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SAFETY ADVICE

The advice and techniques in this book should only be undertaken by martial arts students in a dojo environment who are supervised by a qualified teacher and who hold specialist martial artist insurance. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the content of this book is technically accurate and as sound as possible, neither the author nor the publisher can accept responsibility for any damage, injury or loss sustained as a result of the use of this material.

www.4dcombat.com
www.4dcombat.com

© Bob Breen 2017 First Edition Published in 2017 in the United Kingdom

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission in writting from the publisher.

The rights of Bob Breen to be identified as the author of this work have been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Design, and Pattent Act 1998.

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INTRODUCTION

Introduction

This ebook is designed to give you the tools to hit really hard with the basic boxing punches.

Though the scope of this book is narrow in focus. The subject can be A very deep and life long study. In both a boxing and self defence scenario it’s important to hit hard. The aim in boxing is to hit hard and accurately; it either scores better with the judges or even better knocks your opponent down and out. Similarly, in a self defence situation you need to knock the opponent down and out or strongly dissuade them from their current course of action.

So in this book we’ll look at ways to make all of the three basic punches much better both in execution and in knockout power.

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About the author

BOB BREEN

I’ve studied martial arts for fifty years. I’ve had an interest in the science of human combat since I was a boy, and had my first fight. I’ve studied a wide variety of arts from Ba-gua to Boxing, Thai boxing to Tai-chi.

However, in that time I’ve been a pioneer in three arts in particular. Karate at the outset of it’s expansion in the west, then Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do and Filipino martial arts under martial arts legend Dan Inosanto.

Fighting wise I’ve fought internationally and captained England in Karate. Then been Captain and coach for the first World Eskrima championships in 1987 and coach in 1992. I’ve boxed, done Thai boxing, introduced Black belt BJJ into the UK and much more.

However, prior to any of this study I’d had lots of fights, real fights, street fights, nothing to be proud of but just part of the journey for many young men at that time.

I learnt lots there that helped define my martial arts journey. In that time of real fights I learnt that if you hit someone you needed to put them out of the game as many of those fights were group clashes. You had to knock down the numerical
4 superiority of your opponents. A good punch would.

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THREE PUNCHES

Three punches

Here we are going to cover only three punches. Three of the main punches of boxing. We’ll cover other punches in further books or online.

These three punches are used all the time in most Boxercise classes and are used all the time in both Boxing and Thai boxing though the Thai often has a different body structure. To avoid confusion lets concentrate on a solely boxing approach. The three punches we’ll cover are the jab, the cross or straight right, and the left hook.

THE JAB

Bruce Lee called the Jab ‘’the mark of the expert’’ and he wasn’t wrong. A good jab can be a knockout blow. Often underrated by many as a flick or distraction in order that you can land your more telling rear hand blows. However, it’s much more than that.

What you have to do is make your jab so fearsome that in the defence of that they leave themselves open to your other blows.

So it can be a set up, but it can also be much more.

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THREE

THREE PUNCHES

PUNCHES

THE CROSS

The cross and straight right are classic rear hand strikes. Though often classified often as just a cross the two are distinctly different punches. The straight right goes through their guard whereas the Cross does what its says and goes across their structure. Because of the body mechanics these are your most powerful strikes and the strikes that people throw instinctively in the street. It’s their most powerful weapon so obviously they use that first. I sometimes think if they had an atomic bomb they’d use that first too. It’s just instinct and it works. Done well and not wasted on hitting air they can be devastating.

THE HOOK

The hook is a skilful punch, it goes around your opponents guard and comes on an angle they can’t easily see. Their eyes are on the front of their heads so they more readily see strikes coming directly towards them. Done badly a hook can often be blocked or evaded with ease as the shape is easy to see. Done properly you can’t see it and it just arrives. As it’s going across your body structure and leveraging on contact against your chin it is devastating and can be a real knockout punch.

Lets do a chapter on each one and see how to train it. The body structure needed, and how to sharpen the weapon end of it. We’ll do everything; on the spot drilling, in pairs, and on pads, and also show how to use them on bags .

Lets get started.

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FEET

Feet

This is a really short chapter but most important. How you stand will make a huge difference to how hard you hit. Correct foot placement is essential.

As we’ve said before this is for the boxing or the boxing mode of 4D and JKD or Kali. Other stances work in other places in other ways. Doing an unthought out amalgam of all the stances doesn’t give you the best of all but generally means that you don’t have the correct tool for the job at hand. This is about boxing and boxing mode only.

In this photograph you can see that the feet are placed either side of a central line. The toe of one foot should be touching the line and the heel of the rear foot should be touching the other side. Do it this way for the jab and sometimes the hook but you need it ‘slightly’ wider on the cross.

