body into the punch and extend your arm as hard and fast as possible. Imagine that you are punching through the target.
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Firstly, all boxing punches are thrown from your chosen stance, or on guard position, then you have to reassume the guard position again after each punch, as quickly as possible. So the guard stance is something that must be mastered at the beginning as this is essential for proper deception during the fight. If you start all your punches from the same stance, an opponent has a lot more difficulty trying to figure out what your next punch will be. Alternatively, if you change your stance or arm positions every time you get ready to throw a certain punch, your opponent will soon catch on to what's happening next, then be ready to avoid it and react with a counter punch of his own. So remember that all boxing punches should start and finish from the guard position. It's important that this particular boxing technique is learned early, or you're making your opponents task a lot easier.
So, what is the guard position in boxing?
In boxing, the proper guard position has the right forearm and fist up. Your right fist should be at about the level of the chin, so that you're in position to defend yourself against an opponent's left jabs. Your right elbow is kept close to the body, protecting the right side of your body, and kidneys. Your forearm protects the solar plexus (A tender area at the top of your abs, which is a good place to punch, but not to be punched), and your fist protects your chin.
You should spend a lot of time practicing this until you master how to execute each basic punch from the guard position. These basics have to be drilled over and over and over again, until you learn to automatically fall back into the guard position after every single punch you throw, without having to give it a second thought. With practice, readopting that guard position will become second nature to you in the ring.
The Basic Boxing Punches
What are the basic punches?
Well, if you are right handed, the basic boxing punches are the left jab, the straight right, the left hook, right hook, and the uppercut (you have to reverse those first two if you're left handed) Take the time not only to learn those basic punches, but also to learn everything that goes into them, and how to throw those punches properly.
Punches are not just arm and fist movements.
When you begin boxing, you will learn how to punch from the balls of your feet up through your legs. The power being transferred from your legs and hips through your torso to your shoulders, arms, and eventually the fist. Another wee tip - It is very important to remember and breathe out when you throw a punch. If the other boxer counters and hits you in the stomach or ribs while your lungs are still filled with air, you will find that his punch can often bring you to your knees.
The hips are even involved in the simple jab, which is not normally seen as a power punch. Even so, you still want to have enough sting in a jab to keep your opponent at bay and set him up for one of your power punches, or a combination of punches. For the jab to have this sting, your feet, hips, etc, must come into play.
Try standing on the ball of one foot and pushing someone over - Unless they are very weak, or off-balance, or preferably both, you'll never do it. Remember that punching is not just done with the arms. You have to be balanced to start with and bring the bigger muscled parts of your body into play. So you need a proper boxing stance as a base.
You want to know how important a good stance is for a boxer? - Go to something large and heavy in your house (a tall heavy fridge is perfect), stand facing the fridge (about 12 inches away from it) with your feet together, then put the palms of your hands flat against the fridge. Now push firmly against it and i guarantee that you lose your balance and stumble backwards. That happened simply because you had a poor stance - Now try it again, but instead of having your feet together this time, leave your left foot where it is but bring your right foot back about another 12 inches, then push firmly against the fridge again. I bet that you didn't stumble backwards this time and probably moved the fridge. Now that didn't happen because your strength has suddenly increased by magic, it only happened because you were using a much better stance. That is just a very basic example of why it is so important to have a good stance in boxing. You will never throw a decent punch if you do not have a good stance as a base.
Amongst the boxing tips are those associated with the other punches - The Power Punches.
When you look into what goes into those 'power punches', the role that your legs and particularly your hips play becomes even more obvious. In throwing a straight punch, which looks like a simple thing to do, you will learn to instinctively tighten your abdominal muscles, your body 'core'. You would think that this has little to do with the punch, but just throwing a power punch can sometimes throw you off balance, and simply tightening your abs helps to prevent that from happening.
Starting to sound a wee bit complicated? Well it is kind of complicated, but only in the sense that you have to put a lot of pieces together, like a jigsaw, if you want to throw an effective punch. Leave a piece of that jigsaw out and you will lose much of your punching ability. With practice, you will soon discover that throwing effective punches will quickly become second nature to you.
Here are some specific training routines that you can include in your boxing workout sessions, that will help to give you much more explosive punching power.
The Various Boxing Punches
The Jab is the most basic, but also the most important of all punches, and it will more than likely be the first punch that any trainer would teach a beginner to boxing classes. Most of the great champs have relied heavily on their jab. It is the setting up punch, a point scorer, and helps you control a fight. The jab can be used as a form of attack or defence.
A jab is a quick straight punch thrown with the lead hand from the guard position. The jab is accomplished by a small clockwise turn of your torso and hips, while your fist rotates 90 degrees, making it horizontal on impact. As your arm reaches full extension, your lead shoulder is pulled up to guard your chin, while your rear hand remains next to the face to protect your jaw. After your jab hits the target, your lead hand is retracted quickly to resume the guard position in front of your face again. The jab is recognised as the most important punch, because it provides a decent amount of its own defensive cover and leaves the least amount of space for a counter punch from your opponent. It also has the longest reach of any punch and does not require too much commitment or weight transfers to execute it. Due to its weaker power, the jab is often used to gauge distance, probe your opponents defence, harass the other guy, and set things up for your heavier and more powerful punches that can follow in combination sets. A half step forward can also be added when jabbing, for even more effective punching power.
A straight right or straight left punch is the most powerful and potentially damaging boxing punch, but it is energy using so you must learn to use it sparingly. A straight right punch can also leave you open to a quick counter attack from your opponent if you miss it, or if it is successfully blocked. So it is better if you learn to use it as a counter punch, or as a follow up punch after the target has been opened up with your Jab first.
