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Hook punch, vertical or horizontal?

After my recent post at TDA Training, Video: MCMAP Punches - Tan, I received a great comment from Dojo Rat:

Very nice form, but I have a question:
I use a vertical fist of the hook-- you are using a horizontal fist, as do other boxers I have seen.
Any thoughts? I am much more comfortable with a near-vertical fist in the hook, at least.
D.R.

Which I answered:

Thanks DR. I will post on the hook punch for everyone, with video explanation. For MCMAP, I am trying to do everything strictly from the curriculum, and I think that's what they use (I'll double-check for you). I do find that the vertical fist is generally better because it keeps your elbow down, thereby using more of the lats, which supply most of the power with the hip torque. Using a horizontal fist is necessary versus a taller opponent, though, as some experimentation will probably show. I am in the vertical hook camp, though.
Good eye, there, DR. Methinks you are much sharper when you're off the bloody mary IV! :-)

Illustrated below:

10 comments:

  1. Sorry for the short notice. Thanks for agreeing to jump in and post something in my absence. I've been thinking to have a guest blogger 1-2 times per month. Hopefully I can get the next one some better advance notice.

    As always, I got a kick out of your perspectiveon your post here. Aiki guys and judo guys to some degree ignore the potential of the hook punch but it's a good thing to get some additional understanding of things that the attacker could potentially use against you.

    I especially liked the video. It is one thing to be able to express oneself in writing but to be able to express in a video/audio medium, demonstrate a concept, and describe the theoretical underpinnings, is a more advanced communication skill.

    Thanks again, Nathan.

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  2. I don't agree that the vertical punch is done for power. The objective for both punches are to deliver sufficient power in which to hurt the opponent. So this is not a very good way to distinguish both fists.

    I think the distinction is that the vertical punch is driven off by the "lats" and a torque-ing motion, as was highlighted. The power generation here is either hip twist or linear lunging. The tightness of the lats allows the transmission of such power through the arm. Our lunging punch for instance requires the punch to corkscrew very close to centre-line in order that the skeletal frame is in line to deliver the power of the legs to the fist.

    The horizontal punch however is used at the beginning stages to teach shoulder rotation. Again, there is power, but the power is generated more so from massive shoulder rotation from a standing stance than the previous vertical fist punch. So there is no tightening of the lats. The torque-ing motion is there, but is predominantly from the shoulders first.

    There are of course some benefits to both. The horizontal fist by it's very nature allows the user to crest the oppponent's shoulder and strike a head high target. The vertical fist is more difficult to spot and might hit the opponent while he's distracted trying to strike you first.

    Good post!

    Colin

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  3. Thanks for the invitation, Pat. I was short of time over the weekend, too, but didn't want to leave a friend high and dry. I figure I can ambush you back at some point! :-)
    Interesting point on the Aiki and Judo guys - it's actually a prevalence (less so nowadays) with Japanese/Okinowan MA in general. The thrusting style of striking seems to predominate (see one-step), and most forms. There is a topfist strike, but it's uncommon. What you see now, though, is an embracing of boxing as a complimentary style to most arts, I think, that emphasize striking. Those that don't at least learn to defend boxing do so to their detriment, or that of their students.

    Colin:
    Thanks for the thougtful reply. I'm not sure we're on the same page, regarding the fist position, though. With regard to the hook punch itself, my personal reasoning (as detailed in the basement dojo video), is that the vertical fist keeps the elbow down as long as possible, and improves power. As a striking surface, though, some styles (Wing Chun and Isshin-Ryu) tend to almost exclusively use a vertical fist, but for different reasons than power. I am going to post about this.

    Best regards,

    Nathan Teodoro

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  4. Nathan, I'll try to keep a post or two in reserve for when you do ambush me back. Reminds me of the Pink Panther.

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  5. With regard to the hook punch itself, my personal reasoning (as detailed in the basement dojo video), is that the vertical fist keeps the elbow down as long as possible,

    We may be talking about different things, especially given that my post talks about the fist in relation to stuff from my beginner syllabus. But you are right, the vertical fist keeps the elbow and lats tight to the body. My disagreement was not so much that there is more or less power - it is how that power is generated. I reckon for the vertical fist, more power is generated largely from movements in the lower part of the body. The horizontal fist has more coming from the upper body. Of course the entire body supports the strike, but it is a good distinction for beginners. Thanks for taking the effort for the video and the reply! Cheers! Colin

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  6. Hi Pat and Nathan, sorry for the late reply.
    I basicly agree with Nathan, but I have pretty much dumped the horizontal fist. I feel it could cause a wrist injury if the wrist buckles, and agree with the lats and triceps driving the punch in vertical form.
    For hitting tall people, or for reaching around the head to the Gallbladder points on the back of the head, Internal arts also use a completely inverted fist (thumb down), as in Tai Chi Chuan "Hit Tiger". This strike comes from the back hooking foward, thumb down knuckles striking the occipital perturberance on the back of the skull. No need to say what that does...

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  7. "For hitting tall people, or for reaching around the head to the Gallbladder points on the back of the head, Internal arts also use a completely inverted fist (thumb down), as in Tai Chi Chuan "Hit Tiger"."

    I don't think that strike is specifically to hit tall people. It describes the maximum rotational parameter (what a mouthful) for a roundhouse type punch (basically you raise your elbow to horizontal for the roundhouse punch and raise it more so that your fist is inverted). You could have your neck grabbed from the side and bent over and use this against the opponent's groin, irrespective of how tall he is. I like this punch a lot.

    Colin

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  8. DR or Colin: Do you have any footage or links to an example of that strike ("Internal arts also use a completely inverted fist (thumb down), as in Tai Chi Chuan "Hit Tiger". This strike comes from the back hooking foward, thumb down knuckles striking the occipital perturberance on the back of the skull.")? DR- perhaps a video of you doing this to someone? :-D

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  9. Nathan, I'll try to get a video up when I can, it's a good idea--
    D.R.

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  10. DR, maybe you'd like to guest-post your video here at Mokuren Dojo since that seems to be where most of this conversation has taken place???

    let me know if you'd like to do that...

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