Does punching vertically really decrease the chances of breaking your hands? How do you do so when you hit that way?

Bullsherdog

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I read that old bare knuckle boxers rarely suffered hand fractures because they punched vertically instead of the horizontal punches today. In addition many existing martial arts such as Wing Chun punch vertically exactly for the reason to prevent injuries to the hand.

However I tried hitting a punching bag without gloves recently using vertical fists and my hands were sore and hurting by the end of the workout! So I am doubting this. However even Bruce Lee tended to prefer vertical hits irl in contrast to his movies when fighting in the streets without gloves so there must be something I'm missing.

Can anyone clarify? I mean Jack Dempsey even stated when he was a bouncer he preferred vertical punches for safety reasons despite fighting primarily as a boxing battler in the streets and many street boxing systems take a page or two from Jack Dempsey's experiences! Not to mention many Krav strikes are vertical fists in the way bare knuckle boxing before Marquis Queensberry rules and Wing Chun fighters hit!
 

Kung Fu Wang

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The major reason that you use the vertical fist instead of the horizontal fist is to prevent your elbow joint to be cracked.

When you use the

- vertical fist, your elbow joint is facing downward.
- horizontal fist, your elbow joint is facing side way.

When your opponent uses one arm to hit on your forearm, and use the other arm to hit on your elbow joint, he can crack you elbow joint when your elbow joint is facing sideway instead of facing downward.
 

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The major reason that you use the vertical fist instead of the horizontal fist is to prevent your elbow joint to be cracked.

When you use the

- vertical fist, your elbow joint is facing downward.
- horizontal fist, your elbow joint is facing side way.

When your opponent uses one arm to hit on your forearm, and use the other arm to hit on your elbow joint, he can crack you elbow joint when your elbow joint is facing sideway instead of facing downward.
In Okinawan GoJu close gap in armpit and elbow will always point down....
 

Kung Fu Wang

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In Okinawan GoJu close gap in armpit and elbow will always point down....
Old MA saying said one should never expose elbow joint to his opponent. The horizontal punch has the final rotation that can generate more power. But it can be overcommit and expose the elbow joint too.
 
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JowGaWolf

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I read that old bare knuckle boxers rarely suffered hand fractures because they punched vertically instead of the horizontal punches today.
If they had fewer fractures then it's probably because they trained accuracy more than today's boxers. Being able to place punches is an over looked skill. Most people don't think about it because they wear gloves.

But like what you learn when you hit the heavy bag. You can't just hit it any ole way you want to.
 

isshinryuronin

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Can't see why a vertical punch would hurt more than a horizontal one from hitting the bag - if, of course, it's done correctly with the fist and wrist held proper. The exception being maybe tearing the knuckle skin from twisting while in contact with the bag.

KFWang brings up a good point re: the elbow turning out to the side a little in a horizontal punch, exposing it for possible break, although seasoned's point about the elbow flaring away (a flaw seen even in black belts) from the body also causing the elbow turning out is equally valid. (There are a couple of other reasons to keep the elbow brushing the body when punching as well.)

Several styles of kung fu and karate have a vertical punch in their toolbox. My style uses it almost exclusively for its speed and allowing the fist to snap back afterwards.

Another consideration is if punching from a more extended guard, rather than a chamber near the hip, is that being much closer to the contact point the punch lands quickly and has not the distance or time to effect a full twist.

But, as Dirty Dog said, it often doesn't matter. Both ways will cause pain to the opponent. For a general rule, I'd say vertical a jab from an extended guard, and if you've got the time and space, feel free to do the twist with the reverse punch.
 

Cynik75

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I read that old bare knuckle boxers rarely suffered hand fractures because they punched vertically instead of the horizontal punches today.
First of all: theye were aiming mostly to the sof part of body (belly) - this is the reason why their stance ( look at old phothos and graphics) was more similar to wing chun than to nowadays boxing..
And probably they were not going for KO as much as modern boxers (less power in punches to avoid hurting hands).
 

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Old MA saying said one should never expose elbow joint to his opponent. The horizontal punch has the final rotation that can generate more power. But it can be overcommit and expose the elbow joint too.
Exactly, I total agree.
In Okinawan GoJu close gap in armpit and elbow will always point down....
The shoulders are held down naturally while the upper arm pinches the pectoral muscles and the elbows scrape the rib cage. While punching this should be adhered to from day one.....
 

Martial D

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If they had fewer fractures then it's probably because they trained accuracy more than today's boxers. Being able to place punches is an over looked skill. Most people don't think about it because they wear gloves.

But like what you learn when you hit the heavy bag. You can't just hit it any ole way you want to.
Where do you even come up with this stuff. Like..what do you even base it on? This is patently false. What exactly do you think focus mit's are for? Speed bags?

Did you really just claim people that train to win fights don't focus on placing their strikes to areas that allow that to happen?

Seriously dude.. actually train with people that do combat sports before making bogus claims about it.
 

Martial D

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I read that old bare knuckle boxers rarely suffered hand fractures because they punched vertically instead of the horizontal punches today. In addition many existing martial arts such as Wing Chun punch vertically exactly for the reason to prevent injuries to the hand.

