Learn how to throw a snap punch. If you want serious speed and knockout power to your punches, read this ASAP!
Many fighters have never been taught how to throw snapping punches. They don’t even know the difference between a snap punch and a push punch. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know the difference either at first. I didn’t learn through a Jack Dempsey book or Bruce Lee documentary. I learned by getting my ass kicked all the time by better boxers. I knew they were better than me but I didn’t know HOW! It took me a while before I realized that their punching techniques were different from mine. It was quite a discovery to realize there was more to punching than just jab-cross-hook-uppercut!
Many beginner boxers don’t realize when trying to punch harder, is that they’re just push-punching. It’s wastes energy, moves slower, and doesn’t cause much more damage to their opponents. It also leaves them more open to counter-punches and limits their overall boxing ability. Every time I push-punched a better boxer, he simply parried my punch and sent my body flying off-balance.
Learning how to throw snapping punches will allow you to put together faster punch combinations and minimize risks of getting countered. Snapping punches will allow you to be more energy efficient while increasing the damage inflicted on your opponents.
Snapping Punches VS Pushing Punches
I consider the snap punch and push punch to be opposite kinds of punches.
What is a Pushing Punch
A pushing punch is when a punch is thrown with the fist driving “through” the target to cause maximum damage. Martial artists generally believe a pushing punch to be a strike comparable to a bullet. The force of the punch is expected to go beyond the surface maximizing damage to everything in its path. It’s called a pushing punch because the punch is meant to be pushed all the way through to full extension of the arm and body.
What is a Snapping Punch
A snapping punch is a quickly thrown punch that aims to minimize the contact time with the target. The snapping punch strikes the target and returns almost immediately after it makes contact instead of the pushing punch which tries to maximize the contact time with the target by forcing the punch all the way through it’s target. It’s called a snapping punch because the arm quickly snaps back after striking the target.
Disadvantages to Pushing Punches
In most boxing situations, the pushing punch is an overcommitment. Just as a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money into one investment and a farmer does not put all his eggs into one basket, a boxer should not put all his energy into one punch. Boxing is not a brick-breaking contest.
Some fighting experts will argue that pushing punches increase the likelihood of knockouts but I disagree. For one thing, a knockout is achieved by simply overcoming the threshold of impact your opponent’s body can withstand before it shuts down. If your opponent’s knockout threshold is say 50 (random number I just made up), then any punch you throw above 50 would be sufficient. If I could throw 4 snapping punches with the power of 50 versus throwing 1 punch with the power of 200, I’d definitely pick the 4 snapping punches. Applying 4 times the effort required to knockout your opponent is like trying to fill an empty cup with a gallon of water. It’s overkill and wasteful!
Why should I put myself at defensive risk by over-committing to one punch? I will only be wasting energy and making myself more vulnerable to getting counter-punched if I miss. I’m not saying pushing punches are useless and should never be used. I’m only saying that based on boxing’s rule of “hit and don’t get hit”, snapping punches are in fact superior to pushing punches because of their defensive qualities.
I do believe that push punches have one area of advantage which is throwing to the body. Push punches may be considered a waste when you punch to the head because the head is a hard shell and bounces away the moment you hit it, so the punch will never be able to “penetrate”. However, a push punch to the body can definitely be shoved in further and bruise the internal organs. Regardless, I still choose to use the snap punch for body shots but you’re welcome to try either.
Advantages to Snapping Punches
The snapping punch has devastating power. When thrown properly, you can transfer a ton of energy from your body’s momentum to your opponent. Instead of just pushing into your opponent, you’re using acceleration and power to deliver crushing blows to your opponent. A snapping punch carries more speed increasing the chances of success and at the same time retracts quicker securing your defenses and allowing you to punch again much sooner. The snapping punch is not a slap. It actually does penetrate and “punch” through the surface to cause damage to your opponent. The difference is that you pull back the punch after it’s driven through your opponent.
The snapping punch preserves your defense because your hand returns home after each punch instead of being delayed and pushed against the opponent like in a pushing punch. If you were to miss a pushing punch, you would definitely be vulnerable. So ultimately, the snapping punch will allow you to inflict great damage but still retain your defense. In a sport where the athlete’s job is to hit and not get hit, snapping punches are a perfect compromise.
Snapping Punch Theory & Technique
The power beyond the snapping punch has to do with your mental attitude. You should view the snapping punch as a method of transferring energy from your relaxed body, through your arms, dispersing the force at the fist upon impact, and then returned the fists home relaxed leaving the impact energy with your opponent. They focus of snapping punches is RELAXATION, SPEED, POWER, and RECOVERY. The muscle that starts relaxed has more potential to burst with more speed and power than a stiff muscle. With maximum focus on explosive power, you can expect to maximum damage to your opponent. The punching arm is treated as a rubber band accelerating to maximum velocity, striking the target, and then bouncing off relaxed immediately afterwards. You can use any snapping punch technique you want as long as it focuses on RELAXATION, SPEED, POWER, and RECOVERY.
How to Throw Snapping Punches
The snapping punch starts with a completely relaxed arm and body. A relaxed muscle has the greatest potential for speed so this means your punch will come out faster than a stiff arm that is just trying to push-punch through the target. To further relax your body, you should also relax your mind! Don’t think about being overly aggressive; instead, think about surprising him with a controlled relax snap punch.
As the snapping punch is thrown, the arm quickly bursts from a state of rest into high velocity. An explosive exhale of breath will aid the explosive movement. (Don’t release a long sigh of air, shoot your breath out FAST!)
The problem with some boxers and “push-punchers” especially, is that they like to hang on to their fist once their throw a punch. They don’t realize that they’re unintentionally tightening up the arm, squeezing the forearms and fist as they try to direct the fist to its target. Once you send your fist out with the initial burst at the beginning of the punch, just relax your body and let the fist fly out at full force. Again, don’t try to control your arm or your fist once you throw the punch. Just let it go and trust that it will hit its target.
Minimize Contact Time
Tighten the fist ONLY at the point of impact. Make sure your fist has hit and you hear the satisfying *SMACK!* of the punch on your opponent. Immediately after impact, relax the whole arm and quickly retract leaving the impact to disperse on the opponent.
Recovering quickly is tricky because you want to conserve energy but also make sure that you transferred the force from your fist to your opponent. If you pull back your arm too fast, you’re punching power decreases AND your shoulder muscles will use more energy to pull the fist back since it is simultaneously counter-acting against the tricep muscle that launched the fist out. If you allow the punch to travel out too much, it might become a pushing punch. The easiest way for me to know when the perfect time to retract the punch is to allow the force of impact naturally “bounce” my fist back to me. In the event that I am missing (or shadowboxing in practice), my arm naturally returns the fist home in a RELAXED manner once the arm is extended to a certain point.
This is the hardest part about teaching the snapping punch. When I teach people how to punch, I have to give different visualizations for different people. Do keep in mind that these are just different VISUALIZATION METHODS. They might work, they might not. I’ll list a few different ways to visualize the punch below and it’s up to you to figure out which one gives you the best snapping punches.
Method 1 – Two Frames of Punching
This method helps you punch quicker with more explosiveness. Don’t think about your hands traveling in a smooth motion to your opponent’s face. Instead, imagine your fists exploding from your body to your opponent. Almost as if they’re so quick that they can’t be seen traveling through the air. Imagine that if someone was watching you box, your punches are simply disappearing from the start position and instantaneously reappearing on your opponent’s chin.
Method 2 – Relaxed Launch, Relaxed Return
Your punches start out relaxed and pick up speed accelerating throughout the punch and ultimately reaching full speed right before impact. You are starting off all your punches slow (almost slow motion) and allowing your body to whip the speed and power into the punch near the end of the punch. This method allows your body time to swing slowly at the beginning of the punch before pivoting hard right before the punch lands. Your breathing is also similar – you are exhaling slowly at the beginning of the punch and then quickly finishing the breath exhale sharply as you land the punch. The return will be completely relaxed as your body swings the other way punching with the other hand in a relaxed manner.
Method 3 – Recover Early
Try recovering your punches earlier than you usually did. Try to recover early so that the punch almost doesn’t penetrate the heavy bag too much before you pull it back. You may notice that your punch combinations becoming faster and snappier because your hands are spending less time touching the bag and more time traveling through the air.
Method 4 – Shock Don’t Push
Many people will tell you that your punches shouldn’t be pushing the heavy bag, it should be shaking the bag all over in once place like a seizure. The bag should not be swinging away if you’re throwing proper snap punches at it. Instead the bag should be shaking right where it is and appearing to have a seizure.
Method 5 – Punch From the Hips
Don’t think of your fists as weights connected to the end of your arms. Think of your punches as weights connected to your waist. Your arms and hands will drop relaxed to your waist as you move around the heavy bag. When you are ready, quickly ground your feet anchoring your hips and imagine your hands suddenly picking up “weight” and firing with amazing power from the hips.
Method 6 – No Aim
This method helps you relax your hands even more and allows your body to move more naturally using more of your raw speed and raw power instead of “stiff programmed punching motions”. What you do is basically punch at a heavy bag without aiming. Just throw your fists anywhere landing up and down on the bag. Try to make each punch land close to last one without consciously “controlling” the fist too much.
Method 7 – Stealing Bread
I’ve heard this funny analogy being used to describe the motion of punching fast and figured it might help. You basically imagine your hand quickly shooting out towards your opponent in a relaxed manner. Your fist will turn over and tighten as you “grab a loaf of bread” and quickly pull your hand back. Let’s go out and steal some bread!
Method 8 – Whip VS Bat
Think of your arm as a loose whip. Every punch (except the jab) has a very relaxed cocking motion where you relax the arm allowing your chest to stretch a little just before you quickly whip that arm forward and punching in a quick powerful snapping motion. What you DON’T want to do is stiffen your arm and swing “like a bat”. Again, punch like a whip, not like a bat.
Method 9 – Smack the Bag
When you land a proper snapping punch, the bag will make a satisfying smack sound. When you land a push-punch, the bag makes a muffled “thud”. The smack sound comes from you cracking the bag with perfectly landed snap punches. Go ahead, use your ears, and try to “Smack The Bag”.
Method 10 – Bounce the Punch
When you punch, bounce your fist as hard as you can off the target. It will force you to time your contraction perfectly for the perfect snapping punch. You have contract fast to make your hand hit the target hard, and then relax fast so the hand can bounce off the target.
How to Practice The Snap Punch
READ READ READ!!! This is the most important part of this whole guide!
Turn Off The Power
This is the MOST IMPORTANT tip for a snap punch:To really develop the snapping punch, you have to learn not to load up your punches. When you are first practicing the snapping punch, you have to keep your arms and body relaxed and loose. Do not try to punch hard or fast. Relax and let the arm travel at whatever speed it wants. (Try 25% force and 25% speed. When in doubt, use less effort.) You WILL feel ridiculous and silly hitting the heavy bag with no force. Again, it’s not about hitting faster or slower, just relax and let the fist punch with minimal effort. You are ultimately learning how to punch with technique and NOT energy, so TURN OFF THE POWER!
Many boxers are wasting energy and diminishing the snap punch power by pulling their fist back too early or too late when punching. Pulling your fist back too early takes away from the punch power and tires your muscle faster since you have muscles pulling back the punch while opposite muscles are still sending the punch out. Pulling your fist back too late means you’re basically pushing into the punch and it’s a push-punch instead of a snap-punch.
The best way to practice building a perfect natural return is to let the impact return your hand back to you. I like to tell boxers to hit the bag and let the fist fall immediately after impact. Most likely, your punches will hit the bag and then bounce back and fall to your waist since you fully released control on your fists. Once you figure out the perfect timing to recover your hands without pushing for too long or pulling too early, you will now know exactly when to recover your hands. A perfect natural return is the perfect balance between most damage inflicted and least effort used to recover the punching hand.
I noticed that many boxers lack the snap in their punches because they are too busy trying to control their arm throughout every aspect of the snap punch motion. I would suggest trying this: relax the hands and punch with the fists completely vertical standing straight up. You are now throwing jabs, crosses, and hooks with vertical-fisted punches. You should feel like your arm is more relaxed and moves faster since you are not busy turning your fists over like you normally would. The vertical fists should only be used for practice. Once you get the hang of this, you should start turning your fist over like you normally do.
