Rear Hand Straight Punch or Cross

Ask an untrained person to throw a punch and this (probably a crude version of this!) is what you’d get.

Just like throwing a ball, you set-up with your punching hand to the rear so as recruit as much help from the rest of the body as you can. All of this body torque and the distance that the glove travels means that the opponent, unlike when a jab is coming their way, has a relatively long time to see the early stages of the punch building before the glove reaches him or her.  For this reason it is normally most effectively thrown in a combination after another, distracting punch (commonly a jab).

Please Note: I’m a southpaw (left handed) so if you write or throw a ball with your right hand stand with your dominant hand (right) to the rear and left foot forwards

Like the other punches there are a variety of subtle versions of the cross that can be thrown depending on the defensive weaknesses or habits of the opponent as well as the height, reach and strengths of the person throwing the punch but we’ll examine the straight, “down the pipe”, rear hand shot.

Many coaches recommend that the first action of the punch be a pushing-off from the floor with the punching-side foot and although this is what happens this can be misleading information. Rather than a lunge action that a straightening of the rear leg would cause you are looking to purely use the leg to facilitate a swivel of the hips roughly 90 degrees towards the opponent. So although you are indeed pushing off the floor with your rear foot you keep the leg bent and transfer the energy into the twisting of the hip and ultimately the shoulders and arm after that. To use an analogy from other sports you are aiming to replicate a golf swing rather than a javelin throw with your body, the arm action, of course, is very different.

  • Simultaneously tense your core and exhale sharply through your nose whilst throwing the punch, this will help improve speed and power.
  • Push from rear foot to help initiate an approximate 90 degree hip rotation towards the target avoiding excessive forwards lean.
  • Rotate shoulders beyond the new position of the hips in the same rotational direction.
  • From your tight defensive guard fire your glove towards the target with good “snap” landing with the palm towards the floor and your arm extended to its fullest without overextending and damaging the elbow joint.
  • Only clench the fist moments before impact to aid speed and reduce fatigue.
  • Retract the glove to the defensive guard position as quickly as possible and return to your original stance.

Disguise and the reduction of telegraphing is, as it is with every punch, a very important contributing factor to success when landing on an opponent so practice in front of a mirror to iron out visual cues from your technique is highly recommended. Sacrificing a bit of power for more disguise would always be the order of the day. Concentrate on perfecting balance, reducing any loading-up and returning to your defensive stance and guard as quickly as you can after throwing.