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#82738 - 05/22/06 07:15 PM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: wristtwister]
elpelp Offline

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 1
This interesting thread has made for great reading. Upon reflection on my own experiences with the one-inch punch, I would like to share with the readers my own two punches. This is a long post.

The one-inch punch:
The power of the one-inch punch (like all Wing Chun punches, and many other types of martial arts punching) is based on the rooting of the legs to the ground, and the specific shifting of weight of the legs, hips, waist and chest. Through practice, it can all culminate in the generation of a very powerful punch which is almost impossible to dodge or counter, mostly due to its speed. The aim to generate and focus the maximum human potential in the minimum amount of distance and time, into a tiny well-selected part of the opponent's anatomy, usually somewhere on the 'centre line', commonly the solar plexus. It is uniquely powerful because it focuses energy on the ‘dead-zone’ of a punch-arc where it is rare to achieve that kind of power in such short distance and time. You cannot really say it is more powerful or less powerful than a different type of punch. Contrast it with the standard reverse punch – the double-barrel shotgun of all punches. The reverse punch is a very powerful punch – it can send opponents flying backwards a huge distance with deadly effects. However, it is practically useless when your chest is only a foot away from the chest of your opponent. This would be the realm of the one-inch punch, amongst a few other strikes. If your arms are high and/or you are on the outside gate, then admittedly an elbow smash or a back fist would be more effective and easier to pull off, but if your arms are low and you are on the inside gate with your opponent’s nose hairs touching your eyebrows, then in my opinion, the one-inch punch trumps pretty much all the strikes available to you at that short distance.

Difference between the theoretical and practical:
It is not a particularly difficult punch to perform per se. It might seem a little counter-intuitive at first - as a youth when first introduced to Wing Chun and the one-inch punch, I had the impulse to always throw a really really BIG punch by putting all my weight into it. Of course, now I know different. The one-inch punch obviously needs practice in order to generate that type of power in that short distance and time, and it certainly feels good to break wood (albeit along the grain) and impress my friends. It is however a completely different game to apply it in a practical situation, such as a fight that you cannot easily run from. To attempt a one-inch punch, you've got to appreciate the conditions it is going to be performed under. When I break wood, it takes a few moments for me to prepare (warm-up, breathing, a cup of tea (one milk one sugar), focus, a couple of dry runs at half speed and strength, and becoming 'one with the wood'). - this is time that is not practically available in a 3-7 second scuffle for life and limb, especially after a curry and a few beers. The blood and sweat of practice that precedes any practical applications of the punch should be geared to ensuring that the single one-inch punch used in the 'field' is enough to put down a stronger and tougher opponent. However, I can almost assure you that it is rarely the case. Unless you are fighting a drunk dude. Who is ill. And you throw the first punch. When he's not looking.

Practical application:
The one-inch should not be used to start a fight, and rarely does it actually end a fight, at least for me anyway. But seriously, what do I know? The most effective time to use a one-inch punch is after your opponent has been slightly stunned. Regardless of whether it lands, the deployment of a one-inch punch usually marks the 'coda', and the end of the fight should be in sight. In a nutshell, a one-inch punch should only be used as part of a combination of shocking strikes, and a game plan is necessary. Never think the one-inch punch is the 'be-all and end-all' of a fight, because that's how you get beat up and end up in hospital for being a myopic overconfident idiot. I.e. always try to set up the one-inch, and follow it up straight away with something equally shocking and powerful. For me, after defending my opponent's initial incursion into my personal space, I deal with his defences, and return the attack with a couple of direct punches to the face and centre line, maybe put my opponent a little off balance with a kick to one of his knees, shins or thighs. After all that (2 or 3 fast and accurate blows landed on the opponent), I would clear the path to his chest and penetrate his solar plexus with a one-inch punch – fast, short, no frills, although not neglecting the correct posture, footing and weight distribution. Then I would follow that up immediately, without hesitation, with an upper strike using the same fist and/or a ‘paw-pai’ (spreading double palm strike). The battle shrieking of “HA-DOU-KEN” while performing these is entirely optional. I might complete the retaliatory combination by sweeping my opponent to the ground and locking him into something totally heinous and painful and then proceed to ‘wet-willy’ him, or I would simply run away fumbling on my state-of-the-art mobile phone to call the police/ambulance. Any game plan is most effective when it is fluid, supremely reactive, and never ‘canned’. Over-reliance on the one-inch punch can affect your judgment and in a fight you might be tempted to engineer an opening for a one-inch punch when it will not present itself during that particular fight. Insistence on pulling out a one-inch punch to impress the opponent/girlfriend/yourself will probably put you in hospital. Minus front teeth.

