problem with punching technique

I am a bit of a slow learner with the striking aspect of fighting and would appreciate any advice you have.

I have been training my straight punches to hit with knuckles up, thumb down. The problem is I am flailing. My elbows are lifting up during the punch and really exposing my ribs allowing a good kick to come in under it.

So now I have been told to just punch with thumb up (ie. no twist). It feels good in some ways (ie. it is straighter) but I think it lacks power.

Any advice, is this a common problem?

You have to bear in mind that everytime you throw any offensive technique, you are exposing yourself. So the fact that you expose your ribs for a kick during your punch is a moot point. EVERYONE exposes their ribs to a kick (or some other attack) when they punch.

KNUCKLES UP or HORIZONTAL FIST is probably considered to be more "textbook" Boxing. THUMB UP or VERTICAL FIST is just as good a punch, IMHO. I really believe its mostly a matter of which punch you're more comfortable with, or which punch works better in a given situation.

The VERTICAL fist that you've been switched to may only feel weaker due to your infamiliarity with the technique. Though the vertical and horizontal punches are both straight-line punches, the body mechanics aren't identical. So it may be a matter of you becoming more comfortable with throwing the vertical fist with proper mechanics before you're able to generate satisfactory power.

However, going back to the HORIZONTAL fist. The elbows ALWAYS flare out during this punch. The "trick" is to train and train to ensure that they do not do so until the very last instant before the punch locks out and strikes its intended target. You need to practice, practice, practice keeping the elbow pointed down towards the floor until that last instant. For me, I have found that it helps to keep your palms facing inwards almost angled towards your face during the punch


(be back shortly)

Khun Kao

OK, I'm back now. Stupid Belkin keyboard was starting to just type what it wanted. I had to backspace and retype my last paragraph and rant so many times....

Enough of that, what I was getting at is that as I throw straight punches, to make sure that I keep my elbows down I turn my palms to face slightly more than inwards, almost towards my own face. I try to keep the palms facing inwards throughout the punch until right before impact, when I "snap" or "twirl" the fist around so that my palm now faces downwards.

But, it also boils down to what TYPE of straight punch you are throwing, what your target is, and what you're trying to accomplish. There are multiple, multiple ways of throwing a straight punch. For instance there are at least 8 variations of just the JAB. (no, I don't know all of them. I personally know about 4)

Khun Kao

Thanks Khun Kao.

I am practicing these techniques in front of a mirror. I am happy with the vertical fist jab, but I still prefer the horizontal straight right.

So I guess the elbow issue is really about telegraphing the punch.

Now I have to work on not blinking, and not moving my head back...


Kinda, but kinda not....

If your elbow flares out to the side too soon, the punch is easier to defend and counter. It isn't so much that it telegraphs the punch, though I guess it does make the punch easier to see coming, so you could say that the punch is "telegraphed". I've just always thought of telegraphing a punch as someone doing something BEFORE you strike that reveals what your intentions are, not so much doing something AS you throw your technique that makes it easier to see....


Khun Kao

JJkid Where is GCJJ at?


Gold Coast Ju jitsu is on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

They call it traditional and modern ju jitsu. It's japanese not brazillian. Plenty of ground work though, but we do not focus on using the Gi the way alot of the BJJ schools do.

Lots of good BJJ, shootfighting and submission grappling schools on the Gold Coast too.

Oh and its the home of John Wayne Parr and his Muay Thai school. I am thinking of doing some training with them down the track, but I prefer the grappling and shootfighting to kickboxing. I am not to fond of getting KO'd (hasn't happened but I know if I go toe to toe with a good standup fighter it's bound to happen).


If you are on the Gold Coast, you shoud go and take Savate lessons from Craig Gemeiner. Every man and his dog takes Muay Thai so you should get an edge by taking an art that noone else does in the form of Savate.

Anyway, Craig's website is here

Craig is a nice guy and a great athlete.