How to Get Massive Power In Your Karate Punches

Science can, and should, be used to optimize your Karate training. I’ve been doing it for years.

Do you know what power is?

It’s tricky.

But super important for Karate!

Because, let’s face it: if you don’t have power in your techniques, your Karate is pretty much only for show.

In traditional Karate, especially the kind still practiced in Okinawa & Japan, power is of utmost importance.

Yet, many people have a hard time generating power in their techniques.

Even basic punches!


Partly because they don’t really understand what the term “power” means, but also because it requires a lot of scientifically correct training.

So check this out…

Today I would like to help you achieve massive power in your Karate techniques by using a little bit of science.

(If you ask me, science should be applied much more in today’s Karate.)

Let’s make one thing clear though: I’m no scientist. I don’t even know how the lamp in my fridge works. But I’ve been using scientific principles for years to optimize my understanding of Karate, and hopefully I can share some of that with you today.

Sounds good?

Let’s get started!


Force = Mass x Acceleration

The first thing you should know is this:

No matter how much you practice, you can’t defy the laws of physics.

That includes Newton’s second law.

F= m x a

(Force equals mass times acceleration)

This formula is fundamental to your punching power and will be the basis of the rest of this article.


But, you should know that a punch requires multiple accelerations of different masses working together simultaneously (a.k.a “technique”), and the dynamics of a something like a punch are fairly complex as we are dealing with many levers, forces and torques.

So, even though the physics of a punch is not as cut and dry as F = m x a, it covers the basics of what you need to know.

You see, the power of your punch depends mainly on how fast you can accelerate your mass.

That’s it.

The quicker you accelerate your mass into the target, the more powerful your punch is.

Remember that.

So now, let’s look at those two components. 

Mass & acceleration.

Step 1: Understand “Mass”

The first thing you want to increase is your mass.

(And no – not by getting a loyalty card at Dunkin’ Donuts.)

More mass equals more potential punching power.

You want to increase the amount of mass you can manage to transfer into the target.

  • If you are a beginner in Karate, the only mass you’ll be able to move into the target is basically your hand.
  • If you train a little longer, you might get the whole arm behind the punch. That’s a few more pounds!
  • And if you train even more… you might finally get your whole body’s mass behind the punch. Awesome!

When you reach that last stage, you’ll be able to generate legendary amounts of power – even if you’re a tiny person.

Like Bruce Lee.

The idea is to put every percent of your body’s mass into your punch.

To do this, you need to combine correct technique with a good understanding of your own body.

Then comes the next step; hurling that body mass away.

Step 2: Understand “Acceleration”

The second step is acceleration.

(F = m x a – remember?)

Most people think acceleration is equal to speed, but it’s not.

Acceleration is how fast you increase the speed.

That’s the difference.

You need to increase the speed of your mass in as few seconds as possible.

It’s not enough to have speed in your technique. You need to actually reach that speed super fast too – otherwise you won’t get insane power!

For this to happen, your muscle fibers need to be sizzling hot and ready to fire in perfect sequence (= good technique) in order to accelerate your mass from a state of relaxation to tension (impact) as quickly as possible.

Again, it all comes down to correct technique.

This depends greatly on your ability to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers through your central nervous system.

In other words, you cannot be lazy.


Step 3: Put It Together

Okay. Look.

You can have perfect understanding of how to use your mass, and be able to accelerate that mass at supersonic speeds, but if you don’t have this ONE final component it all falls down:

You need to have the warrior mindset.

In order to achieve the power you want, you need to enter each punch with total focus and unwavering commitment.

In Japanese, this mindset is known as “fudo-shin”, or ‘immovable mind’.

Basically, your mentality needs to be strong enough to move mountains.

For real.

The harder you can push yourself mentally, the harder you can punch physically.

Sadly, many people have weak minds.

This holds them back from reaching their potential more than any of their physical or technical attributes.

It’s just that simple.

You need to align all three components of shin-gi-tai (mind-technique-body) to perform at top level, no matter if you’re punching, kicking or blocking.

Then just add a little science to it – and you have a deadly cocktail.

Good luck & thanks for reading.

May the power be with you!


