One Inch Punch Debate

Currently in Facebook land there is a debate over the One Inch punch made famous by the late and great Bruce Lee.

The debate (which I am not involved in) centres around an instructor who believes the one inch punch to be an amazing combat effective strike. I have personally used the punch to demonstrate the use of the hips and the shoulder in striking.  A punch over just an inch can be very very painful and my words may shock a lot of people!

The wing chun one inch punch is in my opinion a poorly delivered technique in terms of its presentation, the set up does not look realistic or effective. That doesn’t mean that it is not an effective strike.

However before I explain why here is the famous Bruce Lee version

My father always talks about his old boxing mentor Ernie Ball who had a devastating short body shot that used to drop people in the gym. After a lot of old school research I discovered that there is a punch that many do not give a name, here I will call it the ‘short punch’,and explain how it works and how it is exactly the same as the one inch punch.

The short punch isn’t a strike that concerns itself with distance but is a short and sharp shot to the body, and in particular the diaphragm area of the human body. It travels a short distance and is used in close. This is of course what is actually known as the boxers body shot made famous by stars such as Ricky Hatton and Mike McCallum.

A boxers short body shot goes to either the diaphragm or the ribs of the opponent. So on the surface the one inch punch of wing chun and boxing are very similar. They are both short sharp shots to the body. The only difference is that the boxer doesnt give a distance of his punch, he does what comes natural in the heat of the moment, one inch, 4 inches matter not to the boxer, only the effect

. Lets look at a video of the wing chun/JKD one inch punch in a video to see more


So is the wing chun one inch punch much different than the boxers body shot. Probably not, they both have a similar goal to throw a power punch through a sharp generation of power from the hips into their fist and then into the body of the opponent. However because they are delivered in a different social setting one is very highly thought of (the boxers) and another is thought of as a gimmick.

On the surface they look very different, but a closer examination reveals that the wing chun stylist and the boxer both stand square on. They both use hip power to generate force. Both use a powerful hip rotation to deliver force. They both target the body.

So what we are talking about here is not the actual technique as both are very similar but the method they are displayed in. The boxer uses his in the ring with obvious results but the wing chun stylist uses their one inch punch in demonstrations.

My personal opinion is that if you can master the wing chun one inch punch or boxers body shot that’s great. It can be an effective shot to the body and can drop a person. I do not feel that it is the greatest punch ever developed but it has its place and uses

I believe the one inch punch to be a valid learning tool. I started using it to learn about body mechanics and how to generate power with the hips. It is a great method to learn how the body can generate energy and it has its uses in combat. IT MAY SURPRISE YOU TO LEARN. THAT I TEACH IT AND ALWAYS HAVE.

*****However I must be clear that the boxers body punch is far more relaxed, not concerned with rigid form and I feel is far superior in every way to the wing chun strike. ********

Here is a video of Ricky Hatton showing his body shots.

It may not look like a traditional one inch punch and the boxers short punch travels further than an inch, but the mechanics are the same, So whilst i do use the teaching points of the wing chun punch I also do then go onto teach the advanced use of body mechanics to deliver the boxers body shot. For me the one inch punch is just a stepping stone to a far more powerful and useful shot, that is of course the short punch or the boxers body shot as most know it. It is far superior in my opinion.

My point here is that whilst the names may be different  and the style of teaching and execution may also vary, the two punches have a lot of similarities. I see this a lot in the martial arts. There are many techniques that if you scratch the surface are virtually the same.

My final view is that the one inch punch has its place. However its presentation is often poor and gimmicky. It is a good learning tool for a heavier and more powerful strike as in the one used by boxers across the world.

Anyway here are some videos that show the one inch punch, Comment below to let me know your thoughts.




Andrew Holland


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