Welcome to the latest video in our series of martial arts tutorials filmed and explained by Warrior Collective. Warrior Collective is run by Stuart Tomlinson, who has been involved in shaping the UK martial arts scene for over twenty years.


In this piece, Louis Aitken, kickboxing and muay Thai coach of Masters Academy in Plymouth shows us through how to throw overhand punches effectively and demonstrates ways to utilize them in striking sports such as kickboxing or muay Thai.


The History of Kickboxing

In the 1950s, a Japanese karateka named Tatsuo Yamada established a new sport that combined karate and muay Thai. This was the beginnings of the modern competitive form of kickboxing.


In the 1960s, several rule modifications took place. By the middle of the decade, the first official kickboxing events were being held. The 1970s and 1980s saw the sport expand beyond Japan to North America and Europe. Many of today’s main governing bodies were formed during this time.


The Overhand Punch

The overhand is an important weapon in any fighter’s arsenal. The concept is to come “over the hand,” which allows the punch to loop around an opponent’s guard. The aim of this video is to eliminate the misconception of the overhand as a wild slugging technique.


A lot of fight sports are dominated by tall, slim opponents with long limbs. The overhand is an effective weapon for the shorter boxer, such as Louis. Louis always had trouble landing the straight right hand on an orthodox partner. He felt the overhand was especially valuable for people like himself who struggled against taller partners or opponents.  It is best thrown after a straight line shot from a tall opponent who has a range advantage.


Two key points of the overhand:


  • Make sure the punch comes over the hand
  • Avoid any straight counters by taking your head off the centre line (usually by a combination of level changing and going off angle).


The goals of the punch are to travel around obstructions, such as an oncoming punch or the guard of an opponent, and to keep out of danger as much as possible whilst doing so.


In this video, Louis also shows some creative applications that demonstrate the overhand’s high versatility and usefulness to fighters of any level.


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