  • gagneeric
    There is also Kinetic energy = (mass X velocity squared) divided by two. A small bullet does more damage than a slow rock. From acceleration comes power but from speed comes damages
    • That's right, good point Eric-san! :-)
    • Pradeep A
      But the key point to note here is the velocity in the kinetic energy transfer refers to the velocity at the point of impact. To maximise the velocity at point of impact, we need acceleration. So a bullet won't do much damage if it's not accelerating - like throwing a bullet vs shooting a bullet from a gun. Acceleration is still key in all our karate techniques to have max power, which does max damage. Thank you for the article, loved it!
  • Andreas Sticht
    "It’s not enough to have speed in your technique. You need to actually reach that speed super fast too – otherwise you won’t get insane power!" Nope. You got it right up to the "F=m x a". However, the issue is that the Force acting on the bad guy (or punching bag, makiwara or whatever") is caused when the object you hit DECELERATES your mass (deceleration is negative acceleration). In other words, the object has to apply a force to your punch to decelerate it, and the same force (actio = reactio) acts on the object. For this, it is quite irrelevant how fast you accelerated your punch. However, it is important you hit with high speed (as this creates a "higher potential"(not exactly a scientific term) for deceleration - and if you accelerate your punch very much, you usually reach a higher end speed. Of course, reality is a little bit more complicated, but that's the basic. By the way, while I certainly do know much less about Karate than you do, I do hold a PhD in physics, and gave exercise courses in experimental mechanics (accompanying the lectures my Prof gave) at university...
    • Pradeep A
      Great analysis - may I respectfully disagree on this though - "it is quite irrelevant how fast you accelerated your punch"? To punch someone, say at a constant 1m distance, if I take longer time to reach my target, then my velocity is lower (in very simple terms). Therefore it is very relevant on how fast I can accelerate my punch - to maximise the velocity at the point of impact. As you said, "it is important you hit with high speed" - but only thing at our disposal to reach high speed at point of impact is by accelerating as fast as possible. Hope I haven't missed anything fundamental in terms of physics and/or Karate! Thanks again for the analysis, loved the explanation.
  • carlos
    from acceleration does not come power, like gagneeric said, power comes from acceleration. F(power) = m(size) x a(speed and acceleration) A heavyweight punching slow does not have power, but a light heavy weight punching really fast, is more powerful, so X is more important than M.
    • Andreas Sticht
      I wouldn't say x is more important than m. Both are important (as can be seen from the formula). Of course, with mass it's also important to really put your complete mass (connection of fist to body etc.). The mass that is not connected to the punch (or kick or whatever) does not go into the equation. Regarding the pressure: Of course, that's also important: I'd somehow view this as the second step: To generate a large amount of force, hit with as much mass and with as high speed as possible. To cause maximum damage with this force, concentrate it on a small area at a vulnerable point.
      • Great comments guys, keep on sharing the knowledge! :-)
      • carlos
        Yeah that's what you think but studies have proven otherwise, If a giant truck goes 1 mile or km per hr ant hit you it will do nothing, but if you get a small car or bike and go 100 miles per hr will must likely kill you. This has been tested by comparing heavy and light heavy weight boxers.
        • Ryan-San
          This is true, however isn't it also true to say that if a motorcycle hits a concrete wall at 100 km/h the wall wouldn't break but the tractor going at 10 km/h would break through the wall, just some food for thought.
          • Bucksmallsy
            Ryan-san, Please READ both TYPED and in between the lines of WHAT Carlos typed. He is CRYSTAL clear in CASE and POINT ! Your point is moot !
        • to "carlos": If somebody is getting killed or not depends solely at one medical question: What is damaged in his/her body? To calculate physically if a vital organ is damaged or not the amount of energy to destroy a specific organ plays the most important role. Same situation if you want to calculate what is necessary to knock down a heavy weight boxer or the bantam kind of... (in this situation it is the energy which is transmitted to the head of the opponent to make his brain impact against his skull). Energy is not a magic thing which is transmitted instantaneously. In real world with human body tissues (who are squeezing together, absorbing, reflecting and so on) this takes time. To stay in your picture: Both people are getting killed! The one standing in front of a very slow moving truck (=very little speed but high mass) and the one struck by a 100 miles/hour fast bicycle (relatively low mass but high speed)! The magic thing here is the transmission of the energy of both vehicles to a human body - or better like Andreas said: the deceleration of both vehicles after the impact with the two human bodies. You are thinking: It is easy to avoid the impact of the slow moving truck; you just walk aside. But this is not physics! Fix this man with mob-like cement-shoes at the street and the truck will crush and kill him most probably. The bicycle is easy to imagine. So I renounce to discuss this...
