Martial Arts Self Defense: Most Powerful and Effective Striking

When you strike you want to use body parts to generate power and make your strikes effective. The purpose of having effective and hard-hitting strikes is to end the fight; the quicker it’s over, the better off you are.

As usual, my approach here is scientific. Physics and geometry to a great extent determines how effective and strong your strikes are.

What it boils down to is body mechanics and body alignment and position. You have to be in range and use the correct angle to strike effectively. You have to follow rules of motion to generate power.

Let’s break it down.


Rule number one in Kenpo is Establish Your Base. Your strike is going to need support to be able to hit hard; you need stability. It’s a fact.

Economical Motion

If the attacker sees it coming, you probably won’t hit your mark. You can’t waste motion or chamber, and you would be better off using obscure zones so that the adversary doesn’t even see the hit coming. Economical motion equal speed.


Speed, by the way, is part of what gives your strikes power. You have to have mass and speed to generate power. Plain and simple.

Back-up Mass

As stated, mass is part of what gives those hits umph. You have to have your weight behind that punch and not going a different direction.


Turn your hips into it. If you’re spinning, use that spin to gain velocity for the kick or punch. Simple physics. It’s elementary.

Man on right delivers a punch to the face.


Simply put, if the weapon only travels a couple inches it’s not going to hit hard. You want to hit hard. You want to end this violent confrontation as soon as possible. Landing ineffective weak blows will waste time and energy. Make it count. Make it major.


Correct alignment of your body in its stance and hitting the opponent square is crucial. You don’t want your blow glancing off of him and having no effect at all. Again, you will have wasted energy, movement and time and usually end up at square one still dealing with the problem. More important, put him out of alignment, keep yourself in alignment and capitalize on both. Use the correct angles for the correct effects, and know the reasons why. Sometimes you might use an angle that deflects rather than hit square, for instance in clawing the eyes, but you should know why. Knowing why will let the lesson sink in and you will then know what you’re doing.

Defender delivers a punch to his opponent’s solar plexus, sternum or abdomen.

It is important to understand how the body works, what angles are effective for ensuring your strikes land correctly and what generates power for those strikes. You want your actions to get the job done as quickly and efficiently and effectively as possible.

This video shows a good example of using proper body mechanics and alignment/angle, with the classic, basic and effective boxing combination of a jab, cross and a hook.

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