Adjust The Return
Some people still can’t figure out a way to make the punches snappier. What you can do from here is experiment with when to pull your hand back. You pull it back after the fist has penetrated 2 inches into the heavy bag. Or you can pull back the hand immediately after you hear the “smack” sound of the fist hitting the bag. Whatever it is, find the exact moment that makes your punches feel the most snappy and speedy/powerful.
Use Your Body
Make sure you use your body by moving it with your punches. If you’re just throwing arm punches, there’s no power and it’s just speed punches. Think of speed punches as a game of “hot hands” where you’re just trying to tag each other. What you want is POWER which means you have to put some weight into the punch. Using your body when you punch is the best way of putting weight behind the punch.
Build Recovery Muscles
This is a very important point. I see so many boxers and fighters that only do exercises that build their punching muscles (push-ups, dips) instead of recover muscles (back, deltoids). Just think about it, the punching motion has two parts: the launch part where the fist is coming out towards your opponent, and the recovery where the fist is returned home to you. If you’re only working out your punching muscles, your recovery motion will still be slow.
Now if you do workouts that target your recovery muscles, you will be able to recover your punches faster which means you can punch again faster which ultimately means you will have faster (and snappier) combinations! I highly recommend a lot of shadowboxing and double-end bag as best workouts for recovery muscles. You’re more likely to hit air this way and your recovery muscles will be tested more. If you only hit a heavy bag, your recovery muscles won’t develop as well since the heavy bag is bouncing your fist back to you. Other exercises I recommend are ones that use light weights.
Great Examples of Snap Punchers
You can see the advantage of having snap punches in these world champions below:
- Julian Jackson – Considered one of the hardest punchers of all time. The puncher of all punchers. See some monstrous knockout footage.
- Thomas Hearns – The middleweight that hit like a heavyweight. Watch this tall skinny boxer knockout people left and right.
- Floyd Mayweather – Another great whip puncher. Watch his fights against Diego Corrales and Justin Juuko to see his amazing snap punches thrown one at a time. Watch his fights against Arturo Gatti and Ricky Hatton to see him land devastating right hands.
- Kostya Tszyu – One of the best unified 140lb boxers of all time. Pro footage. Olympic Amateur Footage.
- Manny Pacquiao – Forget about his knockouts. Watch this speedy southpaw shadowbox with crazy speed. Incredible snapping punches used in sparring.
- Lucian Bute – Awesome up and coming southpaw champion. Beautiful relaxed snap in his punches.
- Yuriorkis Gamboa – Insanely talented boxer puncher. Knockout 1. Knockout 2. Look at his blinding speed and snap!
- Mike Tyson – You’ve seen Mike Tyson’s knockouts, now see Mike Tyson’s boxing training.
- Muhammad Ali – Amazing whip punches. Watch how he whips those punches out with his hands dangling relaxed from his waist!
Even though they have one-punch knockout power, you can see that they’re not always knocking out their opponents with just one punch. They’re still setting up shots and punching rapidly in combinations until the knockout comes. Anybody can see that they’re throwing snap punches not pushing punches. Notice how their arms are very relaxed and appear a bit “rubbery” while punching.
Watch my instruction video for a visual demonstration or snap punches.
Watch the big guy! Perfect example of snap-punches!
When I first started learning snapping punches, I did it to increase my power and overall offensive abilities. What I didn’t expect was for it to make my defense better. Over time and time again, I realize that the snapping punch isn’t a special secret move. It’s an essential technique that every fighter should learn in order to maximize their offense and defense while conserving energy. Virtually ALL top level amateur boxers use snapping punches!
Benefits of snapping punches over push punches:
- more damage inflicted
- faster hand speed
- faster retraction rate
- lower risk to being parried or off-balanced
The most rewarding thing about snapping punches is that it’s very hard to master at first but once you do, it’s so much fun to use. You will know when you’ve finally got it because your punches will feel as though they have become three times more powerful. You will amaze everybody in your gym with your punching ability and gain the respect of all your opponents for at least your punching ability if not your boxing ability. I’m embarrassed to admit that I boxed for so long without knowing how to put snap in my punches but I’m glad I know it now. It has made a world of difference in my boxing ability and I’m sure it will do the same for you.
thanks alot one of the best articels I had ever read
Peckham Boy 1
What a legend for making this site with these articles. Such a big help for me and the kids i teach. Big up yourself man!! good job
Thank you! Good luck to you and the kids.
Thank You for the sweet article, Namaste. What i learned from snap punching someone in real life was that i should have used my palm rather than my knuckle since i saw my own bone and had to get stitches, the palm is a better combat option because you save your knuckles for when you truly need them. Than is just my experience, i hope you never need it. Peace and Love till someone crosses that line……
let us know about the proper methods of infighting shoeshine techniques and punch combinations while doing so
Great article. very educational. If you look at it in a breaking perspective. the three inch punch while breaking is extremely hard to do if you are using the push punch. You end up just moving the person that is holding the board using the board as a push plate. If you snap punch, you have a much greater chance of actually breaking.
thank you very much.
thank you very much.i appreciate you.
i cannot write comment long because of my poor english
(here is korea)
in fact, to read this article,i had to take about 2 hours with dictionary,
GOOD. I’VE GOT AN IDEA TO STORE MY ENERGY
thank you for this site
hi this really helped me in fighting bcuz it happend to me ALOTT and it hurt really bad so, i wanted to know how so my coach said to try this website and i practiced it and i did it. YAYY!!!!
how long to learn
Hi Brittany. Congratulations. I am curious to know… how long did you practice before you were able to throwing snapping punches?
John in VA
I am training now for sanshou/kickboxing and my sifu (kung fu) said that the power was there but there needed to be more snap. I think I got a better understanding with your article b/c I couldn’t understand what he was saying. It seemed like it had snap but I was pushing through the heavy bag instead of snapping (trying to hit harder) and using hip action along with my punch instead of just waist (I think my year of tkd corrupted me lol). I will definitely try some of the tips in the article and keep up this great site. I come here almost everyday and every time I read the articles there is always something more to learn and work on. I look forward to reading more of your insightful and “no bull” articles!
Thank you so much for reading! Do write back and update me. Watching people learn how to throw snapping punches is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s a beauty to see someone go from a push-puncher to a true snap-puncher and throw blinding combinations in the process.
great article this information is so valuable it saved me from so much frustration of not feeling explosive at all times and using so much energy that i train long and hard to compensate for my current punches. ..Even when my punches has gotten stronger it never still felt right. I feel blessed to have access to the webite..The diffrence between a push and a snap punch is very huge eye opener ,sparred for so long and you have your ups and downs but i didnt realize on the good days i happen to punch correctly with snap…never understood why just happen to feel loose that day. Now i can access it much quicker this website is for real.
I know what you mean when you say frustration. It took me sooooooo long, man.
John in VA
Got it down!
Been working on the drills you have up here and with my teacher and there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in my power and speed from my punches. Couldn’t come at a better time since I have a tournament in March of next year. Using the snapping punches actually puts me in better position to load up with my kicks. A few blazing punches and BAM kick to the head! Can’t thank you enough! Keep up the good work! It’s always good to have references from qualified and knowledgable people.
Does the flicker jab and snapping punch is the same?
A flicker jab is kind of like a snapping punch. To me, the flicker jab is more like a quick backhand slap done in a snapping style. It’s not so much a punch, more like a snapping slap to me. Thomas Hearns and Paul Williams are two fighters that come to mind that use the flicking jab a lot.
Thanks a lot i love when you mix a up words like hooker cut and snapping slap i always keep the hooker cut thing to me when i throw a left hook.
excellent article, been trying to find out for a while how to put power and speed together, cant wait to put it into practice. thanks
When i throw 1 – 2 – 3 – 6 (right upper) the right uppercut seems to hard to snap .. How about you guys ?
All you gotta do is make sure you drop your weight on the uppercut instead of exploding your weight up into the air. Also, instead of throwing your weight forward towards your left foot, try to keep it more on top of your right foot as you pivot the right foot hard!
Read this: https://expertboxing.com/boxing-techniques/punch-techniques/how-to-throw-an-uppercut
Let me know if the tips worked for you.
im curious to know should i throw a hook with a horizontal fist im 5″5
Try it and see how you like it.
You are the best bro. Not so consistent nowadays but your knowledge is out there and will live forever.
Thank you for this comment, Aleksandar! I do plan to put out more articles. Have you seen my Youtube channel lately? Tons of videos being put out.
This is Thomas Hearns today demonstrating jab straight and hook to timo bradley! Look at how thommy throws every punch , i feel very lucky to see him do it again ! 😀
I felt the wind when he threw that right!
Johnny N i won my 1st amateur bout last night i knocked him down 3 or 4 times on 1st round then they stopped the fight!The crowd was very happy of the fight they say it’s the most impressive fight of the night.. I earned much respect from my friends and everyone greets me ,Last night was i didnt expect anything that happened ! Just want to share .. 🙂
Jacobi, that is freaken awesome! Your victories are the reason why I write these articles! Awesome awesome awesome! I’m proud of you!
With your articles, you make our training and fights easier !Thanks and God Bless you Johnny!
I teach and still got a lot to learn,im always trying to learn and read more and find your articles
enlightening and helpful.
Keep up the good work
I love this article. However I wished that you explained the cons of snap punch (because I know there, if there weren’t then no would even know how to push punch) as well as the (very few) pros of push punching and the correct times to use push punching verses snap punching. I know I like to switch from push punching to snap punching about have way through the fight, and sometimes (depending on the fighter) visa versa.
@Dom – I actually feel the snap punch is superior to the push punch in all applications except for maybe body punches. Snap punches are so much faster that it’s hard to imagine anyone ever wanting to put themselves at defensive risk and inefficient performance by resorting to a push punch. Speed is key to a fight and boxing is fought in combinations not single punches. The snap punch holds advantages in almost every single way. I never throw push punches anymore and neither does any other experienced fighter in any gym that I’ve seen. Some fighters are more inclined to brawl and/or have a less snappy looking punch, but nonetheless they are all trying to have as much snap in their punches as possible.
As an advocate of the ‘pushing punch’, it does have it’s benefits, likewise, snapping punches have their cons. Some of these cons can be mitigated by further training, as can the cons of what I would prefer to call the committed or thrusting punch. I will be speaking generally here and from a base of practical experience.
Snapping punchers are likely to hit only the surface of the target, mindful of their retraction, they pull too early and rob themselves of the blow’s full power, even a cannon ball will not break a door if it stops and only touches the surface. There is also a loss of body commitment behind their blows when people go for snapping punches because the arm is relaxed, and while fast, but not tense enough to act as a medium for the momentum transfer between the two bodies. This can be bad because if an opponent charges you, you cannot stop their forward momentum with a snapping strike well, let alone turn the tide, barring a fortunate but unlikely jab knockout in your favor. Many snapping punchers, again because they intend to retract their blow, do not reach full extension, reducing the range of strike. Many people attempting snapping punches do not allow their arm to come back far enough to allow the muscle belly to relax before launching another strike, and thus rob themselves of yet more speed and power. Snapping strikers also become mentally swept up into their combinations, which negates the notion of drawing back to re-establish one’s defense. As a person strikes they are often most open. While a snapping striker can strike more times over the course of the fight, they will also have more openings, making it a double edged sword, and a light one at that.
Now, for the pros of what I would more appropriately call a committed strike. If you want to stop an opponent charging at you and halt them, if you are fighting many opponents and want to make distance between yourself and your opponents by knocking them back and away from you, if you want to keep your guard solid, not fall into a rhythm of opening our guard, and then explosively seize on an opponent’s opening to deal a single devastating blow that puts your opponent on the floor five feet away, the committed strike is useful. Yes, commitment may leave you open to a counter when you use it, but beyond being more powerful (which it is and I can demonstrate using math), having a single opening as opposed to the many you create when you are carried away with many strikes is favorable for defensive fighting.
