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Breakdown: What Punches Should You Start with as Complete Beginner Without Any Experience in Fighting, MMA, Boxing

Fighting, Training
October 19, 2023

"As a beginner without any prior experience in punching - what should you focus on?"

Fundamentals are your foundation. Everything gets built on top. Weak foundation, weak execution.

Every beginner starts with the fundamentals and every high level fighter comes back to drill the fundamentals.

Fundamentals are never flashy and they usually don't make the highlights. But it's what makes the highlight happen.

You can always rely on fundamentals to save you and to give you the win.

As a beginner, if you skip the fundamentals then you'll have a hard time in any fight.

Remember: If you lack the proper foundation, you'll get pieced apart by someone who has better fundamentals than you.

In this post I will focus on striking but the principles covered will apply to other fighting disciplines.

Video Breakdown

Which Punches to Start With? The Complexity of Striking

Let me give you the complete list of 11 punches you will need to learn to throw:

  • Jab Head
  • Jab Body
  • Cross Head
  • Cross Body
  • Lead Hook Head
  • Lead Hook Body
  • Rear Hook Head
  • Rear Hook Body
  • Lead Uppercut
  • Rear Uppercut
  • Overhand

These are just punches and it doesn't include punch combinations, footwork or head movement. And that's not even mentioning any elbows, kicks, knees, throws, takedowns or submissions..

Each of these punches alone requires specific body mechanics to execute them with speed and power.

To a beginner, this is already a lot. You'll never be more overwhelmed than when you are learning how to strike.

So how do you overcome this?

Two word: isolate and simplify.

You need to isolate on the few punches and learn them first before introducing any additional strikes as well as more complex movements such as punching with footwork and head movement.

You should not learn all 11 different punches while also integrating footwork and head movement. That is way too much for a beginner and you will make a lot of mistakes and ensure that none of these strikes get drilled into your muscle memory.

You only need 4 punches to begin with.

  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Lead Hook
  • Rear Uppercut

Focus on throwing all these to the head. When you begin to switch levels and go to the body that adds another element and another transition you don't want to incorporate yet. You can include body shots later.

As a beginner, stick with these four punches for few months. Focus on correct body mechanics and drilling to throw with speed and power.

These four punches also give you many combinations to chain together. 2-punch, 3-punch and 4-punch combos.

You will become a dangerous striker if you master these four punches and various punch combinations.

Here are some of the fundamental combos that use the 4 fundamental strikes:

  • 1 Punch Combos: Jabs
  • 2 Punch Combos: Jab > Cross, Cross > Lead Hook, Lead Hook > Rear Uppercut
  • 3 Punch Combos: Jab > Cross > Lead Hook, Cross > Lead Hook > Rear Uppercut
  • 4 Punch Combo: Jab > Cross > Lead Hook > Rear Uppercut

These combinations are all from only 4 fundamental strikes. That's already plenty to start with.

You also want to avoid adding any footwork or head movement, this will come later too.

Now you want to introduce a little bit of footwork because you're going to be entering into striking range from outside. So it's essential you'll need to move into that striking range utilize some footwork such as the step-in or shuffle forward and shuffle back.

But in terms of incorporating more advanced footwork such as moving with striking, lateral movement or pivots - hold off on that at first. Remember focus on the four fundamental strikes and their combinations first.


So in summary, focus on the basics and get really good with them. The basics will save you, they will make  you and lack of them will get you beat.

Focus on the four fundamental strikes to the head: jab, cross, lead hook and rear uppercut.

Start drilling these individually. Then put them into the combinations listed above.

Introduce simple footwork: step in and out, shuffle forward and back.

Master these essentials first before introducing the additional 7 strikes: body jab, body cross, body lead hook, rear body and head hook, lead uppercut and overhand.

Fundamental Four

To get started, use this instructional course "Fundamental Four" I created. It will show you how to throw 4 essential strikes and 4 essential combinations every fighter needs to know to fight. I've put in everything I know about these four strikes and four combinations that I've drilled for over two decades. Start with this...

Fight Training From Home Programs/Courses

Fight Training From Home Programs/Courses

Whether you are a professional or a beginner, you'll be spending majority of your life training solo (from home or on the road). Working on technique, drilling, developing strength and cardio. I've been training all my life. Here are some of the best programs and courses to start or continue fight training from home.


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Program: Sprawl & Brawl Fight Cardio

Sprawl and Brawl: Solo Fight Cardio Training Program

Course: Fundamental Four

Fundamental Four: The Essential 4 Punches Every Fighter Needs to Master

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