To make this stance flexible move around in it so that your head moves back and forwards but not by changing the stance just by coming up on your rear toes and then dropping the heel towards the floor. Keep a straight back leg.

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FEET

DON’T FLEX AT THE KNEE this will make you slower. Just use the rear ankle and the achilles tendon to move within the stance.

Next bounce forwards and backwards about four to six inches, keeping the shape of the stance and your body alignment forwards at all times.

MOVING

Now move forwards and backwards, left and right. Move the lead foot if moving forwards and drag the other foot after it.

When retreating; move the rear leg first and drag the front foot. Keep the attacking alignment with the focus on your lead jab.

Similarly move left and right. Left foot first if going left. Right foot first if going right.

Don’t widen and spread the legs.

Footwork basics { video } - A standard 4D class showing how to really nail down the footwork so there’s no timing gaps. It’s all about feet.

IMPORTANT: KEEP THE FEET IN THE SAME SHAPE. THIS WAY YOU’RE ALWAYS READY TO STRIKE.

Left is fairly easy. Moving to the right come up on the toes a bit more and bounce in smaller steps to maintain the body alignment. It’’s very easy to go square here and make yourself easier to hit.

There’s lots more footwork to learn but that’s enough for this ebook. This footwork is just for adjusting distance not really for travelling long distances. As you work it look at the dead times; the times you can’t hit because the balance or positioning isn’t there and work on cutting these to a minimum. Be as near to ready to go at all times wherever you are and whichever direction you are moving. This is expert stuff, small but hugely important.

Look at these legends and see how they return to stance:

Tommy Hearns vs Marvin Hagler. Watch how Hearns keeps a good stable stance in particular when retreating and hiding behind the jab. Do the same. { video }

Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler. Here notice how Leonard keeps a thin stance when jabbing and then steps squarer to unload alternate punches and hooks. Note the stability of the footwork under pressure. There’s lots to work on here. Also notice the body twist to get the most power and the looseness in the shoulders so the punches whip. { video }

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Mechanics and Structure

The important thing to realise if you want to hit hard is that there are a lot of factors at play and you have to get all the bits right.

You’ve got to hit them with sufficient Force. That means Mass and Speed. We’ll go into this later.

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE Then you have to do that consistently and then be able to do
MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE
Then you have to do that consistently
and then be able to do it when
stressed. Obviously there will be
some deterioration in your skill
level when under stress, or when
exhausted or scared. However, you
want to practice so you can’t do
it wrong. This obviously requires
dedication but it can be huge fun and
also a bit of a zen like task. Polishing
then re-polishing techniques so they
are always right. Musicians often say ‘ an
amateur practices to play a piece perfectly (maybe
only on one occasion ) whereas a professional practices so that they can never get
it wrong.

The first thing to work on is hitting with the two knuckles of the hand at all times. These two fingers are supported by the thumb base behind them and they are the two strongest fingers. Simple things like learning to make a fist properly though often overlooked are key. You don’t want your hands tightly closed with no gaps whilst sparring; only on contact.

However, an initial four or five fist rolls and tightening with give you the idea of how tight your fist should be on contact.

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MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE

MAKING A FIST

Here’s the basics of how to make a tight fist. Fold it tightly and take all the air and space out of the hand.

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE MAKING A FIST Here’s the basics of how to make a tight fist.

TEST

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE MAKING A FIST Here’s the basics of how to make a tight fist.
MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE MAKING A FIST Here’s the basics of how to make a tight fist.

As with all things 4D you want to test everything

When you get to the pad holding part of your training hit with an unfocused hand; just using the whole fist as a unit. Then redo the same techniques with the emphasis on the first two knuckles. Ask the pad holder if there’s a difference. The two knuckle punch has got much more bite. Additionally, hitting any other way really increases your chances of breaking your hand on their head. In a fight I had in Canada with someone on drugs, I hit him repeatedly in the face and head at full power; yet the next day all I had were bruises on my two knuckles even though my whole drive train of elbow, hip, knee and ankle were traumatised and needed chiropractic treatment. In 4D, we often say two knuckles at the fist and two knuckles on the floor. Meaning that you are again focusing on driving from the big toe and second toe and the ball of the foot. It’s a mirror of the hand. Focusing on the two knuckles will mean that you will have to change your body alignment slightly to make this work. All of this is good because it gives you an efficient structure, it’s easier to slip, and you get hit less.

Secondly, lets look at body structure. You need to be hitting with your skeleton not your muscles. Muscles tire under stress, and rebound, whereas the skeleton is inflexible much like a scaffold pole. Align it properly and they aren’t being hit by you but by the planet with your skeleton as the conduit.

