Short Punches

Astral-Pepe

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Short punches are both short range and short movement straight-line strikes that are thrown without winding up or drawing the fist back first.

In Kung Fu this punch is often thrown with a vertical fist (with the knuckles perpendicular to the body and the fleshy part of the fist facing downward).





While in boxing and MMA this punch is often thrown with a horizontal fist (with the knuckles parallel to the body and the palm facing downward).





It can be thrown with the fist fully inverted (in an upside-down position similar to how you would throw an uppercut) as well.





They can be used most effectively at close range. Longer range strikes are slower than short punches and often, particularly in the case of hook punches, are difficult to land at close range. Trying to throw long punches at close range will leave you off balance, making you vulnerable to throws, arm bars, chokes and takedowns. Sometimes you will see fighters try to lean away from their opponent in order to throw long punches at close range which also leaves them off balance and open to counter-attack.

The main advantage of the short punch is it's speed, it's Time To Target in military parlance. The movement takes less time from start to finish than any other striking technique. Just like a handgun is "faster" than a rifle (in that it takes less time to aim and fire a handgun than a rifle) and a dagger is "faster" than a sword (in that a stab or slash from a dagger takes less time to preform than a thrust or slash with a sword). At long range you will still be better off with a rifle but at contact range the handgun wins most of the time.

Another advantage is that the range it can be employed at is too close for most opponents; causing them to retreat. When they retreat you can chase them with pressure and strikes to knock them down.

Getting good at this will mean you will be able to land strikes before your opponent can, even before he sees them coming. Mastering short punches will also make you unafraid of closing the distance to your opponent.

Bruce Lee popularized powerful short punch techniques from traditional Wing Chun. You may have seen this before but if not it is worth looking at. This is sometimes called a power-punch, a one-inch punch or a no-inch punch. I usually call it a no-inch punch when I'm demonstrating it to others.





Notice he takes a right-lead which is part of his fighting philosophy. Jun Fan and Jeet Kune Do both employ a right-lead (Lee borrowed heavily from various systems when he developed Jun Fan/JKD and the right lead comes from fencing believe it or not). Western boxing, however, long ago established the primacy of the left-lead (for right handed fighters). This is often referred to as "orthodox stance" while the right-lead is referred to as "southpaw". The Western boxing system is what tends to dominate in MMA and most modern fighting systems because it simply works better for fighting sports and in reality it works better in combat/self defense. When your footwork and striking skills get really good you will stop thinking about stances entirely, you will simply begin to move and strike at the same time as the mechanics become instinctive.

Bruce Lee's demonstration is partially a parlor trick. He gets his partner to stand with feet close together and parallel to each other, which is not a naturally defensive posture. In that position his partner is easily knocked off balance. The chair is there not to prevent him from falling down but to prevent him from recovering from the punch by stepping backward a step or two. Instead of recovering he is tripped into the chair.





It is all theater except for the punch itself which is the real thing. He is delivering enough power to knock a man off balance regardless of the theatrical elements of the demonstration. His punch, without much movement of his body, is quite powerful.

I'm demonstrating it here on the heavy bag without any theatrics. Notice how the power is generated in my rear leg and how it travels through my core into my shoulder, lead leg, arm and fist. That's a heavy punching bag but without even winding up I can hit it hard enough to make the steel stand shudder.





If you have a heavy bag then you can practice it just like that or with your hands a few inches or as much as a foot away from the bag. Use your legs, core and shoulders to create the momentum and use your arm and fist to snap power into the bag.





If you don't have a heavy bag you can practice throwing these punches in the air. Most traditional Kung Fu training doesn't ever involve punching bags so this is a legitimate method for learning short punches.

You can also set up a makiwara type striking pad. These can be made easily with some wood and leather, rope or canvas. Be advised that if you put one of these on a wall in your house you will eventually do structural damage to the wall and if you do this in an apartment your neighbors will hate you.





Maybe think about getting a double end striking ball or a spring bag, both of those options are fairly quiet and don't take up a lot of space.