The burden of proof is on me to verify the power of a committed strike, I’ll do so now. An arm typically is 1/20th of the mass of the human body, even if you throw it at Guinness world record punch velocity, 19 mps, you’d get (.05)TotalMass(19mps). leaving total mass as a variable because mass differs from fighter to fighter your punch would come out to a factor of .95
Now if you were to commit more, even as little as 1/7th of total body mass, and go less than half the speed, say 7mps you end up with (.14)TotalMass(7mps) and get still a slightly higher result, a factor of .98
My point here is, mathematically, considering not every one of your punches will be world record breaking, launching your body into the technique will yield far more power per strike. Let’s say you put in half your full body weight at 5 meters per second, a feat fully possible, you get a factor of 2.5, compare it to the arm only strike. You’d have to strike at twice the world record, to still fall short by .50
Committed strikes are not wasteful, they are overwhelmingly more powerful. Giving higher effort for one moment is far more energy efficient than throwing a dozen lesser punches and keeping up foot work for several minutes of fighting as you tap away at the opponent’s threshold. Is the goal to fight or to win?
There is a reason you don’t try to blow down a door with a blunt headed arrow versus a battering ram. People may say the snapping strike is more powerful, but that isn’t mathematically possible. Beyond that, fat and liquid in the body make it resilient to shock, it’s typically when force carries through that tissues are torn, damaged, ruptured, or broken. Do you pop a balloon by thrusting into it, deeply, forcefully, or tapping it superficially, and lightly?
Conclusion, to keep fighting longer and give your opponent little surface cuts that look good on pay per view and maintain a degree of safety in sports, and shake their brain one minor tap at a time, use snapping strikes, to break your opponent and blow them away, hit them with all you’ve got.
Not everyone is an athlete in it for the long bout, it’s far more practical in real fighting to end the confrontation as swiftly as possible.
Those thick gloves were developed as a way of preventing immediate knockouts, to fill a time slot and make boxing a sport favoring conditioning so the crowd could gawk at muscle men bashing each other for long periods, not to protect your hands.
This comment is so woefully misguided and uninformed in boxing theory that I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I would love to be fair because a) the author is 100% respectful, and b) the author is at least making sense. I’ll go over a few important clarifications and distinctions below for those following the discussion.
1. Boxing gloves were invented to MAXIMIZE damage, not to minimize it! Promoters realized fighters could punch harder (without breaking their hands) if there was something to protect the puncher’s hands. Contrary to Gene’s misguided opinion, the sport of boxing LOVES KNOCKOUTS. They do not want an extended fight. They want knockouts because that’s more exciting and more entertainment equals more money for the promoters! Want to know why boxing fights were reduced from 15 rounds to 12? Because promoters don’t want fighters conserving their energy! Want to know why they love promoting knockout punchers over “intelligent runners”…again, EXCITEMENT! There’s also the difference between TRAINING GLOVES vs FIGHTING GLOVES…one is built for maximum power, the other is built for cushioning protection to prevent you from hurting your sparring partners (potentially injuring/cutting them before their fight). Additionally, boxing gloves were also designed to avoid cuts…which could prematurely end a fight. Again, they want you to actually KNOCK EACH OTHER OUT. Anybody that’s ever actually boxed before, or even held a boxing glove would understand this!
2. Snapping punches are necessary in fighting because HIGH-LEVEL fighters fight in combinations. Why? Because intelligent fighters do not fight one punch at a time, and they also don’t attack with full power all the time. It’s not a game of “who hits harder” but rather “who can hit harder WHEN their opponent isn’t expecting it”. This means a constant chess game of feinting and baiting, mixing in soft set-up shots with hard knockout shots. In moments of tense exchanges, fighters need to throw multiple punches strategically to land 1 or 2 hard shots. (Even the best punchers in the sport do not hit above a 50% connect rate, which means you spend most of your time missing.) The faster you can throw multiple punches, the better chance you have of landing your hardest shots. And pushing punches are so much slower that they aren’t practical in a real match. Instead of retracting your arm to throw the next shot, you’re still wasting time pushing at air. This not only wastes more energy, but leaves you more vulnerable to snapping punchers.
3. Arguing that a pushing punch only gives you one vulnerability whereas snapping punches can give you several is also misguided. With one pushing punch, you leave one vulnerability open for a long period of time while only attacking once. On the other hand, throwing multiple snapping punches in the same period would constantly shifting your vulnerabilities back and forth WHILE also attacking your opponent multiple times. This is useful in high-level fights because you need to bait your opponent in order for him to attack and make opportunities for your counter. And by constantly shifting your vulnerabilities, you can simultaneously protect yourself while offering new targets to create new countering opportunities. Like I said, a high-level fight is a constant game of baiting and countering…it’s not a game of seeing who hits the hardest.
4. A good snapping punch is a committed punch. If you’re retracting before the power is fully transferred, you’re doing it wrong. Is it very possible to throw snapping punches incorrectly (inadvertently decreasing power transfer)? YES! This is why I wrote a whole guide on this and this is why it’s not often done well. That fact however doesn’t necessarily means there is no such thing as good [functional] snapping punches. A good snapping punch maintains a delicate balance between committed enough to the punch to transfer all the power while retracting the arm immediately afterwards. In fact, many beginners will error towards one extreme or the other, either committing too much and wasting energy or retracting too soon and not committing enough power. Again, the balance exists and the highest-skilled boxers have mastered this balance. If snapping punches didn’t have knockout power, nobody would evolve beyond pushing punches, but we know this isn’t the case.
5. All trained boxers use snapping punches. Go to any gym and talk to any amateur or pro…they all use snapping punches. Ask any boxing coach which punch should be thrown…snapping punches are the standard. End of story. Boxing is a fighting style that relies on high-speed combination strikes thrown over and over again with maximum efficiency. Snapping punches are faster, more energy efficiency, and the far better tool for the job 99% of the time throughout a REALISTIC boxing match. I suppose if you were breaking boards, a better punch might be one that follows all the way through. In boxing, there exists a point that following through to the full length of your arm actually comes with huge drawbacks and yields no benefit.
6. Are pushing punches completely useless? I don’t think so. When it comes to head punches, you can punch the skull as hard as you want but it will bounce off your fist at the point of impact (much like how the speedbag bounces off your fist). This simply the physics of your skull refusing to cave in, as a skull and a fist cannot occupy the same space without one breaking. However when it comes to body punches, the body is softer and allowing more depth to which a fist can push through the target. I suppose for a body punch, a pushing punch might be useful. But here’s the funny thing, many boxers will STILL prefer a snapping punch for body punches. Some may dig through, some may not. It’s up to you and depends on how you want to fight. For sure, I will say that you SHOULDN’T push through on every body punch unless you’re sure it’ll connect.
7. Are snapping punches more powerful than pushing punches? Yes, a thousand times. But instead of arguing that point, I’d advise everyone to try it and see for yourself. It may not seem more powerful but it’s used for a reason. Even if you don’t think it’s more powerful, you can see that it’s faster, more energy-efficient, and more practical for boxing than pushing punches. Ultimately…your punching power doesn’t come from your arm anyway, it comes from how you use your core and engage the rest of your body. And those who can transfer power immediately on contact will do better than those who need a longer push to transfer.
coach you shud have added this very important stuff omitted
coach come on youre leaving out something EXTREMELY IMPORTANT in boxing: a push punch gives a HUGE advantage—to the opponent!
im serious you young guys learn to read push punchers. and coach i would really request this page be written again particularly since young new boxers read it. push punching will limit you brothers for ever. FOREVER. and learning to spot them will give you an immediate edge and youll feel your confidence increase when sparring which is 10x scarier than anything else for the first 2 months. am i right guys ?
1 OUT OF 5 fighters youll face have at least 1 punch they push on. at least beginners you are probably gonna spar with first 3 months.
first the why in short, then the difference, then why in long, and finally tactics.
why should you know it ? 1. a devastating KO push puncher can be turned into a soft puncher if you know how. it sounds like magic or some super defensive move but its so simple its ridiculous. 2. a KO push puncher benefits from certain things you do normally which help his power. most young guys are trained by old timers who forget how scary it is to get in the ring. and TBH in my day that was good but this is 2010 we want boxing alive and new guys not scared. so you should pick up every trick you can to make you want to spar and not be afraid of those raw guys with natural power. because at least 20% will be push punches and as i said you can make a KO push punch into something like a good sting that wont stun you ever.
motivated? ok first let me explain range then what a push punch is.
its a blow that requires weight more than speed. f = ma, 1350 can be 70kg x 15 m/s(2) and 1350 can also be 50kg x 27 m/s(2). weights and transfer of weight capability being equal (timing, Godgifted coordination, technique) you will always have more power than the pusher. the push punch doesnt mean an arm punch which is just using the arm, and not the body.
by power range we arent talking about the distance from which they can hit you. imagine your skin as 0. a push punch develops 10% of its energy when its 3 inches from the target. 30% 2 inches away, 50% 1 inch away. 70% at your skin. 90% at your skin. 100 % 1 inch beyond your skin.
a snap punch transfers that momentum immediately and causes a shockwave after leather hits body. now if the snap punch has less momentum or weight behind it, its less powerful if theres more weight its more powerful. both are still fast. your push power will always beat your snap power if you learn to snap. the power develops within a range of 1/2 inch before the target to 1/2 inch after the target. (1/2 in from your skin power = 40%, 1/4 inch away 70% at skin 90%, 1/4 inch into skin 100%).
a push punch transfers momentum over longer time. it doesnt cause a shockwave that rocks a bag or body but rather press against it until it transfers its momentum. its got a large range. power starts 3 inches before the target to and finishes 1-2 inches after the target. so by moving forward 2 inches you get 33% of the power (and i dont mean rushing in obviously that just adds to the momentum and power). getting back 2 inches you can turn a 100% power george foreman killer push punch into a 33% power punch that wont even stun you. just 2 inches.
YOU GET IT? A FOREMAN PUNCHER CANNOT KO YOU EVEN IF THEY HIT if you know how.
a push punch is like a blind man trying to find a switch on a wall that is x feet away and keeps moving forward and pressing harder till he hits that switch. a snap punch is like a guy who knows exactly where the switch is and presses it.
whats the difference between a woman throwing a flat shoe and a stilletto heel at you ? one’s a good story to tell your friend, the other a good story for the ER doctor to tell his 🙂 gotta write that one down. so smaller area where the power lands, and a very small range in which the power is transferred means wasting 0 time and if the snap punch lands it hurts. period.
push punches need time for max energy to gather, build slowly, then transfer. if you know youre gonna be nailed and you move forward you take less of the blow. against a snap puncher you are just adding to the power. push power also peaks inside your skin. so it you step a little back, 1 inch you can get hit EVEN HARDER THAN IF YOU STOOD STILL. by moving just a little ive seen even pro fighters being stunned by a push puncher. example ken norton vs foreman. move away just enough for that power to dissipate. 2 inches is my best number. if i moved even 1.5 inches from a push puncher when i knew it was gonna land their blows never bothered me. but if i moved a little it sometimes hurt more.
how to (ab)use push punches
1. watch their body even more closely than normal cuz boxers telegraph or show theyre about to throw a punch. their body moves and grounds itself before their hand moves so make sure to see that and counter them. (get your offense off before theirs)
2. if you can avoid their punches, they will be offbalance because they really move too far out of balance. counter a boxer MORE on the punch or punches that they tend to push on rather than the snappy punches thy push. (defend against them on the inside in exchanges by using them to throw hard like ali did to foreman, make them overshoot and start your offense then)
3.if you cant get out of the way or are throwing your punch when they will probably get off theirs then move into them. if they will land it will decrease the power. dont jump into it just move in so they hit you before their punch has its full power. and dont pull away a little because their power comes an inch after touching you. its not like just moving away from a snap jabber, these people really go through with the punch. so move 2 inches back. (you can take their punch)
4. DO NOT TAKE push punches to the body. they hurt more than snap punches. its hard to pull from these punches, its hard to move into them. they dont feel bad but they will swell you up and will start hurting as time goes on. do not give them these punches, dont let them land them. risks can be taken on body shots which are snappy. unless they break something they wont hurt as much later, they might take the wind out of you. push punches do damage that saps amateurs who dont know why their punches arent working and it takes a lot of my confidence out when i started. i got a great left hook and i could KO at cruiserweight though im a natural welter-middle but after facing body punchers in the arabian gulf version of the national golden gloves i found i couldnt hurt them. its those push punches. (dont take THOSE punches 🙂
5. realise how many weaknesses push punches create and program them out of yourself before it becomes kind of part of your muscle memory
@saber khan – I totally agree with your tactic on absorbing push punches. Just move back right as you feel the impact. It’s the same idea as like when you catch an egg, you lower your hand as it lands. I will have to remind myself to incorporate your explanations when I write the guide for push punches! Thanks, man.
