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Internal Penetrating Punch

Feb 28, 2011 at LA Boxing of Florham Park, NJ

I have trained with many people over the years and have held a heavy punch shield for many during practice. I’ve had people as big as 6’4’’ over 300lbs hit me full force, so I thought I knew what a powerful punch was, but that was before I felt Sifu Chow’s punch.

We have all heard of the one-inch punch that was popularized by Bruce Lee. For those who haven’t, it’s a punch that’s thrown with explosive force at very close distances, from 0 to 6 inches. There are also many videos of various people performing the one-inch punch. In these videos, we often see the person being punched fall back many feet because of the power of the punch. It looks very impressive to see someone flying back so far after being hit by a short punch. However, these demonstrations were made to wow the audience. I have experienced the penetrating force of a real one-inch punch and can tell you that a true one-inch punch would not push someone back many inches.

It wasn’t until I became a student of Sifu Chow did I learn what true explosive power really is. From day one, Sifu Chow emphasized the proper use of internal and external energy. He constantly tells his students to relax the body especially shoulders; first, to not waste energy when it’s not needed; second, to give way to force; and finally, one has to be relaxed to generate explosive penetrating whipping force.

During a recent class, I wanted to show Sifu Chow my chain punch. Sifu held a punch shield against his chest and let me to unload on it with full force punches. Although I fired my chain punches like a machine gun as hard and fast as I could, Sifu said my punches were ineffective. All I did was push him back, use a lot of muscle, and waste a lot of energy. I failed to penetrate the punch shield. He said there is no reason to waste so much energy and be ineffective when sometimes one punch thrown correctly is all you need.

Sifu asked me to hold the punch shield so that he can show the class the correct way to throw a punch. Sifu relaxed and threw his punch from a short distance. Unlike the videos, I did not back up at all. After the impact of his punch, I stood there frozen for about two seconds. I was in shock. My brain could not process what just happened. It took about two full seconds for me to realize the intense pain from inside my chest underneath my right pectoral muscle. I then dropped the punch shield and went down on one knee holding the right side of my chest.

March 17, 2011

The deep soreness is still there a couple of weeks after the punch. It has been difficult to exercise or breathe deeply with pain, so I consulted with my brother, a medical doctor. He has determined that it is a fractured rib. Sifu did not use full force and the punch still managed to penetrate 4” of padding and my pectoral muscle to crack my rib. Such a penetrating punch to an organ would cause major internal injuries. Sifu apologized, as he did not intend to cause such an injury. Although I did not enjoy the pain, I would have never really understood what true penetrating force was without having experienced it.

Sifu always says, “You don’t want to push the refrigerator but just to dent it.” My chain punches pushed Sifu back. All those one-inch punch videos show people being pushed back. Sifu did not push me back. I did not move back at all when he hit me. Instead, Sifu dented me. He also explained he was using the core (Don Tien) to generate the internal power. That generating power in western sports is called “kinetic chain”.

Benjamin Chiang