Twisting your punch

clfsean

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In CLF we train three different "contact" position... yeurng chaap choi (thumb up), ping chaap choi (thumb level), yum chaap choi (thumb down). For us it all depends on where we're making contact & the way the punch is delivered.
 

Zero

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OK, so I take it that no one really actually employs the karate twisting punch in real life or tournament/full contact.
 

Flying Crane

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my impression is that the twist is used depending on the form of the punch. If you punch from a hip chamber, with the palm up, then you need to rotate the punch, at least to virticle (palm to the side), and maybe to horizontal (palm-down). If you aren't using that kind of initial chamber, then the need or desire to rotate becomes kinda moot.

in Tibetan White Crane, we do the complete punch with the palm down, and therefor do not rotate. But we also do not use a hip chamber that would necessitate the rotation. We also use the virticle, palm to the side, punch as well.

we just drive that damned thing out there and bust up the bad guy with it.
 

Black Belt Jedi

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I find the the vertical punch faster and more effecient because you are keeping your elbows in, as a result you are using your whole body to punch with instead of the arm alone. I find with the twisting punch you have to turn your elbow out and it can lose a little bit of power. When doing kata or Kihon I find myself punching diagonally with my straight punches instead of horizontally.
 

punisher73

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Genuine quesiton: who here actually uses, or has used, a twisting punch in tournaments or "real life"? Also, what is the suppossed advantage or if not advantage, different attributes of such a punch that would make you want to apply this over a standard vertical punch or boxer's punch? I ask as I have competed in striking tournaments (prior to that, judo) for close to 15 years and have never sought to apply this punch. I have also had genuine SD situations where I have never punched this way (I guess as this was never a focus, so not instinctive). My karate style is goju ryu so obviously we use this for kata but my old sensei who trained me for tournaments never used this type (Ok, I will check with him if "never" is correct before the hearsay), either as a competitor (he has several national titles and has fought internationally) or in his job as a LEO.

When I fight or spar it is generally with a boxer's punch or, as per my sensei, with the fist vertical, in line with the wrist and the forearm all aligned - with the fist on slight downward angle (so striking surface is the two big knuckles and wrist is locked into position). A punch that is very stable and safe for the wrist and allows the energy to travel in completely straight line - I am sure all the old hacks on here know this anyway! Sometimes you can, as you strike, move the fist - as it hits - fully into alignment. This is for when contacting soft parts of face for deliberate cutting and skin tears to result in blooding.


I will ask my sensei next week, as have never bothered focusing on the twist/torque punch and so never asked as thought it best left only in the kata (yeah, there you have it!!), but any input in the interim would be appreicated. I have never seen any of the top/pro fighters with karate backgrounds use this punch either such as in Pride or UFC, I dont think I recall seeing this kind of execution even at the All Japan Nationals in kumite. So again, I genuinely ask, what is the benefit of this punch - why would you ever execute this over a standard punch? Thanks

I guess I would ask what you mean by a "boxer's punch". In the lead jab or rear straight, they are rotating it so it is palm down and do so because they believe it will a) give it more torque and b) increase the risk of tearing the face. Granted the don't practice from the full chamber position, but that is due to training methodologies and different goals. For example, part of the reason for pulling back to chamber is pulling your opponent into your other punch, which is something you don't do in MMA or boxing because of rules and lack of clothing.
 

Zero

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I guess I would ask what you mean by a "boxer's punch".
I could have been clearer, as you said, I meant, I do not throw a punch out from a fully chambered, elbows back, arms tight to side with fist/palm facing up position - I do not move or find myself with my arms back like that when sparring/fighting. I often throw a straight or cross with the twist as a boxer, both for the torque as you say, but also (having learned this from training with boxers) for defensive purposes: when you add the twist, on execution the shoulder covers the jaw and protects this from an overhand/overarm counter from your opponent quite well.
Further, when (not always but I try!) I throw one punch out I generally have my other fist back in guard and this is not low with elbow back and fully chambered as per the start of a karate turning punch. I just have not seen people move or fight like this using that application and I guess that is an intersting thing in itself (or maybe not...)
 

Bill Mattocks

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Meaning no disrespect, I find it interesting how many people seem to be locked into thinking they can only throw a fist in a given way.

The fist is a very flexible instrument, and it can be effective striking others in a variety of configurations. People say that Isshin-Ryu uses a 'vertical fist' and it's true in the sense that this is obvious in basic exercises and kata, even in our patch design. But it's not 100%. We are trained to use the fist where it fits into the body part we're striking. Anyone who has watched our kata knows that we show some punches palm up, some palm down, some in a vertical or nearly vertical configuration. There are reasons for each of those, and they make sense where we use them.

The basic forms are for establishing frameworks and initial training. Once the body begins to react to training and the mind begins to see opportunity, things change.
 

