Hook Punch questions

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by aaradia, May 29, 2019.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    A discussion with a co-worker has me wondering about hook punches. He throws them differently than I have been taught. I have a couple of questions for how you all throw them.

    I got home and looked up video's and see conflicting information on the first question, and so far nothing on the second one.

    1. (I am talking about thumb up hooks here.) Do you have a slight bend/ curl or is your wrist completely straight? Why?

    2. What is your weight distribution - front to back leg - when throwing a lead hook. Again, why?
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  2. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    You discuss hook punches at work? :)
  3. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Haha! Yes. One of my co-workers is also a martial artist. He mostly does grappling now, but has experience in striking. He trains at a gym down here where some professional fighters have trained. One of his coaches fought (and lost) to Mighty Mouse. He has never fought MMA matches, that is just his training background. He has told me, but I forget the name of his gym.
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  4. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Ooh the chance for another video.

    That is unless someone else puts their thoughts onto film. :)

    I'll try and get a reply back later after work and caring for the sick. :eek:
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  5. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    1) prefer throwing tight hooks so a straight line from elbow to knuckles it seems more mechanically and structurally sound. If I'm throwing a wider hook I prefer palm down hooks this allowed as me to keep the same alignment.
    2) weight transfer is from front leg to back, pivoting on the front toes to drive the weight through the hips and into the back leg.

    Even on body shots and really short hooks this weight movement from front to back happens even if it's just a slight push and pivot off the front leg.
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  6. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I might give it a go.
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  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Presuming a hook to your own head height, try this:

    Cup your non-punching hand around the bottom of your shoulder blade. Get your fist to the point of perceived impact of your hook punch. Feel what happens to the muscles there when you move your elbow from straight to slightly angled down, and from forward so that the wrist is straight to slightly behind so there is a slight curve in the wrist. It should be obvious which gives you the best structural connection to your trunk.

    As icefield said, there is a push from the rear leg, or to the opposite leg if front-on, but that is to drive the rotation around the axis of the spine. Leaning will take power out of that rotation, as well as bring you off balance forward and more open to counters.

    Of course, any and all combinations of movement may be appropriate given the right context. Leaning back while doing a hook, raising the elbow to get over an obstruction, etc. etc...
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  8. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I have experimented with hooks loads and could never get the "palm/thumb down" hook to feel right. If I throw it I have to be bang on with placement and angle or else it tweaks my wrist (I feel I probably have a tendency to curve the strike too much which is the source of it).
    As such I tend to throw the palm in/thumb up hook for the most part. It feels much more forgiving of mistakes to me.
    I will, depending on which bit of the bag/person I'm hitting, angle, intent, guard, etc, curl the fist in a bit.
    Mainly to make sure I'm hitting primarily with the main knuckles or landing around a guard/elbow on the curved ribs and still landing with a good fist (rather than hitting with the second knuckles first).
    It also feels more like I'm "ripping" through the body/bag with a bit of curl (one name for a hook also being a "rip").

    But much like almost everything...if you can make it work and it has good effect that's more important than adhering to some sort of purity or style point imho.

    Depends on what led up to throwing the hook I think. A check hook has the weight going back or away at an angle. If the hook is thrown after a cross then the weight is loaded on the lead leg and violently whirled onto the back leg. Floyd Patterson used to throw a gazelle punch/leaping hook where almost both feet were off the floor with no weight on at all (but all the weight going into the hook of course)!
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  9. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    You've just had me in the living room checking this out

    1. Slight bend in the wrist thumb up, but this is something that has developed over time, certainly not the way i was taught. I think i throw it straighter more aligned when doing padwork, but arch it in ever so slightly when sparring. This is not true with my rear hook which is more aligned. Personal preference is all i can say.
    2. When throwing a lead hook after a cross, weight is ever slightly forward transferring/rotating back much as Icefield described it, same with a hook following a lead or rear uppercut. When throwing the hook after the jab with the same hand my weight is going forward.
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  10. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I think Icefield nailed it and hopefully this video puts his word into pictures.

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  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Oops. Got to work on that learning to read thing. I was talking about weight transfer for a rear hook.
    I agree. It also keeps the elbow closer to the core, giving better transfer of that rotational force. It only takes a tiny bit, between 5 and 10 degrees. Turning the fist more horizontal happens with reach - whether longer range or a taller opponent.

    Sorry to nitpick, Simon, but your video illustrates this perfectly. See how much of your second (even third?) knuckles are visible in the first picture, and how far through the path of the punch until they wouldn't hit the target. I guess in boxing that doesn't matter much because of the gloves?
    Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 21.55.50.png Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 22.12.58.png
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  12. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Sort of regretting saying I'd do it but I did it:

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  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio


    That's what I'm talking about :D

    Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 22.23.39.png
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  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Thanks for a very interesting discussion everyone. Especially thanks to PiP and Simon for the video's. I have been watching other video's on the Internet as well. And I played with some hooks in sparring class yesterday. Particularly when we were holding striking shields for each other and doing rounds.

    My biggest question still is what sort of weight distribution does one tend to have at the end of a lead hook punch? My co-worker had said one should have 90% weight on the back leg at the end, but I have been taught a much more even weight distribution. Still shifting weight back, but not as much as he does. I didn't like the feel of shifting back as much as he does.