Many boxers are proficient at short punches though the short punch usually doesn't get much fanfare in boxing. Mike Tyson was particularly good at short punches but he is better known for his fast, powerful hook and overhand punches. Here he knocks out an opponent who is winding up to attack with a right hook. Notice that Tyson doesn't draw his hand back first but throws his shoulder forward and pushes off with his rear leg. Tyson beats him to the punch and catches him in center mass.





When you strike your opponent with a short punch you want the blow to have maximum effect. You want all the force generated in your attack to go into them. You don't want them to be able to sidestep or pivot to dissipate its energy. You want, as much as possible, to attack their center mass. If the blow lands on center mass your opponent will absorb all the energy and be propelled backwards. If the strike is thrown quickly enough he won't have time to pivot or sidestep.

Think of this like a "dead stop" in billiards. The cue ball here strikes the stripe ball in it's center mass. If it was even fractionally off center the cue ball would be deflected and keep rolling in some direction other than straight. In this case it hits at center mass and the stripe ball soaks up all it's kinetic energy.





Your short punches must be like the dead stop cue ball. The hand and arm go from a relaxed state into a rigid thrusting fist at the point of contact and then back to a relaxed state, ready to repeat. The application of tension at the moment of impact helps to achieve a clean transfer of energy into the opponent. The fingers should roll up as the hand travels forward, becoming a fist at the moment of impact and then relaxing again as the hand is withdrawn.

Train your body to move behind the punch and direct your strikes into targets that fall along your opponent's center mass. This is sometimes referred to as the "center line".





The center line is an imaginary plain that runs down the middle of the body from the forehead to the nose, throat, solar plexus, navel and groin. Many of the most vulnerable parts of the body are on this center line and, again, it is the body's center mass.





When you learn how to do all of this correctly you will be able to hit with the weight of your moving body, as opposed to just the weight and speed of your arm.


While you are at close range it is important not just to attack the opponent's center line but to effectively defend your own center line as well. While defending your center line it is helpful to imagine a triangular or pyramid shaped space in front of you which is the battlefield between you and your opponent. Inside this area your strikes must land clean and his must miss, be deflected, be sidestepped or be pivoted away from.






When the center line is defended correctly, your opponent is forced to attack along the wrong angle; to the right or to the left of your center line.

In order to achieve this you must make your hands and arms become part of the triangle and actively cause your opponent's attacks to be deflected to one side. Your hands and arms are also used to detect and interpret the direction of incoming forces, allowing you to react to them appropriately.








Part of this strategy is a skill called "trapping" which is too complex a subject for me to deal with comprehensively in this thread. If I was to fully deal with trapping I would probably need a partner to help me shoot some .gifs. This may happen at some point but it won't be soon.

In the meantime I will give you a quick breakdown of the basics.

Firstly, trapping isn't the same thing as blocking, which is simply absorbing a strike with a part of your body other than the intended target. A trap is a redirection of your opponent's striking energy and a bridge to allow counter-attack. You can use your hands, wrists, forearms and elbows to deflect and dissipate attacks while driving forward or repositioning your body (sidestepping or pivoting) for counter-attacks. There are several methods you can use to roll with the force of an attack and reposition yourself out of it's way.





The goal of trapping, besides not getting hit by strikes, is to achieve a superior position, strength and angle with every single move. You must maintain control of the center line during any defense, attack, footwork step or posture shift, thus maintaining your opponent's disadvantage and forcing them to attack/defend from a weak angle.

Achieving a superior position may simply mean pushing forward with strikes and driving the wedge of your center line into your opponent. This is the simplest and often the best option. It certainly has the potential to end a fight very quickly which is the ideal situation. If you can knock your opponent to the ground without going to the ground yourself then the fight is over. You should be able to finish a downed opponent or simply escape before he can get back up.

You may also pivot or sidestep away from your opponent's center line, thereby creating a new center line to drive your attacks through. Either of these movements can be done proactively or reactively.

During a reactive pivot or sidestep your body is like a rotating cylinder.





If force is applied to any point on it's circumference it will turn in the direction of the force. The pivoting action moves your center mass out of the path of your opponent's force. When pivoting, your back should be kept straight, to allow a quick, precise turn. In this way one side of your body will retreat while the other side advances. The advancing arm brings counter attack strikes with the added force of your body's turning momentum.