  • Ossu! [bow] Don't forget pressure: P=F/A Ever been hit by a six year old throwing a really good punch? They might not generate as much force as an adult, but because their knuckles are tiny - OW. Then there are the people who just barrel their way through everything - trying to power through with brawn rather than proper technique as you outlined. Just read an article about that kind of person here: [bow]
  • carlos
    Karate mama, that is why karatekas punch with two knuckles and not with the hand. :)
  • For the serious student and to understand what sensei Jesse is saying. Check out PARTING THE CLOUDS by Grenville Harrop. A must for every library.
    • Thanks for the recommendation Lee-san!
      • Richard
        Actually, momentum is a more accurate way of looking at it. Momentum is defined as mass X velocity. It doesn't matter how fast your hand accelerates, but the speed it's traveling when it hits the target multiplied by how much body weight (mass) is behind it. The most benefit can be obtained by focusing on putting your entire body weight behind a technique, not by increasing your hand speed.
        • Kim
          Richard, I think you're right. I think we either want to look at momentum, or possibly look at Power ( which in one dimension can be Force * velocity. I think it's important when we're bringing physics terms into explaining karate that we don't confuse the terms (especially for those of us who are nerds in real life in addition to being karate nerds). Force and Power and momentum and different things in physics, so we shouldn't really use them interchangeably.
  • Monty
    The idea is that you want to impart as much energy as possible into your target. The velocity term dominates mass so primarily you want high velocity. Where acceleration comes into play is that you only have a finite distance in which to get your fist up to maximum speed, which means you will need to have the highest possible acceleration to deliver the highest velocity. The mass part of the equation is that you want as much mass as you can possibly accelerate - but let's call this constant and technique will allow you to to achieve this maximum asymptotically. Suppose you could put a weight in each hand. You also want deceleration to be 100% done by your target. If you miss, to main control/balance more than likely you will use counter torque to decelerate your fist which also requires expenditure of energy. When you hit your target & assume a hook law response wrt to penetration depth, yada yada...
  • Andrew
    Hey now. While speed may be important rather than how fast the object accelerated before hitting an object, if you apply more force durring your technique then you will have a higher acceleration. So in the scope of a single technique (say a punch), there is a fixed distance in which case acceleration determines speed and also force applied durring your technique (although not all force may be transfered to the opponent). Also while speed may dominate in the energy equation, I think it has less merit for practical purposes. For one, studies show that speed is largely genetic. Secondly, I've noticed that focusing on speed durring a technique can often cause you to skip out on part of the technique (not putting a part of your mass into it or body alignment) or cause you to tense too much making you actually slower. For the latter, I've read an article where a trainer told runners to run at 80% of their perceived max and they actually ran faster than their percieved 100% (thinking about 20% reserve made them relax more). Granted both of these arguments can be null if you just don't make those mistakes... But anyways, mass can sometimes be so easy to add to a technique with such a large increase of power that it feels like cheating. Just dropping a little bit into your roundhoues kick all the sudden makes your kick a lot stronger and requires actually less effort on your part (hey, dropping your weight means you don't have to support your weight for that instant).
  • Andrew
    I'd like to change my wording to "So in the scope of a single technique (say a punch), there is a fixed distance in which case acceleration determines speed and is also REPRESENTATIVE OF force applied durring your technique (although not all force may be transfered to the opponent).
