Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The secret of the one-inch punch
The one-inch punch was made famous by Bruce Lee. He would occasionally demonstrate his ability to quickly generate force with very little movement. With his fist just one inch away from a target, he would knock larger men than himself back or even off their feet. Here is a demonstration.
Wow! Ok, not really...or maybe a tiny "wow". The one-inch punch is what I like to call a kungfu parlor trick like the bed of nails, or bending a spear with your throat. Certainly there is some technique to it, but it doesn't really demonstrate anything that unusual except maybe basic physics.
When you put your fist one-inch away from something, you can't effectively "hit" the way most people try to hit. You have to push or hit through the thing in front of you. Funny enough, you can push people at 1 inch or even zero inches. When you push someone quickly, they get moved backward quickly.
If you want a more dramatic result, you will need to use your body to generate power through the feet, waist, torso and/or shoulders. You can get the basic effect by straightening your arm (pushing) while turning your waist at the same time quickly.
Actually, doing it well does require some understanding of power generation and the ability to relax so it isn't a totally worthless demonstration. I call it a parlor trick because the way it was presented was designed to create mystery rather than illustrate principle. It's meant to make the puncher look powerful. I like the way they put the chair right behind the guy so he will pretty much have to fall onto it at an awkward angle, all done to increase the drama and mislead. Still, I suppose it could be worse. It's nowhere near as bad as the crap seen in this video.