Proper Punching by Mark Kaufman

Many times I see students punch awkwardly, they are either off balance, out of stance or just plain can't get their body into the punch. To my mind this is truly Krav Maga 100, being able to throw convincing combatives. Many of my students came from previous martial arts instruction where the true mechanics of a punch were ignored.

At first I had a tough time wrapping my mind around this. Then as I began to analyze their body mechanics from the ground up I saw a broken chain of energy. A wise martial artist once said "The hip is a wheel, the spine is an axel", he also espoused that our feet were anchored in the earth while our heads were pulled by heavenly strings, the guy was Daoist, so there is a lot of philosophy, but thinking that way helps with posture.

Upon further analysis I saw that there was no link between the students feet, leg and hip, they were arm punching, just like I did before I learned about this linkage, in not such flowery prose. My solution, "silk reeling" and "brush knee whip' to help them coordinate their body movements. So after I rev them up with some drills I learned in the military, on timed intervals, we stretch and then we do "silk reeling" and "brush knee whip" to help them feel the body working in harmony for the punch.

These seemingly innocuous exercises teach them body movement, to help them get the and to understand where their body center line is, to help them use short and long range combatives. I had one student who had problems kicking, she was always falling back, so I took a movement from Wu style Taijiquan called "parting kick", after demonstrating it a few times on the wrestling mat, I had her doing the movement slowly, then I put in a kick/punch application, which as a Krav Maga student she loved and she got her balance. For short punches, hooks, short straight punch, I find it helpful to keep students aware of centerline for a good chopping hook and I use the old (like 14th century old) saying that "The spine is a bow, the fist is an arrow", it helps them put their body into a short straight punch.

Many of the arts can teach us lessons we may have forgotten and breaking down the movement is students need sometimes, Those of us experienced take movement for granted, we do things unconsciously and although IKI Krav Maga continues to move forward (Yea!), we must still pay attention to the basics. for some reason, I pursued Wu style Taijiquan, I liked the short stances and loved the competition form (42 movements, solo form is 108) and I find this tool helps in giving students fundamental mechanics. Okay requiring daily shadow boxing helps, but I feel that we as instructors should make our students the best they can be. Good students are a reflection on us as instructors. Teaching is about them, not us.

Mark Kaufman is a member of IKI in Massachusettes, USA and teaches at the New England Sports Academy in Westwood, MA.