A cross punch is a powerful straight punch thrown with your rear hand. From the guard position, your rear fist is thrown from the chin, crossing the body and traveling towards your target in a straight line. The rear shoulder is thrust forward and should finish just touching the outside of your chin when cross punching. At the same time, your lead fist is pulled back and tucked against your face to protect your chin. For additional power, your torso and hips are rotated anticlockwise as the cross punch is thrown. Weight is also transferred from your rear foot to your lead foot. That body rotation and the sudden weight transfer is what gives the cross its power. Like the jab, a half step forward can also be added to give your cross punch even more power. After your cross has been thrown, your hand is retracted quickly and the guard position resumed. It can be used to counter punch a jab, aiming for your opponent's head, or as a counter to a cross punch that was aimed at your body, or to set up a hook. The cross can also follow one of your jabs, creating the classic 'one two' combination. The cross punch is also called a 'straight' or 'right', if it doesn't cross your opponents jab.
It is quite tricky for a beginner to learn how to fire off the hook punch properly because you have to arch and turn your body into the punch, but if done properly it is a very effective punch because it usually appears from out of your opponent's direct vision, so he often doesn't see it coming until it is too late to do much about it.
A hook is a semicircular punch, thrown with the lead fist to the side of your opponents head or body. From the guard position, your elbow is drawn back with a horizontal fist (knuckles pointing forward) and the elbow bent, while your rear fist is kept tucked firmly against your jaw to protect the chin. The torso and hips are rotated clockwise when punching, propelling your fist through a tight clockwise arc across the front of the body and connecting with your target. At the same time, your lead foot pivots clockwise, turning the left heel outwards. After delivering a hook, your lead hand is pulled quickly back into the guard position again. A hook punch can also target your opponents lower body, and this boxing technique is sometimes called the 'rip' to distinguish it from the conventional hook to the head.
This is another punch, like the hook, which can catch your opponent by surprise because it comes up from underneath and he often can't see it coming. An uppercut can be delivered with either the left or right hand. At its best it can be very dramatic and bring your opponent crashing to the canvas. The only snag is once you have thrown an uppercut, you do leave yourself open to a counter attack.
An uppercut punch is a vertical rising punch thrown with your rear fist. From the guard position, your torso shifts slightly to the right, the rear fist drops below the level of your opponents chest and your knees are bent slightly more than normal. From this position, the rear first is fired upwards in a rising arc towards your opponent's chin or upper body. At the same time, your knees push upwards quickly and your hips rotate anticlockwise while the rear heel turns outward, in a similar way to the body movement of a cross punch. The strategy in using the uppercut punch is to use its ability to lift your opponent's body, setting it off balance for follow up power punches. The right uppercut followed by a left hook is a deadly combination of punches as you use the uppercut to lift your opponent's chin into a more vulnerable position, then your hook punch follows to try and knock your opponent out.
I wasn't going to include this type of punch, but here it is anyway.
This is a large swinging circular punch with all of the fighters weight behind it, sometimes referred to as a 'Roundhouse', 'Haymaker', or 'Sucker Punch'. Relying on body weight and centripetal force, the Haymaker can be a powerful strike, but it is often a wild and uncontrolled punch that leaves the boxer who is delivering it off balance, and with an open guard that can leave him fairly unprotected against the other fighters counter punches. Wide, looping punches like this have the extra disadvantage of taking more time to deliver, giving the other boxer ample warning to try and react and counter punch. For this reason, the haymaker or roundhouse is not classed as a conventional punch and is usually regarded by boxing trainers as a sign of poor technique or desperation in a fighter. Sometimes it does get used, because of its immense potential, to try and finish off an already struggling opponent who seems unable or unlikely to take advantage of the poor defensive position it leaves the puncher in.
The different types of boxing punches mentioned above can be thrown in rapid succession, to form combinations or combo punches. The most common is the jab and cross combination, nicknamed the 'One-Two' or 'Combo'....This is a very effective punching combination because the jab blocks the opponent's view of the cross, making it easier for you to land your cross punch cleanly.
Here Are Some Other Points To Remember
For example - When throwing a right cross punch, the hips should rotate anticlockwise. This usually comes naturally, but you should be aware of it in your training. If it isn't happening, you're doing something wrong and your punch will have much less power. You can't just learn how to throw a decent boxing punch without learning all the mechanics associated with it too. So you have to work hard in training to make sure that those basic mechanics of punching are always there, and that the technique becomes second nature through repetition drills. It's actually vital that it all becomes second nature to you, as in a real fight situation you simply do not have the time to think about it.
In throwing a left hook or a right hook, you will learn, probably pretty quickly and painfully, that throwing a hook leaves you wide open to a counter punch from your opponent. That doesn't mean that you should never throw a hook, but you need to know when the time is right to deliver it. You will also learn that the time to throw an uppercut, another power punch, is when you are in real close to the other boxer. Not only because you can better channel the power up through your legs, knees, and hips, to give your uppercut maximum power, but also because if you are not in close, you cannot throw an uppercut without giving plenty advance warning of your intentions to your opponent, and he will very easily counter it.
Use your opponents momentum to your advantage when boxing. You can only generate so much force into your own punches, and that is obviously done by accelerating your fist using your own muscle and weight transfer technique. You cannot do any more than that due to your own physical limitations, but you can increase your power punching beyond that upper limit by using the momentum of your opponent.
For example, if your opponent goes to throw a straight right punch at you, he is transferring his weight towards you (accelerating towards you). If you could evade that right and accelerate towards your opponent at the same time as hitting out with a counter punch, you are effectively doubling the force of the punch you have just thrown.
So, if you can learn to try to harness your opponents momentum for your own benefit at times, you can deliver much more damaging punches.