Look at this photo (figure 1). You can see that the body is fairly square. The important thing to look at here is to see that there is only air behind the shoulder. It has no support. Therefore you are using one arm to stop a large person who you could look at as a bag of arms. What do I mean here? Look at your opponent as if he was a large receptacle. How many arms could you squeeze into their shape. Probably twenty to thirty. So you are trying to stop that many arms with one arm. You’ve got to hit them with the planet.

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MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE

‘You’ve got to hit them with the planet.’

In this photo, you can see that the striker is better aligned.

They have a narrower stance therefore more of the stopping power goes right through to the ground.

You can’t align yourself so you are totally in a line so the line of force has to jump across from one side to the other. However, as you’ll see from the photo, of the body is in a sort of parallelogram shape this means that this power transfer easily happens. If you are squarer the energy that you get as a reaction dissipates and also throws your structure out or you get overwhelmed by the opponent.

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE ‘You’ve got to hit them with the planet.’ In this photo, you can

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MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE

Next lets look at leaning. Lots of people hit with their bodies upright and as we’ve shown before fairly square. Being upright you’ll always have great balance because you are on both feet but it’s not dynamic. Balance is a constantly changing and fluid thing. Just walking, we step forwards off balance then regain it with our next step. Also with the weight shared between your legs you are what some Tai chi masters call ‘ double weighted’ you can’t go anywhere because there is no tension between the dynamics of the two legs. Also when you flex your legs your body will go up, the direction your spine is aligned with, instead of forwards.

THE BREEN LEAN

You’ve got to lean forwards. Now force driven from the legs can go forwards into your punches.This puts the weight of your body on the punch. Most real world powerful knockout punches are going to be from this position. Those who stand more evenly, whilst maybe able to hit you, either can’t really hit you with all their weight, or they have to spend time moving in from their even stance to the front based stance. This is a gift of time for you to counter. Any punch that lands will hurt but what we’re dealing with in this book is how to have awesome, frightening punches that leave all opponents in fear.

STANCE

In the front based stance your chin should be about where your toe is. From here it’s very easy to snapback out of range using only your rear ankle to give you twelve inches of distance.

It’s important when retreating with snapback that you don’t change the balance mix or focus of your stance. In essence, you need to have a predatory focus at all times. Look at the pictures below and see which stance looks the most scary. Not only will you hit harder with the forwards lean but you’ll also be telling your opponent lots about your psychological mind set. Remember, a huge % of human communication is non verbal. Which of these photos looks the most dangerous?

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MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE

TEST

Put your punch with the two knuckles on your opponents chest and leave it there as in the photos below. Do it first with the weight on the legs and then do it with the lean with the focus of the weight on the fist. Remember to use the two knuckles. It will be really uncomfortable for them if you are leaning and using the two knuckles. This is static. Think about how hard it will be at speed.

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE TEST Put your punch with the two knuckles on your opponents chest and

BODY UNIT

MECHANICS AND STRUCTURE TEST Put your punch with the two knuckles on your opponents chest and

Next, you have to think about punching much like weight lifting. You don’t want to be hitting or fighting with minor lifts like a military press but rather want to align your skills around the three major lifts of Squats, Bench press, and deadlift. Just thinking along those lines will make a big difference. Therefore I want to use my body as a unit with the importance of the arms diminishing and the importance of the body motion becoming paramount. The spine is aligned to lift heavy and is never bent. You can use your strong abdominals to help all three punches. In each punches section I’ll show how this works.

TWIST

Lastly, you can rotate your body on two of these punches so you are now adding rotational power to the body alignment you’ve been practicing already. To make this work well, it’s important to be loose on the top with the feet in the right position.

Now that you’ve added the twist to the lean you can look at it like a tornado that’s spilled over and become unbalanced at the top. The loop of the tornado at the top becomes bigger but the elliptical speed at the top has to increase as it has to be rotating overall at the same speed as the part nearer the ground.

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“The Jab, like a tiger playing with you it’s always very dangerous ” ...

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THE JAB

The Jab

As I’ve said before the Jab is a severely underrated punch. Michael Watson knocked Nigel Benn down with a jab and Larry Holmes had an incredible jab.

Bruce Lee in his development of Jeet Kune Do categorised lots of different types of jab: Stiff jab, flicker jab, speed jab etc. These are ways of interpreting or delivering the blow. What you want is that the bedrock structure underlying all of these jabs is like that for a stiff jab; based on good structure. Then changing from one to the other, or from one dynamic to another is just a nuance away. However, like a tiger playing with you it’s always very dangerous.

TRAINING : IT’S ALL ABOUT REPS.

I had a friend who had gained a brown belt from me, so he’d worked a lot of jabs, he then trained amateur boxing at the very reputable Repton boxing club for a few years. He often trained alongside and was used as a sparring partner by leading pros. Later he trained in New York at Gleesons. Where was told by former world champion Floyd Patterson that he’d have to just work his jab for a month or so as it needed more work.

There’s always work to do and levels within levels.

DRILLING

I’m a firm fan of drilling in a mirror. Then you get to see exactly what you’re doing and if you’re honest with yourself can make big improvements. If you’ve got a big class you can then see who’s got good form and who hasn’t.

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HOW TO PRACTICE THE JAB

Stand in the appropriate stance with your hands up. Where you hold your hands is hugely important if you want to hit hard and even more if you want those punches to be invisible to your opponent.

Have one hand open on the corner of the chin. The other hand with vertical fist and elbow in.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Don’t hold your hands together / Don’t flare your elbows outwards.

Depending on your body some of the correct positions might be hard to achieve. If so, move your body slightly to make it easy on your shoulders. However, the basic tenet of this position holds true so don’t go too far from this basic.

X

It’s also important that you don’t hold your hands so that the opponent can see the back of your lead hand. Often from this position your hand will spiral towards the target taking time and losing power along the way. Force travels in a straight line. Secondly; the profile it makes is wide, so it won’t go through your opponents guard. Look at the measurement from your elbow to the inside of your hand and you can see it’s a big box and you want to get that through a small hole in their guard.

Now look at the profile of the vertical fist start position. Much smaller. (Figure 2)

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THE JAB

DRILL

Slowly without stepping put your hand out; first with a vertical fist, turning it at the end, once it’s past their guard. This gives you the smallest profile and the most power.

Important: Put your shoulder on one side of the centre line and your head on the other. From the front your body should look like a mountain ridge running down to your rear foot.

I repeat: your shoulder near the centre line. Not your head.

Your head is just to your right of this centre line and your shoulder just on the other side. Where the shoulder is is important as you want it as close as possible to the line of the rear leg. This way all the power from the leg goes through the arm and importantly all the opposite and equal reaction goes back into the shoulder and foot.

TRAINING

Do 40 - 50 of these then add a step then double it up.

JAB - NO STEP JAB - WITH A STEP

When stepping or lunging forwards make sure you land on the front of the foot or at least on the flat foot. Try to avoid a heel to toe roll as it loses time, return instantly to your start position.

DOUBLE JAB (NO STEP)

It’s important on the double jab that you don’t only hit from the arm on the second punch-or on any of the punches. Drive comes from the rear foot. Hit your first target then retreat the arm only half way and concertina your body towards the arm then hit again. Drive from the rear leg (leg straight) and try to make the second punch even harder than the first; which should have been hard.

DOUBLE JAB WITH STEPS

Lastly do the double jab but this time penetrating their defences deeply. Be careful with using this as it can lead you open to an easy body tackle from your opponent if they slip.

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PARTNER DRILLS

GAP DRILLS

Here are three easy gap drills. If you use them all the time your jab will get better.

NUMBER ONE

Trainer holds hands four inches apart about a foot in front of face. Striker throws a jab and turns the hand only when past the gap. Touch the chin. If you turn your hand early you wont be able to get through the gap.

THE JAB
THE JAB

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PARTNER DRILLS GAP DRILLS Here are three easy gap drills. If you use them all the
PARTNER DRILLS GAP DRILLS Here are three easy gap drills. If you use them all the

NUMBER TWO

Same as above but trainer fires a jab with their left hand towards strikers head as soon as their punch is through the gap. This makes sure your head is off the line against an instinctive response.

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NUMBER THREE

Stagger the hands so that the trainers’ left hand is closer to the opponent. This should be used against those who’s punches spiral as their hands are either facing inwards or even worse touching each other. This way you’ll make sure its coming straight and true.

That’s enough on the jab for now. We’ll bring it in with the other punches later and show how to work it on the focus pads. Then we’ll do an overview of all three.

NUMBER THREE Stagger the hands so that the trainers’ left hand is closer to the opponent.

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“The Cross and straight right are true power punches.

You need all the factors working together to make it an amazing punch.”

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THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT

THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT

The Cross and straight right are true power punches: Your arm aligns most easily with your rear leg and you get to rotate your body too. If you drop your weight and keep the weight in the fist then you’ve got gravity working for you too.

Remember you need all the factors working together to really make it an amazing punch.

