You would be amazed at how quickly I can transform the punching power of people with little or no training after just a couple of training sessions and I am going to give you three simple ideas for you to practice and I am only going to work on simple arm striking without using the whole body as this is the fastest way to deliver a quick, powerful strike:
- Stay relaxed – a relaxed body is a fast body and I am not talking about walking around like a rag doll or moving around doing fancy acrobatic movements. What I am talking about is to keep just enough tension in the body to perform the movement and keep control and as an example, hold out your arm in front of you and make a fist that is vertical, so the top of the thumb will point to the sky. Now tense your whole arm and shoulder and move your arm around and notice how hard it is. Now do the exact opposite and notice how easy it is to move, but also how floppy the arm is and this would be too loose. Now place a little tension in the underside of your wrist and also the fist itself and now do the same with the other hand and get into a pushup position using your fists. If you cannot support your whole body in the full position, then work from your knees. Now the fists are supporting the whole body and the pushup position represents a kind of impact position and you will notice that holding that little bit of tension in the wrists helps support you. Memorize the tension in your wrists as this is what you need for simple striking. Now stand up and hold one arm out in front of you and make the same fist with the same tension that you had during the pushup supporting position, but keep the forearm, biceps, triceps and shoulders as relaxed as possible, but don’t let the tension release out of the wrist and fist – this takes a little practice but work at it. The rest of your body should be strong (enough to support), but not tense and you should be able to walk around quickly and keep your back straight and your shoulders and hips will be in a straight line. This is how relaxed you need to be and make sure you get this first before moving to point 2.
- Use your natural levers – we are only talking about single arm punches here, so we will focus on the elbow as this is the key to power. Stand in front of a punch bag or if you have a partner you can use hand mitts and if you are on your own without either, just make the motion in the air. The motion is a simple striking motion, but using the elbow only – keeping your hands by your sides (never practice from a fighting ‘stance’ as you will not have the luxury in real combat), make a strike with either elbow in a round motion to the bag and not looping down or up, just moving horizontally around starting from the side. Do this slowly and deliberately and keep the tension in the fist and wrist as I have previously explained, but use your elbow to make the strike. You must still stay relaxed and after a few minutes you will feel a kind of loose power and the elbow will whip around to the target as you work up the speed. This is a strike on its own and a very powerful one if done correctly. To remind yourself of how relaxed you need to stay, try a couple of strikes with full tension and then quickly revert and relax. Allow your body to rotate with the movement, but do not initiate the strike with the body as we are learning also to strike from a relaxed everyday position and we have no time to think or prepare. Now come away from the bag or mitts and perform the strike in the air and you will notice that your fist leads the elbow when performing the elbow strike, so in other words, the fist is being ‘thrown’ or propelled by the movement of the elbow and this provides the power. We are still working at say medium speed and it is important to do so and make sure you feel that you are moving the elbow. If you watch early boxing footage of Mike Tyson, you can see how his elbow is moved directly behind his fist and for the unlucky sparring partners of opponents at that time, they often inadvertently got two strikes for the price of one – the fist and a follow up elbow. Now you are ready to move to 3.
- Accelerate – now you need to move as fast as possible, but also you need to keep the structure of the body as described earlier to provide balance. First work on the elbow speed and then add the fist. Make sure you practice in the air and work the speed up slowly and deliberately before trying to hit pads or bags.
These are simple tips to use in practice and remember this is just training – in a real situation, you will not have any time to think about ‘levers’, elbows or whatever and that is why we drill the movements in slowly and deliberately so they become implanted in our subconscious and we can use them instinctively. Practice the above and you will notice a dramatic increase in striking power. When you get proficient, you can add more movement and always look for the natural levers in the body and try to incorporate them.