The secret of One-inch Punch and how to do it!

The one inch punch is a martial art technique, was once performed by Bruce Lee at Long Beach in the year 1964 and gained Lee fame.

We are not Lee and we may not have that Hulk’s power to actually do it in any way. However, it is not difficult to execute the technique if you learn the basic elements of how it works.

I feel quite guilty to walk you through such unethical trick, but a technique is still a technique and if it looks good in both form and movements, why shouldn’t we take a look at it?


The performer first straighten the arm, extend the palm to reach the opponent, while the opponent stands in a ready stance with both legs are shoulder-wide. Then, slowly withdraw the fist back an inch or two (as you see in the clip, the further you pull back the fist, the more impressive it looks to the naked eyes). Right at that very moment, quickly execute a punch, without any reinforcement, hit the target and sends the opponent flying all the way back.

The question here is, the opponent who gets hit did not collapse in pain right at where he stands, instead being pushed back, thus this is a pushing technique, not a punch itself!

If you notice in a MMA fight, we likely to see a knockout where the one who gets hit hard simply falls flat. Martial Arts movies were the source of the fancy moves where, when a person is receiving a strong blow, he flies.

Of course, before you’d push something, it is completely unnecessary to withdraw the hand back, however, to gain the trust of the audience it’s better to show them what they want. Another trick that was applied in conjunction with the technique is pushing the person solar plexus. The pain instantly cause the opponent to ‘feel’ that he is being hit by a fist.

That was the overall of how such one inch punch is executed, now let’s look at the details.

If you pay attention to the motion of impact, the performer would gently apply a small force just enough to off balance the opponent which it makes him stands on his heels, as the result the pushing technique follows up much more successfully.

In the big picture, we would understand that by extending our hand to the opponent body, we create a point where the opponent naturally tries to lean forward against the force from our simple touch. Hence, that makes his center of mass falls into to the front, or on the toes specifically. When he is in this position, isn’t it easier to swing him backward? The importance of this entire work is to make the audience believes these are just some adjustments you are making to prepare for your powerful punch, what really being done is only you to know and your opponent to feel.

Another method to make the opponent stands on his toes is to slightly bend your wrist after the touch, consequently the elbow will slightly bend itself. During executing the technique, we use the power generated from the bent elbow and wrist.

Finally, we need to put a chair in the back. Why? You obviously say, wahaha to keep the loser from being knocked mile away. What if so, then that is exactly what the trick wants you to believe in! In the situation the ‘loser’ is not flying away but while he was backing off from the push, he quickly gains balance on his feet again? Now you would fail, your technique looks like 2 cents show. Therefore you must have something on the way to stop him from getting the balance back, a chair is the perfect choice (banana skin in this case, is not so convincing).

In the end, I’d want to note some importance about the execution:
– The force you gain to push is the force that coming from the back leg through the abdomen and then from the front leg.
– The hip turn for a good body dynamic (something I keeps getting reminded by my Sensei Hardman 😀 , useful hint )
– The bent and straighten position of the spine (I learn this from a Karate kata called Seisan).
– The close and open of the chest, or your breathing.

Your hand, in this situation, only works at the delivery tool of such force you have gathered internally.

There, you have learnt another (bad) kungfu trick 😛 , but sometimes you should know that there are genuine masters who have true ability to perform these kinds of technique with ease, Taijiquan Pushing Hands technique for example.

(Thanks for additional information from Nguyễn Quí Jacques and Dufresne Thomas, Illustrations are found from the WWW)

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