    I talked to my instructor and he talked about variable factors that would make that decision. That he could see a bigger weight shift back in a Muay Thai influenced striking style (like my co-worker). He said that putting more weight than 10% at the end has more power, but it is a trade off with mobility and protecting that front leg from kicks. My instructor also talked about the style of kicks influencing the end weight distribution. This is a hard one to explain without showing. But that the defense against an instep lift to the knee joint, which is more common in CLF, is different than a roundhouse kick to the meaty part of the thigh. And that this influences how far back you shift. Like I said, I am not good at explaining things with only words sometimes. So I am not sure it makes sense, but it did when my instructor explained it.

    So, I played with it in sparring class and I decided I should shift back more than I have been, but not as much as my co-worker does. I got more whipping action with a little more shift than I had been doing. I need to play with it more on a bag to really get a feel for it better. It also depended, like PiP said. The angle at which I was coming into my target made a difference.

    I don't know if it exists in other CLF schools, but I have never been taught the thumb sideways or a little bit down hook. We always do thumb up. I think it is because when we get to the thumb down, especially for higher targets, we tend to use Sow Choi strikes instead?

    I have also seen in my research that it is like several here said, that the slight hook or totally straight wrists is a matter of personal preference. There certainly seems to be no consensus overall. I have usually had the slight bend, and it feels good to me. But I noticed that in closer hooks, I had it totally straight in my last class.

    Again, I am going to play with it on a bag tomorrow. It is hard, because I can't hit full power on a bag due to my chronic thumb tendinitis. But I shouldn't have to hit full power to get a better feel for my mechanics.

    I realized that I really don't think I actually throw a lot of hooks overall. When I do, it tends to be the "shovel hook." I think this is leftover from a critique my long time instructor had when watching students hit the bags at my school. She would comment on how people overemphasized hooks and didn't focus enough on throwing straight punches. She also didn't like how people tended to go for fancy spinning stuff and not enough basic kicks. Or only shin roundhouse kicks and never enough longer range ball of foot roundhouses. So, I think I focused on the other things, because of my instructor. I did all punches, but focused on some more than others. For round punches, I tended to do more Sow Choi/s and Gwa's and Kup Choi's. But I do know how to throw the straight punches and now it is time to think more and focus on a bigger variety.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  15. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I like the fact you are experimenting and that is the answer.

    While you may have to work within the constraints of your system it's also important you make the move your own.

    Some are stronger, some faster, some better balanced and so on and this is what makes the move unique to each of us.

    I tell my students, "once you know the rules you can break the rules."

    In other words you understand the components that go into a hook, so can teach it to a beginner, but it isn't necessarily how you do it.
  16. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Yeah Simon, that seems to be a theme with me this year. I guess I am adapting a more "advanced student" mind set. In that I am listening to my instructors, but taking more initiative to find answers that work for me and not just following them in what they say. I should say that my instructors have always encouraged this, but I can be a little complacent in this way.

    The first major thing this year was something I wrote about in my log. I decided the mental approach I had been told to go in with to a match in tournament just did NOT work for me. I was trying to be something that I am just not in my heart and soul. I don't want to veer this thread off track, so I won't get into more details. But I think that was the first time I actually purposefully 95% discarded something I had been taught.

    And that is the thing. I am finding that the answer isn't "do it this way." It is "do it this way if you want this, do it that way if your emphasis is this, do it this way because it works with your body better." There are basics that are right or wrong, but the variety of how to do it the "right" way is vaster than I thought about.
  17. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Weight distribution can be anything you want it to be. If you're throwing a left hook you will almost always start with weight on your left foot and transfer it to your right foot. How much is entirely up to you.

    Knuckle turning over I find is completely dependent on how far away someone is. The further away they are the more my hand has to turn over for me to hit them with my knuckle and also to maintain power. If someone is far away when you're throwing a hook you will be thumbs down. You could stay thumbs up but you lose a lot of power by forcing your wrist to be unnaturally bent.

    Lastly knuckle alignment. I've taken some pictures to show what it should look like:

    In the first picture you see my wrist not being aligned with my knuckles. This is your natural position when you make a fist. You have to train it constantly to make it second nature and look like the second image. It's very small detail but the power generation is very different. Aligning your knuckles and wrist means that when you hit there is no buckle when you make contact. More essential in MMA and no-glove rules than it is in boxing (depending on your style of boxing).

    Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

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  18. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I stink at technical explanations but this should transcend that. This is one of the best hook punchers in the history of human fighting, and this is what it looks like a split second before he strikes.

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  19. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    This is a cool subject, I've been looking through old stills for good hook moments. How about this Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali classic. Whoever said "rip" before is on point, and you can see why it has that signature here. It's not so much like the jab/cross/overhand strike, as it is a sort of snatch at the head. As the Tyson image above showed, if your opponent is buried in their guard, they are not going to know what hit them with a well timed hook, and I think this one below with Frazier/Ali shows how far of a reach great boxers can "rip" with hooks. You don't even need to hit their head, their jaw is enough. :)


    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  20. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    That top shot of Joe Frazier shows great form and spot-on targeting.
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