T Nation

Should I Bother Throwing Body Punches?


I've been thinking recently that body punches may be a waste of energy in a fight because 1) I can kick someone's body much faster with much more force and 2) I can throw a face punch much faster without telegraphing nearly as much than as with a body punch.

Kick the body and punch the face? Or use all parts of the body to hit all different targets on the opponent?


Kick the body, with your back leg. Once you sting him, he'll look out for it. When he's worried about your back leg, throw that lead book into his body. Use those TKD techniques, switch stances. Attack his body. Once he knows that you're gonna beat his legs and his body, his hands will drop. That's when you throw that back leg high kick to his head.

His hands will be down, he won't believe that you can possibly get your back leg around and up to his head. But of course you can! You have TKD skills like Hwoarang from Tekken. The dude will only be able to watch as you catch him out of position and crunch his coconut!

Check out Anthony Pettis highlights. Everyone knows he's going to kick them in the face. Usually, he catches them with their hands down and does it anyway.


thanks man I'll try that


Check out Cung Le vs Frank Shamrock. That fight is like the video for a Wu Tang song.


Well, I feel body punches are have a value for real.
1) Don't know under what rules you compete. If catches are allowed (MT, MMA), body kicks bring some danger. And for almost every art with full contact strikes and gloves: getting a elbow spiked into your foot, or even shin, isn't cool. But your gloves would protect your hands against his boney spikes for a great deal. At least that are my findings so far.

2) Punching his body will make him doubt where your hands are going. Face jabs set up body jabs and vice versa. You don't need to go full on body, but plant some doubt in his mind. Think of throwing a 4 shot combo, say inside low kick, cross, lead hook, outside low kick. Make it a liver hook, and chances get bigger you catch him. Besides that, it fucks with your mind if strikes are landing all over you.

3) Besides that, every body shot is one. They suck, make your hands drop, make you suck wind. Getting them in where you can seems like a good idea to me. Doubling a jab to the body, jazzing up 1-2's with one to the body, etc. You don't need to get too cute, but if you get maybe 10 in a round, you prolly note some difference after the second round.

Do whatever you feel is best, but I feel I started landing more when I started throwing my hands to the body. Good luck eiter way!


Good. That was my main concern. I want to improve my accuracy and land more hits that I throw.


As someone who has been temporally paralyzed by a hook to the liver.........yes, they can be devastating. Why would you give up a weapon in your arsenal? Always train with whatever techniques/weapons that you can. For example: Sparring/ Sport Fighting / with a short-armed, stocky, strong boxer is pure hell. No matter how good your jab, foot work, spacing, power is, (unless a quick knockout) you will eventally catch a few. Not fun and will teach you a first hand experience about the use of body punches.


You should get better at throwing body punches. The question is basically 'should I bother throwing them because I haven't taken the time to get good at them so I suck at them'. The obvious answer is you should take every opportunity to hit an opponent with something that hurts him. I also do not believe you can throw kicks to the body faster than body punches, assuming you are at the correct range to throw body punches.

Body punching range is generally not body kicking range, and the fact that you think the two are interchangeable suggests it is your technique/understanding of fight dynamics that needs work. Body punches are just another tool, and a very effective one done well. I am a big fan of punching things though, so make of it what you will.


I am a 2nd degree blackbelt in TKD and have trained for 11 years. You'd be surprised how quickly I can transition from punching to kicking range and vice-versa. Plus I have long arms and short legs, so it works to my advantage that my punching & kicking ranges aren't THAT far from each other and even overlap for certain combinations.

But yeah I'll work on my body punches. In my last fight I only punched my opponent in the face and chest. I never hit him in the stomach like I wanted to with my sweet uppercut (I love the uppercut. It's my favorite punch and I'm very powerful at it). Unfortunately, I never threw one cause I was afraid that the split second I let one side of my guard down, I would be vulnerable.

I did manage to roundhouse kick his gut quite a few times though so looking at this fight afterwards I was thinking of ways I could improve my accuracy as a fighter and land more of the attacks I throw.


Whether you throw punches or kicks to the body is going to mostly depend on range, "style" (long range "sharp shooter" vs close range "pressure fighter/slugger"), opponent's defensive tendencies, relative height differences between you and your opponent, terrain, and a host of other factors. I would still work developing your body punches though, setting them up safely (so you don't get hit), and working them into your combinations.

