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scohen0300
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 91
Location: Long Island, NY
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu (Shodan), Vinyasa Yoga (200 RYT)

PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:37 pm    Post subject: Why can't I throw a punch? Reply with quote

Iím honestly confused! I began martial arts around 13 years old. Due to moving around a lot with my parents, I was able to dabble in multiple disciplines. Because it might be relevant, here they are in somewhat order:

wrestling, BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing, Shorin Ryu karate, chito Ryu karate, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, judo, kick boxing, wing chun, hung gar, Krav Maga and taekwondo.

I only truly pursued Shorin Ryu karate, which took me 8 years to get my black belt since I trained at a dojo for 2 years before moving away for multiple years and continuing on my own before moving back. Iíve been in 2 fist fights that I was able to end with an elbow strike in both and one altercation where my grappling really came in handy and I just flipped the guy and knocked the wind out of him.

Whatís emberassing is that in both of these fist fights, every punch I threw resulted in my fist just going limp before impact. As if I didnít know how to throw a punch and yet Iíve broken boards, sparred with training partners (boxing gloves every time) and hit plenty of heavy bags and makiwara boards. I feel very lucky to have a solid understanding of elbow strikes from Muay Thai and karate!

Iím 23, 10 years into martial arts and my ďgame planĒ is to stick with elbows, knees, clinch and grappling if I get into another fight (which I definitely donít go looking for). Iím confident in my ability to defend myself, but Iíd really like to know why I canít throw a punch in a real scenario!

Thanks for reading, any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2206


PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no need to clench elbows as they are good to go!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14406
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting that your fists are solid in any of the activities you described in your OP, but go "limp" in real life situations, which is the worse time for that to happen.

So, a punch is relaxed just before impact, at which time, it is not!! As is how it technically should be. But in your case, your punch remains in a relaxed state irregardless.

But why??

Is it fear of an assumed fear of pain/injury?? After all, it can hurt quite a lot to punch someone in the face. However, you engage in many activities, especially the Makiwara, and one can't train in that with "limp" fist, or as a matter of fact, neither of the activities you've described. To do so would result in injury of varying degrees.

There's a mental block there, but why??

Fear?? Self esteem?? Knowledge?? Experience?? Maturity??

Future
Events
Appearing
Real

Fear is a real concern because fear can handcuff ones abilities in such a debilitating way. You can obviously punch, you have the know how, but not the will power to execute a punch mechanically in real life. Fear is not a joke!!

Self-Esteem drives the vehicle, no matter what the vehicle might be. In this case, your punch AT IMPACT, and the lack, thereof. Since you go "limp" at impact with your punching, and this has happened before, your self-esteem continues to increase. However, what was the level of your self-esteem at the very first real life situation?? If your self-esteem was affected before that exact moment somehow and/or someway, then perhaps, somewhere in your past, your self-esteem was exasperated through some unknown act or the lack of some action.

Knowledge and experience are vitally important tools to have. Knowledge, you seem to have, but the amount of knowledge you do possess, is that enough to correct your concern?!? The more knowledge, the better!! Same thing with experience, I mean, do you have enough experience to tackle this concern and correct it. Because you keep going :limp: with your punches, muscle memory of that will be difficult, but not impossible to correct. No one can ever have enough of knowledge and experience!!

Many of my black belt students that have the ability to execute said technique, but they're still hampered by their maturity, in which, their maturity hasn't caught up with the said technique. For example, they struggle with Uke, the art of receiving an attack without being injured, and being in a good position to deliver an effective counter attack. They struggle with it because of the unknown!! The unknown alters a many things, especially one maturity of said technique, in this case!! Fear, self-esteem, knowledge, and experience are all starving for maturity of self and of techniques!!

Something is causing you to relax AT impact, and there's, from what you say in your OP, no reason for this to be happening on the surface. Some underlying force is preventing you from properly executing a proper and effective punch in real life.

What that is, is not going to be that easy to determine, especially through the media that we're faced with here!! Assumptions on anyone here are just that...assumptions, and not hard facts that might be helpful to you. Maybe a visit to a Sports Psychiatrists, or a Psychiatrist period, might help with this!!

A Sports Psychiatrists can enhance help with ones performance anxieties. Various mental strategies, such as visualization, self-talk and relaxation techniques, can help one to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

Have you spoken with your Sensei about this?? It might be the thing to do!!

Imho!!



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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2206


PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coul be that you are moving to fast for being synchronised with your punches.

Similar to a WW-1 single engine biplane, that when the machine gun shoots inbetween the propeller spinning, if the synchronicity is not there, then there is a major problem.

The synchronicity issue could very well be due to having trained in many different MA systems.

Personally I need to "switch consciously" between one mode or another, if not fast loose wrists from Wing Chun can interfere with hard hitting solid boxing punches.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27760
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting. Let's see if we can get to the root of the issue.

Do you do very much punching on a heavy bag or makiwara without gloves? Working a bag with gloves on is a good practice, but I'm a firm believer of working punches without wrist wraps and/or gloves. This forces you to concentrate on how your fist/arm alignment is when you actually strike something.

I don't think the fact that you've done multiple styles has much to do with why you have trouble landing these punches you've thrown. You said yourself that you've broken boards with punches, so it doesn't seem like the technical structure of the technique should be an issue.

It could be that when you get amped up in a self-defense situation that your technique gets compromised due to fine motor skills falling off in such situations. To help simulate this, do some activity to get your hear rate up, and then go to work on the bag, and see if that changes things.