a good fighter gives as he gets
happy to oblige coach, your advice really reminds me of sam but in written form. which is in my opnion harder. actually, i never thought it was possible cuz i think my writings are just crap and so vague when i read yours. but when i was a beginner i was scared and i would have left boxing if i didnt have some natural power which kind of helped me, and sam who really was doing for me what youre doing for these kids. but you know and i feel this so strongly man, i had sam MOST BEGINNERS DIDNT. they didnt know crap other than what the old timers told them and they hold stuff back, they dont explain they humiliate. the humiliation is ok but i would see ppl coming and just leaving the gym after 2 weeks and coming to me for lessons. i felt they broke these beginners’ spirits and youre really doing a kind of evangelism for boxing you know. i really respect that, and i wanna help out. i think everyone in our part of the world learnt a lot of stuff by themselves. specially guys with natural power who dont get any real training. my coach just told me `hit the heavy bag. dont back down. he cant take your power.’ i mean it sounded good then but what the hell kind of advice is that ?
you other guys, you dont know how lucky you are you got a guy who can describe real technique real good technique with WORDS, that i think many good coaches could demonstrate only with their videos. and he is also giving some of the mentality behind it, something i believe in strongly.
i think coach you covered the basics and some advanced boxing stuff should be taught. holding behind the head, roughing up with the elbows or getting ppl to hit the elbows, the bicep punches to stop a big punch, the one inch punch to double the jab and using the fot fall for a hard triple, the numerous possible feints. and things like the hook not the 100 hits you get on google for `how to throw a hook’ but something written by someone who actually has a KO hook (ahem i may know someone) and how to throw a good SHORT right cross, how to really double up the jab, how to keep fighting inside defensively and offensively specially keeping eyes open without seeing double, blockiing with elbows between throwing shots, how to deal with a long hard jab, how to negate a guy who has a big cross. oh how to know your opponent quick like in a matchup, by watching his warmup, how to set a trap or bluff a weakness or a strength or figure out an opponents bluff. i dont know theres so much and youre so good at writing on boxing. so ill just stop and say keep it up and glad anythng i wrote made sense:-)
Man, I LOVE this site!!!
@Johnny N – Thanks for another amazingly informative article. The knowledge you have and the calm way you bestow it upon us fortunate enough to have found this site, has me thinking that you are – Cooler than the other side of the pillow!
@Saber Khan – Thank you also for another solid contribution bro, as you also explain things very well in print.
Like when you wrote – “….i think coach you covered the basics and some advanced boxing stuff should be taught. holding behind the head, roughing up with the elbows or getting ppl to hit the elbows, the bicep punches to stop a big punch, the one inch punch to double the jab and using the fot fall for a hard triple, the numerous possible feints. and things like the hook not the 100 hits you get on google for `how to throw a hook’ but something written by someone who actually has a KO hook (ahem i may know someone) and how to throw a good SHORT right cross, how to really double up the jab, how to keep fighting inside defensively and offensively specially keeping eyes open without seeing double, blockiing with elbows between throwing shots, how to deal with a long hard jab, how to negate a guy who has a big cross. oh how to know your opponent quick like in a matchup, by watching his warmup, how to set a trap or bluff a weakness or a strength or figure out an opponents bluff. i dont know theres so much and youre so good at writing on boxing. so ill just stop and say keep it up and glad anythng i wrote made sense.”
Now, you’ve raised my curiosity and I am extremely interested in learning more about the things you were referring to.
Would you be so kind as to elaborate further on some of these strategies?
I have no doubt that it may take a fair bit of time, but you do honestly have a very lucid ‘way with words’ that make your posts quite compelling.
I sincerely hope you can find the time to share some more insights on the above topics.
@King Lion – COOLER THAN THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PILLOW! HAHAHAHAHHA! I was flipping my pillow last night in the heat while I thought of your line.
Well, ain’t it the truth tho, Johnny!?
this is cool 🙂
thanks this information, it has improved my knowledge of boxing
and i will be putting these techniques into practice 😀
you’re welcome, liz!
@KingLion abt adv stuff
Here’s some advanced stuff bro as u wanted
holding behind the head: used in any situation where the fighting needs to be stopped and unlike clinching this actually drains quite a bit of energy in the opponent.
used in 3 main situations by:
1. outfighters (guys who want to jab and cross and use longer punches) when a fighter comes close enough to throw a hook. to stop the guy who’s come in they push the head down
2. a fighter who’s thrown his shots on an oppnent who is looking to hit back, and he wants to stop that opponent from retaliating (or even an opponent who has overshot with a punch, is offbalance and wants to stop the opponent from taking advantage)
3. in an exchange on the ropes or the corner when one guy gets tired
this is certainly not `clean’ but it isnt illegal. the way to do it-well you grab the head so the neck falls around the inside of your elbow and push/pull down so the opponent can’t punch, at the same time grabbing the other arm. if ur taller you lean on top of them, and if youre shorter you pull on them downwards (kinda hang on them).
guys who loved doing this: ali, leonard, hearns later in his career, pea whitaker, hagler (but he rarely needed to), holyfield, roy jones, hopkins later in his career, mosley, floyd
very very useful tactic, one just has to remember to use it and to tie up the other hand
roughing up with the elbows: used on hooks and uppercuts midrange or short range where you bang the opponents head or arms with the elbow on the followthrough
useful in 2 situations by:
1. fighters trying to intimidate an opponent into a corner by pushing with those elbows to bang on them inside
2. fighters who are inside and trying to knock an opponent’s arms or a head on their own chest out of the way and theres simply too little space to throw a punch
again if a ref catches it they will warn but refs have short memories, and it can be vital to press forward an advantage. has to be done with authority (hard). this is how to imagine it: how would u punch if your gloves were on your elbows ? u throw an uppercut and you graze that elbow all over their abdomen, the forearm and glove have nothing to do here. you throw a hook your elbow is swinging to hit them wherever your fist is in place your forearm is doing nothing. imagine ur arm cut off at the elbow. at extremely short ranges, this is the only way often other than pushing to get some space and often to get opponents to back up cuz there isnt enough room to get the leverage for even the smallest hook without being hit first
demspsey, saddler, marciano, graziano, lamotta, duran, hagler, foreman, tyson all masters of the elbow. its fallen out of favor today but hopkins and toney (middleweight-light heavy) kept it alive
using the elbow in the neck: sticking the left elbow into the neck of the opponent when they try to put their head on an outfighter’s chest and punch to the body.
the elbow prevents the other guy from getting close enough to just sit on your chest (ali-frazier) and stops them throwing the right hand. it also provides leverage to hit with the right hand while walking the opponent down on the inside. have to be side-on properly and get the elbow not at the head but the neck/upper chest and keep it there, clinch or throw a fast counter if u feel them moving. watch floyd do it and just copy him, best version ive seen of this move. keep the glove at the head u can push or tee off with this elbow
@Saber Khan…..Thanx for the Advanced….
@Saber Khan – 8) Many Thanks! Very insightful. This site really stimulates my mind and teaches me more everyday.
If you find more time, can you explain using “the foot fall for a hard triple”. I’m assuming that is – a 3 punch combination of sorts[?], but what do I know.
Or “how to negate a guy who has a big cross……or how to know your opponent quick like in a matchup, by watching his warmup….. how to set a trap or bluff a weakness or a strength or figure out an opponents bluff.”
I am EXTREMELY grateful for ALL the knowledge and time you and coach Johnny have been so kind to share!
anytime man, its fun for me TBH i go spar in a gym with amateurs now and then but they are really school kids and college kids who just wanna do aerobics. dont care about boxing the sport and its such a great sport.
the foot fall is a forgotten move, when one doubles up the jab, they usually throw a quick one and then a hard one. the traditional triple jab needs one to retract the arm and then punch again, and it takes time. the footfall jab doesnt have the arm retracted, just pulling it a little way back (6 inches) after the 2nd jab. all the weight should be on the right foot at this point. and then just step forward with the left foot so it lands the same time the 6 inch jab hand lands (with all ur weight). when done from the normal guard its the hard jab larry holmes got famous for. u can certainly footfall to stiffen ur standard jab (much more power than the stiffest jab without the step but less mobility for a split second). but i didnt use it that way 🙂 it was one of my special awkwardness tools. i always was bothered by how much things i wasnt used to bothered me and got the philosophy of having proper form, but lots of awkwardne add-ons built in that opponents wouldnt catch. the double jab is a known move. the really stiff 3rd jab catches them offguard because the traditional triple jab’s last jab requires arm retraction more time and isnt that hard. the fact that boxers never drill this shot (or know it) means that u can get a slugger who’s trying to walk through your punches to think they can take ur jab. 2 soft doubles, scoring points and as he is about to throw his shot it takes 1/3 the time of a jab to land a jab on him with his punch weight on top of your stiff jab! u can imagine the shock and the possibilities it opens. works wonderfully on southpaws and when someone’s bullying you backwards and you want to counter them but they can walk through your punches. this surprise 3rd jab doesnt KO people but it is a shocker (HARD shots u know are coming are taken well, normal shots u dont realise can stop u or even get u to put a glove on the mat). the best way to really see how useful awkwardness is, is doing it in sparring and simply not telling the other guy what happened (they usually think you hit them with a much faster harder jab than you actually possess and get really wary of it, making feints right hand leads body shots more effective and they get tired cuz theyre tense).
a big cross needs good leverage and range and a straight path to target:
learn to roll with the punch that is coming-just turning the torso makes your chin go out of their range so they end up weakly hitting or short
getting lower than usual really messes up a cross because they need to fire down causing them to fire into the top or ur head which is harder than their fist
move towards your right so they have to do the same, lifting their back leg which prevents them throwing a good cross and constantly resetting them (if they like setting up with a good hook dont step to your right or u are moving into their hook if they move to their left as you move to your right)
learn the shoulder roll defense, totally negates the cross outside or inside, and changes up the defenses u use against their cross
get good at parrying downwards using the turning of the torso to provide the power to redirect the cross
slip with a slight motion (just missing) towards the outside of the cross and make sure you follow up with a hook to the body or head or your own overhand right
force them to fight inside so they have less range-if u have to put an elbow into their neck watch floyd hopkins
guys with a great cross usually 1-2 to give them the leverage-dont let them extend the jab get their left shoulder far forward punish them with a shot downstairs to their solar plexus or their left body
beat them to the punch by letting them land a jab but then step back and jab into their oncoming rush at their head or pushing back their head if ur reach is better
beat them to the punch with quick lead shots and tie up
get their jab to mess up by feinting and hitting to the body, take out the power from them as fast as u can with body blows
its pretty simple to beat a guy with just a cross and a jab if u know how, a person with 2 fisted power able to go up and down much harder to stop, and moving right, lower stance, shoulder rolling, getting in their range with an elbow out or moving out of their range with rolls works perfectly to negate a cross
Saber Khan, you are advanced.
@Saber Khan – This is 8)8) Too Cool, for school. FUN!?! – And How! I’m glad you’re having some, because I know I get a thrilling and genuinely positive feeling for the ‘fight game’ thanks to you and coach Johnny’s insights and instructions. It now makes any decision I should have to watch, or participate, in the sport of boxing, much more interesting and intriguing.
Now I am very curious and eager to train and/or join a proper boxing gym, get some more instruction and to then try my luck, (or lessons rather) with some sparring, but only after I’ve trained (as per your instructions), for a couple of months at least – first.
The competitors involved in boxing, are all to be admired imo, because this site has taught me that there are so many different tactics and possibilities, that can develop in the ring and change the fight, I now know why boxing is referred to as – ‘the sweet science’. It really makes one think, that it’s not just about brawn, but about brains too.
Keep the tips coming Saber Khan, because I think I can handle it, but considering the vast wealth of knowledge and the strength of your experiences inside the ring, I may have to refer to you as – King Khan – from now on! 🙂
ALL HAIL KING KHAN!
Why does that sound like King Kong to me ? 🙂 hey what do you guys think of Hopkins-Dawson ?
No disrespect intended my man. Besides, King Kong was/is one of my favourite movies of all time and I’m talking about the original 1933 version…..So cool for the era….. The 2005 movie was awesome too, but the original is CLASSIC……Just like the fighting skills of the Champions of the past…..Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, SRR, Ali etc.
I’ll explain my thought process for ya.
