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The structure of our feet is amazing, and if used correctly they will increase your punching power. However, it never ceases to amaze me how they never seem to be given the credit they deserve. I’ve written before about how they should contribute to the delivery of a punch to improve the power output. Often this is neglected, while the input of the legs is usually incorporated into the dynamics of a punch.
It’s all a bit unfair as the entire structure of the feet allows us to not only support the entire body but also transfer ground reaction force, when we push off the floor and help absorb the impact of striking the ground when moving. If you doubt the power capability of the feet try this little experiment. Stand with your feet shoulder width, parallel and facing straight forward, bend forward at the waist until you can go no further, then hook your index and middle finger of each hand round each big toe from the inside. This is the basic forward bend in yoga.
From this position, pull on your big toes to lengthen the stretch in your hamstrings at the back of your legs. Only go as far as you can manage don’t tear anything! In this position you can pull really hard on the big toes without them even slightly fatiguing. The power in these toes always seems extraordinary to me, and there’s ten of them! And that is just the power/strength in your big toes, this doesn’t factor in the rest of the foot.
This little illustration indicates the potential for power in the toes and by implication in the feet. It is no wonder then that the feet are emphasised in the martial arts! Or ignored, generally. However, when I used to train trad karate the feet were included in the descriptions of stances and in kata movements, quite a bit. The trouble is this emphasis was all arse over tit, as we might say in Birmingham.
One spurious karate method of using the feet, which springs to mind, was described as gripping and pulling on the floor with the toes to help you move forward. Now this has a basis in reality but it is a perfect example of getting things arse over tit. We naturally grip the floor with our toes, to help ourselves move when the structure is set up right. With the weight at the front of the foot and a bend at the ankle we can move more easily and the toes will briefly grip the floor as we ‘toe off’ the ground.
This is normal and can be incorporated easily by setting the body in a position that supports movement. The toes also grip the floor in a similar manner during the punching motion and can greatly add to the power of the delivery. If we concentrate on the reverse side while throwing a whipping punch this gripping becomes apparent.
The reverse action, of course involves the hip and shoulder but if we focus on the reverse foot and really use it to throw the reverse hip backwards, the toes grip the floor, to provide purchase necessary to push into the floor and propel the hip back. Using the reverse foot in this manner will give you a noticeable increase in power. A whole body punch requires you to use the whole body, toes included. Given the power the toes have, demonstrated in the yoga forward bend, it’s something worth recruiting that will increase your punching power!
Originally posted 2011-06-18 23:51:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter