How To Throw a Punch

by Brett on January 9, 2008 · 30 comments

in Manly Skills


Every man will find themselves in a situation during their life where hand-to-hand combat may be necessary. As a result, every man needs to have an arsenal of tools to work with when fighting an attacker. There’s no better tool than the classic overhand or power punch. In the hands of a highly trained individual, this punch can be deadly. Below are 3 simple steps that can help you throw a punch that can knock an opponent on their butt.

The setup. You’ll have to do some work to open up your opponent so you can land your punch. Try some some high jabs to the head and a few fakes. When your opponent drops his guard, you’re ready to throw your power punch. End with a jab with your non-dominant hand so your dominant hand is ready to throw the overhand punch.

The punch. Bring your jab back while simultaneously throwing your overhand punch. Throw the punch in a semicircle on top of your opponent’s guard, sort of like throwing a baseball pitch. Increase the power of your punch by pushing off your back foot and twisting your hips much like you would swing a bat. Don’t aim at his face, but rather a couple of inches behind his face. That way you’ll have maximum power when your fist lands on your opponent’s face.

The defense. Overhand punches leave you vulnerable after you throw them. Keep your jab hand up by your face to protect against any counters. Spinning away from your opponent after you throw the punch can also help create distance between you and him.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kevin February 15, 2008 at 7:38 am

Never ever hit someone on the jaw with your fist! I agree it looks quite manly when done in the movies but in real life you will most certainly break your hand, especially in cold weather. (Remember, in boxing the gloves are for protecting your hands not the other guy).
Instead hit him on the nose with the palm heel of your hand, if possible from below. It will cause hell of a pain, make his eyes water and will disrupt his balance.
Spinning away might also not be the best of ideas. Just imagine what he might do to you if your punch missed and you suddenly have your back turned towards him.
Better shower him with punches while driving him backwards until he goes down.

2 Tron May 31, 2008 at 3:25 am

Gonna hafta agree with Kevin about using the heel of your palm.
Yea the fist will work so go for a punch if you want, but I work in a hospital. I dont know how many times a week we have people come in with broken fingers or (more commonly) broken knuckles from hitting someone else NOT from being hit themselves.
Using the heel of your palm will (generally) give a more forceful blow, and your not as liable to break something in your hand. The idea is hurt the OTHER guy, not yourself.

3 Gabriel June 5, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Alot of very powerful punches can be thrown from a variety of directions and positions using some of the elements you describe here. In my limited experience in martial arts (2 years) I’d say the most important factors are 1) stepping into the punch and pushing off with the rear leg 2) twist your torso using everything from your hips to your shoulders, and 3) focus the tension of the punch on the point of impact.

Using these techniques, you can throw punches that will make a good sized (100-200 lb.) punching bag dance all over the place. If you do it right, you can throw these punches in quick succession without leaving yourself too open, and also without leaving your opponent very much time to react. Even if he blocks the first five shots, your next eight will pummel him to the ground.

As for hard objects, you can replace the heavy bag with harder things such as wrapped wooden planks to toughen your hands. With enough toughening the bones get incredibly strong, but the downside is that they’ll be somewhat deformed and there’s not much of a way for your bones to go back to normal so far as I’ve seen.

Great post though, and I hope more guys get out to their local gym and meet the ever lonely heavy bag.

4 sam July 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm

To tell the truth I agree with everybody on here. I must add the key 2 throwin a successful power punch is also about oppurtunity and timing. I’ve seen so many fights where 1 guy will throw his first punch and put everything into that punch and miss and the other guy will counter and most of the time the fight goes in that other guys favor(the one who counters the punch). Its about oppurtunity don’t just swing with everything hoping you will hit. You got to wait till the time is right and you see an opening in which u can really deliver the crushing blow. Also its about timing too. I’ve heard and seen a great way to get a good clean hit; sumtimes a persons whole body is open when they throw a punch. With enough speed and an understanding of timing you can deliver a great hit to his face before his punch even decides to take flight

5 Max Hydrogen August 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Speaking from experience, do not hit a guy in the back of the head; you will break your hand.

6 DoomRater September 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm

ROFL, this article feels so basic that I didn’t really get anything out of it! If you threw a punch like this without adequate practice, you could easily throw a haymaker instead of an overhand or straight or cross. And committing to this punch leaves it much more of an all or nothing punch, so if you’re gong to throw this shot, MAKE SURE YOU HIT WITH IT!

7 Twisted_Colour February 12, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Kicking your opponent in the nuts is more than effective, and if some manliness obsessed wanker tries to tell you that a nut-shot isn’t manly, kick him in the nuts as well.

8 Jason February 18, 2009 at 4:58 am

Thanks for the info, but I’m too old to be throwing punches.

9 Will March 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm


Keep in mind though that regardless of age, someday someone could be throwing a punch at YOU. It’s a good thing to stay up on, if only for self-defense.


10 Zero July 18, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Two techniques I learned in Ninjutsu, at the most basic. (I am a Ni-Dan, and have been teaching for 5 years. Not that that means anything over the ‘net.)

A) If you’re going to hit someone in the face, first sweep away their defense with your jab hand (Left, if you’re right handed.) This leaves them very vulnerable. Follow *immediately* with a right to something soft on the face. Nose, eyes, and cheeks are all very tender areas to be punched in, and they won’t cause quite as much damage to your hands. Note: When thowing this Wheel punch, Both hands should be moving at the same time. Make a wheel toward the opponent starting with the left and connecting with the right.

B) The quickest way to knock an opponent out of a fight is to use either the heel of your palm or your elbow and strike the Solar Plexus (just below the sternum.) Use the wheel technique above and instead of throwing a punch, use a palm strike or collapsing elbow (Punch, then snap forward with the elbow strike using your own momentum,) or both, as the palm and collapse are compatible. This will at the very least knock the wind out of them, probably knock them out and will hurt like a mother.

11 Tony July 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

@ Jason

You’re never too old to throw a punch Jason.
Check this story I read recently that literally had me on the floor laughing.

Sometimes ……
The news can really brighten your day!

12 Dave August 25, 2009 at 8:54 am

Gentlemen, a good solid punch to a man’s jaw, chin, or nose will not break your hand in a street fight if executed correctly. One must learn to make a proper fist and attempt to evenly distribute the force of the blow to the “flat” of the hand. A good way to achieve an effective fist is to hold something in your hand as to prevent the breaking of your knuckles(roll of quarters is very effective…avoid using a lighter, they can explode). It is very important to keep your wrist as straight as possible. Make sure you do not over extend your arm as to prevent damage to your elbow. Punch straight, not from the side, and make your elbow follows your fist as straight as possible. I have been in quite a few street fights, I have studied mma techniques and I can say I have never punched a man properly who did not go down, nor have I ever injured my self on a man’s face. If you believe you run the risk of injuring your self from punching someone perhaps you should not be in a fist fight. That is not to say that very good fighters have not broken their hands in fights. I believe in these cases the person sporting the broken hand had either weaker bones than the person they hit, or they threw an incorrect punch. Drinking plenty of Milk is an excellent way to strengthen your bones. I have drank 2 or 3 glasses nearly ever day of my life, and I have extremely high bone density. If you have to crack someone aim for their nose, jaw, or chin. Throw as many strong and accurate punches to the face as possible, make sure your left leg is in front of you(for right handed guys). When moving it is better to “shuffle” in in as opposed to walking or running. Never compromise strength for speed. Do not flail like a mad man, or an experienced fighter will find an opening and end the fight either through knockout or submission. If you see their legs are straight you can kick their knee in and break it. Hope this helps.

13 Clay October 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm


You never hit with the flat of your fist, never ever. That is the weakest most vulnerable way to throw a punch. The strongest, least vulnerable fist is the hammer fist. I was a gold glove boxer in my youth in the state of New York, and as everyone knows there is no shortage of quality boxers and trainers in that section. You say to impact the flat of your fist with your wrist straight. That is not possible. With your wrist straight your fist makes an arrowhead shape with the second row of knuckles making the impact. Thia has and always will be the least vulnerable way to throw a punch and not break you wrist or hand.

14 Dave October 27, 2009 at 11:52 pm

What I by meant by punching with the “flat” of the hand, is to attempt to evenly distribute the blow to your top row of knuckles. You obviously misunderstood what I meant by keeping one’s wrist as straight as possible. The idea is to throw a hard punch by striking with your top row of knuckles while avoiding bending your wrist as much as possible as to prevent damaging your wrist on impact. I dont know how your wrist is shaped, but mine remains fairly straight with a slight angle downwards when I strike…thus exposing the top row of knuckles to take the impact…Only a fool would suggest punching a man with his second row of knuckles.

