Your Straight Punches Suck

I’ve started getting into the habit of asking my training partners for feedback at the end of class. I want to be the best partner possible and I want to know if I’m doing something really annoying. I also want to improve my strikes and defenses and I can’t watch myself throughout class, but my partner can. I’ve asked the last three or four people if they have any feedback and it’s like a broken record…

“You crowd your straight punches.”

This means my arms have more range than I realize. Because I’m standing so close to my partner when I throw my punch, I can’t extend my arm fully. I pull back on my punch early and lose precious power.

Hearing about this problem from multiple partners makes it easy to find my point of focus each class.

If we’re working on combinations and there’s a straight punch as part of the mix, I play with my range and feel the difference in power.

Practicing this over and over again has been a huge eye opener for me.

I have long arms and I didn’t fully understand the advantage that gives me until this past week.

In sparring two partners in classes, I’ve noticed I can throw punches and make contact without moving my feet quite so close. I wonder if every person who spars comes to such a clear moment of recognizing an advantage. This is a powerful moment for me. It’s the first time I’ve discovered I might have an edge.

As I reflect on the reasons I train so hard, so passionately, and so aggressively, I’m excited by this new body awareness. It could change the outcome of an attack on the street. It’s one more thing I know about me that an attacker doesn’t know: I’m strong, I’m vicious, I have some training in self defense, and my straight punch range is something to be feared. Or it will be once it’s part of my muscle memory.

Have you discovered an advantage you have in martial arts or sparring? How did you come to the realization and how did it change how you fight?

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