Perhaps you’ve just started Muay Thai or Boxing, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by the various techniques. Well, we’ve all been there before. So don’t worry – you’re not alone. Just press on, and keep in mind that we all have to start somewhere in order to make progress and grow.
We understand that you want to get better and grow as a martial artist. And that’s why we’ve put together a list of some common punching mistakes – so you can fix it ASAP and if possible, prevent yourself from making them altogether.
Are you ready to take your punching technique to the next level? Today, Evolve Daily reveals 6 Common Punching Mistakes (and How to Fix Them):
1) Keeping your face exposed
This deadly mistake could get you knocked out. Unfortunately, some martial artists focus too much on offense – to the point where they’re great at attacking, but have an extremely weak defense.
“In order to stay on top of your game and have a more effective offense, it’s crucial to build up a strong defense,” shares multiple-time WBC Boxing World Champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. “Some fighters tend to drop their hands or forget to keep their chins down when they punch, and this is bad because they’re giving their opponents an opening to land a potential knockout punch.”
Tip: Shadow box in front of a mirror and observe yourself. Are you dropping your hands when you execute punches? Is your chin down at all times?
2) Punching too hard before getting the technique right
Sometimes, we get carried away while training and focus on power instead of mastering the technique. But did you know that poor technique can sometimes result in injuries? We’re sure you don’t want to hinder your progress by having to rest and recover!
Tip: Make it a point to nail down all your basic techniques in order to have a strong foundation. Once you get it right, speed and power will follow.
Psst! If you want to throw explosive punches (after mastering the techniques, of course), then read this.
3) Focusing too much on punching and forgetting about footwork
“Every boxer has to understand how footwork and punching function together,” Pongsaklek says. “The correct stance would help you deliver solid punches, while keeping you balanced, and also enable you to efficiently defend yourself.”
Because everything starts from the ground, it’s vital to get your stance right – so that you can execute punches properly and get your footwork sorted. The next time you’re in class, get your instructor to check your stance and make suitable adjustments (if any) to get it right.
Your feet should be around shoulder-width apart, with your back heel slightly off the ground, and slightly-bent knees. Be careful to not put too much weight on your front foot! Instead, distribute it evenly between both feet.
Tip: Once you’ve nailed down your stance, improve your footwork by regularly jumping rope.
4) Punching with the wrong part of your fist
For starters, always ensure that your hands are wrapped properly so as to prevent any injuries. When throwing punches, make sure you’re hitting with your knuckles.
“Some students who are new to boxing tend to bend their wrists forward or backwards, so they end up hitting wrongly,” shares Pongsaklek. “It’s important to keep your wrist straight when punching, so that you can prevent injury and deliver a stronger punch. Make sure that the area between your second and third knuckles is the part absorbing the impact.”
Tip: Check that your first two knuckles are aligned with your forearm’s bones as you punch.
5) Throwing punches with flared elbows
Even the most experienced fighters sometimes commit this mistake – which is basically moving their right hand by pulling it back or lowering it – before executing the cross.
“Each time your elbows flare out, you’re giving your opponent a head’s up that you’re about to throw the punch,” reveals Pongsaklek. “When boxing, you want to be unpredictable so that you can catch your opponent off-guard.”
He also emphasizes on the importance of keeping your elbows close to your body.
“When you keep your elbows far away from your body, it would be easier for your opponent to land punches on your body. Another problem with flared elbows is that it’ll take a longer time for your punch to land.”
Tip: Stick a piece of tape vertically on your mirror, and ensure it goes slightly over your head while covering your torso. Use this tape-line as a benchmark to check that your elbows are parallel while you throw punches.
6) Not exhaling while throwing punches
Although breathing seems like something simple enough to do, we sometimes get so caught up with landing a good punch that we forget to exhale on impact!
If you hold your breath while executing a long punching combination, your power not only suffers, but you’ll also experience an oxygen deficit. So the next time you punch, remember to exhale so as to extend your endurance.
Tip: Contract your abs while exhaling to deliver an explosive punch.
Of course, this list contains only several of the many mistakes that every fighter could potentially make. If you noticed that you’re making some of these mistakes, don’t beat yourself up for doing it wrongly. Instead, make it a point to correct yourself and focus on improving! We believe that mistakes aren’t made on purpose, and even the most seasoned practitioners can be guilty of committing them too.
Also, if you’re ever unsure about any technique, do talk your instructors – they’d be more than happy to clarify your doubts and help you improve.