A Quick Look At Various Punching Techniques
While you might not see much in the way of punching techniques in a barroom brawl, there definitely is an art to delivering a punch that will do the job it is intended to. Most of the time when we think of punching techniques, we think of those a boxer uses, not only techniques employed against an opponent, but techniques used on the speed bag or heavy bag, techniques which are slightly different.
Punching techniques used by bare knuckle fighters are somewhat different than those used by boxers who wear hand wraps or gloves. Boxers not only know how to use proper technique, but having their hands wrapped not only offers a measure of protection to the opponent (less chance of suffering a cut) but provides protection to the punching hand as well. Boxers rarely break a hand or wrist, something street fighters and bar room brawlers do much more frequently. Bare knuckle fighters, those who fight as a sport, use slightly different techniques, and cannot use the same repertoire of punches a boxer can, as some types of punches, such as long range hooks could do more damage to the hand (breaking the wrist) than to the opponent.
Karate Punches - Karate fighters use primarily straight punches, somewhat akin to an exaggerated jab, while employing a snap of the hips as the punch is launched. Karate fighters used bare hands so rarely throw a hook, with the possible exception of a short range hook where the angle of the hand and wrist are such as to lessen the chances of injury. In place of a hook the karate expert will slash with the knife edge of the hand, usually the outside edge, but the inside edge, employing the side of the knuckle of the index finger can also be used to deliver a powerful blow. A knife-edge blow to the right spot is a potentially lethal punch. Another karate punch is a back of the hand blow, where the fist is launched by slinging the forearm out towards one side rather than straight ahead, and striking the opponent with the knuckles, a very powerful blow that most opponents do not expect.
Boxers however, have developed the science of punching into a true art form. In fact, boxing is sometimes described as the sweet science. While there always will be the occasional brawler who shows up in the ring, even those boxers categorized as punchers, who wade right in and seldom back down spend a great deal of time working on their punching techniques, or they wouldn't last long in the ring.
Jab, Cross, And Hook - Except for the flea-flicker type of jab, designed to keep an opponent off balance and at a distance, punching techniques usually involve hand speed, power from the legs and hips, and rotation of the wrist such that the knuckles strike the target at the correct angle, not only to deliver maximum power, but to protect the wrist as well. In the jab, the hips do not play a major role, as the arm is already set or cocked, and the jab consists merely of extending the forearm. In the cross or straight punch, the shoulders and upper body or torso come into play, as energy is imparted to the punch by the rotating motion of the shoulders and the torso. A hook is essentially launched from the back foot, with energy transferred from the foot up through the hips and shoulders to the fist. Each of these types of punches exhibit quite different punching techniques, all of which a fighter must master. Roadwork and strategy are important parts of boxing as well, but would be next to useless in most cases if proper punching techniques are not first mastered.