The following video was posted on Facebook a little while ago which shows results from lab tests on a Tai Chi master using some highly sophisticated equipment (thanks Steve). This post covers the first insight from the clip which illustrates how ground reaction force contributes to powering a punch.
Assuming the tai chi master is able to transfer the force produced into the target, I’m sure he can, potentially there is 2200 Newtons heading into the bad guy, which as the clip says is equal to about 3x his body weight – 220kg. That’s pretty good and is some target to aim for! With practice similar levels of force should be possible to all of us.
While I am a huge advocate of ‘punching with your feet’ and having been doing so for some time this video encouraged me to reconsider the role of ground reaction force in punching. It occurred to me that maximizing the force production at the feet was more important than merely producing force there. It reminded me of something a friend who does soft Chinese Martial Arts showed me. Whether it is from Xing Yi or Bag Hua, I’m not sure which, it involved stamping the front foot and punching with the stamp, if that makes sense…..
Power Punching Tips – Ground reaction force and stamping
The punch follows a sequential action starting with the stamp, followed by a rotation and ending with a straight punch. This is similar to the sequential whipping punching action but with greater emphasis on the involvement of the foot, however, the stamp can power any type of punch there doesn’t need to be a sequential action per se.
Focusing on stamping with the foot can increase punching power, certainly this video suggests it while subsequent testing confirms it. When trying it on the pads some people get the timing wrong and struggle a little with alignment until they get used to it. Another mistake is to merely turn the foot toward the target without stamping which misses out a significant portion of power, the result is a weaker punch.
When moving in relation to the target and using tiny steps to align to it correctly GRF plays its part again. By connecting the feet to the hands (or elbows, head etc) each tiny adjustment step can precipitate and provide force for a punch. It’s a little like sprinting on the spot, which is how I start off teaching kids to use their feet in their punches, and most adults too…..
The greater force at the foot the greater the increase in punching power at the target. There are limits of course but if the Tai chi master can muster 220kg of force what can you manage?
Originally posted 2011-02-17 12:18:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter