How To Throw An Uppercut In Self-Defense


Using An Uppercut For Self-Defense

The uppercut is a really great punch because it comes from down low and has incredible power and force behind it that can cause a lot of damage. Some people talk about “the lost art of the uppercut” because many people fail to take advantage of this devastating punch as often as they should.

For the same reasons it is so effective in boxing, the uppercut is also great to use in self-defense, not only because of the immense force behind it but also because it travels from outside the range of your opponent’s vision making it more difficult to see it coming.

Step 1: Be Sure To Hit With Your Whole Body

As with all punches, you need to have proper technique. To throw the uppercut, you are going to be using your hips and legs to get a good amount of power behind your strike. So, the first thing to do when throwing this punch is to drop your body weight by slightly squatting down.

Next, lift your arm up and use your hips to twist. This is the key motion to the whole punch: bend your knees, lift by driving the legs, and twist the hips. The majority of the power in this punch comes from your legs driving from the floor and your hips twisting.

A good analogy is shoveling dirt. That digging motion of dropping, lifting, and twisting as you throw the dirt aside is what you do when you throw the uppercut.

Step 2: Protect Your Face, Twist, and Drive Upwards

Also, never drop your hand below your waist to throw the uppercut, because dropping your fist exposes your face to get hit. You will see a lot of untrained people throwing this punch in this way, but this telegraphs the strike to the opponent and exposes their own face to a counterstrike.

Also, always keep your other hand up by your face. If you are throwing an uppercut with one hand and the other is just dropped by your side, you are going to get punched in the face. So, make sure you always have one hand up when you are throwing any kind of punch.

You can use the uppercut to hit straight up the chin or at a forty-five degree angle into the body. It doesn’t make a difference in what you are hitting, and either one will work very well.

Avoid The Most Common Mistake When Throwing The Uppercut

The most common error beginners make when throwing the uppercut is that they use their arms only, flailing up from the elbows. This is a very weak way to punch.

Remember, the strength of the uppercut comes from the legs and the whole body driving upwards. To uppercut properly the formula is this: BEND YOUR KNEES, LIFT, AND TWIST

Simply drop your legs, use your hips to get a good twist as you drive your fist upward or in at a forty-five degree angle. Always keep the other hand up for protection.

By following these rules you’ll be able to effectively use an uppercut in self-defense.


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Father of eight, Dr. Scott Sullivan is the chief instructor at Bam Bam Martial Arts in Houston, TX. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and is a seasoned martial arts instructor with over 30 years of experience. A firm believer that martial arts really does help people become more fit, safe, and happy, he remains vigilant about helping people improve their lives through martial arts.