The arm that moves away from the force is used to control, dissipate or redirect the incoming attack.





This simultaneous attacking and defending will become instinctive with practice.


Here is a very basic four punch combo with simultaneous trapping. I train these combos over and over again so that when I need them they just happen without me thinking about it.







Here is the same combo on the muk jong so you can see it's elements more clearly. Most of you will never own or use a muk jong but you don't need one to learn the basics. You can train all of this in the air like shadow boxing.





Short fast footwork sidesteps can be used in the same way as the pivot.





Step just far enough to the side to allow your opponent's force to miss your center line.





Stepping too far will leave you off balance and open for longer range attacks. Like I said earlier; with practice this will become instinctive and you will not have to think about it, it will become part of your footwork and movement.


At longer range, short punches and close fighting techniques become less critical and you will shift to other skills like powerful kicks and longer punches but as an opponent gets closer these techniques should be like an instantaneous subroutine. This is the failing of many of the Masters who get beat up by unremarkable MMA guys; they fail to understand the big picture in unarmed combat and are stuck in their small sphere of understanding.


There is nothing forcing your opponent to stay at the range you want to fight them at and if all you know is something like Wing Chun then you will be forced to hope he comes into range or you will have to chase him in order to bring him into range. This becomes predictable very quickly.

Having an instructor and a class of students to practice with would be ideal to help you develop these skills but we don't have that at the moment. I consider myself very lucky to have lived in places where I had access to world class instructors and to have had an aptitude for martial arts. Without this I would be a very different person.

Paul Vunak gives a good run through on trapping and close range fighting here:

The whole thing is worth watching but he covers trapping starting at about 9:40.

He uses elbows, kicks, knees, locks and some other things that I didn't deal with in this thread but the trapping and short strike concepts are why I think it's relevant. The other videos in that series are good as well but I can't find them on YouTube right now so they may have been taken down for some reason. Anyway, his skill is about 10% natural aptitude and 90% training. Most people can learn this stuff well enough to be very dangerous at close range.

All of your strikes, combos, responses, footwork etc. should be trained again and again until they are like a machine which performs an action or a series of actions instantly when you flip a switch. Make it part of your fitness program. I get nearly 100% of my cardio from heavy bag training, the muk jong and other martial arts training. There is a dual-purpose in that you can stay fit and prepared for the fight this way. The more you train the sooner your movements will become programmed into your subconscious. Your reaction to violence will become reflexive (bypassing the conscious thought process). You will be able to react instantaneously; far faster than would be possible with conscious decision making based on visual input.
 
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inquisitor

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I have actually gotten some decent information from old Vunak vids.
 

Donk

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This simultaneous attacking and defending will become instinctive with practice.
Using a single movement to simultaneously attack, defend, flow energy into an even stronger attack, and position for another attack or defense movement, is one of the most overarching and unique things about kung fu, and one of my favorite things about it. As opposed to defend -strike - defend - strike type martial arts.




 

Astral-Pepe

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I have actually gotten some decent information from old Vunak vids.
Yeah, I really like Vunak. I wish I could find the rest of that video series. I have it backed up with some of his other stuff but it all used to be on YouTube.
 

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Did you buy it or make it? Cost?. I like the small space it takes and the fact that it can be stored outdoors with the right prep.
 

Astral-Pepe

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Did you buy it or make it? Cost?
I made that one. I have made a bunch of them over the years and that one is probably the best one. It's a bit taller than standard (because I'm a big White man not a little Asian man) and it has the right (on the right when you're facing it) arm higher than the left which is opposite of standard.
 

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Yeah, I really like Vunak. I wish I could find the rest of that video series. I have it backed up with some of his other stuff but it all used to be on YouTube.
Check torrent sites.
 

Astral-Pepe

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Check torrent sites.
I found the five part set that I was looking for. It used to be titled differently and I wasn't looking for the correct key words.

I highly recommend this series. I sometimes put it on when I'm lifting weights or stretching. Some things can't really be taught with words, you have to see others doing it. I think footwork is the best example of this but there are many other things as well.

Here it all is for anyone who wants it. I recommend downloading it because it has value and we might lose all this stuff at some point.

