T Nation

Punching Technique


Damn, I can't see the last vid because of bs copyright claims!

The first two vids show, at least in my definition, hook type punches.
Marciano used a lot of "leaning in" to potentiate the power output of his hooks.
Most people who tend to lean much often rely on this because of poor technique and can be countered brutally by a proficient boxer.
It's often seen as a unclean brawling technique.
However, Marciano really knew how to combine his defensive movement with leaning in to increase power.

I see the main difference between hooks and overhands in the arc of attack:
Hook punches follow a somewhat horizontal curve while the overhand strike has more of diagonal character.
Since the fist travels from behind (which makes technical, boxing aficionados sneer ) and above the head, it's effectively more of a thrust because you can dodge way more easily laterally.
The overhand is often employed to maximum effect after it's reaches it's apex, contrary to about 50% of all hooks. (Technically, you could call that a downward hook and some styles -some kyokushinkai schools, for instance- even use this rather exotic punch at very close range - it looks weird with the ellbow high in the air. Not sure what to think of this)

Many of Chuck Liddell's overhand right KOs landed like that, ie they were delivered to hit during the fist's descent and they didn't travel horizontal - that's way they're not hooks in my book.
Such a blow has to be timed and placed very accuratly. You have a hard time landing this against someone who evades laterally, in contrast to hooks.

I admit that it's hard defining those things because there is a lot of groundwork to be done - classical boxing doesn't differentiate a lot of strikes!
I'm all ears to hear your take.


great development of ideas here, keep it up guys, i wish i had the patience, notion to input that same kind of knowledge.


The video was a Chuck Liddell HL.

First Disclosure: I seldom throw big looping overhand rights. I will throw short right hooks and what I was taught as an overhand right. A barely arcing right hand, not a straight, not a hook, it lands with the elbow above the fist. It is like a right hand that has just a bit more corkscrew motion added. This is a short range blow only. It works well after a lead uppercut or uppercut or forward elbow with the lead side.

I think a lot of the "hook" vs "overhand" often boils down to semantics. I am pretty quick to allow either term when someone else is trying to make a point. Regardless, I agree with you about he arc/trajectory being the qualifier. I think dipping the non-punching shoulder and landing on the downward part of the arc are key points.

I usually defer the question of what is a generic right hand/straight right vs a right hook vs an overhand to the person throwing the punch. For my own purposes I look at hooks as having little to no motion in the elbow joint once the punch begins. Overhands, straight rights, and "looping" straights/"russian hooks" do.

My point on Liddell's overhand in the video is that it is not using mechanics similar to any of those other strikes. He is using his fist as one would use a flail. I do not mean that in a pejorative sense.

Since I seem to be putting video in my posts, here is Ernie Shavers, maybe the hardest right hand in all of boxing, throwing what are either looping "straight rights" or overhand rights.


Robert A


For christ sake how is it possible that this monster was never a champion?


Shavers was a hard hitter but lacked in ring skills like lasting power and tactics. He did go the distance a few times but it takes more than a big punch to become champ...


Shavers was a hard hitter but lacked in ring skills like lasting power and tactics. He did go the distance a few times but it takes more than a big punch to become champ...


Just watched this one again on TV last night. Another example of a great overhand right KO.


Chuck always has been and always will be my favorite mma fighter with crocop at a close second. when he teaches his overhand right he talks about it being a completely vertical arc . i practiced the hell out of this and the power you can generate is unreal. the blood rushing to your hand makes it feel like it will pop. the angle makes it very hard to block and its unexpected. used it alot in sparring its much nicer with a glove.

last time i was forced into an altercation and used it ungloved thank god it only took one because my thumb broke(he talks about this being common due to angle) and my shoulder wasnt the same for a week. (not trying to sound macho or tough just saying i think its powerfull but has potential for self injury)

its fun in sparring give it a try i like to use it coming in straight with a jab from far out then angle of to my left and bury my head while throwing it. your shoulder should protect you and you keep the left hand up your in good position for a left hook to the body.


I always wondered why Fedor thew his punches like that. It makes sense now that it is a way of combining a hip toss and a punch. If you move forward you get tossed and if you move back you eat a punch. I'm about to go to work so I'm go into as much detail as I would like.

I like the move, but it does break some rules of the hook punch for generating power. In a hook punch the entire arm from the shoulder to the hand should be traveling in the same plane. In the casting couch the elbow comes above the plane because the humerus is internally rotated. The bad thing about it is you can damage the shoulder that way. Here is how.

When the Humerus is internally rotated like that two bones the Greater Tubercle on the Humerus and the Acromion (the roof of the shoulder)can pinch soft tissues between them causing impingement injuries. You are also stretching the rotator cuff muscles while hitting in a way that they are going to get violently stretched even more. so it's a good way to tear your rotaor cuff. This is why it can cause shoulder problems.

I won't say don't do the technique. But you should be aware of what you are doing and build up your power carefully so you don't destroy your shoulders. It's probably not something to repeatedly bang out on a heavy bag if you want your shoulders to stay healthy. Because of the chance of injury, it could be a risky move to use in a real fight.


Thumb injury during a hook? Try the tae kwon do fist. I find it works remarkably well for bareknuckle boxing.





There are different ways to make a fist, the way taught in tae kwon do doesn't leave the thumb hanging out.


Could you describe how to make the type of fist that you were taught? Just curious what you mean by "doesn't leave the thumb hanging out".


Neither does the way it's taught in boxing or countless other martial arts? I don't think anyone punches with their thumb sticking out.


Yeah, i guess his technique on punching must be awesome, because we all know that TKD practitioners are deadly with their HANDS


You could TKD practitioners a flamethrower and they wouldn't be deadly


not if they spinning back kick the flame thrower to your nose. That ought to do some damage.


Hey, TKD made me the fighter I am today.

Of course, it's because I got KTFO by a muay thai fighter during some spirited free sparring, and decided I liked what he was doing, but still...


hey when i first got into kick boxing one of the guys in my gym had a hell of a spinning back kick that he could set up amazingly. later i learned how he telegraphed the movement but i got nailed in the face and head with it a few times. although his back ground wasnt TKD that kick still it rattled my melon worse than any other shots ive taken to date. i respect the spinning back kick.

the side thrust kicks inappropriate uncle


But was he using the flame thrower with the spinning back kick too?