First lets look at the two best ways of throwing these rear hand punches. The aim is for them to arrive unseen or at least in a way that’s unpredictable. Lets look at the ways.

HAND FIRST

The first way is to throw the hand first and then align the body and the power train at the time of impact. Don’t put tension in the arm; rather let it fly, then snap everything stiffly at the point of impact. This can be very telling as it arrives virtually unseen. Your body motion is the tell tale thing that allows them to interpret your moves. When using the arm first, it’s like fencing. The arm is thrown first then the body moves towards the end of the move. This is very hard for them to interpret. It works best with the straight right but can work with both punches. Remember the aim of the straight right is to go through their guard, whereas the cross goes behind their lead arm and across their body line.

It’s important to realise that there’s many many hours of work on the methods of

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THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT

delivering these punches in sparring. However, get the basics down and hard hitting at this level and watch how your percentages go up in sparring.

BODY FIRST

With this you move the body first as the title implies but don’t throw the arm. Here you’ve paid the fare for this punch but don’t have to pay for it until you actually throw the arm. It’s like booking a flight option but you only pay when you get on the plane.

As the arm leaves your core body structure late it can go to any number of targets or none at all. This makes them very reactive as everything is a possible major threat. Now mix the two together and they are in a timing nightmare.

THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT delivering these punches in sparring. However, get the basics down and

Remember the aim of this book is to get you hitting hard so with both of these approaches to the right hand work on getting all the elements in place and just for a micro second get that snap like super stiffness on contact. Think of it like the crack of a whip.

ALIGNMENT

Just as in the Jab the correct alignment is essential. There can’t be air behind the punching shoulder even if it’s on an angle you want the reaction from your punch driving back into your shoulder girdle and then into your leg. This is not to say that you wont hit them hard if you don’t do everything right but you want a punch that’s a knockout punch.

As in the Jab you won’t always be able to get perfect alignment but as long as you’ve got a diagonal shape with your body it works fine. Again it’s best if it’s a parallelogram type shape. Sometimes you wont achieve that but you still need to hit with your mass. This is when core stability is key. Simple back and stomach exercises mean that you can still be operating as a

  • 22 unit. However you have to realise that using muscle to hold

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positions even for a micro second means that you’ll be losing power and force in your blows.

There’s a cost for that transfer or power across your body. When hitting with your skeleton, you’re not only hitting with a better more rigid structure but in theory hitting with the planet too. Therefore, in an abstract way with more mass.

Do the cross on your partner slowly. Hit with the two knuckles. If this is difficult rotate your shoulder or body slightly so it feels right. Do it low. Then get them to lean on your extended arm as in the photo below. Do it both with the arm straight and also with the arm bent and close to the body. What you’ll notice is that if your alignment is wrong then you just get pushed backwards or your body structure folds and puts you off balance. If you do it right you can feel it in your rear foot. You want the shape that you can hold for days. There’s no speed in this drill but it’s all about structure first, then getting your mass or weight into the hand, then adding speed later. Go slow and grow.

DRILLING

Next go back to drilling the cross either on it’s own, with a jab and cross or you can mix it in with the single and double jab too as that’s what you’re going to be doing in sparring or in a real fight. The key is to do it on the spot first. Get good form down and in your bones, then see if you can do simple footwork then reapply the same punches with the same exactness. It’s both simple and incredibly complex. There’s lots to get right.

DRILLS ON THE SPOT

• Jab • Jab with step • Double Jab • Jab and Cross • Jab and Straight right • Double jab and Cross • Double jab and Straight right

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THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT

Here’s some questions you should be asking yourself

Q: Am I hitting with the two knuckles Q: Is my structure good Q: Is my rear heel up Q: Is my back leg rigid or flexing (it needs to be rigid on contact ) Q: Am I relaxed with loose shoulders-only stiff on contact. Q: Am I bringing my hand back at speed instead of leaving it outstretched.

MOVING

Next step is to just move backwards and forwards left and right putting these punches or other combinations at each end.

See above diagram. Don’t curve yet. In fighting, you’ll need to curve and pivot and be elusive but for now if you’re in a square room work with the shape of the walls to develop you’re internal GPS map. So you know where you are relative to defined angles first, then to your opponent as your training develops. You always need to know exactly where you are in space. I see lots of people who get too involved in the hitting aspect, and have no awareness of what their position is. Power comes from the ground so you need to be aware of what ground you’re on, and where you are headed. Obviously, against multiple opponents this is a key skill to have. Positional awareness will help you be in control of terrain when you’re in chaos. It’s important to start at the beginning.

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THE CROSS AND STRAIGHT RIGHT

IMPORTANT:

Don’t try to punch and move. Move first then stop and punch.

