I’m about to start a war against “explosive punching”. “Explosive punching” is the reason why so many fighters fall off balance. It’s the reason why fighters punch so slow. It’s the reason why fighters get tired so fast. Explosive punching isn’t even the most powerful way to punch!
THE TRUTH IS: true power punches aren’t explosive, they’re IMPLOSIVE!
Implosive Punching VS Explosive Punching
About 99% of what’s taught about power punching is horribly inefficient. And the problem is that so many fighters are training so hard with inefficient technique. Inefficient technique works, but YOU have to work so much harder for it to work. And fighters wonder why they take forever to learn how to punch. They come up with ridiculous exercises or techniques when the movement itself is supposed to be natural.
Power punching is like the easiest (most natural) thing in the world. Some people are even born with the natural ability to punch hard! The more rare natural ability you’ll find is probably someone with good balance and footwork. Unskilled fighters will trade off power for balance/footwork, or vice versa. What they don’t understand is that balance and power go hand-in-hand. There are very few fighters with both and the ones that do have far more balance AND far more power.
The only really hard thing about boxing is the fighting ability itself. But anyway, let’s go back to solving one of the easiest skills in boxing—POWER PUNCHING!
The problem with explosive punching
This position right here is the problem with explosive punching.
“Explosive punching” is the reason why so many fighters fall off balance after missing a punch. It’s the reason why they get tired so quickly from punching and the reason why they can’t throw a punch without sacrificing their balance. Worst of all, explosive punching doesn’t give you the maximum power possible.
I’m not trying to say that explosive punching is useless. Not at all, explosive punching technique is still useful in many tactical situations. But why use a punching technique that generates only sub-maximal power AND sacrifices your balance and energy efficiency?
Explosive punching is not
the most powerful way to punch.
Explosive punching happens in 4 sequences:
Explosive punching is all about spreading and getting wider. The first mistake is to try and go UP and OUT. That’s how most beginners punch. They start out in a compact stance and then explode upwards and outwards to blast power toward the opponent. Beginners are taught that power comes from the legs (which isn’t wrong, btw). And they’re taught to pivot the feet, explode the legs, rotate hips and body and hit the opponent.
The problem is that the word “explosive” gives the wrong imagery. It tells boxers to start from the middle of their body and then using EXPLOSIVE muscle (muscles that project outwards), to project power UP (off the ground) and outwards (toward the opponent).
The drawbacks to punching explosively
Look, your body can only go TOWARDS your center or AWAY from your center. If you go UP off the ground, you will make yourself easier to fall (less grounded). If you go AWAY from your center, and you don’t move your feet, you will fall! You can prevent the fall by taking a wider stance but it still doesn’t mean you’re balanced.
Less power is the result of less grounding and less compaction.
- Now how can you have more power when you’re more lifted off the ground during your punch? It depends what technique you’re using. Now using your legs creates more power than not using your legs. BUT, using your legs to push down against the ground creates more power than using your legs to push off the ground. You need contact with the ground to transfer power.
- You also have less power because your body is looser when you explode outwards. Tell me what hits harder, a brick fragmenting into an opponent? Or the same fragments compacting into a solid brick upon impact? Sure, you may have made a tight fist but what about your body? How can you hit with your entire body if it SPREADS outwards upon impact? Releasing your body outwards prevents your body from ever completely compacting, allowing energy loss through your disconnected limbs.
SLOWER COMBINATION SPEED
If you project power outwards, you will have to pull it back in before you can send it out again. It will feel like OUT-in-OUT-in-OUT-in. But if you project power inwards, you will always be able to keep projecting it inwards. It will feel like IN-IN-IN-IN-IN-IN! It will feel faster
DECREASED ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Because the explosive punching has less balance, power, and speed, you need more energy to be as effective.
Intro to Implosive Punching
Implosive punching is all about
generating inwards force.
You want to explode inwards, in other words, IMPLODE! Power punching should have move implosive force than explosive force.
- All your limbs should be generating inwards force except for the one fist going outwards!
- If you focus all your energy into going outwards, you lose power/speed/balance/energy-efficiency!
Look at figure skaters when they spin. They don’t start closed, and then open. They start open, and then they close. The implosive force is what makes them spin faster AND maintain balance while spinning faster. They open up when the want to slow down. What about your hand. When you punch powerfully, do you close your hand to make a tighter fist? Or do you open your hand and release all your fingers outwards? Do the same with punching, contract inwards, explode inwards…IMPLODE!
Implosive punching happens in 3 sequences:
The first part is going down and grounding yourself for more balance. The second part is compacting yourself inwards to become even more balanced, more solid, and more powerful. The third part is rotating yourself for maximum power generation. I teach implosive punching technique because being implosive gives you the most rotational power. It’s about going DOWN-AND-IN, instead of up-and-out.
Implosive movement generates
the most rotational power.
The first step is the visualization and theory. If you can visualize projecting energy downwards and towards your center, you WILL have more balance and power. The second step is to learn the right techniques to help you project energy downwards and towards your center. In fact, all techniques for powerful movements should use implosive movement principles! The third step is to condition your implosive muscles and develop their muscle memory in drills.
Now let’s break down the 3 sequences of implosive punching…
The first mistake of any punch,
is to decrease grounding during the punch.
If you’re punching, you’re exerting outwards force right?
And if so, then I have to ask?
- are you pushing your opponent away from you?
- or are you pushing yourself away from your opponent?
- what determines which one will happen?
The answer to the last question is: the least grounded person is affected the most. If I stand on two legs and you stand on one, and you push me—you’re gonna be the one falling. It doesn’t matter how powerful your pushing muscles are; you cannot transfer that power to me if you are not better grounded than me.
You must ground harder to punch harder
The first step of generating power is to exert downwards force. In order to exert more force outwards, you must exert more force downwards. Here’s a quick demonstration:
Here I push the wall while lifting my hips.
And here, I push the wall while dropping my hips.
Do you see the difference? If I lift my hips during the push, I lose my grounding and fall. If I lowered my hips during the push, I was better grounded and more importantly: WAS ABLE TO PUSH HARDER AGAINST THE WALL!
Punching is very much the same way. If you lift your hips, you punch lighter AND you fall off balance. If you drop your hips, you punch harder AND you have more balance. It’s as simple as that—GO DOWN, not up.
