Tag Archives: punch

Relaxed striking

There are mostly two ways in which striking is taught in martial arts styles across (now this is a generalization, so relax)

  • Putting the whole bodyweight behind a strike, or
  • Keeping the body parts relaxed building up to a whip like quality in the strike

The first approach can be seen in modern boxing, kickboxing, Thai Boxing, some Japanese schools of Karate etc. Basically the body builds up a spiraling motion starting from a pivot point eg. the foot. Then progressively muscle groups are contracted sequentially to finally release the power through hands, feet, elbows, knees or any other striking surface. See a few examples here

Advantage:  Delivers massive impact due to the build up of momentum


  • This is a hit or miss way of striking. If the surface of striking moves away or changes orientation, the vectors of the momentum being aligned in only one direction can easily cause the person to lose balance, trip over and injure themselves
  • After delivering a strike, the body takes considerable time to recover and bring the spine back to a neutral position. An unbalanced spinal structure is always the first set up for a throw or  takedown.

Applying kinesiology and specifically the concept of kinetic chains does give us a structural idea of the body and the simple mechanics behind a strike. On paper it might calculate out to be  a good strike but adding a human body to the mix changes everything. A human body is both hard and soft. This is where the second approach picks up.

  • Relaxing the hips and shoulders, allowing the spine to rest at a neutral position and length. This is quite close to the state of Sung in taijiquan.
  • Moving muscular tension like a wave along different muscle groups

Such a strike when released allows a better transfer of impact into a body. An alive body reacts very differently to a strike than a heavy bag or board. Depending on the static tension, the available neural pathways, visual cues etc every other body reacts uniquely. To adapt to such uniqueness, the strikes are delivered with natural efficiency and they add up when the body is not constantly recovering from putting too much effort into a single strike.

How do I build this quality of movement in my muscles? It’s simple really. You don’t have to look beyond some basic exercises. Just add some variation in the way you do normal workouts like push ups, sit ups, leg raises or squats. Are you fixed to only one plane of motion? If the ground below you suddenly became slippery, would you feel relaxed enough to adapt in the moment? Want to learn more? Give me a call on 8308252872 to train in Pune.

You can Vladimir Vasiliev showing a similar concept of strikes that adapt fast