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How to Throw a Punch without Hurting Yourself
by Meowaffles

While the best defense is not being around when someone wants to attack you and the second best is having something between you and your attacker, like maybe bullet proof glass or a police officer, there might come a time when you find yourself unable to flee or call for assistance when beset by a hostile individual who is not easily dissuaded from acts of physical violence. In most cases, things should be settled in a calm and reasonable manner, but not everyone in the world is reasonable and it's always best to know how to take care of yourself in case of emergencies.

If you can't avoid a fight via running away, de-escalation, or calling the authorities, the first thing you should probably know is how to throw a punch and it's a bad idea to start learning this in the middle of a fight. A fight can end after a single punch and all the blocking and dodging in the world will do you no good if your defenses are not made alongside some attacks. While kicks can be more effective than punches, they are much harder to learn and are especially risky for the untrained practitioner.

The one thing I've noticed about people starting in any martial art is that they often hurt themselves when they first try to strike a person who is used to blocking or taking blows. So without further ado, here's how to throw a punch without hurting yourself for the beginner.

1. Before anything else, try throwing an experimental punch or two in the air. Do not make any exaggerated movements. Just try to throw your fist as quickly as possible at a point in the air in front of your face. Resist the urge to punch a solid object. Find out where to position your arms and body so that you can make the quickest possible punches in the air one after the other. While different schools have different ideas about stances, your arms should be more or less conveniently located to deflect most attacks to your head and upper body with minimal movement while allowing you to easily throw quick punches. Never let your guard down, even in practice. It'll get you used to guarding your head and it'll prevent you from lowering your arms unintentionally in a fight. While these won't be the strongest punches you can do, you won’t always have the luxury of the optimal position for a strong punch. Throwing a quick punch at the right location might have to do.

2. Now, you'll have to condition your hands for punching. Some schools of fighting, particularly karate, prefer the first 2 knuckles as the point used for striking; others prefer the whole fist or even other parts of the hand. Whatever the case, if you've never hit anything hard before, close your fist making sure to keep your thumb curled up out of the way beside but not held by your other fingers (you could break your thumb if you punch with your thumb in your fist). Now punch something very very lightly, preferably a solid smooth surface and gradually increase the strength of your blows until it hurts a bit but not hard enough to injure yourself or to even leave lasting pain. This should give you an idea of how tough your fists actually are. Once you have an idea of how tough your fists actually are, try hitting a somewhat softer object, like a punching bag or a sack of loose sand or a pillow with a wooden board behind it. Punch harder, but make sure not to injure yourself with extreme enthusiasm. Alternate punching solid objects with only light force and softer objects with greater force. This alternation allows you to toughen your fists while cultivating the habit of making stronger punches. Toughening your fists is not just a matter of pain tolerance. You literally increase the density of your bone by creating microscopic fractures that eventually heal into tougher material. Do not rush the process; it may take a month to get anywhere and maybe years for optimum results. I estimate about a month or two before you can get seemingly rock hard knuckles. Most people can get by in a fight after considerably shorter training.

3. So which parts of your hand can you strike with? In my opinion, the whole hand should be useable as a weapon. Now there are notable differences if you punch in different ways. Generally, the smaller the point of contact with the target the more concentrated the shattering blow of your force is. Punching with 1 or two knuckles is done for shattering force but can be strenuous on the hand and wrist. A wider area, like all four knuckles or the palm makes for very stable punches that more easily push the opponent back. They seem better for disrupting balance and a bit safer for the hands. Ridge hand chops are a nice balance between the two and finger strikes are not to be attempted without some training. You might accidentally break your fingers against your opponent's skull or he might grab and twist them if you don't know what you are doing. Get a feel for what the best punches are for you.

4. Now, that you have most of the basics down, you'll want to know how to punch really hard. There are several ways to get a really hard punch and you can combine as many as possible for the best results.

-Obviously the faster and heavier you punch, the stronger the punch. Also, the tougher and more pain resistant your hand, the harder you can punch without getting injured.

-If you punch as if you were striking something an inch or more behind your target, your punch will have more power and driving force.