*** What many beginners like to do is go FORWARD. While going forward helps since you’re falling into the opponent, it’s actually still no as powerful as going down. Going down gives you the best grounding whereas going forward still requires you to uproot yourself and give up your grounding.
Grounding is Easy!
So many fighters give up their ground in effort to be more powerful. What they don’t realize is that staying grounded is what makes them powerful! Instead of developing leg strength to ground themselves, they develop leg strength to push themselves off the ground!
Grounding force is easy and free thanks to gravity. All you have to do is let your hips drop instead of lifting them upwards during punches. It’s not just easier, it’s better. And if you still insist on using muscle, then use your muscles to GROUND YOURSELF downwards (working with gravity) instead of using your muscles to lift yourself upwards (working against gravity).
True Grounding Technique
The real technique to grounding is not really to GO DOWN, or to actually lower yourself. True grounding means only to exert downward force. Now the trick is how to exert downward force WITHOUT pushing yourself upwards. It’s a skill that most fighters weren’t taught.
In order to exert downwards force without lifting yourself upwards, you have to first RELAX YOUR HIPS. In the moment of punching, you have to quickly release your hips so that they begin to fall and then you counter the fall by exerting downwards force. This all happens in a split second–it’s a quick release and quick counter-catch all while you’re throwing the punch.
A skilled puncher will punch in a way where his hips don’t move up or down, although he is exerting downwards force! An intermediate puncher will punch in a way where his hips drop. The beginner puncher will punch in a way where his hips rise or come forward!
- It’s ok to punch like an intermediate puncher at first. The skill will come with time.
After learning how to stay grounded, the next step is to implode your power inwards. Imagine yourself swinging a bag of bricks at your opponent. Wouldn’t it hit harder if the bricks were first compacted into ONE SOLID BRICK?
Let’s analyze a technique you may have already learned:
- before the punch, keep your hands relaxed
- during the punch, tighten your hands
- right at impact, hit with a completely tight fist
“Compacting the fist at the moment of impact”…you remember that technique, right? Now imagine if you were to apply this technique to your ENTIRE BODY. Why hit with only a tight fist? Why not hit with a tight body?
You hit with a tight fist so that the power is transferred completely instead of being spread into the many bones of your hand. Your body is the same. If you leave it loose while punching, it’s no different than if you hit with a loose hand. A loose body doesn’t contain and direct energy well. It’s like throwing a handful of dirt vs throwing a bag of dirt.
How to Compact Your Body (IMPLODE) During a Punch
You implode a punch by sending your force inwards. Instead of imagining that your force is pushing your opponent, try to imagine all the force in your limbs projecting inwards towards your core! I know it’s difficult to understand if you’ve never been taught this way. Here are some visuals…
“Explosive punching” sends your power UP and OUT.
90% of the boxers I see at the gym punch like this. They try to spread their body, even visualizing their bodies spreading and fragmenting outwards. You can always tell when a guy is exploding too… he’s the one that loads up, jumps off the ground, straightens his legs, over-reaches and over-commits.
This kind of punching can still be powerful but it’s much weaker and throws you off balance. It can be useful if you need to move while punching or cover ground but it doesn’t generate maximum power. If you absolutely must move from your position, try to move downwards as you punch.
“Implosive punching” sends your power IN and DOWN.
It might not look that much different but trust me, it is. I am projecting energy inwards towards my core so I have rock solid balance and much more punching power. My arm is being released outwards but the rest of my body is whipping that arm out powerfully by projecting inwards.
Tighten your body
just like you tighten your fist.
Be Tightening, not Tight
Now I want to clarify that the compaction theory doesn’t mean to “hit with the tightest body possible”. If you think that way, you will always be tense and tired and stiff and although you might punch harder, you still won’t punch as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Compaction power means to hit as you tighten the body,
instead of hitting with a “tight” body.
The correct understanding means to “hit with a tightening body”. In other words, your punches hit hard because you are always tightening as you punch, not because you are tight. So it’s critical that you loosen your whole body before the punch. Then when it’s time, you starts to sharply exhale and imagine all your power vacuuming towards your core as you tighten endlessly into a punch.
Now it’s important that you don’t take this the wrong way and try to tighten your body beyond the impact. Tightening your body beyond the impact only wastes energy and doesn’t cause any more damage because you’ve already impacted your opponent. The moment you make impact, it’s time to immediately “release” and let your hand “bounce” back from the impact. Your body is relaxed the entire time except for that tiny moment of impact. It helps to exhale sharply and tightly.
Always remember that you are always in motion! Either you’re moving outwards (explosively) or moving inwards (implosively). If you try to hold a position, you will only get stiff and tired!
Implosive punching increases combination speed
The beauty of compaction is that your power is generated towards the center which then naturally bounces you out for an easy automatic recovery. Comparing would implosive punching to explosive punching would be like dribbling a basketball vs hitting a volleyball into the sky.
- When I hit a volleyball upwards, there is nothing that returns the volleyball to me except gravity. So if I punch with UPWARDS movement, I have to wait until my body comes down for me to punch again. If I punch with OUTWARDS movement, I have to use my own muscle to pull my arm back.
- Dribbling a basketball is different because the ground bounces the ball back at me. Dribbling faster is possible because the ground will return the ball as fast as I send it. If I punch with INWARDS movement, my body will naturally reset itself by bouncing outwards after it completely compacts itself.
Not only is imploding FASTER, but it’s also more energy efficient. With the volleyball, I have to keep generating new energy with every hit whereas with the basketball, my energy is being bounced and recycled back to me.
Implosive punching increase energy efficiency
Imploding saves so much more energy than exploding because the ready position is relaxed. Think about it. If you wanted to stay ready for exploding punches, you’d have to walk around all tight and stiff until the time came to explode. ORR you could be relaxed but you’d have to quickly tighten up before you could explode. Either way it’s a waste of energy trying to walk around.
- Imagine if I always punched with a “JUMP”. If that was the case, I’d have to be walking around with my knees bent all the time in order to be ready to jump. It’s a waste of energy and would tire me out EVEN WITHOUT PUNCHING.
If I was an implosive puncher on the other hand, the natural ready position is to be relaxed so that I can implode inwards. And so implosive punching is faster and uses less energy because I can do it from a relaxed position.
