If you are right handed that means your power hand is your right and your left is your jab. The jab sets up more knockouts, but the straight punch with your power hand is the high percentage knock-out strike. The straight right, aka the “cross,” is a finishing move. The jab-cross combination, also known as the “1-2 punch,” should be practiced daily.
When throwing the cross, it’s important to have a tight fist on the moment of impact. Prior to hitting, the arm, shoulder, waist and legs should be relaxed – full but not tense. By keeping your body relaxed you will be able to move faster and save more energy. Exhale when you strike. Your body needs oxygen; don’t hold your breath!
It’s important to take out unwanted extra movements, or “hitches,” when throwing your punch. Go straight from your fight stance to your target. “If you’re in Austin and want to go to Dallas, don’t go to San Antonio first!” You can quote me on that.
Don’t drop your hand before you strike or after you complete your strike. Opponents will see the punch coming or be able to attack after your strike if you expose yourself by dropping your hands.
Many people hide mistakes in excessive movements, especially people who have trained a long time. They get good at hiding their mistakes. A more experienced fighter will expose those mistakes. Train correctly and don’t forget to stick to the basic fundamentals of striking. For training purposes, throw your cross from a total stand still, throw your punches straight out and straight back. Practice in the air, on heavy bags, and mitts. When practicing, sometimes just focus on speed, sometimes just power and other times both power and speed.
There are pros and cons to every technique.
The pro with the cross is the knock-out power.
The con is that you give your opponent your hips by turning into your opponent. Your hips is where the power comes from. Start with a strong stance, rotating the feet, legs, hips, waist, shoulders and focus on hitting hard and hitting fast. Once you finish your strike it’s important to snap that strike back fast so your opponent cannot capitalize on exposing your hips. You don’t want your opponent slipping your cross and applying a takedown on you.
Beside repetition of throwing the punch thousands of times I recommend strengthening your fist by conditioning it with Iron Palm training as taught to you by a professional (like me!). Doing it wrong will only set you back and cause health problems. Besides Iron Palm training, it’s important to strengthen your fingers with fingertip push-ups, holding heavy jars of varying weight, and rope pull-ups. Incorporating Sports Performance Training (SPT) into your program will make all your moves faster and more powerful. Martial artists are power/speed athletes and SPT is designed to systematically build you up into a more effective martial artist.
Once you feel good with throwing your cross from a stationary position, start adding combos like jab-cross-hook-cross, left hook-cross, and cross-left hook. Next, start adding in footwork, constantly work on circling, shuffles, lots of head movement, then eventually adding in more advanced footwork. Remember to never lose your balance; develop a strong stance and smooth footwork. Don’t overextend your strikes. This will set you up for counter striking and takedowns. Focus on closing the distance with your footwork so you don’t have to overreach to hit your target.
Martial arts is an amazing journey, you meet so many great people from different walks of life. Martial arts is a great way to make new friends. Never forget: it’s ok to have fun training!
Train hard, train smart, finish healthy.