  • OMG, we really and truly are karate nerds...
  • Andrew
    All y'all saying that acceleration doesn't matter, but velocity does matter aren't making ANY sense. If dx is the length of one's arm, then: (V_f)^2 = (V_o)^2 + 2*a*dx Your arm starts at rest, so: (V_f)^2 = 2*a*dx Solved for V_f: V_f = sqrt(2*a*dx) Therefore, if one is to increase final velocity, the only two ways to do that are to increase acceleration or make your arm longer. One of those is impossible.
    • Andreas Sticht
      True-that is way I wrote at the end of my post that a higher acceleration tends to result in a higher speed and thus a higher potential for deceleration and thus generation of force to the hit object or subject. Nevertheless, during acceleration F= m x a gives the force needed to accelerate you, not the force acting on the object later. And in cases where the same speed is obtained, it does not matter if this speed was reached by a high acceleration over a short time or a low acceleration over a longer time ( or distance)
    • Monty
      Kinetic energy is the "what" in "what you want to achieve". Acceleration is the "how". KE is a state function of the velocity - it doesn't matter how you get there. There are an infinite number of acceleration profiles that will achieve the same final velocity. But intuitively, since you just integrate acceleration to get velocity, it means you want acceleration to not only be positive but as high as possible through the entire range of motion. This will require technique.
  • am
    to increase the speed by not concentrating on the technique would require so much practice that the technique becomes a reflex and you wont need to concentrate much to pull it off.
  • Richard
    I should re-qualify my last comment. Although there are many scientific equations that can be used to describe a punch, or any strike for that matter, the most important is the principle of impulse, which is the change of momentum over time. This figure can be made bigger either by increasing the acceleration/deceleration or by decreasing the time interval. Look at it this way, what does more damage to the body? Gradually bringing your car to full stop using the brakes or by suddenly hitting a concrete or steel barrier? In a punch the variable that offers the most discernable difference, and the one most easily changed, is mass (body weight) Yes, hand velocity/acceleration and pressure (minimizing the striking surface) play a part but the greatest benefit will come if a karateka focuses on putting his/her body weight behind a punch.
    • Monty
      change in momentum over time is force. p = m v -> dp/dt = m dv/dt -> F = m a. Impulse is the integral of F wrt to time.
    • Andreas Sticht
      Regarding the time interval: it is correct that a deceleration over a smaller time interval increases force. This can be tested quite easily-as actio =reactio the force acting on the object you hit also acts on the body part you hit with ( let's say fist) . So if you first hit a foam mattress ( longer deceleration time) and then a solid concrete wall ( shorter time) , you will notice a higher force when hitting the latter(doing the experiment the other way round may be difficult due to medical attention to your fist being needed after hitting the concrete wall...). Unfortunately, hitting human beings is somewhat more complex: hitting well trained tensed abdominal muscles( short time) may create more force, but a nasty liver hook angled from the side without tensed muscles (more like a foam mattress) will likely be more effective. So, hitting hard is one thing, hitting smart the other...
  • Monty
    I mentioned hook's law but was too lazy to expound. In terms of energy transfer, suprisingly hitting an impenetrable object like a boulder vs hitting air/missing target transfers 0 energy to your target. In the former case, the energy will be put into elastic deformation or breakage of your hands and tendons, in the later you will need to counter torque or use your body to stop the punch to maintain balance. Again, this will require experience and technique to size up your target's response. I'm glad Jesse brought this up because after reading I sat down and worked the consequences of energy and force - in a very simplified way. The conclusion that I came to is that there's alot going on when it comes to striking. Next time I'm on the makiwara (I use wrapped hands as I don't want makiwara hands :P) or bag, I'm going to think very carefully about finding/feeling my sweet spot in terms of timing and form.
  • David Satya
