Karate punch mechanics vs boxing punch

Discussion in 'Karate' started by KidEspi, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    I tried doing a search here, but didn't find anything directly on point. I did find an article by fish of doom, but I have to admit that I didn't understand it very well.

    I'm confused about the differences between karate punches and boxing punches. I'm a low level belt in isshinryu and have taken some Shotokan as well. In those arts, I was taught to keep the shoulders square when punching, the power seems to come from the forward movement. When there isn't any forward movement, the the power seems to come from the shoulders and lats, but it doesn't seem to be as powerful as a boxing punch with full shoulder, hip rotation.

    To add to my confusion, I picked up Iain Abernethy's applied karate dvd. His karate punches look very close to boxing punches! I also found a blog called 'way of least resistance' which has an entry saying that there is a difference between the two punches. A karate punch has less force than a boxing punch, but that is by design to leave fewer openings when attacking or countering.

    Finally, there seems to be a difference between the reverse punches of shotokan and isshinryu. Shotokan has hip, shoulder turn but Isshinryu doesn't. It's power seem to still come from forward movement.

    Can anyone take a stab at explaining this a little? Do these punches have different purposes, ie a knock-out vs not getting hit? Is an isshinryu punch just an "arm punch"?
  2. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Not all arts punch the same, and there are any number of reasons for this.

    This is Kimura from Shukokai


    The often posted (usually by me) Pete C from the same system


    The almighty Bas Rutten


    The hammer-handed Chuck Liddell

  3. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    A punch is a punch. The only major difference I can think of is that boxing punches tend to come from higher up, as the boxing guard tends to be very high compared to the karate guard. Certainly, using force from the hip is definitely not a boxing thing - it's very heavily emphasised in every karate class I've been to.

    Similarly, saying that a boxing punch generates more force than a karate punch sounds somewhat strange. Mike Tyson can certainly punch with more force than me, I would imagine, but he's a very large guy. I don't know whether it would be the case if you matched completely for physical strength and used only technique.

    There may also be difference in the choice of punches and combinations thrown. For example, roundhouse/hook punches tend to be more difficult when you're not wearing large gloves as it's an awkward rotation of the arm to make contact with the knuckles, so they're a bit rarer in karate.
  4. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    There is only the "right way" and "wrong way". There isn't "your way" or "my way". All punching power come from bottom and up, back and front. As long as your body can be functioned as a single unit that all body parts move at the same time, and all body part stop at the same time, your

    - hand coordinate with your foot,
    - elbow coordinate with your knee, and
    - your shoulder coordinate with your hip,

    you are doing the right way, otherwise, you are doing the wrong way.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  5. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    Hannibal's videos describe exactly what I'm getting at. There seems to be disagreement between the three of you though.

    So, if there are differences in punching mechanics, then why the difference. The way of least resistance blog states that there is a difference because the desired results are different. In boxing, you want a knockout. Karate is a system of civilian self defense. The goal isn't a knockout, it is to not get hurt.

    I'm not advocating a position here, I'm just trying to understand what is going on.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  6. cloystreng

    cloystreng Valued Member

    I disagree. Within the confines of the "right way" aka physical timing correctness, there are other aspects that can be changed. Where does the punch come from. How far does the shoulder travel. What does the other side do? What to do with the knees.

    There is more than one right way.

    SPIKE THE RAVEN Valued Member

    I have been told in some karate classes to keep my back foot planted during a reverse punch,rather than rising up on to the ball of my foot.Never could do that,just doesn't feel "right",or as powerful..
  8. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    I was doing some searching on youtube. looks like the goju ryu version of seisan kata has the same kind of punches that are used in isshinryu. Mechanics appear to be totally different from a boxing punch. Any idea on why?
  9. Simon

    Simon Moved on. Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I have always said that when in punching range you should punch like a boxer. All of my teaching is based around punching like a boxer.

    I think the mechanics allow the boxers to punch harder than anyone else, but I recently went against Bassai, a Karate guy, who hit me with a karate punch and shook me to my roots, so much so I had to stop and was visibly shaking.

    Make of that what you will.
  10. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    Having boxed for quite some time as well as being a student of karate, I have to say that like any good system many of the principles are the same, it's just the teaching of those principles that vary. Obviously boxers are going to have better hands than a karateka, as they spend all their time punching. However, the two are closely related. Like anything else though, as you gain experience you will slowly come into your own particular punching style which will work for you. Give it time. If you have competent instruction I'm sure you'll be punching fairly hard before you know it.
  11. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I'll go out on a limb and say that the mechanics are the same between boxing and karate for punching. I will qualify this by saying that there are many different principles involved in a punch and emphasis on one more than another principle has to do with specialization and context/culture.

    First addressing specialization. Boxing specialized much into what works when wearing gloves and hand wraps. If instead, you went towards bare knuckle boxing, you might find it is much closer to how things are done in karate. Such as less closed fist striking to the head, perhaps open hand strikes to the head (e.g. slap boxing), and more emphasis on hitting with the two big knuckles on body shots. Many powerful boxing punches would be more limited due to them hitting too hard and causing injury to the puncher... such as overhand rights to the head in bare knuckle boxing would not be a recommended punch due to the higher risk of self-injury.

    So the first part about boxing specialization is that one can train to hit harder and emphasize those elements for hard hitting due to hand protection and wrist wraps. Bare knuckle boxing would be closer to karate.

