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Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu

Should You Tighten Your Fist in Shadow Boxing?

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A patron has asked me whether it's "better" to clench the fist at the end of strikes (like Sagat, Chatchai) or to keep the hands loose all the time (Napapol/"Neung", Yodkhunpon), with the caveat being in shadowboxing.

There are different reasons to do each and "better" depends on a few factors as well. Staying loose in shadow is a huge part of that process, as a training tool. So relaxing the hands all the time is great. However, if you're on the beginner-to-intermediate emd of the experience scale, you likely want to do in shadow what you'll be doing on the bag, pads, sparring and fighting, which is tensing just before impact. Muscle memory, as well as protecting your hand is really important. 

The loose hand strike, hittong just with the knuckles and kind of scraoing down as Neung does is really advanced stuff. It's beautiful, it's relaxed, it f***ing hurts... but until you have the muscle memory and accuracy to make that method functional, you're likely to hurt yourself. And if you train total relaxation in shadow and then have to clemch to actually hit a target, you're training two tracks.

So, I'd say start with the focus on relaxation but tense on the ends of strikes until you have the experience and accuracy to use the utterly relaxed method.

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Here is Sylvie's quick vlog on "how to punch with a loose hand":



You can also study Neung's boxing style in the Muay Thai Library:

#71 Napapol Giatsakchokchai - Powerful Boxing For Muay Thai (81 min) watch it here 

Nothing is a better match than world class boxing added to fundamentally sound Muay Thai. Napadol was one of the best western boxers in all of Thailand, a WBC champion, and he teaches a gorgeous, powerful boxer's technique that is easily married to Muay Thai. 

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Also important, the Yodkhunpon shadowboxing session:

#104 Yodkhunpon Sittraipum - The Art of Shadowboxing (64 min) watch it here

Some have said this is one of the favorite sessions in all the Library. It's very rare to get detailed instruction and advice on How to Shadowboxing, let alone from a great fighter fo the past. This is a FULL hour of how to shadowbox, learn with me as I learn from The Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches Yodkhunpon, the greatest Elbow Fighter in Thai history.

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Clenching the fists tightly all the time will cause excessive tension in the arms, slow down punch speed and tire the arms out prematurely.

Boxers are taught to keep their hands lightly clenched and only clench tight when the punch makes impact on the target

A lot of Punching Power is derived from the SPEED of the Punch, which will multiply the impact force of the punch upon contact with the target - A slow punch is usually a weaker punch.

Also keeping the hands loose makes it easier to block/slap down an opponent’s punches.

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