June 2

The Complete List of All the Different Types of Punches Ever Invented


If you've been in a fistfight, chances are that you've thrown at least one type of punch. But do you know your jab from your hammer fist?

Your knife hand to your spinning back fist?

Don't worry. We have all of the punches, and upper body strikes covered here.

Let's dive in.

Power Slap

The Power Slap is a technique of striking self-protection legend Peter Consterdine developed.

Peter created a unique power system that worked alongside the power slap call 'the double hip' method.

The double hip was a way of swinging the hips before the strike, and in the process, it was far more powerful.

The power slap is a heavy blow that works due to the large space of the had on the large space of the attacker's face.

Double Fist Punch 

The double fist punch is a little unusual as it uses 2 fists to impact the attacker.

It is seen in arts such as Defence Lab, Keysi and also Krav Maga

Bolo Punch

The bolo punch is a type of uppercut made famous by boxers such as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Its origins however are a little more complicated.

A Bolo is a type of knife that originated in the Philippines and Latin America. The story goes, that as immigrants from the Philipines began to come to the United States to work on farms, the bolo was used, and a special swing technique was developed.

This swing technique was later used as Filipons started boxing.

Essentially it is a 'wide' uppercut strike that is thrown with a whip-like action.

Rabbit Punch

A Rabbit Punch is a punch that is delivered to the back of an opponent's head with a clenched fist.

The punch is banned from all combat sports because it targets the back of the neck. This can cause injury to the spine and the brain stem.

For self-defence purposes, it can be used if your attacker clinches you up or in 'sexual' attacks where the attackers head is close. If you have experienced a rabbit punch, it feels very strange.

Like a jarring feeling. And it's not nice.

Overhand Punch

The overhand punch is designed to loop over an attackers guard.

It is a very common strike in boxing, and while not 'actively' taught to beginners who are trained in the straight right, it is a punch designed to come in an arcing downward fashion.

Vertical Punch or Vertical Fist Punch

The vertical punch isn't really a different punch, more of a different finish. In boxing, people are advised to punch with their fist where it starts in a vertical fashion, twists and then lands in the horizontal position.

Primarily this developed because you activate the shoulder muscles and even get an extra inch of range.

However, in a lot of martial arts, the fist is delivered 'vertically'. The claims behind that are that it is faster, and as the radius and ulnar bones don't cross (which happens when you turn your hand) the arm is stronger.

The Piston Punch

The piston punch is a short and sharp strike, delivered at close range. This punch starts with the arm in front, then moves forward at a sharp acceleration of speed.

The key here is that the strike is powered by a sharp twist of the hips and shoulder, there is very little arm extension.

The benefits of the technique are that you can remain defensive and only leave a small opening.

It is often used as a body shot but is also an excellent upwards strike.

Spear Hand

The spear hand strike is an open hand strike delivered to an opponent's throat or eyes. It is not often used in martial arts or mixed martial arts competitions due to the injury potential to the fingers.

The spear hand technique consists of a punch/ strike with the fingers straight and together like a knife blade while using muscle memory from training punching drills without involving the thumb at all. The key here is that you need to keep the thumb tucked in.

Crow's Beak Strike

The beak or the 'crows beak strike is a simple technique aimed at the eyes of the attacker.

The fingers form a 'beak-like shape and it can be used to 'peck' at the opponent's eyes.

If it sounds very 'Kung Fu, that's because it is.

But it is oddly quite effective too.

Eye Rake or Eye Scratch

The eye rake or scratch is a very common self-defence technique.

It is aimed at the eyes of your attacker.

The fingers are used as claws and rake across the opponent's eyes, in an attempt to inflict pain or injury on them.

This technique relies on inflicting a fair amount of damage to cause any serious harm, so caution should be exercised when using it. It will usually work better

The Shredder

The Shredder is a technique developed by Richard Dimitri and is an evolution of eye raking.

Here the hands directly attack and rip at the entire face causing serious damage.

Ridge Hand Strike – A reverse knife-hand strike.

A ridge hand strike is a technique in which the hand is shaped to form a 'knife' but the attacking or impact side is the thumb side.

The ridge hand strike will usually leave some serious bruising on your assailant due to its power but not much else. And you will need to target the soft areas of the body.

Elbow Strikes

Pretty self-explanatory but an elbow strike is a technique in which the elbow bone is used as the attacking weapon.

This can be done with either an upward or downward motion.

Hook Punch

This is perhaps the most famous punch of all. The hook punch comes from boxing and has 2 general options.

The lead hook and the rear hook.

