Punch Faster in One Week

How would you like a significantly faster punch in just one week?

You can practice this technique on your own. It’s easy, and it works. If you are going to try this drill for training speed, then please give it its chance.

Try it for one week, and then assess how much improvement you have made.

Origin of This Speed Punching Exercise

I would love to be able to say that this exercise was handed down from generation to generation. Or that Bruce Lee taught my teacher, and my teacher taught me.

To be frank, I invented this exercise when there was a period that my punches … sucked. They were terrible.

It was one year, when my garage classes sort of fell apart. Not that I am blaming any students. We were all busy, so classes stopped.

And I stopped punching. This hiatus lasted through the summer, as well. And when I finally returned to punching … in October, my punches were slow, and wobbly. I am not kidding — each punch wavered and couldn’t seem to find a precise target. My punches were pitifully slow.

I needed to get my punches precise and fast, and I didn’t want to take years to do it. I gave myself a week, which, because I liked the exercise so much, extended to almost a month.

Here’s the exercise that I developed….

Speed Punching For 7 Days

As an example, let’s improve our back fist (sometimes called a back knuckle) punch. I want you to think about sneaking spare moments to practice. Actually, you will practice for only a few seconds at a time.

The practice session goes through a progression, by day. The first day, you’ll punch one way. Then you’ll change it for the second day. And again on the third. And so on.

For this drill, you will punch hundreds, if not thousands of times during the day. But only a few punches at a time. Every time you are alone, out of sight of everyone else, whip off a few punches.

Do this all day long, for seven days.

Walking down the hall by yourself at work? Punch five times. Actually, five back fists will be 20 punches in this exercise. Here’s how to punch….

Slow, Then Fast Punches

Perform three slow back fists. Make them even slower than half speed. Got it? Three slow back fists, one right after the other.

As you finish the path of the third punch, get ready. As soon as it ends, snap out the fastest back fist you can imagine. Try to keep it on the same path as the slow punches, but don’t worry too much. Go for speed. One punch – fast.

Do this all day long, for two days in a row.

On the third day, change it. Spend one day of punching twice slowly, and then once fast.

Always with the same punch. In this case, the back fist.

On the fourth day, you will punch slowly once, and then quickly once. All day long. Hundreds of repetitions.

On day five, you will spend the entire day speed punching. Only one punch at a time. But all day long.

Super-Fast Punches

When you get a spare moment, you will throw out one super-fast punch. Pause. Then another. Pause, pause, pause. Then another. Vary the wait time, in between.

Do this same pattern on day six, as well.

Then, for your last day — day seven — you will perform the slow punch(es) after your fast one.

It’s your choice whether you want to follow your fast punch with one, two, or three slow ones. Do what feels comfortable.

Try training your brain and your muscles this way for one week. I think you will be pleased with the results.

Practical Martial Arts Tactic

Great Martial Arts Tactics…

Just Pretend!

Stu wrote in the other day. We were thinking along the same lines. Here’s what he wrote:

“I’ve thought of a way to confuse your enemy. If you are fighting a boxer, adopt a boxing stance, and suddenly kick him in the shin, and follow up with some other techniques. Try it.

I don’t know if it works, but it makes sense.”

Great thinking Stu. Yes, it does work — sometimes.

Let’s talk about this tactic:

You can definitely give the wrong impression by pretending. Here are just a few of the ways you can fake out your opponent:

Pretend you are trained in a differnt style. As Stu said, effect a boxing stance, then kick the boxer when he is in range.

I often adopt a stance from a particular style when I have no intention of doing anything else form that style.

I pretend I have reached my limit, when I have something in reserve. In other words, I pretend they have seen my full speed, when I still have a lot more left in me. I fake that I have extended to my full range, when I have three or four inches of extension left. I pretend I am out of breath (OK, this one is closer to the truth), when I have a few more bursts of energy left in me.

Pretend you don’t notice your own telegraphing, when you are really trying to get your opponent to react. Sucker him or her!

Pretend you don’t see their technique coming, when you really know way in advance from their own telegraphing. Surprise your opponent.

You can even pretend you are injured.

Major Warning — especially with pretending you are injured …

Most folks are lousy actors, myself included.

Some of us couldn’t pretend our way out of a box.

Our tendency is to over-act

Over-acting is one big telegraph of your intent. The key to making any of this work is to be subtle.

This tactic isn’t for everyone. It just won’t work if your attacker can figure out your intent.

And don’t go by actors on TV or in the movies who are pretending to be hurt, before the final sequence in the last confrontation. Keep in mind, the are actors who are acting the part of someone acting the part of an injured person.

They are over-acting on purpose, so you contrast it with their normal screen behavior.

We have to be much more sly than that.

When to Hit

Palm Strikes — (3 tips for when to hit)


Have you read Solo Training, by Loren Christensen (Turtle Press, 2001)?

Not only does he provide lots of training exercises, but he writes in a pleasant, easy to read style. In the book, Loren gives exercises for everything from Whipping Back Fists to Slightly Angled Uppercuts.

Before he presents four exercises to try with a Palm-Heel Strike, he has a couple of pages of advice about this particular hit.

As I said, Loren offers a pleasant read:

“Look at one of your palms. Notice that it’s thickly padded and the striking area is supported by your wrist and forearm. Hey, life doesn’t get much better than that. It’s almost as if nature wants you to hit people with it. Instructor Jerry VanCook, a strong advocate of the palm-heel strike says that you can replace your basic hand strikes — jab, reverse, hook and uppercut — with the palm-hell strike, although you’ll have to modify your hand position for each.” 