15 Rich November 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm


The only thing you said that I disagree with is “Never compromise strength for speed.” I have only trained a few months for mma a number of years ago. However, I have been boxing for a number of years now. It is likely that one will telegraph when trying to throw a very hard punch. I also believe that someone could still do a lot of damage with a punch half as hard, while not losing their balance and throwing faster. I have never been knocked out boxing but I have been much closer from five half strength punches to the head coming fast than one or two hard punches. I think it only takes a few seconds to recover from a hard blow. If you can land a lot of fast punches you are likely to overwhelm the guy and he will probably drop his guard if he is untrained. At that point sure, throw the money maker. I just say don’t come out swinging for the fenses.

16 Gene January 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Elbows are much, much better to throw than fists, but require you to be closer.

17 unknown April 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm

be sure to use twist your hip when throwing the punch it saves energy thorwing a stiff punch cant make you tried faster.

18 One June 18, 2010 at 12:54 pm

People should avoid fighting at all cost.
That said, Why hurt your hand or risk getting hepatitus from skinning your knuckles on some unreasonable idiots face? Pick up the nearest weapon and pulverize him, remember, you didnt want to fight so its his own damn fault when he pushes you around. I always wear a hat so I can blind my opponent before I put my steel toes to his shin then when he bends over pull his shirt over his head and knee him into the lullabye. Then of course when he’s knocked out, take his coat, hat and shoes and throw them in the dumpster. Thats what unreasonable people deserve.

19 dale July 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

@ One

You’re my kind of guy!

I subscribe to the Bruce Lee philosophy of combat outside the ring. Close the distance, straight blast down the center line with straight punches to get your opponent moving backward. Get the Muay Thai clinch and then work the opponent with knees and elbows or a head butt. Then leave immediately. Avoid fights whenever possible, but if you have to go, finish it as quickly as possible. My idea of a “fair fight” is one where I walk away and the other guy is on the ground bleeding.

20 Daniel July 29, 2010 at 9:24 am

The last two comments ( 24 & 25) are right on! Thanks guys.

21 emtu August 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

for someone who knows nothing about fighting, this article could be useful. but for my money, i’ll go for the suggestions of number 24 and 25..

22 Ryan December 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The overhand right is the most useless punch known to man. Learn to throw a proper right straight or even a proper jab. If you throw an overhad right at me, even behind a jab, I simply slip outside and go to work on your liver. I walk away smiling, and you wish I had killed you to put you out of your missery. Any boxer or kick boxer will tell you keep your punches coming straight down the pipe, and you leave your defenses in tact. The overhad right really works great for John Wayne, sadly my script writters havn’t ensured that I win all my fights.

23 tinny December 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I’ve been taking krav maga for a while and i want to say this is pretty spot on :)

24 mrwhiskers February 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

if it’s not worth dying for it’s not worth fighting for

25 David February 13, 2013 at 7:35 am

“I’ll kill a man in a fair fight. Or if I think he’s going to start a fair fight”.

Best wisdom on fighting ever. Not to be taken literally.

26 Ken February 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm

The best thing is to avoid the fight if at all possible. If he insists though, a kick or a knee to the balls or a chop to his throat ends things nicely. I’m not going to risk serious injury to “fight like a man”. I gave him every chance to walk away…….

27 Ken February 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Oops! Well what do you know? To elaborate on my first comment though,I’m of a size and have a condition where fighting can lead to serious or crippling injury. I can’t afford to let him get off more than the swing that starts it. I have to continue until I’m sure he’s not getting back up any time soon. That’s why I’ll do anything to avoid it. Run, grovel, almost anything.

28 Chad Dees July 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

You’re all wrong, sorry fellas. The best thing to do in a street fight is to maneuver so that you can get the other guy into a rear naked choke and then choke the daylights out of him. As someone who’s had to subdue people without injuring them or being injured myself, it works beautifully. Ha ha, just my two cents.

29 azanimal July 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

swift knuckle punch to the throat…

30 wugi September 27, 2013 at 11:21 pm

It ain’t how hard you hit. it’s how hard you can get hit

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