Now you know how to stay grounded and you know how to compact yourself. The last part of the punch is the rotation!
Here is the golden question:
Q: In what direction is a rotational force traveling?
A: If you answered:
- in a circle
- or any answer describing a circular motion around your body…then you are wrong.
Ok well, you’re not wrong but your answer could be better. I’ll continue to explain.
Explosive Rotation VS Implosive Rotation
First off, there are 2 ways to rotate your body. The way most people try to rotate is through what I call “explosive rotation” or sometimes call “circular rotation”. Explosive rotation is achieved when you have multiple forces traveling in a circular motion counter-balancing each other to create a perfectly balanced rotation.
Explosive rotation starts with my arms in, and then I swing my arms out and around to start spinning!
As fun as it seems, this isn’t the best way to rotate. First off, this kind of rotation has horrible balance because your arms are pulling you off your center. When you throw your arms away from you, you are forced to rely on the evenness of your arms for balance. Secondly, “circular rotation” will always be slow because your arms are working in opposite directions of each other. If you try to spin any faster, you WILL fall off center.
So Johnny, what’s the best way to rotate?
The BEST way to rotate is using “implosive rotation”. Implosive rotation is achieved by sending your weight INWARDS to rotate, instead of around (like with an explosive circular rotation).
This time, my arms are out but I swing my arms to spin myself! (Creating an implosive rotation.)
Before I go any further, I want you to get up and try both methods of rotation. (Spin on the ball of one foot, while trying to keep the whole foot flat against the ground.) So which is better, explosive rotation or implosive rotation? You’ll notice that implosive rotation is easily the faster and more powerful rotation. You’ll also notice that it’s so much easier to get more spins using implosive rotation. And all you did was send your arms INWARDS, instead of outwards.
- Explosive rotation failed because you were throwing your arms away from you—which slows your rotation and pulls you off center.
- Implosive rotation is superior because you were throwing your arms INTO you—which increases your balance and rotational power.
It’s easy to see why throwing the arms inwards instead of outwards creates better balance. But how does bringing the arms inwards create better rotation? I made some top view diagrams so you can see how implosive rotation is so much more powerful.
Here using explosive (circular) rotation, I spin by sending my arms around. Centripetal force then projects the power outwards and away from me creating a wide and slow rotation. The harder you try to hold your arms in an outstretched position, the more they will pull against each other and slow you down.
Here using implosive rotation, I’m sending my arms INTO me. Centripetal force then projects the power tangent (more towards) to my center creating a tighter, faster, more balanced, and more powerful rotation. The tighter I bring my arms to me, the faster I will spin. This is how figure skaters spin so fast!
The not-so-obvious discovery is that: in a explosive (circular) rotation, your act of balancing slows down your rotation. In a circular rotation, your balance (your need to stay centered) works against your rotation. Whereas in an implosive rotation, your act of balancing(centering forces) actually increases your rotation!
You have to understand that the spin comes from movement, not position. I’m not spinning faster because my arms are AT the center. I’m spinning faster because my arms are MOVING TOWARDS the center. The stronger my core muscles, the longer and faster I can spin before falling off balance. Even though it looks like I’m just resting my arms at center, I’m actually still trying to pull them in closer and tighter.
Some logical relationships between balance and rotational power:
- you need more balance to rotate faster
- you need more balance to generate maximum rotation
- you need more balance (grounding) to transfer power to your opponent
- the most effective way to create more balance is by moving TOWARDS your center
In case you’re learning how to spin, I would recommend for you:
- relax your arms as you spin so they feel as heavy as possible
- slowly bring your arms in while spinning (exhale slowly all along)
- try to ground yourself, imagine your body weight getting heavier and drilling DOWNWARDS into the ground
Explosive rotation has less balance and power
because it is going AROUND.
Implosive rotation has more balance and power
because it is going INWARDS (TO THE CENTER).
Ok great, Johnny. You taught us how to spin like a ballerina but now how does that apply to punching?
1. Open up
Start off in a loose relaxed position.
Don’t squeeze yourself in like a ball. How can you implode if you’re already completely compacted? Remember, a tight position is for “exploding” which may not be what you want. Leave some “space” at your center so you can “hit” your opponent by imploding your entire body. I don’t mean for you to stand lazy. I’m saying to relax the core and your whole body, and then activate all your core muscles simultaneously to project power inwards when you punch.
Center AND GROUND while you punch!
Go inwards and downwards (implosion), instead of upwards and outwards (explosion). Every punch you throw, you should be trying to center and ground yourself harder. The “inwards force” comes from all your limbs and especially your core muscles (abdominals, back, lats, adductors). The more powerful your implosion, the more balance and power you have.
You should feel all your power in your core, NOT in your fist. The arm is only for connecting the power generated by your body, to your opponent. Exploding technique throws you into the fist. Imploding technique centers you and grounds you.
Watch my video to see a live demonstration of implosive punching technique and theory in action.
Implosive punching requires a strong core
True implosive force comes from your core,
not your limbs.
I know I was toting up above that implosive punching was the most effective and efficient way to punch. Well that’s not entirely true in all cases. I was demonstrating implosive force using my arms but in reality, implosive force comes from your core. If you have a well-conditioned core, then you will be able to benefit from the strength of your core. The core muscles are incredibly powerful muscles MUCH STRONGER than your limbs and apply direct force to your core!
Now if you have a weak core, then you will not benefit as greatly from implosive punching technique. You will rely more on your limbs to generate power. Now limbs are for outwards (explosive) movements which means you have to use explosive punching technique. You will suffer from decreased power and more tired limbs because you’re relying on arms and legs to generate punching power.
- throws your energy outwards away from your center
- loosens and releases the punch
- rotates your slower
- pulls you off center, off balance
- uses limb strength from the easily fatigued (explosive muscles)
- slows your punch recovery because you feel like you have to keep pulling your arms back
- makes you bounce off your opponent (if he’s better grounded than you are)
- throws your energy inwards into the ground, into the punch
- compacts and solidifies the punch
- rotates you faster
- centers you for better balance
- uses core strength from the more efficient (implosive muscles)
- faster/easier punch recovery because the arm power is project inwards and easily bounced off your core
- creates the best power transfer possible!
That’s all it is! GO IN AND DOWN! IMPLODE INWARDS AND DOWN! (Instead of exploding upwards and out like everybody else.)