JKD Fundamentals - Paul Vunak (DVD 1)



Advanced Sparring Techniques - Paul Vunak (Jeet Kune Do DVD 2)



Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun Trapping by Paul Vunak (DVD 3)



Knife Fighting - Filipino Martial Arts (Kali, Arnis, Eskrima) by Paul Vunak (Jeet Kune Do, DVD 4)



Filipino Stick Fighting by Paul Vunak (Jeet Kune Do DVD 5)

 
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I made that one. I have made a bunch of them over the years and that one is probably the best one. It's a bit taller than standard (because I'm a big White man not a little Asian man) and it has the right (on the right when you're facing it) arm higher than the left which is opposite of standard.
A big tall white boy I know was warned by his kung fu sifu that the techniques weren't developed with a 6'4 210 lb lanky white boy in mind, and that he had to be careful because he could easily really heck someone up using them. Catching a crouching tiger hidden dragon from a size 15 shoe and a fist that stretches from your chin to your browbone would not be fun.

-edit to add, there was a cool netflix series called Marco Polo, which was canceled due to high cost of production. It had a lot of historical accuracies considering the source. Anyway, the character Hundred Eyes gives an excellent explanation of what kung fu is, generally, and offers the best one-liner I ever heard about it: "In kung fu we say, one hand lies, and the other tells the truth."

 
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@Astral-Pepe, Im about to make my own wing chun wooden dummy. I noted your modification of making the thing taller and having the right side (arm) post higher. Any other pointers? Im not sure what to do about the "leg" that sticks out. Do you kick yours?
 

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I noted your modification of making the thing taller and having the right side (arm) post higher.
The reason for the higher right side arm is because, even though I trained Jun Fan with a right lead, I think a left lead is superior for any serious fighting. I don't just think this, it is demonstrably true.

My muk jong is 6'5" tall I think or maybe slightly taller, 10" diameter and the arms are 12.5" long. This is because I'm a big guy and a regular sized muk jong always makes me feel crowded and I really can't open up comfortably on one. Keep those increased measurements in mind as I show you these diagrams.



Wood is best for the body, sometimes you can find telephone or power poles in a ditch or somewhere lying around so you can scrounge them. It's hard to find a good wood section to make a muk jong from. Building supply places have fence posts but they are usually less than 9" diameter. Anything smaller isn't going to work. You could find a suitable tree and and cut it down.



The arms should be a bit lower than shoulder height and the leg should protrude out to the same length as the arms with the knee bend being the same height or slightly higher than your knee. I made the leg on the one shown in this thread from plywood. It is made from 3 sheets of 3/4" plywood glued together and then I shaped it with a sander and wrapped the whole thing in duct tape just so I don't get slivers from kicking it. I do mostly stop kicks and intercepting kicks on it and it flexes enough to give a realistic response.



The hardest part of the whole thing is getting the holes in the correct spot. Measure everything and lay it out in pencil on the wood before you start. You don't want to screw it up. Drill pilot holes first with a long drill bit. Start them dead center on one side where you want them and go about half way through then finish them from the opposite side. This way the hole will meet in the center and any deviation can be cleaned up.

You can use a spade tip bit or a Forstner bit for this and then use a wood chisel to square it up.

This is a spade tip:



This is a Forstner:




I have some extra large spade tip bits and some solid old tools so I just put round holes right through the wood and used wooden pegs to hold the arms in place at the back. The arms and leg should wiggle a little bit when you manipulate them.

I'm not sure if I answered all of your questions but let me know how it goes when you build your muk jong.
 
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The reason for the higher right side arm is because, even though I trained Jun Fan with a right lead, I think a left lead is superior for any serious fighting. I don't just think this, it is demonstrably true.

My muk jong is 6'5" tall I think or maybe slightly taller, 10" diameter and the arms are 12.5" long. This is because I'm a big guy and a regular sized muk jong always makes me feel crowded and I really can't open up comfortably on one. Keep those increased measurements in mind as I show you these diagrams.



Wood is best for the body, sometimes you can find telephone or power poles in a ditch or somewhere lying around so you can scrounge them. It's hard to find a good wood section to make a muk jong from. Building supply places have fence posts but they are usually less than 9" diameter. Anything smaller isn't going to work. You could find a suitable tree and and cut it down.