Zero

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I certainly couldn't see anything disrespectful there Bill!! Not sure though how many (may be heaps actually) on here are "locked into" thinking the fist (or other techniques (let's not even go with the "proper way to kick" (heel, ball (of foot), toe, blade/side/shin)) can/should only be thrown in a specific manner. Heck if some dude can effectively use the karate twisting punch from the fully chambered/elbows back position as per your style, goju, shotokan etc, then go for it. My only question/point was that I have never used this out of kata and have never seen this out of kata in a high level tournament environment or a fight.

I am all for the Bruce Lee (probably not his oringinally) mentality that "if you want to punch, punch, if you want to kick, just kick", meaning that everyting is simple and that if there is an opening just fill that opening with whatever technique fills that opening. Any part of the body (almost) and in almost any way can be used as an effective weapon given a certain circumstance. You know all this anyway - what I am trying to say is that I am not closed minded but I have not seen to date (and my experience is limited mind you (but not overly limited)) application of this punch - from the fully chambered stance outside of kata.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I certainly couldn't see anything disrespectful there Bill!! Not sure though how many (may be heaps actually) on here are "locked into" thinking the fist (or other techniques (let's not even go with the "proper way to kick" (heel, ball (of foot), toe, blade/side/shin)) can/should only be thrown in a specific manner. Heck if some dude can effectively use the karate twisting punch from the fully chambered/elbows back position as per your style, goju, shotokan etc, then go for it. My only question/point was that I have never used this out of kata and have never seen this out of kata in a high level tournament environment or a fight.

I am all for the Bruce Lee (probably not his oringinally) mentality that "if you want to punch, punch, if you want to kick, just kick", meaning that everyting is simple and that if there is an opening just fill that opening with whatever technique fills that opening. Any part of the body (almost) and in almost any way can be used as an effective weapon given a certain circumstance. You know all this anyway - what I am trying to say is that I am not closed minded but I have not seen to date (and my experience is limited mind you (but not overly limited)) application of this punch - from the fully chambered stance outside of kata.

Understood; my style doesn't use the twisting punch. But we likewise don't ONLY throw the 'vertical' punch either. We throw what works for that application. In my own training, I am beginning to have my mind opened up to the possibilities that a punch is more than a punch, and used properly, is more like a move in a chess game; it sets one up for the next move, assuming that one needs to be made. I focus less on the orientation of my fist than my body mechanics and what it is I intend to have happen when the punch lands. Not an expert, only a student.
 

punisher73

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I could have been clearer, as you said, I meant, I do not throw a punch out from a fully chambered, elbows back, arms tight to side with fist/palm facing up position - I do not move or find myself with my arms back like that when sparring/fighting. I often throw a straight or cross with the twist as a boxer, both for the torque as you say, but also (having learned this from training with boxers) for defensive purposes: when you add the twist, on execution the shoulder covers the jaw and protects this from an overhand/overarm counter from your opponent quite well.
Further, when (not always but I try!) I throw one punch out I generally have my other fist back in guard and this is not low with elbow back and fully chambered as per the start of a karate turning punch. I just have not seen people move or fight like this using that application and I guess that is an intersting thing in itself (or maybe not...)

It just goes back to training methodologies. Most westerners want to fight right off the bat and adopt combat sports models to fit their karate into. So you have "boxing guards" in place for sparring etc. Which are in contradiction to the civilain self-defense situations that karate was designed for. As to the full chamber, I want you to do a little experiment. Pull both hands back to your hip or ribcage (depending on how your style teaches the chamber). What do you notice? There should be a stretch along the pecs. In effect the full chamber teaches (among other things) how to preload the muscle to get it to fire faster and stronger.

Watch boxers, they keep nice tight guard positions until they start throwing flurries of punches. Then what do you see? The preload the punch by pulling it back some. You will see many come to the armpit and the hip before throwing them. It's not as defined or mechanical as a traditional karate chamber, but it is the same concept. The traditional method just builds it into the punch from the start along with the idea of grabbing and off balancing your attacker before punching. This is another difference between traditional training and western combat sports. The traditional training uses a method that has multiple layers built into it that aren't obvious from the start.

 
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Jean Marais

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Strike hieght and distance seem to play an important role. A twisted punch seem almost impossible at very close quarters. But what happens to the rest of the body? Let's take a look at over twisting...

An additional consideration is that of an over twisted (or over horizontal twisted) punch, is the natural way the body moves with.
1) the shoulder of the extending rotating arm lifts allowing the head to "tuck" in and thereby adds cover (think of boxing).
2) the upper torso is inclined to flex sideways out of the direct pathline (center line) of the opponant whilst simmultaniously promoting the extending arm to travel allong the centerline.

The extreme example above (which may be considered an entirely different, yet effective technique) illustrates that the possitioning of the body to execute an effective strike is at least as important as what the arm and fist are doing. If rotating the fist impacts on the body positioning, then it should greatly be scrutinized how.
 

donald1

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It can work especially good if they grab because you can untwist when you pull back thus getting them off balance and leaning towards you possibly into your other hand (fist or other counter)

But when possible its better to do the moves your used to doing excellent, so not always the advanced ways better choice
 

SENC-33

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I will stop short of referring to this as an "advanced technique" but twisting or "articulating" as I like to call it is definitely a feel process. It needs to be done precisely, at the right angle and with proper timing or it is ineffective and you run the risk of injury. I am a huge proponent of directing the force and kinetic energy of a strike and articulation is key to that. When I strike the solar plexus I like a vertical fist and I rotate the wrist downwards in addition to the downward motion of the strike. I also like to add a slight twist to palm heel strikes with precise timing......