Remember the movie Training Day?
When Denzel Washington’s character (who was a serious badazz mofo) said …”King Kong, ain’t got nothin’ on me.”
Well, the advanced strategies you listed above, had me thinking the same thing about your approach to the fight game…..so I thought, yea, this guy’s game is Tight…someone would have to be seriously skilled to beat him….he’s like a king of the ring….so call him King Khan, because King Kong ain’t got nothin on him! 8)
As for Hopkins vs Dawson, because I don’t know of Dawson ever having beaten anyone of The Executioner’s calibre, I think the wisdom and experience of Hopkins, should overcome the youth and vigour of Dawson – what do you think?
Hopkins is defying logic but…
Thanks man appreciate it. Tho praise like that should go towards a guy like Hopkins agree totally he is the best fundamentally and technically (bag of tricks and old school) but how much longer can he defy father time ? If he Pascals it again he’ll come out with the win
@Saber – I like Chad Dawson but feel Hopkins has too many crafty right hands for him. I wouldn’t pick Dawson after seeing him cruise to a loss against Pascal.
no doubt bhop has faaar too much experience and too many tricks for dawson BUT..guy’s old. he’s not a guy who depends on power or reflexes or such but we know everyone loses the ability to pull the trigger…i just hope hopkins retires at his peak (its incredible at 46 some can still say he’s at or just past his peak huh?). if hop is hop dawson has no chance. if hop shows age…well dawson can win then 🙂
@saber – I would pick Dawson if he was more active. We shall see!
I am teaching my friend how to box for a few days now. He was very stiff and after telling him the stealing bread method it was an instant change. It was incredible how good he got with just one sentence. I reminded him how good he got just by picturing the punch from a different mental angle.It was insane!
@Leo – those crazy visualizations help so much. I’m happy for your friend.
the power of snap, floyd proves it
hey coach can u believe the way the fight ended? i predicted mayweather would win, and i did think he would go forward because he’s been doing that for the last 2 years or so, i thot he might get a TKO within 8 or a UD but i dont think anyone could have imagined a sucker punch combo finishing the fight in 4 (i would bet 50 to 1 on mayweather but probly 10 to 1 against THAT). both shots were mostly arm punches, neither even started from floyds chin. and ortiz was certainly hurt. floyd may be a somewhat good puncher but certainly that was surprising power and totally from the snappishness. im just stunned by it still. what do u guys think?
Johnny N, thanks for grate site….Saber Khan, thanks for sharing your experience. Got a question to you guys- there is a fundamental theory of how to punch, starting from foot then hip rotation delivering the energy through the back to the shoulders and only then arm, but 😉 there is another method – first you throw the arm and only then you add your body weight behind the punch. What do you think about this? Thanks in advance!
I think Mayweather did the right thing really……Ortiz played dirty, so he got some dirt! All his kissing and hugging and shaking hands was a front…..My Pops taught me to never do anything I would have to apologise for, because if I was really sorry – I wouldn’t have done it in the first place!
Floyd got him good tho…..I didn’t expect it, but liked it all the same and liked it even more when he told off Larry Merchant.
@saber khan – punches you don’t see definitely hurt more. Ortiz wasn’t paying any attention and wasn’t able to physically or even mentally brace for the punch. You also have to imagine that Floyd is a pro and even a punch with sloppy form by him will hit harder than an amateur’s punch with perfect form.
@Khatai – it’s not about foot to arm or arm to foot. In reality, everything moves all at once, that’s how you get the MOST power. But if you had to pick from the two, I would say moving the foot first will create far more power.
Hi there, your article is really great, i’ve been follow your training method for weeks and now i feel a little snappy in my punch. But i think i dont have the penetration power yet, my wrist is always hurting when my fist and arm position is correct , thus make my fist slowed down at moment of impact. Do i must hardend my wrist at impact moment to make it like a spear stab ? There is a guy in my gym snap punch the heavy bag so fast and relaxed but the impact he made nearly crush the bag, the sound he made is also weird, the smack sound is more like inside the bag than the actual impact point. Sorry for my bad english, its not my native language, thanks for the greate site, bro
Krash, you’re on the right track. Don’t worry about penetration power. Just learn how to relax your arms into the punch to get that satisfying smack. Don’t worry too much about speed or power. Developing the snap is all about relaxing the arm. The wrist will feel loose at first because your arm is more relaxed than it normally is. The trick is tighten the fist AND your entire body only for a split second when you hit. You want to tighten for the shortest time possible.
Many thanks, man. The tighten entire body part is seem really hard to do. And my wrist pain is just so annoying, i heavily wrapped my wrist but its does not help much. I did a little muay thai in the past so my knuckle dont feel any pain when punching but my wrist is different story, do you have any suggestion for me ?
Wrist pain, I’m not sure. I’d have to see your punching form and the way that you wrap your hands…what kind of glove you’re using. Etc. As for tightening the body, that’s easy….you need a strong core! (lots of ab work and back work)
Well, i just wrapped all my finger , my thumb, the knuckle and finish with heavy wrapped wrist. Im using a pair of 10oz training gloves, in my country its really hard to find quality boxing equipment. Thanks for the advice on the core workout, gotta train harder
i am a beginner vn punchng da heavy bag my coach tells me da same thing….so i guess she is gud coach
Definitely a good coach. I wish my trainer had said the same thing when I first started.
I think this guy (in blue) is a perfect sample. What do you think?
Raushee Warren is a good example. I think he loads a little more power than others but definitely a very snappy puncher, nonetheless. Good boxer, too. Thanks for the video, Khatai.
Thanks very much for these articles mate. I love my gym, the coaches are great and Tim Witherspoon is usually down a few nights a week to help out and spar but it can get busy and I’ve managed to injure myself a few times when hitting a heavy bag by myself for a ton of rounds. Having all of this information to read means I can self-coach a bit and recognise mistakes to rectify them. Cheers!
You’re lucky to have Tim Witherspoon! Cheers!
Hi Johnny, thank you very much for this master piece.
excuse my english please.
i have a question for you please:
you are concentrated, your body relaxed some momentum will be soon being generated to be unleashed in the right direction.
your arm is started to move the speed is great and the impact will be dry (painful) !!!
what are you gonna do with your body and respiration and what are you gonna visualise and … to :
1- absorb the impact safetely ( not fully absorbed by the shoulder for example ) ? what gonna make your brain liberate more power next time.
2- maximise the power of the impact ?
i use to feel hard pain on my hips due to upper body shock with the lower body i think.
I’m not sure I understand your questions but here are the answers I think will help you.
1. To fully absorb the impact, stiffen your body for just a split second when the punch lands. Make sure you hit with the 2 big knuckles on your fist.
2. To maximize the power of impact….follow the right technique, proper form, lots of practice. Make sure entire body is rotated and your body weight is dropped into the punch. Keep your body balanced and try to hit him using the explosion of your body rotating. Don’t try to push your opponent. When you attack, try to imagine your body exploding downwards, not forwards.
thank you for your answer, it’s exactly my question, my problem is that when i want to put power in a slaping punch at the impact i’am finding my self adopting the form of the push punch.
am i right and i must only work on the speed and try to explode quickly so speed is what makes the difference between the two type of punches, or the form at the impact moment of the two type of punches are differents ?
thank you again.
The attitude is the difference between the 2 punches. One is forcing the impact all the way through, the other is trying to leave the impact and recover the punch immediately. It’s just the difference in attitude.
Thank you johnny your answer is very inspiring.
“Would you rather push your opponent or finish your opponent” Do you agree with Michael Jai White says and instead of a kick like he did. Doing a punch like that, is that what you meant by letting your punch bounce off the surface?
Yes, that’s what I meant. Although I’m not so sure a real opponent will bleed like that sand.
haha. I was pointing out the way he hit it lol. Its a somewhat dramatic clip haha
Loved your article and HIGHLY agree with it. Since inventing my robot punching arms that I can adjust to a very fast punch speed and they punch with no tel’, over the many months I kept figuring out how I can box against them and get hit much less. Even before I read your article, I came up with snap punching; punch fast, keep the chin tucked, let the punch “bounce” off the target and return the punch straight back.
It sounds easy but my muscles had to get used to it. Great workout. Like you said, it really works the back muscles. Also, the robot arms have flex, so when they punch, the fist slide through the slightest opening that was left, so a fast punch not being “pushed” will also slide along the opponent’s arms and hands until it bounces off the hard stop (target). The robot arms snap punch. As soon as they hit, they return real fast. What a great workout and teaching they give!
Fantastic guide, hitting the bag then sparring, focusing on the snap, worked beautifully. Sometimes, I know I didn’t get full power into it and my coach was getting a little pissed, but according to my sparring partner’s reactions, I was doing my job.
No more pushing, no more pushing! 🙂
I’m happy for you, Ron. This was one of my biggest technical discoveries in the early days of boxing. The reason why you didn’t get full power is because snap punches are so fast that all your body muscles aren’t lined up in time. With more time and practice, your body will move quicker and hit all at once to give you full power with snap punches. No more pushing in 2012! 🙂
snapping punches are about lighting fast recovery right? Would that be good for body punches?
Thanks Johnny! No more pushing in 2012!!! 🙂
Curtis…I’ll quote from Johnny’s article above, hope it helps!
“I do believe that push punches have one area of advantage which is throwing to the body. Push punches may be considered a waste when you punch to the head because the head is a hard shell and bounces away the moment you hit it, so the punch will never be able to “penetrate”. However, a push punch to the body can definitely be shoved in further and bruise the internal organs. Regardless, I still choose to use the snap punch for body shots but you’re welcome to try either.” – Johnny N.
I visited a boxing gym for the first time in a year. The first thing I was told when sparring was to snap my punches!
http://boxing.isport.com/boxing-guides/how-to-improve-recovery-for-boxing. what do you think of this guide would it aid my snapping punches and my body attack if i did this?
Curtis, that guide is not directly related to punching. Snapping punches are a technique. Recovery is part of your body’s healing after training.
Thanks Johnny for the terrific advise. I am 61 years old and it’s never to late to learn. The information you’ve provided for executing the snap punch is explained in such clear and precise language that even those of us with limited skills can improve. I’ve developed a lot of bad habits over the years. My goal is to re-focus technique and with the benefit of your instructions, I know I can only improve.
Thanks again, coach.
how do i control the centre of the ring in boxing?
I heard Mike Tyson would aim his punch a few inches behind his opponents head and so drove through his opponents head to create more power. Would this be a push punch? When I watch Iron Mike’s knockouts the punches he throws look very fast and pretty damn powerful! Any theories \ suggestions?
A push punch and snapping punch are different kinds of punching methods. To help boxers understand the snapping principle better, I suggest for them to strike at the surface instead of pushing all the way through.
In reality, you can still have a snapping punch that penetrates all the way through. (But this would confuse many beginners.) My suggestion is to follow my guide word for word until you understand the principle, before you change it to something else. Give it a try and let me know how you do, Oscar.
Ok well when I can already do a decent snapping punch and when I was hitting the mitts with my trainer there was an obvious gain of power but when I was hitting the heavy bag it felt like a push punch, my trainer said that as I am still only 14 years old I may not have the strength to penetrate through the heavy bag! What do you think? Thanks for everything though!
Your trainer might be right, Oscar but even still you should not be trying to penetrate all the way through the bag if you are just learning how to throw snapping punches.
How do you throw snapping punches without being tight in the upper body? I have a habit of being tense and the weight on my feet arent balanced how do you develope the snap technique?
There are many suggestions in this article to help that, Bobby…like using less power. Use MUCH less power.
Another great article!
Its also hard to throw fast combos with push punches…. I see videos of pros hitting the bag, and wonder, are they really that fast? Am i really slow? Is it my stance? And then i gave up fast combos…. After a long period of time(it took me years bec no one was teaching me this technique) i naturally developed the snap and unaware that im throwing faster combos(it just hit me after reading this article)…….
If i only had someone taught me this years ago
Keep up the good work!
I’m happy for you, Rnd. Snapping punches become the breakthrough moment for reaching new levels of power and efficiency!
When i throw the snapping punch my goal, is to let my fist bounce off the surface, is that a way to do it or look at it?