That said I tend to really like body kicks too, so not in any way suggesting you stop using those.


Sounds like you have a positioning problem - if you're so terrified of being open when you throw an uppercut that you're not throwing it, you're doing a much shittier job with your range than you think you are.

Uppercuts and hooks are short, circular shots meant to be thrown when you're in the trenches with a guy - uppercuts even more so because you can't really open your arm up and extend like you can with a hook. To shoot a 5 or 6 to the body, you need your footwork to move you in face-to-chest range, and you've got to get low - crouched and coiled over the lead foot and ready to turn into that shot with your bodyweight. You can't shoot that punch from an upright stance and expect it to find its target with any degree of power or regularity unless you're fighting a total scrub.

Some guys can land an uppercut from a little further away - Marquez is great at this - but by "a little further away" I mean a few inches seperated, as opposed to utter and complete infighting.

You need footwork help, my friend.


Am I understanding this? Is this a serious discussion? Whether to punch the body or not? Is there a martial art on the planet that does not endorse some sort of hand strike to the body? The phrase 'no-brainer' springs to mind!


good advice thanks


In addition to the excellent advice that Irish offered above, throwing the uppercut to the body requires proper set-up and positioning. It's not a punch that you are going to want to lead off with (unless you are forehead to chest and really clinch fighting/"dirty boxing" like Irish describes).

You need to get your opponent's arms/guard occupied, preferably cut an angle, and first draw his attention "upstairs" before shooting the uppercut in "downstairs". It can also be set-up by forcing them to defend "outside" then shooting a quick uppercut "inside between their elbows. It can also be used as an effective set-up punch for a hook to the head or clearing/strapping hook. So just like any other punch sometimes throwing it for maximal speed and minimal commitment and sometimes throwing it more for power can keep your opponent's timing off and increase your chances of landing things while decreasing your chances of getting countered.


Short story to illustrate why I think body punches are definitely useful and effective:

In my first stint at martial arts training, I had the opportunity to spar (only punches to the body) with a 160 lb low-level pro kickboxer. While training, I would often wear a Desert Storm-era t shirt that had Saddam Hussein's face on the chest, with crosshairs overlaid on top. The bullseye sat right over the bottom of my sternum. Needless to say, every time I sparred with this guy, he would incessantly pound that bullseye like he was going to win a prize. I swear he'd tag me there at least 3 times a round. To this day, those are the most painful punches I've ever been hit with. It felt like getting stabbed and having the wind knocked out of you at the same time. That experience clearly demonstrated the power of body blows to me.

I've heard liver shots can be worse, but I've never felt one so I can't confirm.


Absolutely. Ill take a clean shot to the nose than the liver any day. high level guys mix everything up, legs body and head with knees kicks and hands.


Liver shots definitely worse. Sternum punches suck the air out of you like you noticed (i want to say the jab to the solar plexus is one of the most underrated punches ever) but liver shots take the fight right out of the toughest of men.

I've never been knocked down or out by a head shot in sparring or fights, but I've been stopped by liver shots in sparring more than a few times. You get hit, get that initial impact feeling and just when you're getting ready to come back at the guy BOOM you feel it and you go down on a knee if you're lucky. If you're not lucky, you do the de la hoya rolling on the ground, eyes in the back of your head, pain blotting out reality hahaha


Absolutely. The Diaphram (which is what you are affecting with a punch to the Solar Plexus) is also a voluntary muscle which can be contracted forcefully, thus protecting (at least partially) against impact. The Liver on the other hand is a made up of smooth muscle (which cannot be controlled voluntarily) and therefore cannot be protected to the same degree.

You can strengthen the external voluntary muscles (obliques, Serratus, etc...) and pull your ribs together to form a better protective covering. But if someone knows how to "penetrate" with their punches/strikes you're going to feel the shots anyways.


I believe they can be very beneficial


100% agree with this - Got done quite a few times sparring with this guy that was like a fucking Hobbit that hit like you were being hooked and body bashed by a sledgehammer. There's no where to hide and if your not conditioned appropriately that shit wears you down.

Interesting thread guys, enjoying it

Nice one