3 Count Punching Drill


Proper Chamber

In American Bando our chambers are high and tight. Our chambers are up, tight fist against the ribs, elbows back.

The covering elbow is part of our chambering system for punching because when we punch, we come into a cover to protect. The elbow cover with the fist on a shoulder creates a triangle shape that's very strong and sturdy and up about nose level. You should be able to see over your elbow, this should cover your mouth and nose, and it creates a very strong triangle.

Mechanics of Punching

One of the primary concerns with punching is that there's a thousand ways to do it wrong. So we're going to try to make sure you're not doing anything wrong in a way that could wind up hurting you. Punching is ultimately taking your fist and hitting something very hard with it, so we need to make sure we do everything in the proper way.

First let's begin with understanding that there are a thousand types of punches out there. We are concerned primarily with punches that come from a ready position, hands up in front of the face, or a chambered position. There are other punches we will do, but most of them begin either tight high chamber or from in front of our face. Either way, what we want to focus on as far as bio-mechanics of the arm are exactly the same.

The first thing we need to know is the two front knuckles - the index finger and the middle finger - are where you are striking. You are trying to hit with those two knuckles on either hand when you're doing a traditional punch. In order for those knuckles to make first contact you have to create a flat surface on the forearm and the hand. You must try to make this as flat as possible so that these knuckles make the initial impact.

At the moment of impact, you need to squeeze your hand and lock your wrist. Your hand can be relaxed, and you want it to be relaxed, and you want your fingers to be relaxed when you're punching. It can be loose but when you hit, it has to lock for a second so that you don't hurt your wrist. That's one of the hardest things to do initially. When people make a fist they just squeeze their hand, but it has to be flat so you can make your contact and transfer energy through the big bones of your forearm out through the little bones of your hand into the two big knuckles.

Lifting your elbow is not okay especially in linear punches. In fact lifting your elbow is never okay unless you're doing the hook punch and even then the elbow comes up after you start to come out and it snaps up into the punch. You don't want any pulling down to punch - or scooping. You don't want any pulling away to punch. You don't want any lifting outside to punch. Everything comes from inside. The arm comes out and the wrist rotates into the punch. The shoulder extends, the chin stays down. You want the elbow to stay down and snap out. So, those are the primary most important things for safety of punching. You've got to hit with the front knuckles. You've got to keep your wrist flat. You've got to lock the wrist. That's going to keep your hand safe.

We do not turn the thumb down. That's another problem that a lot of people do. When we say a lot of people, professional MMA fighters sometimes turn their thumb down. That's a no no, absolutely wrong. Get your thumbs out of your fist and wrap them. Every system, every person will tell you something a little bit different about where the thumbs go. You can put the thumb over, you can put the thumb up, you can just wrap the thumb underneath and keep it tight. Putting it out invites capture and twist and pull. Our short punch, the thumb is typically on top sometimes and then we wrap it here for the rest of our punches. We don't like to teach different punching styles. For this school we switched it. Everyone put the thumb under.

Another thing with punching is the push-pull you may remember from the previous videos. Pretend you've got a rope or string tied around your wrist that runs up the inside of your arm and through your armpit and out the other armpit and down your arm. If you pull one hand, the other one has to come in, like puppet strings. That's how we punch. We push the punch out. We pull the other hand back. They have to change. Additionally, put your shoulder forward. We want to extend our shoulders when we punch and we want to punch through the target and come back.

The mechanics of punching are such that if you're hitting with the front two knuckles and your fist is flat and forearms are flat and you're locking your wrist at the moment of impact and you're keeping your elbows in when you punch, you're doing it mostly right. Keep those thumbs out, and as we progress we'll tweak this and get better and better. But you must follow those basic rules from the beginning if you wish to have good punches. 


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Three Count Punching Drill

  • You don't want any pulling down to punch - or scooping. You don't want any pulling away to punch. 
  • You don't want any lifting outside to punch. 
  • The arm comes out and the wrist rotates into the punch. 
  • The shoulder extends. 
  • The chin stays down.
  • We do not turn the thumb down, get your thumbs out of your fist and wrap them. 
  • Our short punch, the thumb is typically on top sometimes and then we wrap it here for the rest of our punches. 
  • Remember the push-pull motion.