-Some people claim pulling back or withdrawing your fist at the proper moment after a punch facilitates a transfer of force. This is hard to really verify without willing volunteers. Whatever the case, it makes your hand harder to grab after a punch. Rolling your fist when you punch can also make it harder to deflect your attack.

-Try to put your entire body weight behind your punch. Punch with your whole body moving in unison so that your entire weight is added to the mass of the blow. Some people try to run or jump to do this but that's not necessary and makes it hard for you to stop or make last minute changes to the direction of your own punch.

-Twist your waist and upper body to get extra torque.

-Finally, use your legs to push against the ground to add power to your punches.

-There are other more advanced techniques to get stronger punches but these involve more specific motions and actions that are often taught in certain martial arts or boxing schools. They are probably best taught by those schools themselves and might be too much for the beginner who's never thrown a punch before.

5. Finally, when practicing to punch work on your accuracy. You don't want to cut your knuckles on someone's teeth, however tempting that target might be. Figure out how you'll punch someone in the stomach, head, face, or wherever seems appropriate without inviting easy counterattack. Practice with a partner to get a realistic feel of how someone might try and counter your attacks. Spar a little.

With luck you'll never get into a real fight, but if you do, you can try and end the fight with a few swift and solid blows. Just make sure that you're in the right, that you don't start these fights yourself, and that you do what you can to avoid actual fights as much as possible. Have a great day :)

Finally Some Progress
by Meowaffles

Hurrah! My sifu has finally decided I'm more or less ready to learn part 2 of the wu tai chi chuan form. While it's just something like step 8 to 14 out of 108, I'm pretty happy about my progress so far and hope to make even greater progress with constant practice.

I'm currently being taught the applications of the art as we go along. I've trained in the basics of different martial arts and far, as I can see, I'm learning no nonsense practical martial arts in a mostly traditional manner. I have a great teacher and I'm really learning a lot.

I'm beginning to understand how the art was constructed and know for certain that I'm getting to the heart of the form and not just some showy thing that looks good on TV. It's too bad I can't teach just anyone what I'm discovering.

Aside from being impossible to teach on a blog (Even watching a master performing the form won't teach you much by itself) it's improper to give the secrets of the school away to the public. I suppose there are very practical reasons for this, including keeping these secrets from rival schools and out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals.

In any case, my next blog entry will be about more basic things that I can actually explain to people, things that should probably be common knowledge among martial artists.

What's Been Happening So Far
by Meowaffles

Looks like I might be changing internet service providers soon. I don't currently have internet at home and my last provider's been pretty unreliable as of late. That's pretty much the technical difficulty I had.

As for the comic itself, the current chapter has a few pages of flashback but it'll soon tie in to Catherine's current story. I hope no one's too bothered by that. Oh and there'll also be a kung fu battle in the flashback... because every chapter has to have a kung fu battle.

On other matters, my sifu has finally shown me the combat applications of the first seven steps of wu taichi. It's really not like the tai chi that I'm familiar with from cinema. It feels a bit less like flowing water and more like a series of levers, wedges, and clamps directed at the opponent. I promised my mom I'd send her a video of it when I finish learning the 108 step form. At this rate I think I'll make the video when I'm able to do the 1st seven or fourteen steps of it without error.

I'm also currently looking into getting back into corporate work as a graphic artist. Freelancing is nice in some respects but also pretty tough. I found an interesting set of openings in my area including educational materials layouter in a culinary school, 2d artist for a video game company, and graphic artist for a software company. Good luck to me. Oh, and yes, I still plan to continue the comic regardless of what sort of work I get.

I have all sorts of other plans, like visiting relatives and friends abroad, but I'll take things one step at a time. For now I'm just wondering what I should do for April Fool's Day.

Technical Difficulties
by Meowaffles

Hi. I'm currently experiencing a few connection issues but will be posting the new comic as soon as possible. Sorry for making everyone wait so long. '(o__o)'

It's over 1000!!! :)
by Meowaffles

This webcomic now has 1018 visits and 5834 pageviews!!!

Thanks everyone :)