Regular punch strikes I am a straight line Systema advocate! The power and effectiveness of my strikes comes from a relaxed arm and shoulder, wave forms and utilizing my entire body weight in a compact way to generate full power
 

RTKDCMB

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For a straight punch, do you think it's better to rotate your hand as you hit, or keep it completely vertical, more like a thrust punch? I've heard both, and am curious about what you guys think is better.

If you have been taught twisting the punch from the first day and have continued to do it throughout your training then it would be better to twist your punch. After several years of training it will be so ingrained in your brain that it will be difficult not to do it. The vertical punch can also be performed with a twist (half twist actually), it starts from close to the chest with the palm facing down and ends up at the target in the vertical position. Personally, twisting a punch feels more powerful and better controlled to me, but that may feel different for other people.
 

Touch Of Death

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my impression is that the twist is used depending on the form of the punch. If you punch from a hip chamber, with the palm up, then you need to rotate the punch, at least to virticle (palm to the side), and maybe to horizontal (palm-down). If you aren't using that kind of initial chamber, then the need or desire to rotate becomes kinda moot.

in Tibetan White Crane, we do the complete punch with the palm down, and therefor do not rotate. But we also do not use a hip chamber that would necessitate the rotation. We also use the virticle, palm to the side, punch as well.

we just drive that damned thing out there and bust up the bad guy with it.
I consider you to be an expert on all things kung fu. LOL I was taught that all these punches we are talking about are all part of the same thing, in fact the full motion would culminate with the fist vertical and upside down, and the different punches we have all happened because of students locking in at a various distances and power points. I, personally, use the vertical punch, but can turn it into what I want, if need be. My question would be, is this some kind of Kung fu you have heard of, or simply an American advent?
 

seasoned

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It also depends where you are punching. Punching high tends to favour a more vertical fist, punching lower, a slight turn to say 45 degrees. Systema training has an exercise where you place your fist on different parts of your partner's body and push, to feel what the most natural position for striking that area would be.

I fail to see the benefit of turning the fist on contact if you are using a flat fist. If you are striking with a knuckle, then the twist strike makes a lot of sense. :asian:
For years, and still do, I teach 3 punches in one.
From chamber as the punch travels out it will move through under cut, vertical, to twisting.
 

skribs

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In TKD we train with the twist punch for forms and one-step sparring, but I tend to use a straight punch in free sparring (because if I'm throwing a punch in TKD sparring it's when I'm too close for a twist punch). Some of our one-step sparring drills call for a vertical or underhand punch as well.

Personally, I prefer the straight punch. However, I do like the twist punch, too.
 

K-man

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For years, and still do, I teach 3 punches in one.
From chamber as the punch travels out it will move through under cut, vertical, to twisting.
Actually it's a very good point you make. Once again, it depends. :)
This time it depends on range. At close range the strike is knuckles down, mid range vertical, and further out with a twist. Mmm! I don't like the turned fist but I will go away and do some more homework.

Senc makes an interesting comparison with Systema. Here there is a series of techniques generated by the same body movement. At ultra-close range the shoulder roll is a strike, a bit further out but still close range and the elbow comes into play. A bit further out and now the fist comes into it, and further again the arm twists to give a back of forearm strike to the neck or a knuckle strike similar in karate to furi uchi.

So the Russians are one up! Four in one vs therein one. ;)
 

SENC-33

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Actually it's a very good point you make. Once again, it depends. :)
This time it depends on range. At close range the strike is knuckles down, mid range vertical, and further out with a twist. Mmm! I don't like the turned fist but I will go away and do some more homework.

Senc makes an interesting comparison with Systema. Here there is a series of techniques generated by the same body movement. At ultra-close range the shoulder roll is a strike, a bit further out but still close range and the elbow comes into play. A bit further out and now the fist comes into it, and further again the arm twists to give a back of forearm strike to the neck or a knuckle strike similar in karate to furi uchi.

So the Russians are one up! Four in one vs therein one. ;)

Not sure if Alex did this in the seminar you attended but Kevin Secours likes to punch you with just arm and elbow, arm elbow and shoulder and then all 3 with the wave and the difference is mind boggling. Couple all of that while learning to "drop energy" and it takes little space or effort to dismantle an adversary.

Luke Holloway (aussie) is another combatives guru I hold in high regard and have had the pleasure of meeting. His Silat wave striking is punishing to say the least
 

seasoned

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No argument here, all good points In above posts. As we all know within different lineage there are broader interpretations on many fronts.The one thing I find that holds true is the fact that everyone strives to get the maximum power out of the shortest distance whether striking throwing or grappling.
 
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