Many people think how to throw a punch is common knowledge. They figure since they grew up slugging their little brother and punching out the bully at school, they are experienced pugilists. According to Bruce Everett Miller, who is a 6th degree black belt in the style of Quan Li K’an and teaches martial arts, many people do not use proper arm alignment when they swing.
Throwing punches without proper alignment will not only be less effective against your opponent, but it may also put you at risk of boxer fracture or a wrist injury. Here are Bruce’s tips to throwing a properly aligned punch.
“The striking surface: The point of impact should be as if it was coming from either the second or third web spaces [between the index or first finger and the long finger knuckles OR between the long finger knuckle and the ring finger knuckle]. In truth, you will strike your knuckle fist and not the web spaces between the knuckles, but if you focus on either of these points then the hand is aligned properly. The difference between the two points is that the first one (between the index and long fingers) is for a straight on punch, whereas the second one (between the long and ring finger) is for a 3/4 twist punch.
The wrist: It should be perfectly straight to align the bones to transmit force up to and through it. I have seen many wrist injuries that resulted from the wrist bending upon impact. This is one reason people tape their wrists.
The elbow: It should be kept close to the body so that the direction of the strike is parallel to the movement of the centerline of the body. Correct alignment of the hand ensures that any force which is rebounded from an impact is transmitted up the entire arm and the body as a whole absorbs the force not just the striking portion of the hand. Additionally the elbow must be kept close to the body so that the direction of the strike is parallel to the movement of the centerline of the body. Keeping the elbow in close to the body is just as important, for otherwise the force will stop at your elbow. You may not break the elbow, but you will injure the ligaments holding the bones in place and hurt for a very long time!”
Small things such as proper punch alignment can make a big difference. If you pay attention to your punch alignment it’s likely you’ll get hurt less and knock more opponents out.