Read the other parts of this series:
- Power Punching Secrets, PART 1: Two-Legged Punching
- Power Punching Secrets, PART 3 (not yet written…)
Before i even read this article, you are the MAN! Thank you Coach Nguyen
This is very good information! My focus is to implode my striking! Keep of the great work!
I’ve taken your snapping the punch into consideration, and I believe I’ve got pretty good power. How can I know for sure…I’m a bit of an beginner/intermediate, never fought only sparred. I can’t use power on my sparring partner, but I know that having power or knowing that I have it will give me confidence.
Thanks and keep posting, we love the advice.
PS sometimes when I throw my left hook I snap it out, but I’ve noticed my elbow hurts…any idea why? Form wrong?
Dude you are over extending!
That pain in your elbows is a warning sign of your arm going further than it needs to. Keep doing that and you will end up with a bad case of tennis elbow (I speak from experience here). Power and speed are all well and good but they mean nothing without control. Be especially careful while shadow boxing, its easy to hyper extend when one is hitting nothing but air.
Using one of those tennis elbow compression bands will help with the pain. I use one while training too, just to let me know my form is slipping after a few rounds.
Same advice, control your punches, don´t extend your arm completely while shadow boxing, try not to over extend your arm while reaching the oponent. Try to slow them down for now, try not to use your arm as a whip.
And use some ice for the swelling, if you have one (20 min every 2 hours should be fine).
Hi, do you have any recommendations about correct punch techniques? I have tennis elbow problems and I am looking for any valuable information how to prevent any further problems.
Read all my articles on proper punching technique and one more note, watch my Youtube video on how to warming up the arms before boxing.
This can be bad form. Try to land the hook with the elbow at 90 degrees. Also, make sure you raise the elbows to shoulder level (if you’re throwing a head punch). Can also vary between vertical fist vs horizontal fist.
Does that help?
Does implosiveness work when throwing a roundhouse muy thai kick?
Johnny, have you ever watched the anime/manga Hajime no Ippo? In the manga, Takamura tells Miyata to improve his cross counter power by bringing his drifting left arm to his torso as he throws his right. This article completely reminded me of that.
I’ve never seen that anime but I’ve heard of it. I’m glad to know my technique is at least as good as a cartoon’s. LOL
Love the site johnny – keep up the great work !!
What you’re describing is fairly common in the traditional martial arts community – for example, most styles of karate – and not as common in boxing and mma circles (from what I’ve seen). Looking at your up and out vs. in and down comparison shots – in the in & down shots your shoulder is packed, not high to guard the jawline, and the emphasis on rotation instead of lean for generating power is very typical of classical karate. (I don’t mean this as a criticism at all, just pointing it out). Very nice description.
Thanks for the reply.
Yeaup, I left my shoulder low because it’s not a guide on basic punching form, etc. My demonstration is to focus only implosive punching technique. (But rest assured, I make sure to tell all the readers to lift their shoulders in many of my other punching technique guides.)
I’m actually not sure which way is better (shoulder raised to protect the jawline or packed to transmit power). I don’t box, I’m strictly an amateur karateka. Many styles of karate very strictly emphasize keeping the shoulder packed low – I’ve seen many authors talk about tensing the lat to keep the shoulder down as much as they talk about rotating the hips, if not more. I feel like I get more power with my shoulder down (though sacrificing protection), but that’s about as far from a scientific answer to the question as you can get.
The shoulder should be raised to protect the jaw AND reinforce the arm form. (A stronger arm form helps transfer power…or more accurately–helps to avoid power loss.) Raising the shoulder or lowering the shoulder won’t affect your power so much as long as your power is being generated from the core and not the shoulders.
Pulling the lats down DOES increase power for certain punches like body shots or uppercuts but not all punches. There are also positions like when you’re leaning forward or backwards where it doesn’t matter if the shoulder is raised because you’re so close in range or so far out of range.
Again, as long as your power comes from the core you WILL be powerful regardless of how the elbow, wrist, shoulder is positioned. Of course, good arm form helps prevent power loss. Personally, I can use 80% of the worst punching technique AND STILL have more power than most others. The key is in knowing the 20% most essential part of punching technique. And then you can be lax with the rest for strategic purposes. That’s the secret to pro-fighters. They can be deadly without having to follow all the rules of boxing…which gives them many advantages.
Thanks for the response! Great work on the blog.
when you say drop your weight, do you drop, and then throw, or drop and throw at the same time?
I drop AND throw at the same time. It’s actually one movement that accomplishes both effects. It’s tricky but keep visualizing it and it will make sense at some point.
Nice article once again Johnny.
Do you have any exercises that you would recommend (other than strengthening the core) that would increase your implosive punching power?
Aside from crunches and medicine ball twists, I will be saving these exercises for a later guide 😉
Outstanding read, going against the grain to delve deeper into proper punching technique, with emphasis on power.
Read Dempsey’s book about explosive punching. He asks for a falling step and a jolted relay of the muscles before impact of fist and before foot touches ground. Now that my friend is explosive full body weight.
Already read it like a long time ago. I’ll have to address it in another guide when the time comes, because this one is all about implosive technique. 😉
You are literally reviving boxing via your website. Think about how positively you are affecting future and current professionals. Don’t give up on us. Ps….Dempsey roll and combos off the Dempsey roll but take your time..its not like were paying you lol 🙂
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!!
Incredible stuff to study and practice!!
Thanks as always, Johnny..
Very interesting and very insightful! What is the difference between dropping your hips and bending your knees when grounding yourself? Dropping your hips seem to have your butt hinge backwards more, giving a whole seperate feeling.
Bending your knees doesn’t guarantee a hip drop because some guys only stick out their ass when you they bend their knees. If you drop your hips too low, it becomes “sit” and projects your energy out the back instead of straight down.
Anyways, the focus is to project your force down. A simple hip drop is all you need.
What are your top 3 core exercises. by the way keep the secrets coming you’re really awesome
What are your favorite core exercises to develop this power??
I will share them later! For now, start with crunches and lower back stuff. Start with high reps. All you need is a little muscle awareness and some conditioning. The true power comes with proper timing.
