Michael Jai White:


“Okay, simply put – the strongest punch the body can generate is a reverse punch that we call in Karate or the straight right or straight left, depending if you’re Orthodox or Southpaw in boxing. Alright, some may argue about the hook, but the hook even though it’s a very effective punch and it’s very strong because it rattles the jaw and making the head shake and producing knockouts.

It’s nowhere near the force that can be derived from the core of our body. Okay, that reverse punch, turning your body… turning your body. Looks like this. The strike is at the end of my shoulder and hip turn. Okay, generated from the floor to my hips to the target… to the target. This way, okay. The faster motion looks like this. And you may be able to hear it. So that’s what you want to practice, but let’s incorporate some basic moves before that.”

Michael Jai White:


“First part of punching correctly starts with the basic fist. Now, a lot of people may not have learned the real proper way of making a fist, and I’m going to share some history with you. Well, first of all, you should roll your fingers up to where you cannot see your fingernails. Okay now, this is very important, the wrapping of the thumb. This is where we wrap our thumb. Now, there’s a mechanics to this thumb.

Even though it seems innocuous but the first way in Okinawa Tay, the beginnings of Karate, the fist was this way. What was important about that is because stabilizing the wrist, utilizing the… There’s a muscle called the flexor pollicis longus, that this engaged… If you see my forearm, this locks in the support tendons and muscles that stabilize the wrist. Very important because if you don’t do this, your wrist is not supported.

That’s why a lot of people wrap their wrist. They have to because they don’t learn how to make a proper fist and if you’ve seen “Never Back Down 3,” I kind of go into that a little bit.”

(Scene from Never Back Down: No Surrender)

Michael Jai White:

“Why do you wrap your hands in boxing and in MMA?”

(Scene from Never Back Down: No Surrender) Students in class

“So you don’t sprain your wrists.”

“Or break your hands.”

Michael Jai White:

“Exactly. That’s because you don’t know how to punch. You don’t know how to punch without hurting yourself. Not your opponent, hurting your damn self. News flash guys! In martial arts, your hands, your feet, your elbows, your knees, even your head were used as weapons and were trained as such. You understand? Striking is about perfecting the technique. Maximum result, minimal effort.”

Michael Jai White:

“I’ll go back to this but now it went from here locking that wrist, locking in the supportive mechanisms to secure your wrist to the pressure here. So, the pressure here, my pressure here… locked in my wrist. We’ve changed that to the pressure here, which does the same thing. Without that pressure, you’re not stabilized. So that’s rule number one. Okay, rule two… Okay, as I mentioned the arrow.

Okay, you want this to be straight. Okay, your bone… you should have… Any punch should have your elbow and your two knuckles, these two knuckles traveling in the same route, okay. Like if you think about punching in a pool. If I drag my elbow this way, starting to do this thing again – it’s going to drag, right? My elbow and two knuckles should be following the same pattern.

If you’re in a hook, still the same pattern, or as I said that arrow. Okay, uppercuts, same pattern, same pattern. It’s going here. It’s coming up but it’s on dissection. It’s traveling the same pattern.”

Michael Jai White:


“A lot of people may not know that I was a former track athlete. I did decathlon at 10 events and one event, I did what was called the shot put. Many people probably even have seen it, where you’re hurling this heavy ball at the furthest distance that you can. Well, I went to college based on… This is one of the first things that I was known for and so, I started to apply my knowledge and the technique and the physics behind the shot put to my punching power.

There was these things called “Impacts challenge” in National Karate tournaments, right, where there was an apparatus, a bag that you hit. It registered how hard you hit it. So you would pay your entrance fee and you register… You can register how many times you want to try to get the highest punch that you can muster, pounds per square inch. Well, the first competition I ended up winning it and so the winner keeps the bag.

So I took it home and I started becoming obsessed with breaking my own record. So I brought it to class and then I would do all of these different experiments with proper technique. Now, sometimes, I got to explain… The most maximum effort doesn’t mean it has the most maximum effect, okay. What you want is maximum effect, least effort. So utilize your body properly for the proper technique.”

