Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Modern Combat The Man Cave The Combat Space
Developing Hand Power
For Tall and/or Karate Guys


Hey you can write this as an article or we can just work on it when you come up but here is my current training hang up.

I am having trouble either due to my karate background, genetics, or a combination of both developing good power in my hands (the feet are no problem :)

All other areas of my training are improving (time, measure, footwork, etc) but in order for me to put a significant amount of power into my hands I have to either plant my feet and throw and/or focus so intently on the task at hand that it saps my endurance.

Thanks as always for your help.


The Three Power Problems

Oh Aryas, when the world was young, we all punched like Odysseus. Let me delineate some ways we can reclaim our power.

#1-Tall men tend to have problems with elbow-core continuity. This retards power for hooks and uppercuts. Even Ali had lousy hooks and upper cuts and punched way below his weight with rotational blows.

#2-Kickers tend to vector their weight into kicks and otherwise fight like a kangaroo. Much of this is from standing too tall or spacing feet too wide to get stability on defense, retarding counterpunching and plunging power.

#3-Kickers also tend to point their lead foot at the target, making it dangerous if not impossible for them to develop pivot power, as a hard pivot off a straight foot can tear the knee up.

Four Partial Solutions

1. Practice hooking with both hands, from a weak heal pivot, thus bypassing problem #3 and addressing #1. We need to get together and work on the entire hook power progression on video in the gym.

2. Address #2 by never adopting a wide braced stance for mobility or defense and using a plunging rear knee and lunging lead knee to sink power shots down into the target. Don’t get low, but stay tall and use getting low as a weight transfer punch amplification method.

3. Forget about fighting #3. After all, you have crushing kicks and messing with your footing could ruin that. Begin practicing power jabs—I mean blasting the bag as hard as possible with 1 of every 3 jabs. This was Bruce Lee’s solution and the cause behind the straight blast punch, [This used fencing principals to address this kicking power-punching dilemma.] which is too complex for effective use in a fight with a good man or an unplanned attack. However, I suggest you use part of his method, by paying special attention to pushing off with your rear foot whenever you score with a jab.

4. Since your kicking power is good, use those hips to follow lead leg kicks with a power jab, thrown with the elbow in line with the hip and knee and following rear leg kicks with a straight shift punch, again in line with that hip. Practice this on the bag a lot. Recent kick boxing champions, like Rico Verhoeven, of a tall, strong build are increasingly using this method.

Note the superior sportsmanship among these kick boxers to what is seen in most boxing and MMA these days. At exactly 13 minutes is an excellent though sloppy illustration of this tactic. At 13:36 is a stiff-arm off of a missed low lead leg round kick. Rico’s inability to land these decisively against this bigger man is related to his smaller stature. Note that the smaller man does manage to push down the bigger man twice based on this constant forward double-pressure.

Guaranteed, these big men, against shorter men who are tough customers, will be following kicks with straight punches from the same side to follow into an open line with force already shifted into that line. The second fight shows a tall versus shorter example of this. The height difference is not much but the weight displacement is. Note how heavy Rico’s jab is when not kicking. He is putting the same weight into that jab as if he kicked, just less effort. At 9:20 notice how he brings up the knee to check a possible kick and then does not waste that energy by just dropping it, but sinks in a jab behind that footfall. Look at how often Rico builds a right cross opening by slamming that right leg into Silva’s lead leg and causing his shoulder and hip to roll right and open up the jaw-temple line.

In the third fight at around 4:30, Semmy Shilt starts throwing the jab behind a lead kick, then does away with the kick and floors his man with a jab, using the same weight shift he had readied for the kick.

Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

Add Comment
BobJanuary 24, 2018 6:59 PM UTC

I don't know, I'm not a boxer. But strangely enough, my handshake has improved - especially with big men - by being able transfer weight better. (I'm tall and thin).
BobJanuary 24, 2018 8:12 AM UTC

This might be completely irrelevant, but I use a couple of 10lb shot put to build core strength. Standing, as though I were about to pitch underarm, first one arm then the other in a twisting motion, arms as outstretched as I can bear. Lower back and inguinal muscles right through to the wrists.
responds:January 24, 2018 4:49 PM UTC

This sounds like a good exercise for supplementing the shovel hook.
SeanJanuary 23, 2018 4:34 PM UTC

Noted good sir. Putting the bag work in and my sparring partners thank you for the helpful advice!
responds:January 24, 2018 4:51 PM UTC

Thanks for the idea, Sean. Tomorrow I'll post the V-step article.