Even here there’s lots of work to do. When you’ve moved do you need a moment to stabilise or get ready? Try to eliminate that as much as possible. Be in touch mentally with your rear foot so as soon as that’s in place and you’re near alignment you can fire. Moving left and right you’ll find this harder particularly when you bounce to the right. For that twist your body a bit more clockwise, as there’s a tendency to square up as you move to the right. Your aim in all this, is to cut out the dead time between arriving in a position and being able to throw quality punches.

GRAVITY

Dropping your weight can really help you to hit hard. You’ve got gravity working on you all the time, so why not get it to add a few ounces or pounds to your punching. It’s very easy when doing the cross to sort of go down the hole to your left and your opponents right. This is great if you connect but it makes it hard to come out of the hole to continue with the hook. Concentrate on dropping from the legs and not letting the lean fall over so you go down the hole. You’ve then got all that kinetic energy built up in your thighs to drive the next punch forwards. Again you don’t want dead time between punches.

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“Remember there are only two states in combat.

You are either the hunter or hunted.”

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6

THE HOOK

The Hook

The left hook is a true knockout punch. It comes from out of their eye-line and goes across their axis. The head and neck muscles are stronger front to back than side to side too. Plus if you hit the chin, as you should, you’ll be using that as an impact lever against their brain.

Extra leverage is always good.

Understanding the hook. The left hook isn’t like other punches that flex the arm in some way to add power. In the hook the arm keeps quite rigid on contact. First thing is to think of it like a coat hook on a door and all you’re going to do is close the door. As you’ll see this keeps you covered with a shoulder roll without any thinking on your part.

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FIGURE 3
FIGURE 3

On contact the elbow should be behind the hand (figure 3).

Like on the other two punches it’s important to hit with the two knuckles. I used to hit with a vertical fist and did really well but this isn’t as stable a body structure. The good points of vertical are that if you hit them you hit them generally with the two knuckles and you’re less likely to break your smaller fingers.

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However now I generally do the horizontal fist (figure 4). I still hit with the two
However now I generally do the horizontal fist (figure 4). I still hit with the
two knuckles because I train to hit with them but the punch is much more
telling. Structurally you have more support from your latissimus dorsi and more
deltoid engagement. It’s a knockout punch. Make yours frightening. Unseen and
powerful.
FIGURE 4
THE HOOK

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THE HOOK

HOW TO TRAIN IT

Learn the tight hook first then you can do wide hooks and Thai hooks and it will always be good. If you do it the other way around you wont have a successful hook. Remember, you want a hook that’s unstoppable and a knockout blow.

Just as in the cross there are many types of hook. The two to work on are the rear hook and the lead hook. This book will deal primarily with the rear hook. This is the place to start to get your mechanics down. In truth, I find the lead hook more effective combatively but my fifty years of training have shown me that this is much harder to get down as it’s very subtle. We’ll cover this in depth online. If you get the rear hook down you’ll find it really easy to to the jump between the two.

Lets first of all point out what not to do. First lets deal with telegraphing.

Many people make the shape first when doing the hook. Don’t do this. Not only does it telegraph which punch you are going to do next but it gives them an easier route out of the way with a bob and weave.

They shouldn’t know what punch you are doing until it hits them. Just as in the cross you can do arm first and body first. For the left hook concentrate on body first. In this way, every move you make is a potential blow that they have to watch out for but you haven’t even thrown anything yet.

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THE HOOK

DRILLING

The hook doesn’t drill well in the air it’s better when it’s hitting things. Work on the bag so that you can just repeat constantly the lead hook. Aim at keeping the bag at an angle. By the time you’ve done twenty or thirty one after the other you’ll find that you’ve got the right structure. If not the bag will collapse towards you.

PAD DRILLS

The best way I’ve found to train the left hook to be really short and destructive is to do the Cross and Hook Loop drill.

CROSS AND HOOK LOOP DRILL

Here the trainer holds the pads in a strict L shape almost like two sides of a long box. It’s important to make the shape of the box long and thin with the striker right at the thin end of the box. They might try to cheat and pivot a bit so now they are hitting into a V shape instead of half a thin rectangle. Don’t let them do that; keep it really strict. This way they have to use their bodies. They cross up the length of the box and hook at the rear short length of the box.