Michael Jai White:

“When we see any high-level athlete, it looks like they’re effortless. It’s slam dunk and everything, a great golf swing and a great bat swing. It looks effortless. That’s because the mechanics are there. A lot of times when people hit a bag, they’re doing all of this and you’re feeling like you’re making an effort, but many times that effort is dissipated. Think about an egg being thrown onto this bag will just splat. The energy moves this way.

I may smack a bag like this, makes a lot of noise but that energy is just spread on the epidermis of the bag. What we want is penetration, okay. We want to penetrate into our target. A lot of times that doesn’t look very impressive or make a lot of noise. Just like a boxer who throws that short punch. That’s derived by the body. That’s derived by proper mechanics, and that’s what I’m trying to teach, okay.

So one of the things I did like when I would win the impact challenge, after the first one, I took it home and I kept breaking my own record. So every other impact challenge that I entered, I won them all. I had to agree to come late or register my strikes late, so everybody gets to spend their money and I could register one punch and one kick, and then take the thing home. So that taught me a great deal.”

Michael Jai White:

“That’s one of the things that, I would bring the bag to class and women with really good technique were hitting better than bodybuilders who threw all this effort there that just dissipated, alright. So, this is another reason to instruct you on how to punch correctly and strengthen your supportive muscles and your joints, everything so you can deal with the force that your body is bringing, right.

So that’s very important because you can hurt yourself if you don’t know how to do that. Now, if you need to wrap your hands, do so. If you’ve seen Never Back Down 3, there’s a little part where I talk about wrapping your hands because a lot of people don’t learn how to punch correctly. I’ve never had to wrap my hands one day and I’ve never had a wrist or any kind of hand injury in striking. I’ve been striking for all my life.

So again, those things that I’ve talked about; learning the proper fist, learning how to get your forearm to secure the rest of your punch is very important. Take your time. Alright, don’t do anything full blast at first. When we strike, again like the arrow, we want our punch, our elbow, and our two knuckles to travel in the same path. Okay, our strikes should be at the end of our rotation, alright.”

Michael Jai White:

“A lot of people will strike like this, alright. So this is not utilizing my hip and the ground. I wanted in my strike, turning my hip… on whole body. Alright, practice slowly. Here… See, my elbow and my fist going the same direction, not flailing out. Here’s another thing, alright. This goes back to history. Now, this and this – major differences, alright. I want to bring my elbow not here but here. Lock it into my body.

There is something that you might have seen, a lot of martial artists out there. You’ve seen Bruce Lee do this. You see him doing that. This is a very important aspect to traditional martial arts. Started from Goju… Well, started from White Crane way back then. But locking my arm, my whole arm is starting from here to here, not from here. This could be resisted. This is not nearly as strong as that. Now my body’s locked into this, very much like the crane. Not this kind of crane but a crane that lifts high heavy objects.

There is a counterbalance, okay. There is a counterbalance that roots that crane into the ground, not here. If a crane had to lift something heavy, here it could break. It has to be here, right. Have somebody resist your arm. This is a Goju practice where you lock in here. So now, my punch starts here to here, not just here. Alright, that’s another little tidbit. You’ve seen Bruce Lee doing that. That’s what that’s about, alright.

So, I want to turn and my blow is at the end of my turn. These mechanics, everything should have a half turn, alright. Another reason not to stop here, because I’m open here. I’m open here. Okay, if I have a punch like this, I’m open. You can see where you can hit me. If I’m here, you barely can. My jaw is protected my shoulder. You’re above hitting. Boom! And, I’ve utilized turning of my hip.

That’s the power. That’s where the power comes from. Look at any baseball player, what’s that? That’s where the power’s coming from, the hip rotation. Golf, the hip rotation. Punching, the hip rotation. Just like the shot put… If I flared my arm out like this, my shot put’s landing about two feet short of my best. Alright, so that’s one aspect. Now, here’s another.”

Michael Jai White:


“Here’s a simple and very low-budget way to practice proper technique. This is just a hanger, alright. I just made a loop because what I want you to do is know how to punch your arm through straight and coming straight back. That technique is very important that it travel straight because what happens when we do things fast, our elbows will flare out – then making this impossible to go straight. I’d have to then do this, okay. But with my weapon straight like an arrow, I punch straight. That arrow goes in and out! Practice this slowly till you get it right.”

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