Do keep us posted on your progress in regards to this! I find this really interesting.
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scohen0300
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 91
Location: Long Island, NY
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu (Shodan), Vinyasa Yoga (200 RYT)

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your input! I hate to admit it, but I believe itís a solid fear thatís holding me back. I often hear people talk about ďblacking outĒ during a fight and how they just went crazy on someone, but nothing like that has ever happened. I believe that my ďgentle natureĒ is whatís holding me back.

Adrenaline definitely kicks in, so much so that I tend to shake a lot before (if I know weíre gonna fight) and definitely after. However, I believe that I remain fairly alert and in control during such scenarios. After everything Iíve learned, Iím well aware thatís a really good thing! But Iím not a violent person, I donít enjoy the suffering of others and I donít wish to hurt anyone.

I hate to pat myself on the back like this, but I believe Iím fairly talented when it comes to martial arts. Ive performed very well during competitions and sparring matches, and I try to learn from my mistakes (and bruises) when I donít perform so well. I believe my kata looks plenty sharp with confidence as my Sensei has often used me to demonstrate movements for the class.

At the same time that I believe my gentle nature makes it harder for me to throw a punch during a real scenario, I understand that a street fight can be dangerous. Is there a way that I can find this separation between how I am and what I SHOULD be doing in order to keep myself safe during these rare situations? Of course, I could be wrong. Iíve never heard of this kind of problem before!

In response to actually speaking with my Sensei about this, I have not. Unfortunately, due to personal issues with my job and family, I havenít been to class or seen my Sensei for 5 months now. It never occurred to me to ask this question until recently when I had a strange encounter with someone in a parking lot - made me think I was going to get mugged but he may have just been on something.

If this ends up being a dead end, I still appreciate all of your insights!
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27760
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you are pretty well in touch with how you are, how you act, how you train, and how your body responds to various situations. That's very important, because at least you know, and you are able to discuss it openly and honestly. That's a good first step in figuring out some answers.

If you want to try to fix this punching issue in self-defense, you may need to work on mind set. This is going to be difficult, and I'm not sure I have any options that would help you out. Go over scenarios in your mind, and use some form of self-talk to work yourself into that mindset where you know that you may have to hurt someone really bad in order to defend yourself or someone else. It's a switch you have to learn to flip.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2206


PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scohen0300 wrote:
Thank you everyone for your input! I hate to admit it, but I believe itís a solid fear thatís holding me back. I often hear people talk about ďblacking outĒ during a fight and how they just went crazy on someone, but nothing like that has ever happened. I believe that my ďgentle natureĒ is whatís holding me back.

Adrenaline definitely kicks in, so much so that I tend to shake a lot before (if I know weíre gonna fight) and definitely after. However, I believe that I remain fairly alert and in control during such scenarios. After everything Iíve learned, Iím well aware thatís a really good thing! But Iím not a violent person, I donít enjoy the suffering of others and I donít wish to hurt anyone.

I hate to pat myself on the back like this, but I believe Iím fairly talented when it comes to martial arts. Ive performed very well during competitions and sparring matches, and I try to learn from my mistakes (and bruises) when I donít perform so well. I believe my kata looks plenty sharp with confidence as my Sensei has often used me to demonstrate movements for the class.

At the same time that I believe my gentle nature makes it harder for me to throw a punch during a real scenario, I understand that a street fight can be dangerous. Is there a way that I can find this separation between how I am and what I SHOULD be doing in order to keep myself safe during these rare situations? Of course, I could be wrong. Iíve never heard of this kind of problem before!

In response to actually speaking with my Sensei about this, I have not. Unfortunately, due to personal issues with my job and family, I havenít been to class or seen my Sensei for 5 months now. It never occurred to me to ask this question until recently when I had a strange encounter with someone in a parking lot - made me think I was going to get mugged but he may have just been on something.

If this ends up being a dead end, I still appreciate all of your insights!


"You are the normal one" most people don't like to fight, even those that know how.

Fighting to win is 50% courage, this is why street fighters can win many fights without being formally trained.

Suggest to start training the way you should fight and fighting the way you're trained.
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JazzKicker
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 07 Aug 2017
Posts: 128
Location: NJ
Styles: JKD, TSD, MMA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good friend of mine, and one-time Sensei, has been "occupationally exposed" to being in real fights. Long ago, early in his career, he told me about being in a fight and pulling his kicks! This was a side effect of traditional, light or no contact Tang Soo Do training that he had to unlearn for the real world.

You might try boxing again- it's full-contact, after all.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2206


PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Punching in street fights without gloves can if not careful, damage the hands due to hitting teeth and the hard skull, boxing although it is full contact with gloves is not the same when bear fist fighting.

On the other hand the feet with shoes on compared to kicking bear foot is an advantage.

Urban combat on the streets is very unpredictable compared to clubs and organisational types of fighting; therefore intent in training should be given to which and what you want and expect.

Doing something about something is not the same as actully doing it; as learning about fighting doesn't make a fighter, fighting makes a fighter.

Depending on personality types, is usually what steers a person towards different aspects of combat be it pro something in its many forms, or a sport or for the street, also just for the health benefits, that are martial art based.

Switching mind set for a maist can be very difficult for some more than other.

Protective instincts are good for switching from nicey nicey puppy to junk yard attack dog mode; as having experience handling these types of dogs, they can teach us humans a thing or two about Reacting, Attacking and Protecting.

How many people can say that they are more brave than this dog that is also good natured and that also has puppy dog eyes?
https://youtu.be/kVdtrYO16ZU

(Don't get between a Lioness and her cubs) This is the attitude to have, as it is the protective instincts at which is at stake to do or die, without hesitation; Samurai = to serve, then serve to protect everything of what you hold to be worth fighting for, if not just walk away.
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