    Actually, force is not the only thing that makes a punch powerful and hard. -Kinetic Energy -Momentum -Pressure Force drives those 3, but pure force doesn't mean anything. 1. Kinetic Energy. Despite a massive amount of force you put at your hand, it doesn't mean anything if the velocity is nil. Giving 900 N of force (or approximately 200 lbf, I use metric most of the time) doesn't mean anything if you hit it with slow speed since that's nearly the same with pushing your opponent. Using your arm instead of your hand gives you extra muscle fibers to apply the force. Thus, increasing the force while adding more mass. But hitting it slow while having more mass basically just pushing your opponent away. So, you need to have more velocity at the impact. That's when the force comes in handy, since it took less time to reach sufficient velocity if you have less mass or massive force. Let's say that your arm weights at 2kg and you can give 500 N of force. That means the peak acceleration you have tops at 250 m/s2. Let's say that the target is 0.5 m away, it takes 0.03 seconds to hit the target. That translates into 62.5 Joule of kinetic energy. But if you half the mass into 1 kg and while still having 500 N of force, that still translates into 62.5. While the energy given still the same, it's have different results. The latter case arrives 0.01 earlier than the previous case. That's advantageous to hit the opponent before they could react, but if the pain that needs to be given, assuming that both of them couldn't be blocked, the second factor that needs to be considered is 2. Momentum. The higher the momentum, the harder your punch to be stopped, but that also means that it's harder to make that kind of punch.Based on previous calculation, the first case would yield close to 16 kg.m/s of momentum, while the second case gives 11.2 kg.m/s of momentum. You give the same energy, but since the first case have more mass, it's harder to be stopped despite the fact that you give the same energy and the same force to your punches. The more momentum you have, the harder it is, while adding the benefit of staggering your opponent when your punch hit the target. If it's done correctly, you could throw the opponent from his/her stance. And this is the one that gives you blunt trauma. I use to calculate the recoil of AK-47 bullet and M-16 bullet. While having similar energy (I took a variant of AK bullets that gives slightly less energy but more mass), AK bullet travels slower. But the recoil in AK feels heavier since it has more momentum. But having similar momentum while traveling at faster speed could also result in bruising. That's why some rifles with big caliber tends to be heavier, just to slow the recoil speed of the rifle. Firing big caliber in small rifle while having the same momentum results in a severe bruising. The next factor that you need to consider is 3. Pressure. To put it simply, pressure is the amount of force exerted on an area. The smaller your hand, more pressure you could give to your opponent. The smaller your knuckle, the more painful it is. That's why skinny knuckle feels more painful than a thick and fatty knuckle. And fat knuckle dampened the force like a shock absorber in your car. Since you give more pressure to a limited area, the pain receptor nerves reacts more intensely, thus the pain becomes more intense. While giving the same amount of force, sharp knife cuts easily compared to dull one. Let's say that the opponent stood still. Momentum plays important role since it guarantees your energy to be delivered into the target, possibly breaking the bone of our enemy. Your pressure wouldn't penetrate your target's skin, so it translates into pain. But momentum strikes deeply. That's why receiving punches from lighter person wouldn't break your bones, but sluggish yet massive opponent could send you into a surgery. I hope my explanation helps you understand the mechanics of powerful punches. And I'm sorry for my bad English. To be fair, I have a sluggish kick, but a single kick usually throw my partner out of his stance since I have close to 100 kg of mass. That makes me feel uncomfortable when I have to deal with faster partner, since I couldn't attack quickly.
    • monty
      The thing about kinetic energy is that force, momentum change, and kinematics are all baked in to its definition. Starting with work W which is F times distance: dW = F dr = m a dr = m dv/dt dr (or momentum would be: m dv/dt = dp/dt) = m dr/dt dv = m v dv delta W (v1|v0) = 1/2 m (v1^2 - v0^2) EK = 1/2 m v^2. The oomph for more impact, pressure and momentum change all come from kinetic energy.
  • how do i get faster, just by thinking it, i have MASS but also 51 years old 3rd year karate,
  • Buck Smallsy