That’s actually a great way to think about it. It will teach you the proper timing to relax that arm.
hey J i like to think of the snap in a punch as making the opponent’s body or head vibrate violently rather than just pushing it backwards. a hard push punch will make the opponent’s head go back but it wont make it vibrate. a hard snapping punch will cause their head to `snap’ back and then swing forth like a bobble head doll. on a heavy bag i think a snap punch has the metal chains vibrate a lot, which push punches dont do. they can both really swing a heavy bag around but that bag will vibrate slightly if the punch has speed and power to it. the slight vibration of the bag is very hard to see but the chain vibration is more easily seen. the difference is more clear on a double end bag (but because that bag is so light a fast jab will cause more vibration than a powerful snapping punch).
here’s a great test of push power vs snap power: take a piece of paper, have someone hold it from the top end only. keep it far enough so it’s just a few inches inside your reach. the hardest push punch in the world won’t tear the paper. but even a mildly good snapping punch will tear it. or at least shake it like a leaf in the wind.
btw both push and snap punches have to go THROUGH the opponent at least an inch to do maximum impact. just touching and pulling back, if one is not hitting through the target, just having a snapping type punch will not magically put power into it. snap punches are much quicker than pushing punches but one has to plant and hit through the opponent and risk getting hit back if any kind of punch is to inflict damage on an opponent.
and yeah J youre supposed to let your fist bounce off your opponent BEFORE you start pulling back. if you pull back before your opponent’s body pushes your arm back you will limit its pwoer
the paper technique?
Is this an idea of what your talking about saber? i know its a clip from a movie but an idea
So a snapping punch does more damage than a push punch. and pushing power comes from lifting weights, its very dangerous to explode benching 300 pounds as well as any other wight so basically there isnt really much point to lift heavy weight for boxing, benard hopkins said “you can punch through your opponent and make him wobbly or you can send a punch that shocks your opponent” its been said speed kills
wow cant believe u found a clip for it! its the principle. its an old technique id bet it originated in china really cuz it has that zen element the kind of stuff wu shu practitioners love (how difficult a hard thing hitting a soft thing is blah blah). but the papers supposed to be soft and thin as hell tissue paper like. and right at the end of your reach. this video is a great one man i applaud u for finding it. and J. try it, u have no idea how hard it is without techique and discipline. thats the purpose of this method i think-maybe chinese coaches would give it to a young fighter who thinks he already has it all to succeed and puts it out to them like it’s the simplest task in the world. and when they cant do it at all, those kids come down to earth and udnerstand theres more to the art than just God given instincts and physical ability, theres discipline and training and proper mechanics. it gets them into the mood to listen learn work hard.
its a wonderful way to humiliate karate practitioners nuts (not that i recommend that ). as bruce lee said, be like water my friend 🙂 a snapping push is like water, its fluid while its in motion but when it falls onto ground it crashes with the concussive power of a thousand nuclear bombs and obliterates.
one more thing NEVER mentioned about snap vs push punches is that it is possible to change the trajectory of a snapping punch even after youve thrown it. its hard but it can be done and sometimes its the one thing that can change a fight between 2 body punchers. the pushing punch cannot be modified without losing its steam. the reason i think is that the arm is soft enough to guide with a gentle correction of your position without affecting the power. a push punch has momentum that is lost every second it is modified. maybe there is some loss of power but you can land a significant say hook modified from a right ribs target to a liver target and the opponent may crumble. because he didnt think that punch would clear his elbow which he had ready for it, and hadnt braced for impact. i saw a fight end this way once. and its happened dozens of times in the pros.
Benard hopkins also fights in the light heavy as well
It takes lots of practice to master snapping your punches, and I find that I can throw more quality punches at a faster rate without using nearly the amount of energy that I used to use when pushing them.
Proper footwork and pivioting in order to involve your whole body in the punch is crucial to throwing good snapping punches, as well as throwing from an upright position without leaning into your punches.
At first, it felt funny because I wasn’t blasting the heavybag with lots of power, and I wasn’t getting as winded, but after improving on my posture, technique and footwork, I’ve found that my punches are just as powerful, if not moreso, my combos are much quicker, and I’m able to throw many more quality punches in the same amount of time.
Feels more like boxing rather than simply slugging, which any jack-ass can do.
Great article. It’s definitely helped me.
Does the snapping punch work with hooks, or am I just using a bad snapping technique?
I view the snapping punch as getting it’s power/speed from the elbow. When I’m throwing a jab or cross it makes sense because you’re extending your elbow more, but if you’re throwing a hook, your elbow is bent.
Am I understanding the snapping punch the right way? Is there some way to adapt it to hooks that I’m missing?
The snapping punch can be used with any punch. The focus is on the impact and not about the elbow.
Ah, okay. It’s not so much about where power comes from, it’s about using power the right way. Thanks!
I was working the heavybag last night, and I found myself “stealing bread” while throwing my hooks.
It wasn’t intentional at first. I was concentrating on snapping my hooks, and that motion just happened naturally for me. Reminded me of this article, and that particulat tip.
Hey man. I just want to thank you for this article. I have been sparring for a few months now. My sparring partners are mostly amutuer and some pro’s. I do a lot of cardio and endurance work, and i always wonderd how guys that i spar with that do less work and can out last me. I started snapping my punches last week in sparring. Before I kept a tense fist unitl my hand came back to my face. The difference the snapping punch makes is like night and day. I was able to go way more rounds. My defense was on point. I only got hit twice in one of the rounds i was in. I was able to throw so many more punches at all different angles. I am seroiusly considering the amutuers now.
I’m really happy for you Billy. The snapping punch is one of those things that elevates you a whole new level. It’s sad that so many people will box for years without ever learning it.
Very nice dude I also realized that my push punches weren’t working as well as my snap punches, with snap punches I can punch both hard, and fast, this really helpe me understand it more, thanks 🙂
Watch Ali and copy his jab. It’s probably not a great idea to try box like him unless you’re the man himself but you’ll get the feeling of what you’re aiming for immediately, then just apply it to your own style.
Flick your hand out loose, fast and relaxed then slowly apply proper form to that motion.
Think off what it feels like to get hit with a wet towl. The towl itself is small but when you role it up and “whip it” it hurts like hell.
What you keep doin here might be one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind… 🙂
The question is, what is the most acurate way of working the double end bag in order to master snapping punches?
I would say the heavy bag is probably the better way to develop snapping punches. If you use the double-end bag you might have so much focus on timing and speed that you don’t get to master the snapping punch technique.
Holy Hell! I just learned how to snapping punch in combos today after many weeks of working on my speed. The difference in power is amazing, considering it feels like your using less effort. Thanks Johnny and keep up the great work!
Spread the word, Fabian. I’m happy for you!
Hmm but isn’t a snapping punch what most trainers would call pulling your punches?
“Snapping punch” means pulling the hand back right after impact has sunk in a bit. “Pulling your punches” means pulling the arm back or resisting the hit before the fist has made full impact. The snapping punch is actually a default technique. It’s unfortunate that many trainers don’t know how to teach it.
ok thanks for clearing that up
sorry for my poor english, appreciate if you could make a short video demonstrate how to snapping punch on the heavy bag? And how to train snapping punches on the heavy bag, because i can’t really understand from words…It is better if you could make a short video teaching about snapping punches
Just would like to check with you, whether snapping punches on the heavy bag mean the heavy bag wouldn’t move a lot when we throw snapping punches, while pushing punches will move the heavy bag a lot because we are pushing it. but most of the time we feel satisfy if we saw heavy bag move a lot after throwing punches…
Snapping punches are far more powerful. When you see a good one in person, you would never trade it for a weak pushing punch. I will make a video someday.
Thank you and i’m looking forward to your snapping punches video. I practice muay thai, my MT coach told me to snapping punches but i still dun get what he mean, therefore it is much appreciate if you could make this video and demonstrate snapping punches on the heavy bag and indicated the different between push punches and snapping punches.
I will definitely do this in the future!
hi, please ignore my previous msgn, i din’t spotted there is a video at the bottom of this article
First of all, thanks so much for your site. I’m 33 and started boxing six months ago with the determination to start competing with the next 18 months. So I have done a lot of research on the Internet to learn how to box and think your site is by far the most helpful. It’s awesome.
I just learned a technique that may seem obvious to any fighter, but I haven’t read about here, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts about it. I learned about it when throwing a right cross or a jab, but I assume it could be applied to any other punch that warrants your fist to rotate.
In boxing stance, the right hand is protecting your chin. From that position, the palm of the right hand is on a vertical plane (i.e. facing your chin). When the right hand is thrown, the hand rotates by +/- 90 degrees, so that the palm of the hand is now on a horizontal plane (i.e. facing the floor).
The technique consists of timing the moment you rotate your fist so as to apply a twisting motion to the skin of your opponent upon impact to “cut” the skin (so I now also understand why fighters keep smearing their faces with Vaseline). So instead of rotating your fist during the extension of the arm, you don’t rotate until the very last moment, just before and during the impact to your opponent. So according to your techniques for throwing snapping punches, the rotation happens about the same time as when you clench your fist, i.e. just before and during impact.
Please let me know your thoughts.
You’re right! The technique is obvious to most fighters. Here is the explanation why…as long as the fighter tries to punch with the first two knuckles (reaching with the first two knuckles) AND he lifts his shoulder to help protect the chin, the fist will rotate naturally. 🙂
The twist is more than just the glove “cutting” the skin, it solidifies the elbow too so your opponent feels like you’re hitting him with a straight pipe, instead of a 2-section bent stick (the way the arm actually is).
The more important focus to me is not to rotate the glove, that part does little if you only focus on that. The crucial part is to rotate the ELBOW, that’s what solidifies the punch and really gives it that thud. (Try throwing a punch rotating only the fist but not the elbow. See how weird that feels?)
You can apply the same approach with left hooks, don’t think about a high fist–think about a high elbow. Throw left hooks with a high elbow! 😉
Thanks for your reply.
I really enjoy how you make your tips easy to understand: thinking of rotating the rotating the elbow (rather than fist) makes great sense to me.
But, here’s what I’m trying to grasp. My understanding is that cuts to the skin of your opponent are brought not only by the sheer force of the impact, but also by the abrasion of the twisting glove that rips the skin open.
Let’s say to make impact, your fist has to travel a certain distance, while rotating (elbow included) a certain amount. Would you recommend rotating the elbow in a continuously smooth motion from the moment you launch your punch until the moment of impact (case1), or holding off on the rotation until you are just about to make impact (case2) which would deliver much more torque (or abrasion to the skin) at the moment of impact? Or does this make any sense at all?
Distance traveled _00%_10%_25%_50%_75%_90%_100%
Ok…to me, this is an interesting conversation because of so much focus on cutting the skin.
I can see how cut skin might be an advantage in professional fighting, but in all other aspects I wouldn’t try to cut anybody. I care more about the quality of the punch’s impact. A strong hard punch is more important to me than splitting anyone’s skin.
In amateur boxing, points are given for scoring blows and not cut skin. If anything, cutting the skin is impossible because of the head gear being worn. In training, the last thing I want to do is cut my sparring partner. This might prevent him from taking an upcoming fight or cause him to get stitches.
Lastly, cutting someone’s skin is not just about punching technique. Your opponent has to have thin enough skin, and a certain bone structure (over the eyes or under the eyes) that allows him to get cut in a way that’s truly disadvantageous. Suppose someone cut my cheek, I could care less because the blood is not hindering my vision (eyes) or breathing (nose/mouth).
So if you really want to cut someone in a useful spot (like around the eyes), you would have to spar without headgear and throw some slashing punches like a hook instead of a direct punch like a jab/cross which would only knock the head back. If your fist misses him, maybe the threading on the wrist of your gloves can slice him up. Hitting at the right spot at the right time is far more important than whether or not you rotated your fist. In fact boxers throw rotating punches as the standard and cuts are still relatively uncommon. To some degree, it would still take some luck.
As for your equation, I would say that it matters little. Cuts rarely happen at the amateur level and to strategize around that random occurrence is a bit wishful thinking.
Hey guys, i dont know is this the right article, but anyway.In this video the Great Bernard Hopkins is giving a boxing advice to MMA super star Rashad Evans.Here is the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHwPBTDDp00 . I understand most of the explanations, but since english is not my first language,i cant understand everything in a part from 3:00 to maybe 3:45.Bernard is explaining something for a straight line i think and if the fighter(in the case Rashad) is not in this line, that he is screwed up.Am I right?Can someone give more thoughts.