Traditionally as boxing is a sport where the weaker side of the body is closest to the opponent, the 'left hook' is the lead hook (unless you are a southpaw).

The right hook or the rear hook is the powerful, stronger but slower strike.

The left hook is responsible for a lot of knockouts in boxing because it comes from outside of the field of vision and is both fast and powerful.

This surprise is what catches a lot of people off guard.

Wing Chun Straight Blast

The Straight blast is a close-range punch that comes from Wing Chun.

It is also called the 'straight arm blast'.

One of its strengths are being quick punches in rapid succession down the straight line to the target.

This is difficult to stop and defend against.

Sambo Casting Punch or Casting Punch

The casting punch is generally seen in Russian Sambo was made famous by Fedor Emeilinaenko who was an MMA champion and Sambo champion as well.

It is a well-known Sambo technique.

This punch is a looping style of strike that goes around the guard of the opponent. It is best described as a mix of a overhand strike, a hook and a straight right.

Palm Strike or Palm Heel Strike

The palm heel strike is done by the palm of one hand.

This is used to strike targets such as face, throat and rib cage.

It is effective if you use 2 hands as well.

Knife Hand Strike – The classic "Karate Chop".

The knife hand strike is a close-range punch that can be delivered by the edge of one's hand. It is usually used to strike at targets like a person's neck, throat or chest. One variation involves using both hands during which it becomes known as "knife-hand double fist".

Spinning Back Fist

The spinning back fist is a well known strike that is from kickboxing but is also seen in MMA. It is a variation of the hook punch and can be delivered with THE backside of your hand.

The spinning back fist moves the body in an arc from one side to another, turning sideways as it extends past the punchers head or shoulder.

It is a blow that relies on good timing but also carries a lot of risk due to taking your eyes off the opponent.

Basic Slap 

We saw the powerslap earlier, but now we are just talking about basic slaps


The basic slap involves using the palm of your hand to strike any area on an opponent's body. It can be delivered with speed and force, or it may also involve the use of wrist motion for increased range.

Superman Punch

The superman punch has become famous, having been seen in MMA competitions and films.

It is where a fighter jumps in the air and briefly holds the 'Superman' pose and then lands a strike.

Uppercut Punch

An uppercut is a type of punch that moves in an upward arc and strikes the chin of the attacker.

This process generates a lot of power from the kinetic energy chain reaction within the muscles. Making the uppercut extremely powerful.

Back Hand Strike or Back Hand Slap

The backhand or backhand slap is a type of strike where the person strikes with their backhand.

This technique is often used to follow up an elbow strike immediately

Two Finger Poke

There's not much to this one, basically 2 fingers going into the eye or other vulnerable area of the body.

Thumb Strike

The thumb strike isn't so much a punch, more of a press. It can be used to manipulate pressure points such as those in the neck.

One Knuckle Punch or Extended Middle Knuckle Punch

Again, this isn't so much a strike but a method of closing the fist which causes one knuckle to be extended further.

This is then targeted towards vulnerable areas of the body such as pressure points and the eyes.

Haymaker Punch

The haymaker is a a wild swing punch often used in street brawls by untrained fighters.

Hammer Fist

The hammer fist strike is an excellent strike used to create large amounts of power. The strike is as if the hand was a hammer and you strike in the same motion.

Straight Punch or Cross Punch, Rear Hand Punch

The most famous strike of all is the straight right.

The direction of the strike does alter its name slight, a blow thrown which goes across the 'centre line' is considered across, where one that extends straight down the centre line is a straight right.


The jab is a punch thrown with the lead hand. The jab is one of, if not the most important strikes in boxing and it can be used as a defensive technique in combination with other punches to deter an opponent from attacking or as part of your attack when you want to keep some space between you and your target

One Inch Punch – This punch popularized by Bruce Lee

The one inch punch is a method of striking , not a type of punch. The technique is done by positioning the lead hand thumb one inch outside of the opponent's body and then punching straight forward into their stomach or solar plexus, with maximum force—all in a single motion.

Liver Punch

The liver punch is also known as a floating rib thrust. An interesting fact about the liver punch is that it must be delivered in such a way that you hit specifically on the bottom of your fist to ensure maximum force and injury to your opponent's vital organs, but not too hard for fear of breaking your hand.

Ear Clap

This is a rather annoying strike in that it is a strike that applies pressure to the eardrum. It is a nasty strike to use and needs to be done at close range.

It can perforate the eardrum of someone of done correctly.


So, there we have it . Hopefully, you have learned a little about the different types of punches that exist.

Some are more useful than others—namely the uppercut and jab. But without trying and testing different options out, you never know which is right for you.

Thanks for reading.


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