Speed in fighting depends not just on your hands and feet in swiftness.. But other attributes such as nontelegraphic moves and awareness. Speed in fighting is to hit your foe without yourself being hit. This can only be done by hours of practice and being completely fit. Speed in fighting is no good without the power that goes with it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How to do the One Inch Punch!

The concept of the One Inch Punch was introduced to Western Society by Bruce Lee. This technique, however, was not invented by Lee. Although he performed it flawlessly and showed the world how powerful the human form could be when issuing power, he never had a chance to learn the "Chum Kiu" of Wing Chun; therefore never getting the traditional stance of the form correct. However, Lee was still able to perfect his One Inch Punch, without needing a traditional stance. The concept behind the generation of power required is what he understood and applied perfectly, subsequently showing the entire world.

Fa Jin - The Base of Power

The literal meaning of Fa Jin is "Release of Engery". It is considered an "Internal" kind of power, as opposed to muscular strength. It has got a lot to do with the concept of "Chi". But that part of the story is not relevant here. It mostly has to do with staying relaxed and creating a fluid, whip-like motion that doesn’t "telegraph". It doesn’t rely on muscle power, but a kind of sudden, "explosive" force that the opponent can’t brace himself for. He has been thrown off-balance before he realized something happened. It leaves him quite shocked.

Now what is it? We all know what it feels like when we have to sneeze uncontrollably. Or when we are startled so bad that our hair in our necks stand on end and you feel this "electrical" tingling in our spine. Now that is natural Fa Jing! It has got something to do with that same uncontrollable force that’s unleashed while you’re sneezing. You can’t keep your eyes open, no matter how hard you try. That is how close I can can come to describing the essence of Fa Jing for you.

The "Internal Secret"

It is one of the major secrets of the "Internal" styles (like Bagua Zhang, Xinyi Quan, Yi Quan, Tai Chi Quan and Wing Chun). This is because it is their substitute for muscular strength. You can fill a library with the books that are published on the subject in Chinese alone. When one would study with a traditional "Internal" style teacher, one would learn all about the style for eleven years or so. If, after this period, one was considered trustworthy, it was only then that one was first learning about putting the power in your technique by applying Fa Jin!

There are many ways to generate Fa Jin. In Tai Chi Quan it is generated by shaking the waist violently. In Wing Chun it is derived from the ground. A smaller amount of Fa Jin can be generated from the wrist. But in Wing Chun the body is locked together in order to move like a single unit. The key here is relaxation. Without relaxation one can never generate Fa Jin

Attempt the Following:

Hold your hand horizontally, palm down, the fingers hanging down. Then make a SUDDEN punching-movement. The hand should snap into a fist by itself from the sudden speed. The arm and hand should stay relaxed at all times. Also when the hand is already clenched into a fist. Remember to NEVER tighten up! Relaxation and the suddenness of the movements are major ingredients in the effectiveness of Fa Jin. The opponent can’t prepare himself for it, can’t "brace himself", so to speak. That is why it is called "explosive power" and also "release power". It can be applied to free yourself from holds, to pull an opponent off balance, for pushing, palm strikes and punches of Bruce Lee’s famous "one inch punch" variety.

The Mechanics

The Wing Chun "Fatshaan Kuen" punching method is performed with the elbow down. Hence, we strike with a vertical fist. By tilting the fist slightly upward at the moment of impact, we "launch" the knuckles of the little and ring fingers, with a short "jolting" movement, into the target. Do not do this prior to actually having contacted the target. At the moment of impact, the arm should not be fully stretched. First stretch your arm after actual contact with the target is made and at the same time you "launch" your knuckles in an upward arc into it. At the same time, use your Wing Chun footwork to swivel. This gives you a few inches extra arm length. Practice until you can hit without stopping at the surface, going through it! The conventional way of hitting disperses the force over the surface of the target, while hitting INTO the target creates a shock-wave that damages the inside. It is of the utmost importance that you stay relaxed at all times. This doesn’t just enhance the speed of the punch, but it also prohibits "telegraphing". Most importantly it makes your arm into a whip-like structure through which the Fa Jin (internal explosive power) can travel freely. Explode into a sudden movement that goes from zero to ... within a fraction of a second.

The "One Inch Punch" Exercise

Face the punching bag squarely in a narrow horse stance, a Wing Chun basic stance. Measure the correct distance by placing your fist against the punching bag. If you can already stretch your arm to the full, your distance is too great. Your arm should be slightly bent. Hit the bag in a relaxed fashion, without reverting to muscle power. Switch in. At the same time stretch your arm and hit with the lower knuckles going upward and generate a short, shocking force coming from the ground. Try to hit into the target without pushing.


In practical application, only use this technique when you are sure to hit the target. Once you are able to generate Fa Jin yourself by practicing exercises as described above you will begin to understand it more and you will find different ways to apply it. You can use the principle in palm strikes too, but be forewarned; this technique can be fatal. It can cause instant heart-failure and even rupture a person’s aorta.


Once you have learned the Fa Jin Punch, it is fun to demonstrate it like Bruce Lee did. Have someone holding a telephone book at the height of his solar plexus (breast bone). Now apply the Fa Jin Punch through the phone book, but never at full capacity!


The One Inch Punch SHOULD in fact be a "NO INCH PUNCH" ("One Inch is already too far away"). That is how what it was originally intended. Do not forget it is so much older than Bruce Lee. The technique is typical for the Nei jia (Internal) styles of Kung Fu like Tai Chi Quan and Wing Chun. There is a long version that throws someone off their feet or can be felt through a line of approximately eight people or so. There is also a higher level version, the Short- Fa Jin. The long version throws a person over an amazing distance, the short version drops him where he stands.


Anonymous said...

The thing is The One Inch Punch is an old thing from before Bruce. Bruce's version uses the hips to generate the power. However in Ving/Wing Tsun the original one inch punch power comes from practising biu tze. Its down to a elastic force you build up through training(that and a good stance).

Anonymous said...

Ok article, but you didn't go into detail how to actually do it

Anonymous said...

^ The guy above is right. It's in fact more of an explanation behind the concept. Perhaps enhancing more how the How then the Why would be better. Very, very good article on the OIP though.

Anonymous said...

well put

Anonymous said...

speed can be good if you got technique.
but the battle will be long

Anonymous said...

I once experienced the long fa jin on myself. My sifu put his hands on my hip and suddenly I found myself about 5ft away of were I believed to stand and dashed against the wall.

It was quite impressive, I must say.

Anonymous said...

omg I thought the article was pretty decent, but the comments here are the real gem!

Anonymous said...

i like ur thinking...still too much though!