    Jesse, Glad you've finally brought this topic up. Ultimately, power, strength, and speed, are needing to be tried and tested in order for one's technique to prove beyond any doubt its functionality in the REAL world. Such an Acid Test of one's techniques in any martial art is achieved by none other than ..."IMPACT" training. Muay Thai fighters are one such discipline that is clearly illustrative of FUNCTION. One can have all the speed, and power in the world regarding kicking and punching a bag - however, unless one can literally break baseball bats with their arms and shins, break ice, break concrete, as performed predominantly in Kyokushin, Byakuren, and Muay Thai to name a few; the technique is not only obsolete, but it is completely useless in the REAL world. As mentioned in your interview with Ian AMERNATHY, Karate was designed as were all the arts ; to end a threat(s) on the street in ONE BLOW. Not two, not three, but one deadly blow. And this IS still true and very much the case even today for anyone wanting to be truly prepared as best they can should the absolute worst case scenario happen. Given the modern day world and its escalating violence, developing true speed, power, and strength with an ability at breaking baseball bats, ice blocks, roof tiles, concrete bricks, should be a pleasant ace up one's sleeve when faced by a threat on the street. Again, TRUE power, speed, and strength can only be tested when being successful in the aforementioned areas. Otherwise one (Martial Artist) hasn't the comfort within their own mind (meta-physicality) of having done such a necessary and rewarding acid test. Osu !
  • Nazarudeen
    It's make pleasure and urge me to practise my Kararet again
  • monty
    this talk reminds me of sadaharu fujimoto :P
    • Buck Smallsy
      Dear Monty, Well Done on finding and sharing the link from YOUTUBE on Sadaharu FUJIMOTO Hanshi. This IS how Karate IS meant to be studied and trained - otherwise if anyone isn't prepared to undergo these hardships and necessary lessons within TRUE Karate they should seriously consider taking up badminton, or miniature golf. Because THEIR Karate is nothing more than re-enactment Karate (BullS#$t Karate) ! Again, thank you for finding this excellent example on YOUTUBE. A much needed reality check for so many whom pretend ! Osu !
  • I was directed to your site by a karate friend who saw my book "Parting the Clouds" being referenced by Lee Norris. Great website, great articles, it's so good to see people put serious effort into understanding the science behind the art, and helping others along the way. The starting point for me writing Parting the Clouds was real simple: a student asked 'how hard can we punch'? Ten years later the book was published. It's over 200 pages long and covers all of the aspects raised in the questions and comments. It was a true labor of love, or more accurarely a passion - to put the science on record for martial artists to see and understand. The web site shows quite a lot of the material and provides a way of making contact. Respectfully, Grenville.
  • Mokita
    Ive been hit by speed fighters before, and they generate little power. Same can be said for overweight slower punches that cannot generate enough directed acceleration before impact. The hardest I've been hit is by someone punching at medium speed but moving towards me with correct kime.
  • Mr. Miyagi
    I remember reading something about what Sokon Matsumura said. It was something like, it doesn't matter how powerful your punches are if you can't hit anything. So i guess you can say that having huge muscles doesn't mean anything if you can't land a punch.
    • The force of impact felt when struck by an object such as a fist or a foot is proportional to the energy of that moving object. That energy is proportional to the mass or weight of the object and is propotional to the square of its speed. In other words if you double the weight behind the strike then (all else being equal) the force felt will double. But if the speed of the strike is doubled the force and impact can increase by a factor of four. So a fighter building muscle must take care not to let it reduce the speed of a strike. And one reason kicks can be so effective is that they can be both a high speed impact and 'heavy'. There is far more to the subject but if interested check out or the book content available at Amazon. Hope this helps. Grenville
  • Bucksmallsy
    Dear ALL, Enough already of all the BullSh%# talk on physics, fluid mechanics, and other paradigms on or within the concepts of motion regarding striking (punches, kicks etc). Bottom line: Firstly, if you cant break baseball bats, concrete bricks, solid ice, wood, shale, slate, whatever is available ; the end state is that your techniques are useless, and a complete waist of time. Secondly, if you can't belt someone either with a closed, open hand, or a shin kick, elbow, knee etc (i.e. Muay Thai style / Kyokushin Karate style to name just two), and nail your opponent - again, your training is useless. I think its time that people focus on REALITY which is something Jesse is TRYING to get across to EVERYONE ! And STILL I keep reading the same rubbish over and over again ! Karate works in the real world but ONLY if one is: (a) FIGHTING A LOT (Full Contact Kumite / Ring fighting / K-1 /Muay Thai style strike fighting, and, (b) one's body is conditioned like the trunk of an Oak Tree; hence when landing a technique upon an opponent the result is BAD news for the recipient ! End State : Accuracy in technique and the ability to break anything just as Sosai Mas OYAMA once did IS what is needed to be the REAL DEAL - PERIOD ! Talking about the laws of Physics is a waist of time - the acid test IS again as the aforementioned.... ACCURACY plus the ability to BREAK SH#% means an individual is a REAL BAD ASS ! Osu !