Bernard is basically saying don’t stand in front of your opponent. Hit him and move off to one side or the other. Or you can even move while you’re throwing the punch.
Hey, Johnny N. Great article! I have a brittle bone disorder and want to practice snapping punches to be able to stick up for myself. I can’t stand and as such can’t really put my hips or feet into my hits like many would suggest, do you have any other advice that may be helpful? 10/10, perfect and informative article.
Oooooh. You’ll need an entirely different stance and method of generating power.
I’ve recently started to put that pop and snap into my punches. I’m using the core and it’s like spring motion. is this the correct way to punch, with the torque and spring almost like an elastic from the core or am I punching wrong? If that’s the way to punch it is very hard I think.
The core should feel elastic when you relax the punch (sending it out) and then tight for a split second when you contract it as the punch lands.
So i feel like everything comes with its advantages and disadvantages so i was just curious what some disadvantages might be with the snapping punch opposed to the push punch whether small or not. My other thought about this and being a beginner is that it worries me that I might be stopping my punches before they hit the target and reducing the damage so do you have any advice on maybe catching yourself or checking to make sure that a person isnt doing this?
Snapping punches are pretty superior in almost every way. The only time I imagine myself purposely using push punches is when I want to push my opponent off balance after he blocks a punch. As for pulling the punches too early, that’s something you learn with practice. A good way to avoid pulling them back too early is to let your hand BOUNCE off the target as opposed to pulling them back yourself.
Thank you that seems like it would actually help a lot. Thanks for all the time you have put into this site and articles as well as the quick replies, you are a HUGE help.
This article is a huge help! When I tried throwing snapping punches last week, my trainer was very happy, because 1st, I didn’t get worn out that early, 2nd my punching power increased, and lastly, since my energy was evenly distributed, my footwork became lighter! This is really great! I look forward to reading more of your articles! BIG BIG THANKS!
Here is a very,very critical question. Many people warn against hyper-extending the elbow. My question is, what will slow down my handspeed so that I won’t hyper-extend my elbow. I imagine snapping my hand from a very relax situation and I need a sudden slowdown. Will the muscle in the forearm do this?
Work on your form! And stretching and warming up your arms before boxing will also help.
what about your feet how are you supposed to land them when u punch ..?
It’s better if you didn’t lift them in the first place. Keep them grounded.
What about these quotes:
One thing I’ve got to do is break down one of the big myths related to punching power: the myth that states that it is the result of snapping your fist back as quickly as possible to maximize the “impulse”.
At the speed at which an effective punch travels, it will cause your opponent’s head to “bounce” off of your fist. No matter how fast you pull your fist back after making contact with your opponent, this bounce will be faster. In fact, trying to pull back quickly will only lessen the chance of KO’ing your opponent by decreasing the speed at which you hit your opponent with.
The snap comes from your lead leg suddenly stopping this powerful rotation of your hips, core and shoulders, causing the whiplash effect.If you don’t quite get this, think of when you’re driving and you suddenly hit the brakes.
I agree with it partially and disagree with many other parts. The simple answer is IT DEPENDS.
– snapping technique does affect your bounce
– if you pull too early, power will decrease AND SO WILL THE SNAPPING EFFECT
– your opponent’s head will bounce back depending on how and where you hit him and also what he was doing when he was hit (was he coming forward? did you him in the forehead or on the chin, etc)
– using the lead leg to stop your momentum to create a snap is one way but a less effective way of creating snap. the technique behind the snap has more to do with your core contraction and limb relaxation then it does with limb contracting. the analogy is of hitting the brakes while driving is ONE WAY of doing it but not as effective.
Thanks for the answer Johnny!!
My trainer tells me to relax my upper body that I’m too stiff when shadowboxing.
He then will mimic a Roy Jones style for me to do. I can throw relaxed like that but how can one throw properly with the hands up.
It sounds like you need more time shadowboxing. Work on your form, not your power…that will help you stay relaxed. Try to feel the relaxation in your hands, not the power in your arms. AND BREATHE!
You said that a pushing punch is worth 200 and a snapping punch is worth 50.
But isnt the snapping punch worth more ie over 200 because power comes from speed primarily and also body-weight, and since a snapping punch is much much faster is it not way more powerful?
I know push punches FEEL more powerful, and probably exert more force but they do it slowly, so they arnt actually as powerful are they?
Also are push punches superior for liver shots or are snapping punches?
I was only giving an example. In general, the average snapping punch would do more damage than a pushing punch. I would still choose snapping punches for living shots but I’m sure there are many boxers who prefer push punches for that area.
Hi Jhonny….!! 🙂
I have become a big fan of yours. its an amazing article. I would’nt have known about snapping punch whole my life if not read this article. Its just wonderful.
I have also seen the video to the article concerned on youtube which i am unable to download. I need ur favour. If you can upload these videos (how to throw a snap punch) & (10 Manny Pacquiao Boxing Tricks) on vuclip it’ld be a great help. This will benefit more than 50 boxers of my gym. Again thanks a lot jhonny for this wonderful article.
What about Anderson Silva?
What about him?
He knocks people right and left apparently effortlessly, he doesn’t throw haymakers, he knocked down bigger guys with jabs (Forrest Griffin). Is he a snapper, too? I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, too.
Forrest Griffin is a successful professional fighter but I wouldn’t say his punches are close in comparison to snapping punches from true boxers.
Who’s talking about Griffin’s punches?
PS.: Anderson Silva did challenge no less than Roy Jones Jr. to a boxing match and I am pretty sure he could beat many boxers if he ventured into boxing, but I understand that you don’t care for Mixed Martial Arts.
Anderson Silva has 1 win, and 1 knockout loss in his pro boxing career. Lets not get too excited.
bro youre a genius. every day i become better and better because i apply your teachings. so thanks man and i hope all your wishes come true.
I have hard time with speed its like ever punch I throw is hard powerful and stiff but I have been told my trainer and my gym mates I am very heavy handed. I try to snap my punches but either I dont feel they are fast or are hard shots. Any suggestions?
Train at half effort for a week straight. Half speed, half power, half effort. Do it for a week and see what happens.
This article was a life saver. I used to gas out hitting the heavy bag, double end bag and sparring. I was ‘trying too hard’ to punch with power and winded myself every time. I also got hit a lot as I didn’t snap my punches back too quickly.
Now I have a better punch output and don’t gas quickly .
Thank you for this article. I practiced boxing when I was a little girl with my dad. Now in my dotage I have taken up martial arts. I don’t understand why martial arts feels so wrong to me and it is frustrating. Reading your article and also other boxing posts has helped me to understand the difference.
Muhammad Abdullah Shahid
This is a really awesome guide.I’ve discovered that snap punches are something that come to me naturally.Can’t wait to join a gym after my exams.
I have a question.If we are fighting a taller opponent then he will keep us away for most of the time by using his long jabs.In that sort of fight we will get little oppurtunity to hit him.When we do get that oppurtunity should we hit him with force or still a snap punch.
Will it work if we try to increase our dashing speed and improve our ducking to get inside him.Say if this works and we get inside him should we go for the kill or use snap punches.
Use the snap punch!
Hello, This is very useful and beneficial information for me. I have a question, I was wondering how do you block or defend against snapping punches? Could you please email me back your response to my email address. Thank you.
Defend against snapping punches the same way you would against any punch. You’ll have to block, parry, roll, or slip. Except only you’ll have to be even better at defense as snapping punches are usually faster.
Thanks Johnny for your reply back. Do you have any longer extensive videos going into more detail on snapping punches, specifically snapping the jab effectively to dominate the opponent with a snapping jab? I hope you make another video on this and post on your website. I really want to improve my snapping jabs/and or punches to be more effective. I really think you should make more videos on snapping punches going into more detail on the mechanics and science on it, please give it consideration. Thanks again.
*CLICK* Holy shit, the lights just turned on.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to learn how to snap punches, especially to address problems I have with relaxing and using energy efficiently. The way I was attempting to do this is by working on the heavy bag, taking your advice and starting slow, using explosive breathing, trying to retract my arm as quickly as possible, minimize contact time with the bag, etc. I couldn’t really tell if I was improving much, but my punches seemed faster and sounded snappier than before.
Today, I was cooking some noodles and not even thinking about boxing. An image randomly popped into my mind of somebody (my trainer I think) demonstrating a lazy 1-2 combination at a very slow pace of about 1 punch a second with very relaxed arms and hands open. Even though the combination is executed very slowly and relaxed there is a pulse of energy in the movement which I then imagined making with my own body. I realized immediately that I knew how to do this even though I had never done it before so I went over to my mirror and confirmed I could do it. I wasn’t even thinking at all about snapping punches at the time but I realized this is exactly what I had just learned how to do. It’s the easiest thing in the world to execute (if you know how), and everybody can already do it. What’s hard is explaining to somebody what to do.
(I don’t know if stealing bread is a helpful image for understanding how you need to move, but once you know how to snap your bread stealing skills will immediately go through the roof.)
I still need to go to the gym and test this on the heavy bag and make sure that I know what I’m talking about, but I really have no doubt. It’s so black and white and the implications are currently blowing my mind.
I’m happy for you, man! Your fighting will change forever.
I started kickboxing in Feb and I may have my first fight at the end of July, my two personal trainers keep telling me to relax when I throw punches but I just cant seem to manage this which only makes me more and more annoyed, do you have any ways I can practice this?
Thanks in advance – Love this site!
Relaxing is easy.
– take away your focus on power
– take away your focus on speed
…start with that for at least 10 minutes a day and see if you don’t get better at relaxation.
its just really confusing because i get the feeling when i throw with a vertical fist i am not connecting with my knuckles so should i throw a hook with a horizontal fist Johnny N
It sounds like you have to fix your left hook technique first. Your body position is more important than the arm position.
Hey Johnny, would you say that George Foreman had pushing or snapping punches? I mean he was slow but he was enormously strong and powerful, and mentally tough aswell. I would say he was a bit of both. Just wanted to know your opinion.
All the good fighters have snapping punches. It’s not about using one or the other. You need to have snapping punches and then in certain situations you can throw pushing punches if you think it’s better but snapping is the standard.
Thanks Johnny N though as a boxing coach yourself what would your define as a perfect snapping left hook
I would define it just the way you did, as a “perfect snapping left hook”. Or are you asking me to describe it?
I have my first fight here in September and my opponent likes to fight on the outside and use the jab alot so i want to make the hook a potent weapon in my arsenal any advice on how and when to throw and setting it up on a tall outside fighter Johnny N?
I have several guides and videos on the website and Youtube channel. Read through them all as each one will have some helpful tips. You should also check out the comments for tips from other readers.
Thanks again Johnny and if you could give a good description of it it would be helpful thanks
If you want a basic description, here it is: use the left hook by throwing it anytime you see an opportunity for it. If you don’t see an opportunity, you can one up by distracting your opponent from other angles first (like with straight punches).
you mssed two important things in matial arts, specifically KUNG FU
IRON BODY TRAINing and wing chun.
wing chun punches are fast and direct and iron body training will aloow you to punch from one inch with the same power that some one has who winds up or throws a punch from there shoulders or cheek bones.
if I increase my bone density in my knuckles its gonna break a human skull very easily.
see iron palm training
Hello Johnny N, I really love your article on snapping punches and your short youtube video for demonstration. This has really help me understand how to snap my punches. I have a question, just for clarification, my arm and hands should be relaxed and loose all the way until I hit my target and then tighten my fist only when I make contact with the target and snap, and after I make contact or impact with the target, do I unclench or loosen my fist and snap it back quickly to my returning position?
Yes, only tense them at impact and then release tension right after impact. If you’re just learning the snap, try letting the impact bounce your hand back to you rather than actively pulling them back (which will likely increase tension).
Thanks again Johnny for your reply. I really would like you to do more demonstrations via youtube video on snapping punches and using the same concept on snapping the jab. I just want to get this really down and get better at it. Do you have any more videos on this and where can I watch them, or send me the link if you do please.
If you’re really serious about learning more punching techniques, check out my Advanced Boxing Workshop. I go into detail in many different punching techniques there, including the snapping punch. I highly recommend it if you want to double or triple your punching power.
Thanks, I will check it out. Where can I find this at on the website?
The red banner at the top right that says “Advanced Boxing Workshop”.
Thanks again. Also, I was wondering do you have a twitter page, if so what’s your twitter name so I can follow you?
