Karate punch mechanics vs boxing punch

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

  1. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    I think this is spot on, you don't see this in modern sports boxing. I think that a lot of the historical bare knuckle boxing researchers/practitioners are well aware of it though.
  2. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    @rebel wado:


    top row is what i think you're describing, bottom row is what i do (with the big rear leg lunge as in suri-ashi). thoughts?
  3. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    That's very good picture indeed. Did you draw that yourself?

    The difference is whether you want to coordinate your straight punch with your leading leg, or with your back leg. If you coordinate your punch with your

    1. leading leg, you "spring in" from your back leg, "land" your leading foot, and punch at the same time. At this moment, your back leg may still be in the air and have not landed from your spring yet.
    2. back leg, you "step in" your front leg, kick back your back leg into the ground, borrow the counter force from the ground, transfer your force from your back leg heel, back leg, hip, waist, back, shoulder, arm, and all the way to your fist.

    In combat, speed is everything. The 2nd way is like "step in and kick (2 steps process)". The 1st way is like "jump kick (1 step process)". Since 1 is always better than 1, 2, the 1st method (falling step) is always better than the 2nd method. In most of the TCMA system, the back step punch coordination is considered as "beginner level traing" and the leading step punch coordination is considered as "intermediate level training". This way a student can achieve both through his progress.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  4. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Well put
  5. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    one thing that can be done using the lunge, that's even more (quote, un-quote) "advanced" than drop-stepping, is initiating the entire movement as you lift either leg, and which in turn leaves you a small window to use the subsequent drop step for something else. i'd say that both the methods in my drawing are "step in kick", and it's actually this one that's "jump kick".
  6. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The smaller the window, the more power that can be generated in small period of time. I like to use the following drill to train my "falling step" (since everybody is using this term now).

    - touch both legs together,
    - bend both legs,
    - put both hands on the right side waist,
    - jump in with both legs with left leg forward, and right leg behind,
    - pull left hand to the left side waist (this will give a body rotation),
    - punch out right fist when left foot land.
  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Nice diagram FoD.

    It still seems that even though we all agree that there are different methods to generate power in punching, and we all agree that these different ways can be combined. I think I am getting that my exclusive use of the "falling step" as a particular technique is causing confusion.

    In order, however, to compare boxing punches to karate punches, we do need some common language to go from. Perhaps these terms for power generating methods could be used rather than some of the previous terms.

    1) Leaning forward to generate power (this previously was called "falling")

    2) Launching forward to generate power (this previously was called "springing")

    3) Torso/Shoulder twisting to generate power (this previously was called "shoulder whirl"). Due to the nature of using a pivot foot with torso rotation, this method most often includes a weight shift to take weight off of the pivot foot and on to the other foot.

    4) Hip forward to generate power (this previously was called "surging upward")

    All punches use at least 2 of the above methods for power generation.

    In addition, we have these components to power generation.

    Pivot points, body alignment (sharper triangles), weight shift, timing, striking surface (weapon), target surface (what is getting hit), angle (is it a solid hit or glancing blow), mass of body, extension (are you hitting on the sweet spot of the power or over extended or jammed), and more but I need to stop somewhere.

    So does the karate lunge punch include leaning? I can think of two tests for this, either are you leaning forward like a fencer's lunge or are you falling forward like when you take a step forward. Either of these would count for this method. However, in all cases, the transfer of the force goes into the target before all the force can be absorbed into the ground.

    So does the karate lunge punch include launching forward? I can think of two tests for this, either is the rear foot is acting like a spring board (you do not shift weight to it but just allow it to jolt you forward) or is the rear foot pushing to drive you forward (a push is driving forward but involves a weight shift to the rear foot as the push begins, followed by a shift of the weight to the front foot). IMHO, when in a boxer's stance, the push off the rear foot when on the ball of your rear foot (heel up) is very dangerous, but the spring board off the rear foot it safer. The push off rear foot puts a lot of strain on the achilles tendon). However, there probably is a good balance between push and spring, such as in the fencer's lunge, but note the different foot position that fencers use during the lunge.

    So does the karate lunge punch use shoulder/torso twisting for power? The test of this is generally, if the technique involves a pivot foot coordinated with torso twisting. Also some form of a weight shift is most of the time involved with using a pivot foot.

    So does the karate lunge punch use hip forward power from the ground up? This is a tough one to test because people associate this with uppercuts only, so maybe the test is to see if the same punch (whether straight or hooking) could work as an uppercut too. So same body mechanics of your punch but throw it as an uppercut instead and see if it feels the same.

    IMHO, karate lunge does use the hip forward power from the ground up and the launch forward. There is also a limited use a torso twisting, throwing in the shoulder for power with the rotation of the hand. The amount of power from leaning is not seen in basics as the front foot hits the ground before the fist hits and the body is kept upright.

    Now, as some have pointed out, the fist hits slightly before the foot hits the ground in some karate schools and I have seen this with some karateka. This would use leaning/falling. This, unfortunately, was taught to me as supplemental training in karate, well after whitebelt.. hence my belief that it is not emphasized in karate basics as much as the hip forward power generation. IME.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  8. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i say the karate punch can include any of those, because the specific aspects of the karate punch are simply structural/force vector cues. different styles also have different power generation cues (and even different lineages within the same style). karate punches can hit with leaning or with an erect posture, can hit launching or hit on the spot, can hit with or without overtly twisting at the torso and with or without vertical movement of the hips, and they can hit in conjunction with either foot, before landing with either foot, or without displacing or rotating either foot.
  9. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Yes, but then how can we compare boxing punches to karate punches?

    It isn't as if people don't see them as different. No matter how we can say a punch is just a punch (meaning all punches are a combination of the same principles in action), we still can see differences in punching techniques.