So i have a question and before hand would like to clarify that i am not saying your wrong, just curious. You said not to have forward motion when you punch and i understand the reasoning behind it, and you said to move down and use your muscles with gravity. So looking at these two things then then why would one not want to have forward pressure using it like you do when you lower your hips? It seems that you would generate more power in the same way you generate more with lowering your hips briefly.
The reason you lower your hips is to increase your grounding and stability. If you project yourself forward, it will only decrease your grounding. Yes, you may feel more forwards force but that power will not transfer successfully to your opponent because you are not grounded. Going forwards is the same effect as going “up”.
“TIDBIT: Many striking techniques are executed as the body sinks into stance, but power can be generated as the body rises as well. With good transitioning, the sinking and rising can be used fluidly interspersed with momentary tension.” how do you feel about this statement i seen?
Sure, there are many ways to generate power. All movements will generate “power”, and power can be generated with upwards movement. But maximum power isn’t generated when you rise and become less grounded.
Thanks for all your efforts man, I love your explanations and your videos. You are helping out so many boxers!
This is such a good article man. Lately, for the past like 2 months, ive been improving like crazy, just a lot faster, powerful, more cardio, and I wondered what had happened to me. Well I changed my fighting stance and style a little bit just before i started improving, so i knew it had to do with me changing it, but after realizing this, I noticed ive been “imploding” on everything, whether it be punching, headmovement, or footwork, and I never realized the exact reason Im so much better now until reading this.
Last sentence was worded weird, I meant to say thet I never realized WHY* i am doing so much better until i read this.
John Taylor York
Please make a counter punching secrets!!!!
When the times comes!
Man! This is grade A stuff you’re teaching and we’re not even paying! I’m seeing this all the time with the pros at my gym. They seem to be so loose but they hit very hard while we struggle with tense punches. When I ask them about it, most of them don’t know what they’re doing, as I think they learned it by experience and necessity. But this implosive punching is really what sets apart the pros. That and the way that you can’t seem to land a solid hit on their heads, since they’re always loose and rolling all the time.
How do you recommend training this? Should I take a holistic approach and try to do it all at the same time or should I just focus on one aspect at a time? How do you teach this to people in the gym?
When throwing a combination like jab-cross-hook do you A) sink the hips once on the jab and just stay in that squatted position for the cross and hook OR do you B) sink on the jab come back up sink on the cross come back up and sink on the hook?
What are your thoughts on sinking your hips with the jab?
This is a theory you apply to your existing technique. You have an attitude and visualization of imploding instead of exploding. It’s advanced technique so you can only learn it when you’re ready to learn it. If you try to learn it too early, you’ll feel like you have to remember so many details. If you’re at the right level, it will make perfect sense.
I teach this to fighters that are ready to learn it. Usually the ones that are good at exploding are perfectly ready to learn this since they can use their energy to implode instead of explode.
You don’t need to come up and down repeatedly. Think of dribbling a basketball. When you dribble, you only have to apply downwards force because the ground will bounce the ball back up for you. Same with punching. Keep applying downwards force because the ground will naturally bounce your hips back up for you. The movements are only slight.
May i check with you, in order to punch implosive, before throwing a punch, When we’re not punching we relax our body first with both hands up. At the time we throw a punch, we lower down our hip a bit and tighten up our core,hand and fist. (But do not lean forward during the punch.) Am i right about this?
May i know does this technique apply to left hook as well?
What if your opponent is much taller than you, let’s say 15 cm taller than you, it would be hard to land the punch on the opponent face rite if i lower down my hip?
This technique can be applied to all punches. You only need to lower yourself very little so it shouldn’t affect your range.
Hey Johnny, thanks so much for the two power punching secrets!
Read them yesterday and tried them out today. First while shadow boxing and then during partner drills I tried to pull my hammy, keep my balance centered, and during the punch I pulled my non-punching arm in… Took a couple tries in the drill, but the first time I felt like I got it right, my partner said “Good, your right straight’s getting more powerful!”… gonna focus on imploding more from now on, and reducing the explosive punches.
Great article, Johnny.
I did my heavybag workout after reading your article, and it really does feel much better imploding rather than exploding.
My punches were more crisp and sharp, combos were much quicker, and my core sure got worked hard.
It’s going to take some time and practice for it to become second nature to me, but the improvement that I felt in my punches and balance using your techniques definitely has me stoked for more.
how can you use this when someone is backing up?
With little to no experience, I would assume that is a situation where explosive punching is more favorable because pushing out will cover more space?
Not always. You CAN still move while using implosive technique. You can use implosive technique for all punches that you would normally throw with explosive technique.
You use this technique when you can. You use it when appropriate. It’s not supposed to be the end all technique for every situation..
johny, can you show examples of a boxers who hit implosive
That’s pretty much all solid amateurs and almost all pros. That’s how they punch so damn hard.
again johnny excellent article nearly in total agreement only point im not totaly sure of is tensing whole body.i feel its just an illusion of more power as opposed to snapping punch using implosive rotation-the power coming from increase of speed and dropping mass.strengh is not part of the power.relaxed weight and tense weight is exactly the same.still excellent article though
Hehehe. There’s no disagreement, really. If you do something different, then you’ll get something different. If you do what the guide recommends, then you get the intended effect.
Of course, it’s highly recommended for you to play around with every variable to learn how different actions cause different effects. But I can assure you the guide is written exactly as I intended. 😉
I’ll bit on this one, even though its really old.
I personally feel that the core tension isn’t tension for tension’s sake (wowsers say that 5 times fast). I think that what is really going on here is that your core really connects your upper and lower body havles together. If our punching power comes from our legs (and it does) how do get that power past our hips if we do not use our core?
Working with the implosive visualization, how does the energy coming in from the fist, to the shoulder get transmitted down to the hips and legs without the core? It doesn’t! Without your core you are just arm punching. Let’s read Johnny’s comment on core tension again:
“I’m saying to relax the core and your whole body, and then activate all your core muscles simultaneously to project power inwards when you punch.”
If you want to merely feel powerful (as you state Johnny;s advice is doing) instead of be powerful, clench everything all the time and swing wide. It feels “strong”. Hit a heavy bag with that kind of technique and you will see it swing around back and forth like mad. A poor fighter or a bystander might assume your strikes are powerful. A good fighter or informed bystander will see you are just pushing the bag. You want to break that bag in half like Tyson (or at least get it to have seizures), you have to know exactly when to tighten up which muscles to become a perfect structure of power transmission.