“To configure your hand …”          (Page 106)  

Palm Strike with the Pascal Flavor

While you are pondering the above technique, think about adding the Pascal Twist to it.

Many issues ago, I wrote about an invisible hand technique. Those of you who own “The New Punch Papers” have the article in your ebook.

The idea is that you don’t pull your hand back when you do your second strike. In the book, I offer my ‘best way’ to use this in a self defense situation. To get you started, here are a few different suggestions that don’t appear in the ebook:  

Follow up to a lower punch

1. Practice your palm strike as a follow-up to a kidney punch. You strike with your fist closed. Your opponent will be knocked back from the force of your blow. Immediately continue with a palm strike. No cocking your hand back before the strike. 

And don’t give me a ‘loss-of-power’ argument. Just hit — make it fast and efficient.  

Same Follow Up, with a Step

2. Your opponent dodges out of the way of your closed-fisted kidney punch. So, you follow up with a palm strike anyway. It’s immediate — and fast.

Lead with the strike, even if you have to take a step to reach your opponent, after he or she avoids the punch.

This is the same as the first tip, but the timing changes. In the first tip, the follow up occurs right on top of the first strike. The beat/rhythm is almost together.

In this example, your second strike takes longer, because the distance has changed.  

Changing Direction for the Follow Up

3. You back fist at your opponent’s face. Your opponent dodges to the side of your palm. So, open your hand, and palm strike. You’ll be hitting in the opposite direction from the back fist.

Why open your hand? To protect your fingers. 

Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Improve Your Blocking

Analyze Your ‘Block’ … Even If You Punch First!

As long as you are willing to keep an open mind, let’s analyze your forearm block. This time, we’ll deal with blocking a punch, rather than a swing of a weapon.

If you are subscriber to Martial Arts Mastery, then you know that I favor a response of hitting before I respond with a check. There is no use belaboring that point, right?

Would you like to know why I say ‘check,’ instead of block?

It has to do with possible follow-ups to the block.

Let’s say your opponent punches at your midsection with a reverse punch with the right hand.

Let’s also say that your left foot and hand are ‘slightly’ forward.

Depending on the position of your forward hand (left) when your opponent punches will determine if you will block inside to outside or outside to inside.

Inside to Outside Block

First, your hand is lower. Your opponent punches. So, you respond with an inside to outside block. You push the inside of his arm toward the outside. Possible problems? The punch could be a fake. You were just suckered. Or the punch could be real. In which case, you just opened up an inside line. Let’s take the other option.  

Outside to Inside Block

Your lead hand is in front of your face when the opponent start the punch. This time, you react with an outside to inside punch. You hit his arm on the outside, pushing it across your centerline of your body (and more importantly, across his or her centerline). You have just set your self up for similar falls: The initial punch could be a fake. Again, you were suckered. Or … you have just opened up the line above your elbow, between your forearm and your biceps.  

If Either Block to a Punch Is Bad …

You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, right?

If you outside block, you either get faked or you open a new line. If you inside block, it’s the same.

Don’t block outside.

Don’t block inside.


Warning: This may mean you have to step slightly off-line to make the tactic functional. And you may have to learn the precise definition of center-line theory.

So, have I given you something to think about?

You aren’t blocking. You don’t send the punch arm flying with the force of your block. Such force gives someone within developed energy the exact feeling needed to redirect back on line.

Instead of a block, it’s a check. It’s a stopping of energy — it’s a control (while my other hand and my feet are bashing away).

How would your martial arts change if you never sent your energy off sideways by blocking outside or inside, but rather you learned to stop any future follow-up with the attacking hand, because you are checking to the center?

Wow, that was a mouthful.

Still, something to think about.

Best Martial Training for Self-Defense

Are you formally studying martial arts at a school, or are you self taught?

Whether you are studying at home or at a martial arts studio, (or both), you know that it’s going to take devoted practice, to get really proficient.

To be frank, everyone who studies martial arts improves their self-defense skill … to some degree.

By virtue of diligent practice, sheer boring repetition, most practitioners of the arts do improve. And since they are study martial arts, their ability to defend themselves also improves.

Unfortunately, many quit before they show marked improvement, and those who do stick with it learn at a such slow pace, that their martial arts aren’t of practical use.

Rather than following this slow and arduous path to self-defense mastery, you need to take learning into your own hands.

Learning at a Faster Pace

In the ebook “Become the Martial Artist You Were Meant to Be By Taking Charge of Your Learning,” I talk about building up the number of good techniques you can execute. Then you pare them down to the most efficient.

You, over a period of time, construct a system of practical martial-arts techniques. You won’t devise your system overnight….

Even if you are willing to put in the time, (I have been with my current style for 25 years), you may feel the need to make practical use of your martial arts training, now.

Jump Start Your Martial-Arts Training

Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your practical self-defense skills. For example:

* Learn to make each punch count. If you had truly devastating, knock-down punches, then it would only take one solid hit, right?

* Learn to pass from kicking distance to punching distance quickly. Your first self-defense move is a low kick — your weapon of greatest reach (kicks) to the closest target (knee). After the kick, you need to break into punching range in an instant.

* Develop the ability to find the ‘right’ targets. If you can’t reach the target that will stop your attacker, then you won’t be able to defend yourself.

The Next Step

So, we know how important punching is to many aspects of martial arts and self defense. Sure, we could talk kicking, wrist locks, and even weapon self defense. (Write me for suggestions of these other martial skills). But having an effective punch is of paramount importance to your self defense training.

96 out of 100 people who read this article, will go back to the same old practice habits.

The other four will take steps to improve their punches — improve their martial arts and self defense training.