Monday, July 23, 2012

6 Practical Punching Principles: Self Defense Fundamentals

So much depends on an effective punch, from defending against an unarmed attacker to stunning an assailant armed with stick, knife or gun.  

At first glance, punching is simple.  You ball up your fist and hit something.  Easy.  No problem.

Nope.  Not so much.

Punching requires sound technique.  Otherwise punches are ineffective and you stand a good chance breaking many of the bones in your hand.

During our self defense classes we consistently refine students' punching.  Here are some points we stress over and over - ad nauseum (yes, students sometimes get sick of hearing them).

  1. Keep your wrists straight - otherwise you will sprain or even break your wrist.
  2. Rotate shoulders, back, hips - more reach and more power!
  3. Chin down. Protect your jaw and throat.
  4. Elbows down. Flailing elbows(think the infamous Chicken Dance) announces your strike.  Elbows down also direct your punch in a straight line, the fastest route to your target and helps protect your body against incoming strikes.
  5. Strike with your fist at a 45 degree angle with first 2 knuckles(closest to thumb) making impact.
  6. Recoil as fast as possible.  You might need to strike again, defend yourself, or hopefully, flee the scene.   

Proper punches can go a long way in determining if you can successfully defend yourself.   Developing sound technique requires practice (and an instructor nagging at you to recoil, to rotate.....)

There are times when a palm strike is the preferred tool(can you guess when?).  This is the topic of our next blog.  

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto

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