Look at the square images on the very top right of the page. Also available at the very bottom right of the website.
Thanks again, I’m following you now on twitter. I tweeted you. That’s me that tweeted, “I wrote you a few times on your website and follow me back.”
Hey John, If you’re ever on the East Coast like near Connecticut or New York areas, I would love to meet you or have you come to my boxing gym where I workout. That would be so awesome. I wish you were my boxing instructor. I hope to meet you some day if you’re ever on the east coast in the north, so we could go over my punches and techniques in person.
Thank you for the offer, Tom.
I had a question on proper nose breathing techniques on your other page. When I’m out of breath or so tired that I’m breathing hard, do I want to get into the habit of keeping my mouth closed at all times and breathe only out my nose, even when I’m running out of breath by breathing so hard and don’t breathe out my mouth? I only breathe out my mouth when I’m making that hissing sound or shhhh sound when punching right?
Nose breathing is the best type of breathing (whether you’re fresh or tired). For quick explosive movements, you can use the mouth.
Hi Johnny, Thanks for you reply. I do feel less tired and less out of breath when I close my mouth and breathe only out of my nose when I’m jumping rope. I actually feel like I can jump rope for a longer duration when I’m breathing out of my nose with my mouth closed. I really do feel the difference physically. So, you’re right nose breathing is the best type of breathing; it actually keeps keeps the body from getting tired so you can endure cardio workouts like jumping rope longer.
Exactly! Nose breathing keeps you calm and relaxed! Good job, Tom.
This is the exact same theory behind the Wing Chun punch
unless your big like mike tyson push punches are best his knock out vids prove that
Hey Johnny, I have been using the snapping punch technique for a long time I have good speed,but I still feel like I don’t have much power even when I rotate my body and sit down on my punches.
Any advice would be great thanks.
The snapping punch technique takes some time to master. If you’re snapping your punches and you still don’t feel any power, then you have to work on it some more. Drop the focus on speed and go more for relaxation.
Thanks for the feedback.
So is this esentially the difference between throwing the punch and pushing it?
Also I’ve been told to keep my shoulders down as to not hit with the weak ball in socket joint and to hit with the stabalzing muscles in the back but you seem to be a pretty big proponent of lifting it. Am I getting my wires crossed or is it just an example of different teachings?
Everybody has their own way of explaining things. And because of this, you might get what seems like different techniques when they’re actually all the same thing.
In regards to the shoulder movement during a snapping punch…the idea is to engage the shoulders by relaxing them. Some people visualize it as a “lifted release” and they call it “pop the shoulder”….some other people visualize it as a small contraction, like a “a quick tight squeeze”. It depends on where you’re at in your skill level and what your tendencies are. If you’re naturally very tight and have too much tension, the right technique might be more of a “release” to you. And if you’re naturally relaxed and loose, then the right technique might be more of a tight “snap” to you.
Try different things and see what feels best. You’ll know when you got it because it feels amazing powerful, fast, and relaxed….AND you can see that you do it as well as all the other experienced guys in the gym.
As always, thanks again for the reply. Always clears things up.
dude, Just gave you a shoutout here.
keep it up!
Hey, thanks for the shoutout! You can post it on my Facebook page, too, if you like.
Hey man really good work with all these videos. I’m just starting off boxing and I hired a guy who isn’t a trainer he just knows his stuff. Basically all the federal home work he gives me are your teachings. You provide a great service to the fighting community around the world. Try, keep up the great work.
Ha…very fun to hear my site is like homework for boxers. Education never sounded so fun… 🙂
Can I give you a different anology Johnny. If someone hits you with a towel the technique is similar. The towel is relaxed until the final point and then made rigid, flicked onto the body to cause maximum power and inflict maximum pain.
Does a pushing punch have the weight behind the punch and a snapping punch has the weight leading the punch?
Errrr, no. If anything, I would say it’s the opposite. The pushing punch has the weight in FRONT of the punch (which is why it’s “PUSHING”) and the snapping punch has the weight behind or in the center of the punch. But we have to be clear about defining WHERE is “the punch”. For some people, the punch is the fist. For me, it’s the core.
Hi, I have been doing Tae Kwon-Do for 29 years and i was taught a very old school style, which included snapping punches. I got into a discussion with some other TKD owners and instructors and they had no idea how to punch properly, i then turned to the web to find somebody else besides me explain a snapping punch and after hours of looking, this is the first time I’ve seen someone else talk about a snapping punch. Loved this article.
It’s crazy how that big guy in your second video appears to have very solid punches with minimal body movement. I’m jealous.
I’m from South Korea and I think you’re better than my coach. It’s not offence to him, but I really think you teach people very well who want to learn the boxing properly. If you have any plan to visit Seoul, I have a intention to meet you. Anyway thanks for your perfect theory about snapping punches.
Hey; can I snap my punches with both hands I mean if I’m throwing a left hook I will snap my punch but if I’m throwing a right hook can I snap my punch or it will be too slow and my opponent will see it
I have a problem that is that I can’t seem to relax my body. Every coach and sparring partner i have had have told me that i am too stiff and my footwork is like of an elephant. I have been training boxing for more than three years now and still can’t find a solution to my problem. I am also a push puncher but even if i use snap punches I am seldom able to really hit my opponents or sparring partners. I mean I do feel relaxed most of the time but it certainly doesn’t look like it and I got the feeling that I am just naturally stiff. I would be really happy about a reply. Thank you!
hi Jonny Hw is you, am really blessed with ur website coz every thing I had in my mind as in a QN I have gat to meet it from here directly stay big as usual. am called kiyaga A. Clayouson. from Uganda the home of kassim ouma and the lion warrior Sharif bogere.
Hello from France !
I really love your site ! Very helpfull and really really pedagogical ! JT Van Vs videos and yours
should be seen by all practionners. And it’s not bad for an advanced to see it too and re study the
This article helped me alot and improved purity of my punches. However, there is one dilemma I just can’t shake off. Every pro I have watched talking about his technique states that “you don’t aim for the target, you aim behind the target because you want to go through it, you want to follow through”. BUT, whenever I try to do it that way, my pucnhes become impure and turn into push pucnhes (I mainly do straight punches with occasional left hook). What’s your take on that? I mean, how is it that Bernard Hopkins, David haye, W. Klitcko say that you have to “follow through” when that kind of thinking turns your punches into impure push-punches??
Try imagining that your fist stops at the surface or even 1 inch past the surface but your IMPACT explodes all the way through. Maybe that visualization will help you.
It was a nice article coach. But m little bit confused about throwing punches at heavy bag.
Some people says that to hit harder punch through your opponent or heavy bag.Does it mean extending arm to its full range?? Or its the snapping punches you are telling about.?:??
Typically the people who say to push all the way through are referring to pushing punches.
Being on the heavy weight side it’s a little bit challenging to really understand the concept of “relaxed” snapping punches, it is funny enough that after attempting the “stealing bread” exercise it becomes immediately clear what a powerful relaxed snapping punch is all about, thank you Johnny.
Howdy Johnny, I just want to tell you that you’re the man! I’m a sophomore in highschool, who started boxing almost a year ago. I’ve put a lot of pain, willpower, and heart into the sport. Now that I’m at a level where I can begin to compete physically with the other boxers I know, I’ve really been focusing on skill and this is where you’ve come in for me.
I only have the opportunity to train three days a week, but I work out heavily six days of it; incorporating skill work in on my non-gym days. A lot of the time I’ll focus on two things during my skill practice: what my coach has told me, and what I need to learn on my own, that you’ve explained on the website.
I really feel like I’m making twice the progress, in a large part thanks to these articles. You’re writing on snap punches has really helped me in particular. It took me around two days before I started really hearing and feeling the pop; I swear the power, ease, and looseness of this type of punch is in every way superior.
My coach doesn’t really compliment beyond a knowing nod or smile, but recently he commented that our session on the mitts “wasn’t that bad at all”. Thanks Johnny; because of you and your website, I’ve really been able to take the initiative in stepping up my fight game. I appreciate what you’re doing here and have recommended you to a few of my buds. Keep on fighting on.
A Fan Of Your’s From The Land Of Cotton
this is cool, I really learned a lot.
Just another method of visualisation that works well:
Think of it as there is an imaginary horizontal rope you are trying to grab, located just beneath the surface of what you want to hit.
The exact depth varies depending on the person. But generally it’s just under.
Notice that when you try to grab something, e. G. A cup, usually your hands start to close before they get to the cup, accelerating at the last moment.
The same unconscious reflex can be used here.
Once you have grasped it, your fist should close just before impact every time if your aim is correct.
Then the next step is to release for the pull back.
It can be done by imagining that once you grabbed the rope, you realised it’s hot and you draw back, again, this is another reflex, like when you touch a hot stove. You will relax automatically for a rapid drawback.
After that, you can train yourself to use the grasp and release to not only be for your arm, but for the whole body.
This can be done, by imagining that the object is really heavy.
Or another way, (how I did it) is just too practice it over and over until the sensation becomes natural, then have that feeling everywhere, not just the hitting arm.
Over time you can do it without visualising it, just the thought is enough.
Also, note that this technique also works for CONTROLLED PUSH PUNCHES, in the sense that if you move the imaginary rope further in, you can alter the amount of “push” your snap punch gives without getting off balance. Effectively becoming a push punch, but it will not unbalance you.
Whilst I get the general notion here that push punches are less useful than snap punches, having more tools in toolbox does not hurt.
I sometimes use a sort of hybrid in the sense that it’s a snap, but with just enough push to off balance . Only works at certain angles and depends on footwork.
Starting out, best practice on jabs and straights on a heavy bag without gloves or wraps to get the grasp and withdrawal reflexes down packed. Not at full power of course. But should feel like you could put full power if needed.
Hooks are harder, and needs more coordination with the turning of the fist. Also requires more torso.
Uppercuts are best left until last due to the little dip needed.
This is how I learned to snap punch. Hope it’s helped somebody.
Also, I note in the article you say that a proper snap punch convulses bag. I only get that with heavier bags. Light ones still swing despite the correct impact sound.
Is this normal?
I ask my boxing coach. Coach say bag swing is normal, and discourage me when I throw fast snapping punch. He say opponent can move back or tense into it and it becomes less effective. He say need to put body into it to penetrate more. Idk if this is correct. May I have some opinions?
Hello, Johnny! Very useful information, but there are issues. When otrabyvaesh snapping punch to the boxing bag, then everything is clear, compress fist before contact with the target, the contact must be very short and the bag must be shaking like a paralytic. 🙂
But if you work shadow boxing, then you need to compress fists at some time or all the time to keep relaxed? Thank you!
I like to explain as “compress the fist AT THE SAME TIME you hit the target”. If you’re shadowboxing, then compress the fist at the moment you expect to hit the target…but definitely not all the time.
I mean, I understand when I break the shot, I lowered the thigh (a bit squat) back when you return the arm right thigh (rise) and when you hit the next stroke again down her thighs? Is that about right? Thanks!
I’m sorry, this comment I wanted to write the article “Power Punching Secrets” and accidentally wrote here. 🙂 Delete it please. 🙂
A visualisation method that seems to be helping me is the whip one you mentioned, complete fluidity of the arm before and after the point of impact, with rigidity only activating at the exact moment of the punch. The timing’s the hardest part to get down, as when I start throwing multiple punches my arms are still too tense from the previous punches to relax back into their whip-state.
It’s also a weird sensation trying to move first with my hips and not my shoulders. It feels kinda like I’m telegraphing the punch by jutting out with my hips a bit before swinging my arm.
How about a name for a jab? Call as the ‘Burst Jab’. Snap jab…Not bad but pretty snappy name for a powerful jab like that…
All jabs are supposed to be snappy by default. That’s part of what makes it a good jab.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been training in martial arts for about 5 years now and I never realised how much power can be added into punching by simply adjusting some points of the technique.
Practiced your tips first on the heavy bag and later in sparring and the results really amazed myself. It’s like you stated, the snapping punches didn’t just take my punching to the next level but also improved my defense as well. Combined that with the two-legged-punching really stepped my game up and every effort I put in there was completey worth it.
Greetings from Germany and please keep you work up 🙂
Thank you, Dom! Happy for your progress and I do have more guides are on the way. 🙂
Practice with a sheet of paper,seriously. And try to break the paper. Not the holding,but the middle.