You are the man Johnny!
This article reminds me a LOT of a couple books I’ve read on developing internal (relaxed) power written by more traditional martial artists. I’m constantly amazed, but not really surprised, at the similarities. There is a book you might be interested in checking out if you have time. It’s called “Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power” by Peter Ralston. It’s a rather wordy and esoteric book but it is very enlightening IMO. One of my favorite books on martial arts.
I thought of a good visualization for “implosive punching.” Imagine your body is a corkscrew. As you twist into the punch imagine you are literally twisting your center (pelvic area) into the ground like a screw. This way you keep your body centered and grounded when you implode. This has helped me, anyways.
Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work Johnny! You have inspired me and and many others I’m sure. God Bless!
I love that visualization. I actually said something almost exactly like that in my ebook!
Bruce Lee reborn. Thank you teacher.
is it ok if you lift your heel a little or is it better if it stayed on the ground?
The heels will typically alternate. Left heel goes up with left hand punches, right heel goes up for right hand punches. EXCEPTION: the jab does not lift the front heel, it’s thrown from your neutral stance.
Come in France man, Boxing needs you seriously.
THANK YOU YOUNG MASTER.
Bruce lee must be pride of you.
So what are the tactical benefits of explosive punching then? or is that just what beginners tend to do?
That’s another guide in itself. If you want to find the benefits to explosive movement, you first have to figure out what explosive punching can do that implosive cannot. 😉
I’m based in Australia and I’ve had a few coaches in my boxing journey (10 amateur fights). I’ve tried and tried to learn to punch from my legs and get the implosive power that every coach has tried to teach me. I’ve had some improvement but oh boy, none have explained it nearly as clear as you. Thank you!
I went back to sparring yesterday after having been away from gym training for 6 months and realised very quickly that it was my legs that gave out long before my lungs or arms.
I’m not sure if it is going to help me but I looked up some ballet leg exercises to build balance. So far it feels like it is working the right muscles that let me down in my sparring session.
Another technique I’ve used works on the tightening of fist, I use those spring hand grips. I punch and clench those at the moment of extension. I never thought about tightening my whole body as well.
Thanks again for sharing your tips. I believe more coaches need to do this in order to extend boxers. I had a couple of coaches that shared tips with me after they saw potential but they were always careful not to do it in front of other trainers. I think it is really holding boxing back. Your site is going to force boxers to get better in order to compete with the next generation. Too many chums out there beating other chums.
Keep it up and I think the boxing community will change for the better if more coaches were willing to share their secrets.
I respect the time you spent in boxing, Billy.
When considering that boxing is competition, it makes sense that nobody shares their secrets. Winning matters more than the growth of the sport. On one hand, competition makes the sport evolve and grow and attract mainstream followers. On the other hand, competition can limit growth and creativity because everyone is hiding their best techniques instead of working together.
On a side note, there are many trainers that don’t share their secrets because many fighters today simply don’t listen. You can share dozens of secrets, and they wouldn’t listen, even share plain common sense and they wouldn’t listen.
A great teacher will share knowledge at the moment the student is ready for it. I too will be holding back many of my secrets because the greater boxing community is simply not ready. Sharing them now would actually HOLD BACK the community because beginners would try it and think it’s ineffective and train themselves never to do that again…which limits their maximum growth.
brilliantly explained, I believe most boxers who’ve spent enough time in the gym shadowboxing and bag hitting do know how to punch like this as I noticed looking around my gym the other day, but not one of them or any of the trainers would have a chance of explaining the physics of the movement like Johnny. Hours of intense training of repetitive punching allows fighters to punch in the most efficient way as their body learns the easiest way to generate power, only thing is they don’t have a clue how they do it and would never be able to show a beginner.
Whats funny is that as I was reading this article I was actually doing all of the things without knowing I was doing them and ideas that I though I should be doing, such as exploding, I can now discard, so this article has been really helpful.
I noticed the grounding technique at work drilling holes in the floor with a hammer drill, I found the fastest way to drill was to focus all of my energy downwards on top of the drill making myself heavier almost. I noticed I was using all the same muscles as upon the impact of a punch, core & legs, and I realised it wasn’t actually about throwing your weight into the opponent but into the floor in order to make better use of your bodyweight.
One thing though Johnny if I may, how can an uppercut be effective using grounding if the direction of the punch is upwards?
You have just uncovered one of the common myths about uppercuts. Power generation has little to do with direction of the fist. It doesn’t matter HOW your hand travels as long as you generate maximum power. This is why so many fighters can’t throw a powerful uppercut–they’re trying to project their body weight UP with the punch.
Please see my videos and articles on How to Throw an Uppercut. You will find the answer soon enough.
thanks johnny, I’ve been following for a while and have huge respect for your work I’ve just never had anything to comment with. Keep it up with the knowledge though its massively appreciated
What I mean to say is, how can dropping or dipping the hips be useful with an uppercut when the force is projected upwards in the opposite direction to the dipping of the hips?
Please see my reply to comment up above.
I’ve been taking this on board about the implosive punch but just was working out today whether too throw the cross straight or put a slight outside loop on it so the rotation straightens it up for me?
The implosive power is something that happens internally. Your arm angle should not affect the amount of power generated. You should bend your arm at whatever angle is needed to land the punch in that situation.
Hi im mason I’m 12 years old and i like the implosive punching technique I’ve whooped on my brother sparring it really worked, thank you
Please don’t beat me up. I love you.
Just wanted to give kudos on the article (and the whole website really). I’ve been working on this implosive punching thing and I finally heard that SMACK on the heavy bag. First time I snapped the punch and didn’t push! Great article, really. I didn’t realize how much I was throwing my body forward until I tried dropping my hips.
It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world to get your first *SMACK*. I’m happy for you, Rosa.
how can i throw the hardest punch the hardest way to the chin of my opponent – in short how can i throw a left hook (in my opinion the hardest punch) to the chin in the hardest way?
could you give me a hint for what part 3 is going to be about or a date?
my closet guess of the top of my head would be…. that its about maximising the strength of each punch to each part that it can hit for southpaws and right handers alike. That would be my closet guess.
By throwing it with the proper form for maximum power.