    Karate specialized in many ways into competition as well. You will see some striking like it is a game of tag. You will also see those in full contact karate that are not prepared for striking to the head or getting struck in the head in karate.

    As for karate and bare knuckle boxing being similar. When you start adding in clinching, kicks, grabs, throws, head butts, etc... I really don't see the punches being all that different. In all cases, punching is done on the move, both feet move, the body is aligned...

    The context/cultural differences between boxing and karate are also significant. Karate is mainly based on "structural-based" training, but boxing is mainly based on "experienced-based" training. Long story short, in karate, you do many things to build proper structure, but these things you do not do in a real fight. For instance, chambering punches is not used in a real fight unless you are elbowing someone behind you. But the training of chambered punches could be used to build the structure of keeping elbow down/in and developing the tendons along the back for punching power. Also important, not telegraphing your punches.

    Definitely structure is important in boxing too, but boxing is more like individualized, more learning based on hands on experience and trial and error. IME.
  12. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    In the Kimura video above, he has a very pronounced cocking of his shoulder. Are you saying that this is just for training purposes? It does look look like it would be a bad telegraph.

    I've read that bare knuckle boxers didn't hit really hard to the head for fear of breaking their hands, but I've also read that the chance of breaking your hands are slim if using the proper mechanics.

    Those mechanics are different from modern boxing punches which are designed for gloves and wraps. This stuff is confusing!
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Keeping the back foot planted is not necessary, IMHO.

    In my experience the key factor is not to be on the ball of you rear foot if you straighten you rear leg on a reverse punch. What does straightening the rear leg do? By straightening the rear leg, it drives the hip forward, adding speed and power to the punch. If when you first start to straighten the rear leg, if you are on the ball of your foot, this puts a lot of stress on your achilles tendon and is a good way as you get older to rupture your achilles tendon.

    If however your heel is on the ground, there is less stress on the achilles tendon and much safer way to transfer the power through the hip. Alternatively, you could have your leg in the air like in a superman punch and get a similar power by leaning forward and kicking back.

    Just no ball of foot only when straightening the rear leg on reverse punch.

    If the target is further away, immediately after the hip comes forward, you can bend the rear leg or in other words, you can be on the ball of your foot after your hip is forward.

    In boxing, you can skip the straightening of the leg to bring the hip forward by taking a step (could be a very hard to see step of just a few inches), and being on the ball of your rear/pivot foot. The use of the pivot foot helps emphasize torso rotation into the power of the punch, with the hips remaining relaxed.

    You can combine the two. Look at the reverse punch by Mas Oyama around 21-23 seconds in this clip. It combines the straightening of the rear leg to drive the hip forward, and coming on to the ball of the rear foot to pivot for torso rotation power. It looks kind of different than if each was done separately because the combination brings the pivot foot forward with the torso rotation.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FteS-NxwXsA"]Mas Oyama Video Clips - YouTube[/ame]
  14. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    Sorry, newb double post
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  15. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    With Kimura watch his hips. You will notice he drives into his punches and makes no attempt to keep his weight back or "grounded" - principally because it restricts your power generation
  16. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Yes, that is for training and demonstation purposes. As Hannibal says, look at the hips. Notice that Kimura's elbows do not go behind the hips. When his elbow goes back, the hips move back so that the elbow is never behind the hips. The shoulder going back is just a result of how far the elbow and hips go back.

    This movement could be considered a telegraph because it is a more pronounced movement, but you have to define what telegraphing is. Telegraphing is meant to mean, wasted movement that gives away your intentions, IMHO. There is little to no wasted movement in what Kimura does so I would not call that telegraphing. Telegraphing making one more predictable.

    It is confusing, I guess the way I would describe it is that Kimura is moving to be in position to punch, from that position there is little or no telegraphing of the punch. Alternatively, if a person thinks about a punch and in the act of trying to punch then move into the position to punch, then that can be telegraphing. An example of telegraphing is your head always leans forward before you throw your punch... so every time you throw a punch, it is preceded first by your head coming forward.

    I think you will see more open hand strikes to the head in bare knuckle boxing. The punches to the head will not be less powerful, just more rare and the selection of what punches to use will be different. The more risky the punch is, the more rare... like long ranged hooks and overhand rights will be much more rare in bare knuckle boxing because these technique hit with a lot of power, more than say a right cross.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  17. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    This is a bit of BKB footage from recent times - it is scrappy and often bears little resemblance to MQ rules

  18. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Lol Paddy got hammered. Give him credit for not giving up though.
  19. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Notice the wrist support and knuckle protection :evil:
  20. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The principle and general guideline should be all the same. Whether you want to punch with your Santi stance (30-70), 4-6 stance (40-60), horse stance (50-50), bow-arrow stance (70-30), monkey stance (80-20), or even golden rooster stance(100-0), it just adapts to different situation by using the same principle.


    - MT round house kick be different from TKD roundhouse kick?
    - Judo hip throw be different from Shuai Jiao hip throw?
    - Aikido wrist lock be different from eagle claw wrist lock?
    - boxing punch be different from Karate punch?

    That's how I feel too. If you have cross trained boxing, Karate, Kung Fu, ... it will be very difficult for you to apply boxing punch on Monday, Karate punch on Tuesday, and Kung Fu punch on Wednesday. So what will you do when that happen? You will punch "your way - the right way" and not boxing way, Karate way, or Kung Fu way.

    When you eat salad, fish, and potato, it will be mixed in your stomatch no matter you like it or not.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

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