16 September 2011

How To Throw A Punch

Prior to the invention of John Wayne, humankind was unclear as to how to punch properly. In fact, many punches were actually thrown with the feet and called "kicks".

John Wayne introduced several key concepts to the world of punching: Telegraphy, The Windup, and the One-Hit Knockout. These techniques have been heavily documented through John Wayne's cinematic efforts.

Without these innovations, many barroom brawls and punch-fights would carry on indefinitely. Victory would only occur when one or more parties collapsed from exhaustion or succumbed to the twin sisters of scurvy and starvation.

The keys to throwing a punch are outlined below and when followed to the letter, will ensure glory in battle.

The Telegraph

Telegraphing a punch is important. Before the discovery of the telegraph in olden times, people had to write each other letters of intent prior to punches being thrown. This was ineffective and often led fighters to fall back on other means of conflict resolution like matched dueling pistols or mediation through an ombudsman.

The telegraph changed the worlds of communication and fighting at the speed of information.

Now, in the presence of a metaphor for something sent quickly, punch-recipients suddenly had precious few seconds to prepare for a punch. A telegraphed punch arrived relatively quickly. This stood in stark contrast to the time when this information was carried via horseback and, unless the courier delivered the punch personally, gave the victim several days to properly ready themselves.

With telegrams becoming increasingly rare these days, telegraphing a punch is actually an abstract concept and does not involve a telegraph operator. It does involve an elaborate cocking back of the fist, leaning back and getting a mean look on your face. Telegraphing your intent (to punch) strikes fear into the heart(s) of your opponent(s) and in many cases, obviates the need for conflict by making them flee in terror.

This is similar to "tipping your hand" in poker. By letting everyone else at the table know that you have very good cards, they will often hand their money to you in despair without attempting to gamble for it. In either case you've gained the upper hand. Your enemy knows just how badly you want to punch them and they have a rough idea of what hand will be delivering the punch. They'll imagine that getting hit with that fist they see over there will hurt and they'll imagine that it's probably headed for their face, which is undesirable. Wanting to avoid getting punched in the face will put an end to 80% of your potential brawls before they start.

The Windup

Before being outlawed by the Geneva Convention, vast armies of punching robots were deployed as a last result in many of history's worst wars. Lacking reliable, portable sources of electricity it was determined that these robots be powered by energy stored in a wound-up spring. This technology would later find its way into smaller wind-up robots, proving that many of our greatest innovations have come from military technology.

In spite of military grade punching-robots being banned and launched into space via primitive rockets, the notion of "winding up" a punch persisted among human fighters and has proven to be invaluable. As the robo-punch derives its energy from the powerful steel coil contained within, so too does the human punch derive its power from an overly dramatic winding motion.

After having telegraphed a punch appropriately, the windup is the key to putting force behind your punch. The first step is to cock your fist as far back as it will go. Do not straighten your arm behind your head. That would describe the beginning of a windmill attack (suitable for engaging multiple enemies) and is beyond the scope of this article. Once cocked, you may add additional power to your punch by physically moving your fist around in a winding motion, clockwise. This circular winding motion helps slow down the pace of the fight and ensure that when you do finally punch your foe, you will be delivering the very punch they've been dreading since they received your telegram.

If you've wound your punch up appropriately then you will likely move on to the next section without effort.

The One-Hit Knockout

The goal of any proper fight is victory. If you do not accomplish this by telegraphing your blow and winding up your punch, then you will assuredly achieve it when your punch connects.

Historically, punch-dueling was conducted on a raised wooden platform in the town square. A circle was inscribed on the platform and the winner of the duel was decided by whomever successfully avoided being knocked out of the circle. The goal, of course, was to accomplish this in as gentlemanly a manner as possible. That meant a modicum of punches, with the most fashionable number being one. While this style of fighting has largely fallen out of favor, the concept and language of the "knock-out" persist to this day.

To the uninitiated, it may seem very difficult to render a man unconscious with one punch. While true, it is relatively easy to accomplish when fighting children and a sure thing when the Telegraph and Wind-Up have been employed.

As stated previously, the Wind-Up gives you time to breathe and assess the situation. You must take this time to locate your enemy's glass jaw. This will frequently be located in the jaw area but may occasionally be located in the nose or cheek. You'll know you've found the glass jaw when, after having punched someone there, they crumple in a heap on the ground. Depending on how much time you spent winding up your punch it is not unusual for your opponent's feet to leave the ground and/or for them to fly backwards through the air.

Note: If someone flies towards you through the air after being punched, then they are Count Dracula and you should not be fighting them.

Proper punching technique will end with your fist well past your opponent's face and afford you sufficient time to glower. While glowering, you may ensure that you have indeed knocked your opponent out.

You would do well to not have to attempt the Telegraph, Wind-Up and One-Hit Knockout again with the same opponent.

Helpful Tips

While the three techniques above are essentially as good as a guarantee for success you may find the following tips useful, depending on the situation.

Grabbing your opponent by the collar, necktie or bandana can be incorporated into the telegraphing portion of the punch. This helps you place your punch on target.

Assuming that you are fighting men (or children) who have received the same training, you may find that ducking under, leaning back from, stepping to the side of or simply raising your arm may be enough to deflect your opponent's attempt at a One-Hit Knockout. Keep this strategy to yourself.

If the opponent is "fighting dirty", they may grab you by the collar, necktie or bandana. You can break free from this by briefly struggling. Struggling will demonstrate your willingness to not be punched and your enemy will relent and let go of your collar. They will likely be disheartened by this and you'll be afforded sufficient time for the Telegraph, Wind-Up and One-Hit Knockout.

If you witness an enemy who does not employ any of the methodology discussed above, do not engage in combat. An enemy such as this, who is almost certainly a Communist or possibly a vampire, may punch you in the ribs, kidneys, stomach, temple or other non-jaw areas. These punches will be painful, you may not receive advance warning and they will likely come in rapid succession with a tremendous violence of action. They will also attempt to "block" your punch, possibly through holding their hands loosely in front of or near their face and head. Such an enemy is utterly without honor and likely something of an asskicker.


While punching has been around since Man has had fists, it has only been since the early, mid and late twentieth century that the modern form of the punch has been studied and documented. For further research,  look into the fighting styles of Capt. James T. Kirk, Dr. "Indy" Indiana Jones or the earlier exploits of OSS special agent James Bond.

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