Cross

The right cross will probably be one of the most powerful punches in your arsenal, and it works wonderfully off the jab because of how the jab cocks your hips and shoulders. Just as with all strikes, you want to throw the cross with the intent of doing damage. A lot of competitors who get intimidated in a fight will shadow box five feet away from their foe. You're not going to win a fight this way, so step in and throw. A good target to aim for is your opponent's chin. The cross is the holy grail of punches—if you land it, your opponent will be in pain.

Rotating my hips in a counterclockwise direction, I throw my right hand straight out and come up onto the ball of my right foot. As my fist nears its target, I rotate my hand over so that my palm is pointing down. As with all punches, you want to clinch your fist tight as you make contact, as well as strike with your first two knuckles.

STRIKING 25

hook

You can land the hook with your fist perpendicular to the ground or horizontal. I prefer keeping my fist perpendicular because I feel it's more powerful and it seems to come naturally. In addition to possessing knockout power, the hook is also a very hard punch to block because it travels on a circular path rather than a linear one. And even if your opponent manages to put his arm up to block, your hook still has a chance of sneaking around his blockade due to the small gloves used in MMA competition. The other nice thing about the hook is that it sets you up perfectly to transition into a takedown. It is by far my favorite punch in MMA because of its power and versatility.

Snapping my hips in a clockwise direction, I throw my left fist on a circular path. It is important to notice that my arm is bent at a forty-five degree angle, and that my fist and elbow are traveling along the same plain. To protect my face, I keep my left shoulder shrugged and my right hand held high.

In addition to being a great counter when slipping straight punches, the overhand is also a wonderful answer to some of the problems that can arise in the cage. If you get rocked with a punch, throwing an overhand is a good way to back your opponent up and get him off you. If your opponent is continuously chopping away at your legs with kicks, throwing an overhand is a good way to make him think twice about doing it again. The overhand is responsible for some of the most brutal knockouts in the sport, and if you work on developing your accuracy, timing, and sense of distance in training, the punch will usually yield good results in a fight.

Dropping my left shoulder and rotating my hips in a counterclockwise direction, I shift my weight onto my left leg, come up onto the ball of my right foot, and throw my right hand in an upward arc (the motion is similar to a swimmer's freestyle stroke). You want to keep your left hand up to protect your face and make contact with the knuckles of your index and middle fingers.

Uppercut

I shift my weight back onto my right leg and chamber my hips and shoulders. To unleash the uppercut, I drive up off my right leg, rotate my hips in a counterclockwise direction, and throw my right fist upward at a ninety degree angle (this angle will obviously change depending upon the distance between my opponent and I.) As I drive my fist upward, I rotate my hand so that my palm is facing toward me. To protect my face, I keep my right shoulder shrugged and my left hand held up by my chin.

There are a couple of different ways to throw the uppercut. The first option is to drop down into a crouched stance to chamber your hips and hand, and then come up with the full authority of your weight. The second option is to simply throw the uppercut directly from the standard stance without dropping down. It doesn't pack as much power, but it is less telegraphic and will often catch your opponent off guard.

OPTION!

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Boxing Simplified

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