METHOD

FIGURE 5

THE TRAINER: holds the right pad just to the right of his chin and puts the other pad sideways on close to the other persons chin. (figure 5)

THE STRIKER: Does a long straight right to the rear pad making sure to twist both feet and body. Keep your lead foot turned in but the rear foot must rotate on the ball of the foot. Drop the weight onto the punch at full extension. Then rotate the feet the other way so the lead foots heel is up as you drop the rear heel

  • 30 to the floor. Rotate the body with the fist held near the shoulder. If possible let

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THE HOOK

the shoulder lead the fist. Synchronise the whole of your body together; drop the rear heel and rotate the lead foot and drop the weight backwards as you deliver the hook. Important: Don’t use the arm or make it flex. Keep it locked and hit with the weight of all your body. Then loop back and do it again. Go slow and just practice hitting with your body not your arms. Do it for a few minutes. Nice and slow and relaxed.

IMPORTANT: Don’t stop after each repetition but just flow between the two and let go mentally. It’s not about doing really, it’s about going with the force.

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THE HOOK

THE RESULT: If you are doing it properly you should be delivering a telling cross at full extension and a short clubbing hook from about four inches away from the pad. Four inches! This means that you’ve got an incredible hook that you can deliver and drop an opponent from as little as four inches away.

IMPORTANT: Don’t raise the arm at the elbow rather let the body lean back so that the elbow lines up with the fist on contact. Why tell them you are coming?

LEAD HOOK

If you want to master the front hook as well as the rear based one it’s important to look at all the turning points and to get them into alignment. I’m not going to go into the front hook in depth here as it needs lots of focused training. However, it has to be incredibly short and have the ability to go around any defence they put up and do it unseen as there is no lead up or preparation.

Look at the way all my rotating levers are stacked one on top of the other. Each multiplies the next.

Have your feet right so that you hit to 2.00 o’clock not to 12.00 o’clock as your end point.

Don’t use the arm just rotate the body.

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7

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Putting it together

Now lets put it all together. Nothing flash or complicated. Good solid hitting with your body and the planet in correct alignment ending in the two knuckles.

Remember you can’t do it moving if you can’t do it on the spot first.

IMPORTANT: SOUND

Listen for the sound on the pads or the bag if doing those. When you hear a good sound (probably on your cross) try to make that sound on all strikes. Use your ears at all times. They are purer than your eyes there’s less interpretation or imagination here.

METHOD

You can do these techniques three ways:

• IN THE AIR (DRILLING AND SHADOW BOXING) If doing it in the air, concentrate on both form and also being loose and formless. A difficult task.

• ON THE PADS • ON THE HEAVY BAG OR LIGHT BAG

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PUTTING IT TOGETHER

PADS

On the pads there are two methods.

One; when the pad holder calls it and tells you what strike to perform. Making sure they call a mix of strikes. If in doubt, do it as the list, then improvise around that.

Second; where you just hit the pads to your own rhythm. This is much harder for the pad holder to deal with and is an advanced method.

Obviously for fighting, the method where you hit to your own beat is better. However, it’s not the place to start. You need to build confidence and also have repeatable skills.

PAD HOLDER

The holder doesn’t do anything flash. Just hold the pads in a 45 degree V in front of you. Have a very small downwards tilt. Use your stance to lean into the strikes as they come. This will put less strain on your shoulders and give the striker more feedback.

Use the right hand to catch the single and double jab. This gives you a free left hand to either check their cover or balance or to hit them back with a riposte or reply.

Use the left hand and then the right hand to catch the jab and cross and then the left again for Jab Cross and Hook. Just work the basics.

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  • 1. Single jab

  • 2. Double jab

  • 3. Jab and Cross

  • 4. Jab, Cross and Hook.

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PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Once you’ve got that down in a list form then do it in any order. If you fancy, throw a single cross or straight right. Don’t make your stance stiff but have some mobility in your basic stance or come up on the toes a bit.

Then do the same thing this time doing the following; firstly on a front to back axis this you can do either with a pad holder or on your own drilling into the air.

1. Double jab forwards-retreat two drag steps and jab and cross 2. Double jab forwards-retreat two drag steps and Single jab or double jab

Secondly, on a left right axis, move a couple of steps and just put a jab or jab cross at each end.

Of course you can improvise around all of this, sometimes just moving forwards without striking then hitting when in range or using hits to cover ground. The important thing at all times is to think you are hunting. Hunting an opponent down. Cutting off their escape and putting pressure on their position.

Remember there are only two states in combat.

You are either the hunter of hunted.

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“loose shoulders fists like boulders”

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8

POWER AND SPEED

Power and speed

The key to hitting with great force is to move your mass forwards at great speed.

POWER

The variables you can improve are STRUCTURE and STIFFNESS on contact so that you are generating power from the ground up and not losing it as it moves through your body. Then you can increase your MASS by making sure all of your WEIGHT is in the punch. Use GRAVITY to help too. In some ways you could say that if you hit with the planet you’re really increasing your mass. The next thing you can improve is SPEED.