The arms should be a bit lower than shoulder height and the leg should protrude out to the same length as the arms with the knee bend being the same height or slightly higher than your knee. I made the leg on the one shown in this thread from plywood. It is made from 3 sheets of 3/4" plywood glued together and then I shaped it with a sander and wrapped the whole thing in duct tape just so I don't get slivers from kicking it. I do mostly stop kicks and intercepting kicks on it and it flexes enough to give a realistic response.



The hardest part of the whole thing is getting the holes in the correct spot. Measure everything and lay it out in pencil on the wood before you start. You don't want to screw it up. Drill pilot holes first with a long drill bit. Start them dead center on one side where you want them and go about half way through then finish them from the opposite side. This way the hole will meet in the center and any deviation can be cleaned up.

You can use a spade tip bit or a Forstner bit for this and then use a wood chisel to square it up.

This is a spade tip:



This is a Forstner:




I have some extra large spade tip bits and some solid old tools so I just put round holes right through the wood and used wooden pegs to hold them in place at the back. The arms and leg should wiggle a little bit when you manipulate them.

I'm not sure if I answered all of your questions but let me know how it goes when you build your muk jong.
Wow, much detail. I got a guy with 6-7ft sections of telephone pole. I will post the aftermath pic of it with 3 broken arms, splintered leg, and middle hollowed out from E. Honda 1000 hand slaps.

Thank you brudda.
 

Astral-Pepe

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I got a guy with 6-7ft sections of telephone pole.
Yeah that will be perfect. Like I said, measure and lay it out in pencil before you start and then drill small pilot holes before coring.

I will post the aftermath pic of it with 3 broken arms, splintered leg, and middle hollowed out from E. Honda 1000 hand slaps.
You will harden up your fists and forearms very nicely with a muk jong. Any nigger gets in close he's going to want to get away from you as soon as he realizes you're made out of iron.
 

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Was thinking of buying kids size baseball bats to use as the arms, since they have a natural taper, easier to get them in the core. Not looking to build a master piece by any means. Its going to be outside in the elements anyway. Thanks again.

Remind me not to slap box with you. Lol
 

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Was thinking of buying kids size baseball bats to use as the arms
That would work great. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I'll dig around for a good video with some basics on it. There's an old guy on YouTube who shows you all the drills and gives the proper names for them. The proper names of the techniques always helped me to remember them while practicing - "lion turns his head", "carp holding back water", "monkey steals the peach", "silver scissors", "golden scissors" etc. Plus the names are fun.

I'll look that up and post it when I find it.
 

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Here's the video I was talking about. It's an old VHS rip so it looks like crap but it has the names of the major drills:


A free gift from me is this advice: go to 23:19 on that video and learn the technique called "the bear fights" first. Once you can do that with proper timing and sensitivity the rest will be much easier.
 

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Damn bro, I wish I could train with you. Much thanks. I am going to re-read this at least twice.
 

Vilis_Hāzners

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Yeah, I wish we could all get together too. I don't have anyone to train with at all right now. It's just me and my dog here.
Sounds familar. Bummer.
 

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Here's the video I was talking about. It's an old VHS rip so it looks like crap but it has the names of the major drills:


A free gift from me is this advice: go to 23:19 on that video and learn the technique called "the bear fights" first. Once you can do that with proper timing and sensitivity the rest will be much easier.
Ok nice, but im going to have to watch the vid when I havent been drinking. Im dying at the carp shit. OLOLLOL
 

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This is an amazing post, really put together well. I am not an experienced fighter but anyone can tell that the content and timing of this post might really help a lot of people.

Also might want to add that if you do not have carpentery skills and want to try that muk jong out, before you cut that tree down see if you can trim it similarly and work it where it is first.
 

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This is an amazing post, really put together well. I am not an experienced fighter but anyone can tell that the content and timing of this post might really help a lot of people.

Also might want to add that if you do not have carpentery skills and want to try that muk jong out, before you cut that tree down see if you can trim it similarly and work it where it is first.
Truth, I bet the very first one back in kung fu yesteryear was a tree with those exact branches sticking out that some crazed Chinaman beat the living shit out of.
 

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