The topic for part 3 will remain unknown for now. 😉
i compete in boxing, and i have always won my fights with sheer explosive power (my fitness is pretty bad) i normally score a knockout or a stoppage, i have been practicing your implosive technique and now i can go for longer and my hand is back by my guard so fast i can keep a pretty(ish) face haha i have an outstanding chin and great power so up untill now my technique has been, let them lay into me then bang them out hard and fast, now i can actually pick away at them and stay away alot easier, because im not clearing a quarter of the ring in each heavy punch haha i can work combos into someone before they even have a chance to work out whats going on, so thank you i genuinely feel like im a faster fitter more well rounded fighter based on this one little change to my game, im now going to check out part 1 and book mark this site like a mofo 🙂 ill be posting a link to my next fight on this page to show how much it helped and ill link an old fight video too so you can see how sloppy i was haha
I can’t wait to see your fight. Good job, man!
This is really amazing stuff here I really never thought of this. Even though I took many types of martial arts myself. I always criticized tae kwon do for being a stupid martial arts but when you think about it, it shows you in a simpler way these concepts that you are talking about. For instance the horse riding stance punch it tells you to lower yourself (center of mass) and punch. I always thought that looks stupid how are you going to hurt anyone with that punch. I never thought much deeper into it. But now I realize that it wasn’t showing me how to punch in that way, it’s showing me the concepts behind what is shown. I always also thought that their spinning aerial moves where just flashy and sometimes useless but those spins if they are done tightly creates more power than normal straight kicks. I always learned about “centering your mass” and creating more power from it in tai chi class but never have I thought of it in terms of just normal punching. What other martial arts have you taken, if any? I read some of bruce lees teachings and ideas, you have a similar mindset to that of bruce lee’s. keep up the good work!!!
Hi, Jason. I took aikido for a few semesters in college but not enough that I would even call myself an aikido practitioner. Boxing is all I’ve really know. I respect Bruce Lee very much so thank you for the comparisons.
great job technique and great job explaining . I feel the technique the most when I stand in front of a wall in a stance and throw punches .I dont want to hurt my hands by punching the wall so of course I pull the punches.when I do this. I feel the hips working the body going into the ground .but to stop the punch from hitting the wall I have to tighten the core . the question is do you think this can help ?
Using the core is always a good area to focus. You’re definitely going in the right direction.
Great article! It’s not centripetal force though, it’s due to the law of conservation of inertia :). You are decreasing your moment of inertia so directly related to that your angular speed must increase.
Ooooh, another scientific man. Ok…since you said it, I can now clarify further.
The deceleration (“decreasing moment of inertia” as you put it) has to do with the core stopping which then sends out the fist. But the force projecting out the fist is centripetal force. So the core and fist are two separate masses at work. You are still correct BUT, try to feel the centripetal force. You are rotating, so try to create centripetal force somewhere. If you think of it as simply one mass decelerating before the other, you will end up producing linear force instead of rotational force. Try to imagine your core is whipping out the arm, instead of your upper body swinging out the arm (like a baseball pitch).
In the article, I touch more on the initial force that generates the power in the first place. I didn’t go into the resulting forces because it is projected in so many areas (the legs, the core, the upper body, etc).
Well I just have to rain on this parade since we are talking about science now. There is no such thing as centripetal force. It’s an illusion created by Newton’s Third Law.
Thanks for another great article Johnny, this one coincides with my previous karate habits as well, so please refer to my lengthy comment (and praise) in the first instalment of Power Punching Secrets.
Whether or not the force officially exists…I think we can agree that there certainly is a commonly felt sensation that people are referring to as “centripetal force”. Whether or not you call it that, it still exists.
wow amazing read for today. I must say Mr. Johnny, you are the genius behind scientific boxing 🙂 all are well explained in detail. I just have one question, i do have to suck in my abs in order to tighten for impact? I remember in your earlier articles about punching, that energy is transfered from the feet and through the shoulders and then tighten the fist. But considering the core essence now, i must say this is an upgrade of snapping punch, its like a snapping punch leveled up. This is one very good article 🙂
Yes, contract your core to help generate impact tension.
Great stuff Johnny. I read this at work and couldn’t wait to try it on the bag. Gotta say definitely a noticeable difference in power, but I also noticed that I wasn’t losing my balance during some combos that I’ve had problems with before. Can’t wait for part 3!
This is such a stellar lesson. I can’t wait to review it a few more times and apply it to my judo. Being blind and six foot two with long arms, I can see how most if not all the times I end up getting slammed to the ground by a smaller less experienced player is when I am outward focused.
J man your site is gold.
I can’t wait for lesson 3
hey Johnny just wondering if i should do the same with kicks or not i am mainly karate based (5 years)
with 3 months boxing and a years taekwondo ( i stoped with tkd 3 months back for boxing) but anyway i almost do this with kicks already though the arm that matches rear foot drifts out a little would it help
thanks anyone else who has ideas please share them much apreciated
I’ve never really learned how to kick so I can’t comment on that.
ok thank you
Please tell me the best exercises for core- to punch better/harder.
There are many great core exercises. Start with medicine-ball twists and crunches.
And then ;)? in future after that? I want more exercises beacuse i am curious!
Thanks Johnny and have a nice day.
In the future, after you learn a bit more about your technique and what you want to work on, you’ll be able to ask me more detailed questions which will allow me to give you more detailed answers (and more exercises). Different fighters may have a different path.
Hey Johnny, thanks for all the good advice.After I read the first part I quickly switched to this and I was trying to watch highlights of a boxer and try to ”read’ his technique but I failed to understand.Maybe you can help me, I take one of my favorite fighter to study,Gerald McClellan, and I choose him because he was all against lifting thinking that weightlifting will slow him down and because this is what you preach, him fits perfectly.And I want you to help me understand his punching technique because i admit, I’m JELOUS because he is against what i thought(until recently I believe that punching power is all weightlifting).And something what I have seen at him, his body shape is just like yours(skinny and long arms) and I hope you can explain why he was such a deadly puncher.Sorry for my bad english!
Great technique and great body mechanics. Some good genetics in there as well, for sure!
These two articles on the secrets of power punching are gems. I’m just curious as to how the kinetic chain fits into these philosophies, or just your general take on it.