    The heel to the ground with karate punches, IME, is associated with hip forward (upward surging) power. Is this then the main focus of generating power in most karate punches? The use of a pivot foot in boxing, IME, is associated with torso twisting power. Is this then the main focus of generating power in most boxing punches?

    Can we actually discuss the differences between karate and boxing punches?
  10. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    yes we can, i did it 6 pages back: http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1074607068&postcount=28
  11. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    It seems to me that this is the main difference between boxing mechanics and karate mechanics. But I don't think that any of the karate power generation videos presented in this thread address this.

    Iain Abernethy's practical karate dvd deals a lot with limb control. He says that one hand should always be in contact with the opponent, either to grasp a limb to prevent it from hitting you or to set a point of reference for strikes. He calls it datum setting. Limb control/datum setting was not emphasized in my personal karate training though.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  12. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    It's always a good idea to grab your opponent's arm, and pull him into your punch. This will cause a "head on collision" that A + B > A. This concept is not used in boxing because the restriction of the boxing gloves.
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Oh yeah. That was a good post FoD and does help to explain a lot. I think I was not really thinking about your post because it struck me as addressing the training method rather than the specific mechanics. If we go into training methods, I could go into using a rod or staff across the shoulders to work torso rotation or a rod behind the hips to work hip rotation. These training methods work structure and isolate movements yet they are considered supplemental training.

    I wanted to get into the mechanics as you had posted before, I think in your article/post about the karate reverse punch.

    This is how I was taught the mechanics working in a karate punch:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuH_2kw6ENc"]Learning karate Gyaku zuki 3 Karate Moves in 1 - YouTube[/ame]

    And to put the mechanics of the ura zuki (karate uppercut/short punch) to a target in a boxing context, notice in the following video that the force is going up for a head strike on an uppercut, lifting the feet up, at the same time, rotation at the shoulders is adding a need for a bit of a pivot foot.

    If you look, however, at uppercut to the body, closer in, you see the footwork is much closer to the first part of a karate punch or the karate short punch (ura zuki).

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo2JxpcJ2BA"]Mike Tyson - The Uppercut! - YouTube[/ame]

    So is it so hard to discuss the karate punch first starting as an uppercut turned into a straight punch? Or discuss the more the mechanics rather than dwell on the training method. IMHO.
  14. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    The gloves do make grabbing more difficult, but going to bare knuckle boxing... the idea was to increase the range of your punches so that you could avoid grappling. It would be possible to grab an arm of a lazy punch that was left extended, but in general, not including a lazy punch, grabbing an arm is harder to do further way... easier to do in trapping ranges.

    What I'm saying is that the idea of sharpshooting in boxing was specifically to avoid having to deal with grappling. Grappling, grabbing, etc. was a major concern among bare knuckle boxers.
  15. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member


    Is it really different mechanics or could it be emphasis on different mechanics?

    Could karate put emphasis on close in punches, but instead of hooks and uppercuts, the close in punches are straight punches. Karate then takes the necessary steps to convert the power from an uppercut and a hook into a straight punch forward. Why? Because straight punch has further range. So you are in range that you need both sides of your body to attack and defend with, you can grab with one hand and hit with the other, but rather than grab and hit with a hook or an uppercut, you strike with a straight punch. The primary mechanics used for power are the surge upward (uppercut) and the rotation of a hook punch done as a straight punch.

    On the other hand, the boxers of past tried to stay outside of where you could grab and they tried to use longer ranged punching power. The idea was to lessen the risk of grappling. Uppercuts and hooks could be used close in, but with a higher risk of grappling by the opponent. Emphasis on falling (stepping forward) and springing off the back foot for power.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  16. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    To grab your opponent's arm when he punches at you in full speed may be hard, but to "wrap" your opponent's arm is not that hard. Of course you can always grab your opponent's arm "before" he punches at you.
  17. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Don't you need to be within clinching range to do that?

    If you train to knock out people from outside of clinching range with a punch, what kind of punches would you use?
  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    You can do that when you move from "punching" range into "clinching" range. Instead of thinking your arms are punching tool, you think your arms are octopus arms. In other words, you don't think about striking at that moment.


    - striking range, a punch is just a punch.
    - clinching range, a punch is more than just a punch.
  19. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    That's a good way to put it.

    I guess what I should have asked is, how would you punch if you were trying to avoid grappling.

    The answer is already known in that one answer is use of the falling step for a straight jolt in boxing. Another answer is the striking as done in many weapon arts.

    What I'm trying to get is if there is any agreement that boxing considered grappling and specifically went the route of increasing the range of striking to try to avoid grappling. Karate on the other hand developed with grappling in mind... to be able to strike while grappling or clinching, but took it a bit further in that it also included striking with the possibility of grappling, so straight punches for slightly more range than elbows, hooks, uppercuts, etc.

    What instead I'm seeing people post is that boxing ignores grappling because that is what seems to be the case these days. And that karate takes grappling into account. I really think this misrepresents boxing and is bias towards karate. Boxers in the 1920s often fought wrestlers and won... what does this say about boxing and taking grappling into account? Did boxers really just use karate back then... :p or maybe they had other things going in their favor such as longer ranged ability to take someone out.

    Make sense?
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  20. KidEspi

    KidEspi New Member

    Yes, I think you are right, it is a different emphasis of the same mechanics.

    I have also read the same thing about classic pugilism's range. They didn't want to grapple, which was allowed. Also, staying at a longer range gave them the reaction time needed to make parries work. This also makes sense for civilian self defense, you don't want it to devolve into grappling and rolling around on the ground (unless you are a jiu jitsu master, hehe). But from what I've read, civilian encounters don't start at long range. If somebody is going to attack you, they are going to get close enough to do it. They aren't going to put up their dukes at long range and do a drop step in :)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

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