SPEED

Keep loose and don’t have any stiffness in your limbs think of it in a similar way to throwing a stone. All you need is super stiffness at the contact point. There’s a nice rhyme that says ‘loose shoulders - fists like boulders’ . Obviously in some of the drills we’ve covered already you are going to have some tension in the arms particularly when doing things slow and technically. This is ok but when you’re finally focusing on hitting hard concentrate on being loose until the point of contact.

IMPORTANT : ANY STIFFNESS WILL CUT YOUR SPEED

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POWER AND SPEED

Obviously, there’s an equation of mass x velocity to achieve total power but you want the most you can get of both. Speed is fairly finite but most people aren’t anywhere near their potential. Keep loose and drive from the base not the top. Remember: Loose shoulders.

Lastly it’s important to DROP THE POWER ON THEM. What I mean by this, is that you have to take the arm away from the contact point as fast or even faster than it went out and landed. If you keep the contact on you will move the opponent but that won’t knock them out. It will move them. Think of it like the only two types of energy; Latent energy and Kinetic energy. What you want to do is hit them really hard and just when that power is going to convert from Latent into Kinetic and move them; snap your hand back off the target. This can be hard to get as you want to penetrate, but it’s important to not get greedy and turn any punch into a push.

A good way to think of this, if you are into the Star Trek, is that just when the characters are going to be beamed somewhere and are just turning into molecules or photons, (science is not my game) then you turn the power off. Leaving them with nowhere to go as there’s not enough energy to transport them but caught leaving them between the two states. Fighting wise; do this to your opponent and the energy just bounces around their body, doing damage.

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9

BAG WORK

Bag work

We’ll probably cover this in more depth in a future ebook but here’s a quick guide to get you started.

When working these basics on the bag first get a relationship with the bag. Just move around it noting how it swings. If it’s not swinging then give it a push. Then you’ve got a forwards and back axis that you can move on or if you move to the side the bag is moving across your axis.

IMPORTANT: Moving around the bag without hitting is the first place to start. Move the rear foot and also move the stance and additionally move the lead foot.

The bag is trying to tell you stuff so you need to listen. If you can’t relate to a bag you’ll find it much harder assessing the movement of a live opponent.

This just shows you how to move around the bag and synch to the timing of the bag. All of the things we’re covering in this book are covered in this clip.

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BAG WORK

HITTING THE BAG

The important thing here is to hit the bag just as it’s at the top of it’s swing and just about to return towards you. Then you get it’s weight and your weight colliding to best effect. Very long and heavy bags aren’t best for this as they don’t move enough. Don’t chase the bag with your hits. To hit hard is also hugely about timing. Your weight and their weight colliding with your fist as the exchange medium.

When the bag is moving left to right it’s the best time to throw the left hook (or the right hook too) Get it at the top of it’s swing when it’s just starting to return towards you. For the left hook you can repeat this so that you keep the bag at an angle. Use the lead hook for this. If the bag collapses against you it generally means that you’ve not got the right structure or you’ve spent too long between punches. Concentrate on hitting from the legs and hips with a short arm.

If the bag is swinging wildly you’re pushing the bag not leaving the energy within it. Make the bag judder and maybe move a little but concentrate on leaving the energy within the bag. If it’s swinging wildly you’ve missed the mark. Here’s a clip showing the basics (and the advanced ) of hitting a bag well. Get the body position and timing right but make sure you hit with the body and structure not just your arm.

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Conclusion

This is zen training in many ways. You can go slow and concentrate on one punch or part of a punch then put it back into your game.

Another way is to forget about winning for a while and just concentrate on what’s happening with your body. This will really pay off when you really need it. Are you aware of your feet on the ground. weight on the punch, two knuckles hitting at ALL TIMES, structure, balance?

For the best results you’ve got three variables: Mass, Speed, and Structure. Even if you get these right putting a sponge on the end of the punch will lose much of the effect. Concentrate on hitting with the two knuckles and a tight hand on impact.

Above all does it feel easy? It should be. When you get it right if feels like you’re doing nothing but hitting really hard and accurately. Go both very structured in your training and then put it into loose shadow boxing mixing moving and solid standing so that you can do it all from an informal structure. Have a soft and fluid body. It’s a life long quest so don’t worry if you don’t get it all down at your first attempt. It’s a way of working. Power punching will change your martial arts or boxing and make people fear your blows thus opening them up to your more funky stuff.

I hope you find this book helpful. If you do let others know about it and lets share the knowledge.

Good luck,

Conclusion This is zen training in many ways. You can go slow and concentrate on one

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