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Finlay's picture
one inch punch

It is seen as alomost one of the holy grails of some martial arts, the abilty to floor some one from a very close distance or no distance at all

Where i agree it is very important, i wonder if the one inch punch is taking things a little too far (or too close depending on your point of view)

Most of demostartion of the technique as the demostartor standing and trying to get to a point of visualsation and relaxation while his poor student stands there waiting, before being 'projected' by a punch.  there are few problem with this idea form the ooutset. clearly you won;t be able to standther for that long, and no one is going to be that still. but also is it really a punch? if i hit some one hard enough to send them across the floor then surely i would be some damage to my uke, but in these demos the uke springs to his feet with a suitabley pained yet amazed look on his face before going back in for more.

so clearly the demo that is popularly shown is um........ maybe not as tru as it could be.  but what actually usng the one in punch. is it possible? or even practical. i agree that close range punching is very impostant but an inch? i can't actually off th top of my head thinking of atime when i would have to do that, when my hand would be in a relaxed fist that close to some one who is attacking me. (if something comes to me after posting this i will post again)

i would be very interested in hear other view ponts on this

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

This was circulated in the time that Eastern Martial Arts were still mystical to the general public and quickly caught their imagination.

Some people just have a need to be amazed.  To me, anything that requires a co-operative and willing victim is hardly worth serious consideration as a combat technique.   I'll stick to trying to shovel hook like Jack Dempsey or kick like Bas Rutten ...


Finlay's picture

Right. So an inch is too short, i hope you'll agree. So what is a reasonable measure for a short distance strike.

For example: Right now i do and elbow from finger tips touching the pad. Most others the distnace isn't imposrtant as long as there is no backward motion.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I think maybe it's just a demo of short power.

Like any demo, it looks cool, and can be made a spectacle.

e wrote:
so an inch is too short, i hope you'll agree

Why? Again it's just a way of demoing a physics thing, I really don't think it has to do with how you hit pads or any of that.

Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

I've never heard anyone trying to position the one inch punch as a street technique?

swdw's picture

Zach Zinn wrote:

I think maybe it's just a demo of short power.

Why? Again it's just a way of demoing a physics thing, I really don't think it has to do with how you hit pads or any of that.

This is true. The idea is to show people the concept of short range power and get them to realize that a lot of force can be generated in a small movement when trained correctly.

What most people don't realize is if someone understands how to do this, they only apply enough force to knock someone back. Even at that, it can be painful. I do it wih my fist on the uk'es chest to eliminate the impact and even then I've had people rub their chest and tell me it's sore even after a couple of minutes. (usually goes away in 3-4 minutes)

Thing is, there's the "real" one inch punch, and then there's Bruce Lee's version where his fist may move 1 or 3 inches, but his whole body moves a foot. I've seen Mr. Liu of feeding crane do it and even though he generates his power from the floor up, his feet don't move. Yet people go sailing. Even though he starts with his hand on their chest and doesn't use full power, people will tell you their chest is sore where his hand was, even after 10-15 minutes, .

This helps people get the idea that even in a close range situation, they can generate enough power to hit hard w/o having to cock their arm or wind up.

The power Mr. Liu generates with small movements is amazing as holding a pad for him was quickly illustrated to me.

Th0mas's picture

Personally I believe what most people recognise as the 1-inch-punch is actually a parlour trick.

if you watch the video's on youtube the uke tends to be standing straight onto the punch and the punch is more of a push (onto a chair or into some convenient boxes) This looks really impressive to an untrained audience... in the 70's... but a little pants now-a-days.

Clearly in the Bruce Lee example the power is generated by torque or through shifting body mass..

As for the "other" 1-inch-punch (as mentioned by swdw) I hope it is more impressive than these examples;

(particularly like the running backwards by the uke for this one)

Michael Hough
Michael Hough's picture

Back when I used to do public demos, I would always do 2 board breaks. One was a palm strike to a board I held out in front of me. Invariably, someone would say, "But you're just flipping the board back into your hand!" I'd reply, "Of course I am. That's the point." Speed => power. The second break was a downward palm with no wind-up. A "no-inch punch" if you will. Someone would then say, "But you're leaning you're whole body weight onto that board!" Well, of course I am. That's the point. Structure => power.

Martial arts demos are just like magic tricks, in my opinion. Sure, there's skill involved, but there's also a trick the audience doesn't know. To really impress someone, you have to make it look harder than it really is. When I stripped away the theatrics of the thing, my demo became instructive, rather than impressive.