I’m sorry I don’t understand your curiosity. What aspect of the “kinetic chain” theory are you referring to? Are you asking for validity of the kinetic chain or how these structures are important in punching movements?
great articles on punching power johnny! especially number 1 on the two-legged punching. i did some pad-work with my coach after punching with 2 legs, and my coach noticed my punching had suddenly increased in power by quite a difference, so he did another round with me as he thought it might have been a fluke at first haha.
when is punching power secrets: part 3 coming out? 🙂
I’m not sure yet as other series are higher in priority. Hopefully soon! Thanks for the comment.
I am referring to how you implement the kinetic chain with this type of punch. I always understood that the chain was exerting force starting from the ground up. This type of punch appears like its bringing power in rather than out. So I am curious as to know if the kinetic chain has a place in this punch basically. Sorry for the confusing wording but it’s hard to put into words.
The kinetic chain is a series of joints in your body. It’s not a special move but an understanding of how your body works. So I guess a better question would be, “How do you generate implosive punching power in regards to the kinetic chain?”
The kinetic chain is definitely very involved and still very important whether or not you explode or implode. You need that chain to hold your frame in order to generate and deliver power.
I get that but I think what I’m having a hard time understanding is how this implosive punch would start from the ground up. It doesn’t look like you’re initiating this movement with your rear foot but merely bending your knees and rotating your hips and shoulders while pivoting.
Everything is simultaneous. Don’t try to move one joint and then the next and then the next. It’s all at once.
Just wanted to let you know, I’ve been boxing since I was 12 and am now 36. I help out at a boxing gym for the underprivileged. I am a fourth generation boxer who came from a long line of those that believed in “raw power and no mercy” . How wrong they were . I use your website as a constant guide and must just tell you that you have a gift that very few boxers/ trainers have .
Keep up the website Johnny, there’s a lot on my side that count on you.
Happy to hear that, JP. Keep fighting the good fight.
Johnny I have a question of sorts. According to physics, every action has a reaction. So i was wondering, if you dropped down and rotated, you impart all of your bodyweight into the ground. As a result, that energy, all of your weight in other words, is returned to you. So what I wonder is if you push away and rotate from the ground, you will be able to impart more force and get a greater return of force than if you just project your bodyweight into the ground. Any thoughts on this theory are greatly appreciated.
I’ve explained much of this in the article and in the video but to answer you as concisely as possible, I will say this:
There’s a difference between pushing INTO the ground and pushing OFF the ground. The first one is powerful and balanced, the second one is not.
I suggest you try both and see which one is more powerful. And then wait a couple years for your technique to refine…and try it again. The better one is very obvious, when done correctly.
Well for things like the gazelle punch, dashing corkscrew, etc. you have to push off
great stuff. waiting for PART 3
Am I still trying to punch “through” my target
What I mean is….do I still aim past my target
Ex: I aim for the back of his head–throw the punch with the technique you wrote about–and as I feel impact bring my hand back?
Aim one inch past the surface of the target. And yes, let the impact bounce your hand back to you.
Generating power like this and releasing it wrong can really hurt you.
Great stuff! (An extra pleasure is that what I do myself, and have been doing for years, is exactly your ‘implosive’ punching. Now I’ve got a name for it. 😉
When you say tighten your core upon impact do you mean that I should tighten my stomach? What is the exact way to engage your core when punching?
Im more scientificaly oriented person so this is what im going to say from simple physics and newtonian law stand point. Take a punch bag hit it as hard as you can without thinking thru. Impact energy you are going to transfer to the bag in that punch is what counts formula is kinetic energy transferd m*v^2/2 it means mass times speed on square over two. So what the formula says is that speed of the twice as much of a factor as mass. the second clue comes from two bodies with different masses in impact or m1v1=m2v2 or it is called momentum equlibrium. It means smaller body will transfer more enegy or impact if its speed is bigger it also depends of how big is other moving or standing mass, if discrepancy between th etwo is two big smaller mass will take reaction force and bounce back. another point is if you start thinking to much signal that comes from the brain to engage the muscules involved in creating that puch may not be as efficient as you think. Some people have it naturally or they have trown lost of stones in the water as kids and have made their techinc of body movment and muscule coordination more effective than others it is also muscule fiber genes too. What these trainers and instructors do is they watch these natural punchers and try to reducate you in correct techninc until you puch right without thinking. My oppinion is everyone is different. You may improve following these instructions but the fact is that the hardest punchers are not martial arts fighters but professional boxers. That solely may not be crucial as a wepon in real fight but it is a wepon after all
Excellent tips! Thank you for this. I was doing down and out, and sometimes down and in. I was trying to figure what I was doing wrong, cause sometimes I did throw fast and powerful punches, sometimes don’t. Now I figured it out! I need to force down and IN. Implosive punches! Thanks for this theory, please do the part III !
no mention of GFR Johnny??
Переведите на русский
Привет, скоро будет переведено, следи за обновлениями на русскоязычном сайте 😉
When you’re throwing a combination do you relax your body (very briefly) in between punches or do you keep it tight through the combo and only relax afterwards?
Great article. Part 1 was equally helpful.
What can I (we, your readers) do to encourage you to finally write Part 3?
Johnny, any plans on coming out with a dvd or book on core exercises (especially the inner core)?
Ah crud, I meant to post this on under the “Why Lifting….part 2” section.
Hello, Johnny! I understand the correct technique of implosive shock (as you call them), it’s when I’m in shock a little squat, hips move down, right? The question actually what is to beat so that a series of strokes after the first blow with the movement of the hips down, I have to straighten them first, and then again to spend a blow to the movement of the hips down (mini-squatting)? I still prvilno understand? Thank you!
P.S. I apologize for my imperfect English, I’m from Poland.
Great question, Andrzej.
If you “drop your hips” correctly, your calve muscles will not let you go down to the ground. They will bounce you back up into the air, and so you can go down again and again with every punch.
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 have a question so your saying that during in implosive punch that you legs generate no power and that you only need your legs to activate your core, and that all power comes from you core and nowhere else
Good afternoon. Excellent articles. A lot of clear and useful information. I would like to know if the 3rd part will be written? And perhaps subsequent ones? Or is there already an article or book somewhere that contains all the information?
I don’t box, but I’m an (extremely) amateur martial artist. I don’t have a powerful physique, and your principles of impulsive punching are spot- on with what I’ve found to generate power. Thanks for explaining the how AND the why. You’ve given me a lot of technique to train on. Nice article.