However I tried hitting a punching bag without gloves recently using vertical fists and my hands were sore and hurting by the end of the workout! So I am doubting this. However even Bruce Lee tended to prefer vertical hits irl in contrast to his movies when fighting in the streets without gloves so there must be something I'm missing.

Can anyone clarify? I mean Jack Dempsey even stated when he was a bouncer he preferred vertical punches for safety reasons despite fighting primarily as a boxing battler in the streets and many street boxing systems take a page or two from Jack Dempsey's experiences! Not to mention many Krav strikes are vertical fists in the way bare knuckle boxing before Marquis Queensberry rules and Wing Chun fighters hit!
In WC the fist is vertical for structural reasons..allowing the elbow to line up behind the strike(low elbow power) and to keep the strike on center, straighter, to allow it a more direct route up the middle to pass though the guard.

For this reason (less angles of attack) the fist is more likely to land square, this reducing chance of injury.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Old MA saying said one should never expose elbow joint to his opponent. The horizontal punch has the final rotation that can generate more power. But it can be overcommit and expose the elbow joint too.
I agree with this, but I'm not a fan of the logic that people go from here to suggest we should not use horizontal punch. It's basically saying "there's a better way to punch with more power, but it requires more effort to do it correctly, so we will do the less effective way because it's slightly easier".

If there's a structural or a flow reason for it, I'm all for it, but not because you're worried people will flare their elbow.
 

seasoned

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My take on this and I taught it for years is......the horizontal punch goes through 4 stages. (1) Chamber, (2) low close punch before first twist, (3) vertical after first twist, (4) horizontal on final extension... All depending on distance from opponent.
 

Flying Crane

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My take on this and I taught it for years is......the horizontal punch goes through 4 stages. (1) Chamber, (2) low close punch before first twist, (3) vertical after first twist, (4) horizontal on final extension... All depending on distance from opponent.
I will simply point out that it depends on the discipline in which it is taught and practiced. In the system that I train, the palm remains facing down for the entire time. There is no twist of the forearm (which perhaps contributes to minimal or no flaring of the elbow) and we do not anchor or chamber or travel through the hip. The path is through the ribs, as close to the torso as possible.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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My take on this and I taught it for years is......the horizontal punch goes through 4 stages. (1) Chamber, (2) low close punch before first twist, (3) vertical after first twist, (4) horizontal on final extension... All depending on distance from opponent.
This is how I've learned and taught it as well. Although I have adapted to going from a horizontal to a 45% punch personally when sparring, as I've found that it does a better job of getting through guards.
If I were to go back to teaching, I would still teach fully horizontal twist, under the concept of train big fight small.
 

seasoned

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This is how I've learned and taught it as well. Although I have adapted to going from a horizontal to a 45% punch personally when sparring, as I've found that it does a better job of getting through guards.
If I were to go back to teaching, I would still teach fully horizontal twist, under the concept of train big fight small.
We are on the same page. :)
 

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I think it has more to do with the conditioning bare knuckle boxers had of their hands and that boxing gloves don't allow one to clench their fist as tightly.
 

seasoned

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I will simply point out that it depends on the discipline in which it is taught and practiced. In the system that I train, the palm remains facing down for the entire time. There is no twist of the forearm (which perhaps contributes to minimal or no flaring of the elbow) and we do not anchor or chamber or travel through the hip. The path is through the ribs, as close to the torso as possible.
Thanks for sharing, Flying Crane. it defiantly depends on the discipline in which it is taught and practiced. I always felt it a huge plus to share and practice with people from different disciplines. So much to consider.
 

isshinryuronin

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If there's a structural or a flow reason for it, I'm all for it, but not because you're worried people will flare their elbow.
Practicality is always in fashion.

Flaring the elbow - there is a structural reason not to do it during a straight punch. If the elbow is out, it's not directly behind the fist providing power and support on impact. And it's easier to see that a punch is coming due to the lateral movement of the elbow. Also, wasted motion is the definition of inefficiency.

These things are true no matter whether you twist the punch or not. My experience is that twisting the horizontal punch does lend itself to some elbow flare and rotation, but disciplined practice can overcome this.

(I have seen world champion kata competitors - a couple of females in particular - flare their elbows out on you-tube which turns their punch halfway into a backfist. Maybe it makes a louder gi snap or looks faster? Anyway, I'd deduct for that. Sacrificing function for special effects is not my cup of tea.)



Personally, my reverse (vertical) punches with full extension do rotate 25-33% or so, but this is not a practiced movement, rather just a natural one, letting the punch do its own thing. I still consider it a vertical punch, though, due to most of its other elements and mechanics.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Practicality is always in fashion.

Flaring the elbow - there is a structural reason not to do it during a straight punch. If the elbow is out, it's not directly behind the fist providing power and support on impact. And it's easier to see that a punch is coming due to the lateral movement of the elbow. Also, wasted motion is the definition of inefficiency.
Just to clarify, I agree that structurally and practically, flaring your elbow is a bad idea. My point was more what you post in the next paragraph-that disciplined practice can overcome it, so it should not be part of the consideration on which punch to use.
 
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