Is it a push or a strike:
I have asked a number of Wing Chun Sifus, some of whom were involved in my own training, and a greater number of other martial arts enthusiasts and practitioners this question. I get a mixture of replies, but the really experienced ones simply say something like: “The one-inch punch is an expression of your spirit. It can be a push or a strike depending on how you want it to be.” I interpret that as it can be either depending on the situation you find yourself in. Breaking wood – that is definitely a strike and NOT a push. Demonstrating on a person (who ‘should’ be holding a phone book against their chest to prevent accidental damage) it ends up as a push because you are demonstrating a technique. It is a cliché that the amount of power is recognised by how far or how violently the victim falls backwards, whereas that is in fact the waste or absence of power. The push will send your opponent back a long distance, little damage would be done at the point of contact, but more damage can be caused if the opponent falls badly or lands against something hard or sharp. A truly powerful one-inch punch should shock the opponent but not send them flying – you want to keep them close for more pain (this is a typical Wing Chun thought process). My ideal one-inch punch against a real opponent in a real life/death scuffle would be one where the opponent does not ‘bounce’ off my fist, but his body absorbs the full kinetic energy of the strike and this possibly shocks him into paralysis for 1 or even 2 seconds, when I get to take him down to the ground and do crazy [censored] to him for trying to hurt me in the first place.

In summary:
The one-inch punch is a very effective punch for extremely close-quarter hand-to-hand combat. It is most effective when used as part of an ensemble of strikes that work in conjunction to incapacitate an opponent. Infamy of the one-inch punch through Bruce Lee’s (plus others since) demonstrations and overexposure in films and the media and by some Sifus has caused it to be perceived as a ‘super’ punch – a punch to end all punches – the mother of all punches. To compare it to other punches would detract it from its uniqueness, and the uniqueness of other punches. At the short distances where the one-inch punch is most effective, very few other strikes are as effective, and while an elbow strike or a headbutt can be equally devastating if timed and performed well, awareness of how/when to use the one-inch punch and the ability to pull it out of your arse at a millisecond’s notice will only help to ensure your victory in a random street brawl and the subsequent exclusive bragging rights.

Message of the day:
Martial arts, including and especially Wing Chun, is about being able to react very quickly and effectively under pressure (a useful side-effect of 'chi-sau' training - i.e. sticky hands). Nature has shown that survival favours those who prioritise proactivity. A good example of being proactive is to not place yourself in any situation where you are forced to defend yourself. Be proactive.

#82739 - 05/22/06 08:16 PM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: elpelp]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

#82740 - 10/10/06 01:11 AM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: nuthinflash]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms

James DeMile had a pristine little book on the one and three inch punch mechanics. Perhaps a google search would locate him on the web ?

Just a thought

I have the book. He addresses the mental aspects of doing the technique more than the technique itself. But it is a start if you havent encountered much other information, and he did close work with Bruce to develope the punch.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

#82741 - 11/05/06 01:22 PM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: Chen Zen]
donchisau Offline

Registered: 11/04/06
Posts: 73
The inch punch is supposed to be a demo of short power. Most demos of the inch punch are not. Watch in slow motion and many are speed based demo with the starting position the fingers spread the hand will actually move back before moving forward this increasing the punching distance.

The proper demo of short power is done the following way.
Hand held palm flat on the target. Arm totally extended. No pulling off the target to strike. You must strike from this position.You will find very few wing chun teachers or sifus from other styles that can actually do this with power. The strike should cause the person to drop but a pushing efferct is ok for a demo. My teacher would use a tai kicking bag held against the chest of the demo person and believe me you were glad you had very dense thick pad between you and the strike.

#82742 - 06/15/07 03:58 AM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: Hachiman]
Monsterman Offline

Registered: 05/16/07
Posts: 6

Okay, here goes. The thing is, I hope you listen, but at the same time, I just hope you guys forget I said this too.

The concept is best understood emotionally.

Anybody who knows this knows "well, I'm relaxed. Now that I'm in the right position (squarred, or by jon position, midsection "sunk", legs at the 90 degree angle, or in the on guard position, basically anything that makes your body an open circuit. Don't forget the arm comes from your centerline too, not at the side) so pow I do it, the bag goes flying, did you hear that sound?

So, you can try it, but it still won't work because you can't "feel". Let me put it this way, the mechanics are not very hard to figure out, don't listen to anyone that tells you they are. That's still 10% of it though, ALWAYS!

Therefore I cannot help you, you have to help you.

#82743 - 04/26/09 12:07 PM Re: 1-inch punch vs. other punches [Re: Monsterman]
SifuHax Offline

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 84
Loc: Westfield, New Jersey
I practice the no inch punch.
I am no sifu.

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