Hook Clinic (diary entry)


Tuesday night’s second lesson was a clinic on the hook punch taught to an excellent martial arts teacher in Denmark. We looked at hand preferences and positioning as well as self-defence and sport applications.

Hand positioning:

There are personal preferences and also tactical considerations. Amateur boxers who throw long hooks tend to do so with their thumb at a horizontal angle to avoid getting reprimanded for slapping. Close hooks are nearly always best thrown using a vertical fist due to the ergonomics of the action. The mid-range hook is more about personal preference. In self-defence an open hand can be used in a hook to create a power slap.

Close range hook/shovel hook/smash punch

Many boxers choose to throw their short range hook in the same position as a shovel, which is typically a technique aimed at the liver or spleen. When thrown to the head it resembles Donavan “Razor” Ruddock’s smash punch. This was put into a jab/cross/step or slip right set up, exposing the right side of the opponent.


Here we used different variations on the hand positioning and also put it into basic combinations.

Rear hooks

Some boxing gyms don’t teach this in outside boxing due to the potential to telegraph. However, it is a common Muay Thai technique and we used a few different combination variations to pair it with the rear round kick.

Long range hook/straight arm hook/jabbing hook

Delivered like a jab that hooks at the last moment, this punch can be disguised using the flicker jab.

Gazelle Punch

We used a cross to set up this dramatic punch, which involves jumping or lunging forward.


We looked two self-defence versions of the hook. First there was the rear power slap typically thrown from an exclamation posture or a natural fence position. With a distracting artifice in the set-up, this shot allows for a lot of torque, pivot and acceleration. Then there was the John “Awesome” Anderson close-range lead hook, which used a rear hand set-up to load the punch.

Restrictive Training

We used the T-Rex set-up by pinning focus mitts to our ribs whilst leading with the hands to generate more speed. We also isolated the hook with the back of the hand against a wall and hooking from that position.

The lesson was finished using the intense technique/speed/power x 2 routine.


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