  • Tedd O'Neill
    One key point I'd like to add. We must develope confidence in the ability to strike without causing injury to the hand. Ever observe someone put on a glove, form a fist and strike something? Or consider why we strike an object with a hammer harder than we would with out hand? The fear of injury is diminished. Form plus speed equals power but your mind will govern the amount of power that can be applied until training diligently convinces your mind otherwise. We also need to learn how to hit with "heavy hands" which is leaving all that energy in the object we struck.
    • Calaveraz
      As always a very important point is overlooked by just focusing on your own technique. You can increase the impact of any technique far beyond your own energy. How? Use your opponent! Use Hikite... Pull him into your own punch... Boom. The more mass he has the more devastating the impact will be. Forces will be added. Karate is better viewed as an elastic collision than a simple matter of movement and speed.
  • Bert Smith
    If something reaches terminal velocity, it has no acceleration as there is no change in velocity. There for no force by F=ma. It still has energy which is conserved which will be dissipated. So there is a flaw in the f=ma applied to this situation. It is still going to hurt even at a constant velocity.
    • In that case why not the momentum formula- m x v or instead why not - m x v(initial) - m x v(final)?
  • adam
    Very true. Mental is the base for everything physical. Having trained now for 10 years I can say that besides believing you have to actually practice punching or kicking hard. Not much else to it. You can train with weights, bands, or bodyweight exercises, but without the belief and the application of doing it you will have very little success.
  • Malthe
    Really helpfull! thanks!
  • Circular techniques, for some reason, generate more power than the linear ones. So if you want to break bones circular techniques would be easier right?
  • island_boy
    The fast small bullet vs. slow big rock analogy: Research 9mm vs. .45acp. The former is a smaller ~.36 cal bullet going at a high rate of speed - they tend to punch through and keep going. .45acp is a .451 cal bullet going slow, but delivers so much force (the M part of F=MxA) that it knocks you down - and you don't get back up. .45acp is the modern load equivalent of the old .45 colt black powder load, designed to take the fight out of a man (or take down a horse). So good stuff here, I think we're all on track to getting more power in our punches. Keep up the great discussion!
  • Bucksmallsy
    Ohayô gozaimasu Everyone, Osu ! Thought you may find this article of interest. Dômo arigatou gozaimashita Osu !
  • Carlos Neri
    I got a question about kime. When we suddenly stop our punch by contracting the muscles, arent we slowing down and hitting with less speed and so with less force?
  • Excellent article, simple but well laid out. I would mention something about conditioning as well. There is the mental side but if the physical conditioning is not there, or not perceived it will limit the final goals. It takes time and persistence to gain this conditioning.
  • Sean
    During the wrist snap just before the end of say a jodan zuki would it be possible to add more force by turning your fist so that your thumb is facing almost straight downwards instead of horizontally adding an extra 90° to the wrist snap, or do we risk muscle or ligament tear by doing this?
  • Jackie
    But you need STRONG muscles to do it .... DON'T You ?!!
  • Colin
    Hi all, I read through the good stuff in the comments but I was struggling to piece the physics together to give a complete picture of how karate punch maximises impact damage. I came across this article which I think explains things very succinctly. Volume 1 JOURNAL OF HOW THINGS WORK Fall, 1999 THE PHYSICS OF KARATE STRIKES JON CHANANIE University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903 The poor trees don't stand a chance .....
  • Hi Jesse Enkamp, I am an experienced Karate fighter but I wanted to increase the strength of my punch, so with your blog, I got the knowledge, how to improve my punch strength. Thank you for this article and please keep posting articles like this.
  • Giuseppe
    Hello to everyone? Now we know how make a punch more powerful, ok but what the correct techiniche a boxe style punch, Kung fu style with punch Who start from the hip?
  • Axel Knieps
    What about George Foreman? He hit much harder than Muhammad Ali, but had much slower hands and in their primes nearly the same weight than Ali. Must be a question of technique and timing too. Very mysterious.

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