For the maximum power of a punch to be transferred to the target, the arm must be aligned properly. Try this experiment. Have a partner perform a basic middle punch at your midsection and hold it there. Then put your hands around the puncher's shoulders and pull the puncher's fist into your abdomen. Usually the person's elbow will bend outward and start to collapse. This means the elbow was positioned in a way that all the power of a punch may not have been transmitted into the target, but instead, some of it was absorbed by the weak elbow. Usually this is because the elbow was pointing outward to the side. If the elbow is rotated slightly downward, the arm is much stronger.
At first, it feels unnatural to stop the elbow in this position; however, with practice it will feel more natural. To position the elbow this way in a punch, execute a vertical punch and then rotate your fist into a traditional punch position being careful to keep you elbow in place. Now try the above experiment with the elbow rotated downward. It does not bend as it did in the first experiment.
Besides more power, this elbow position has a secondary advantage. It protects the elbow from an attack from the side that may hyperextend it.
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