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Old 12-12-08, 10:10 PM  
Join Date: Nov 2005
is there a trick to doing boxing punches correctly?

I have been doing kickboxing workouts for years, and I enjoy them, but I still can't seem to get my punches right. My kicks look fine, but there is just something off about my punches (any of them). I look like I'm flailing around in sort of an uncoordinated fashion and without any power. If I do punches very slowly (like in the upper body portion of Kickbox Bootcamp where Keli Roberts uses weights) I'm OK, but as soon as there is any speed involved (like in Powerstrike) I'm hopeless. My husband says it looks like I'm not extending my arm enough, but I don't want to extend my elbow all the way straight, do I? I have followed the tutorial in Kickboxing for Dummies a couple of times now but still nothing has clicked. By the way, I have fairly good upper body strength, and my arms are not getting tired so that's not the problem I don't think. Also, I feel fairly coordinated on other workouts and can follow Cathe choreography and so on. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-13-08, 01:29 AM  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Hi Bfit

I have been working out with professional boxers, and they teach us to fully extend our arm. I'm not sure why some video instructors tell us not to do so.

There's a discussion about this here, in my boxing thread:

It also helps if you imagine that you are punching an imaginary opponent. That way, your fist will stop short with some force at the end of the punch, then you bring it back quickly.

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Old 12-13-08, 07:27 AM  
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There is absolutely NO trick to punching correctly, there is just punching correctly. IMO, a lot of kickboxing DVDs are done by fitness people and are geared toward being "active" and not toward actual training in MA, boxing, etc., hence the tempo is too fast, especially for beginners, and encourages bad habits/bad form. Also, the fact that you're never actually hitting anything/anyone will negatively impact your form.

If you are really concerned about this, I'd suggest going to an actual boxing class (with, like, boxers, as has Red Panda) or a karate class.

As for fully extending the arm - I've never been taught not to do that. It has nothing to do with punching.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, but I don't know how to teach punching (or kicking) over the internet. Mostly it's seeing what someone is doing and refining their technique.
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Old 12-13-08, 10:35 AM  
Helen S
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Location: Utah
I wrote this in RedPanda's journal but I'll repeat it here since her journal has lots of posts. I think DVD/video instructors are being cautious since they can't see you. So when they are saying to not fully extend your arm, I think they are just trying to prevent people from locking their elbows. So you would extend your arm short of locking.

Other tips I can give (which I don't know if you need) is to make contact with your first two knucles (your pointer and middle finger knuckles). You definitely don't want any contact with your thumbs but they're not tucked underneath your fingers either. Have a strong wrist, retract your punches, no elbows sticking out between punches. Use your hips (basically your whole body) for power and not just your arms. I don't have KB for Dummies but I'll assume that it tutors you on how to do each punch. Since you and your husband think your punches look fine going slowly, I would just practice punches slowly and just gradually increase your speed. I think going to a boxing or martial arts studio is a really good idea too. Most of them either let you try a class for free or have intro packages.
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Old 12-13-08, 10:50 AM  
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One thing to look for is keeping your elbows in (if you look at Cathe's earlier boxing/kickboxing workouts, she doesn't do this, but her form improves with each workout. It's actually very good in 4DS).

Try this: stand facing a mirror and punch while keeping your palms facing each other (it's easier to keep the elbows in this way.) After you've got the feel, now add the hand rotation, so the palm face down at the extension of the punch. Be sure not to let your elbows flair out.

As for extending the arm, you should never hyperextend the elbow in whatever you do. Extending the arm fully is fine if you are making contact with something (a bag, a person) which stops the mometum.

If you are shadowboxing (punching in the air, as most kb/bx workouts do), then stopping short of full extension is a safety measure to keep from hyperextending (which would be easier to do because you are not making contact with something to stop the momentum).

Focus on the recoil to keep from extending fully. and to work on speed. Think about the tongue of a snake going out and in quickly. Or imagine you are punching into fire (you want to get your hands back as fast as you can to keep from getting burned.)

It just takes practice. Your body has to have the repetition of the move to develop a sort of muscle memory. If you can't go at the speed the instructor is doing for now, find your own speed: as fast as you can with good form (to train that muscle memory). Speed will come with time. You can practice punches in front of the mirror. Start slowly. Then every 10 punches or so, speed up a little. You will discover the speed at which your form starts to go.

When I first started boxing/kb, it was with some Stephanie Steele videos (anyone remember her? very dry presentation, an absolutely horrible and boring warm-up, but good form and lots of drills). The punches felt so fast to me, and I couldn't keep up. And at times I felt like I was flailing. My body didn't want to work together the way it has to to throw a punch (which isn't just an arm move, but starts with leg power being taken through the core into the upper body).

A couple of years later, I dusted off my SS videos to try them again, and I was able to go FASTER than SS with good form!

Look at instructors like Amy Bento and Cathe. Their form wasn't that good at first, and it improved. Even ultra-fit instructors needed the practice and time spent doing the moves to get better.
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Old 12-13-08, 01:52 PM  
Join Date: Feb 2007
I'll just add a few comments to the excellent advice which has already been provided.

In boxing class, the trainers teach us to do everything in slow motion at first so that we train our muscle memory. Only when we have the movements exactly right, do we speed up, but even then we're not going at full pace. It's a bit boring and frustrating, but it trains you to use good form from the start. Kathryn makes a good point about the training time needed to punch fast with good form - as our boxing classes have been cancelled until the New Year, I have been subbing Michael Olajide's Savage. In that video, Michael punches so fast, especially in the later rounds, that his hands are a blur. There's no way most home exercisers could keep up with him, but I noted that the back of the box says the workout is "professional-grade". So I have been punching at my own pace in front of a mirror and using Michael's cueing more as a motivational tool.

Bfit - if you don't do this already, I would suggest practising your punches in front of a mirror. Start off in slo-mo and up the pace only when you feel that you have the form down pat.

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