Which Martial Art Has the Best Punches? 

Punches have always been a primary tool in unarmed combat and this is reflected in their inclusion in so many martial arts disciplines. We all know what a punch is and that it is important for fighting, but I wanted to figure out which martial art discipline does punching the best.

Of all the martial arts, boxing does the best job of developing punching power and proficiency. Boxing is tightly focused on punching and athletes spend all their training time around building good punches.

Let’s explore some of the punching techniques from a variety of martial arts to see how they do it and ultimately see why certain martial arts just do punching techniques better.

Is Muay Thai Good for Punches?

Muay Thai is a well-rounded martial art excellent for training effective punches. ‘Muay’ is literally ‘boxing’ in the Thai language. Muay Thai translates to ‘Thai boxing.’ Punching is a fundamental skill for Muay Thai, even though it is most known for effective striking in kicks, knees, and elbows.

Some of the most common punching techniques used in Muay Thai include the following:

  • Straight rear punch
  • A jab from a straight lead punch
  • Spinning back fist
  • Overhead punch
  • Uppercuts and hook

Muay Thai fighters follow all of the basic foundations to build powerful punches by managing their footwork and transferring force through effective rotation of their hips and shoulders. Muay Thai fighters can have incredibly powerful and versatile punching techniques.

However, as a caveat, Muay Thai has far more possible techniques and overall combat situations throughout the course of a fight, so punching is not an isolated skill that gets all of the attention, so an average Muay Thai fighter would not have better punches than an average boxer since they must split training time between clinches, knees, elbows, and kicks that are not present in western boxing.

How Powerful Is a Muay Thai Punch?

A Muay Thai punch is quite powerful. In Muay Thai, punches are an important part of a fighter’s arsenal but are not the only weapon that they can use. Punches are frequently used to set up other Muay Thai techniques, but it is not uncommon to see knockouts from Muay Thai punches.

Muay Thai fighters often use their punches to set up or distract their opponents and go for more devastating strikes after setting up a situation in which their opponent will have difficulty evading their more powerful techniques, which can also be a different punch with more knockout power like a hook, uppercut, or straight punch.

Are Kung Fu Fighters Trained To Give Best Punches?

Kung Fu fighters are trained in punching. Generally speaking, Kung Fu is a self-defense-focused martial art that aims to build an overall skill set that builds punching alongside kicks and throws. The guiding principle of Kung Fu is to evade and defend oneself not land the most devastating strikes.

Unlike Muay Thai and MMA, which are comfortable with long-range kicks, Kung Fu martial artists attack from close range. Kung Fu emphasizes equilibrium and body balance, and not maximal power output, preferring to land many smaller strikes over more powerful strikes.

Wing Chun, which is the most popular modern Kung Fu discipline, does not train fighters to deliver explosive hits. Instead, it creates relaxation when performing such punch techniques. For instance, due to excessive muscle contraction — which results in reduced strength and speed of stroke — Wing Chun Kung Fu reiterates relaxation to slow energy consumption and avoid fatigue.

In general, modern Kung Fu also emphasizes self-defense and retreat over creating the best striking power aiming toward knockouts. Due to this emphasis, Kung Fu is not going to have the best overall punching efficiency because it runs counter to the overall goals of the discipline in modern times.

Does Wing Chun Kung Fu Punch Hard?

Wing Chun Kung Fu does not emphasize punching hard or more powerfully but instead emphasizes swift controlled punching techniques. Unlike many other martial arts, Wing Chun does not invest time in creating maximal force output in punching but instead focuses on swiftness and precision.

However, some Kung Fu amateurs believe punches in the art could create a huge impact, for instance, if it’s a swift succession of 3-5 punches. This can cause damage in a fight situation, but will not create knockout situations in most cases.

Punches in Wing Chun can be swift and coupled with other techniques like kicks and throws. They are really used as self-defense skills and as a way to discourage opponents and pull back from a fighting situation.

Does Karate Teach Punching?

Karate fighters are trained to punch well. Karate has even seen success in MMA contexts, which shows that the techniques have been stress tested in combat sports. Karatekas are trained to seek out knockout punch power since their aim is to incapacitate their opponent as quickly as possible.

Karate punches can be divided into five training stages as follows:

  1. Basic punches. This includes the jab punch, straight punch, lunge punch, reverse punch, and hook punch.
  2. Advanced punches. The advanced punch includes the inverted punch, rising punch, roundhouse punch, vertical punch, and block punch.
  3. Double-hand punches. These are the double-hand punch, mountain punch, blow punch, combined or U-punch, parallel punch and scissors punch.
  4. Fore-knuckle punches. This entails the one-knuckle fist, middle finger one-knuckle fist and flat fist. 
  5. Spear-head punches. This involves the one and two-finger spear-head, vertical spear-head and flat spear-head. Spear-head involves the thrusting motion created by the tip of the fingers.

For the most part, the simpler basic punching techniques that are shared with boxing are often the most effective tools in the Karate punching skill set.

Are Karate Punches Powerful?

In general, the quicker you can accelerate and transfer the force from your mass into your target, the more powerful the punch. A Karateka will usually lean toward building competency in a few punching techniques in order to maximize their effectiveness at those techniques.

Karate punches are fairly powerful. They are comparable to boxing in many ways, but since boxing is completely specialized in punching skills, boxing is typically better for generating more powerful blows.

Do Boxers Have the Best Punches?

Boxers have the best punching skills. Boxers spend far more time developing their punching skills and timing than basically every other combat sport or martial art due to the specificity of the sport.

Research has shown that boxers deliver the most force in a single punch. Additionally, boxers focus on delivering knockout punches through practiced accurate and powerful punching combinations.

Check out Is Boxing Hard To Learn? if you are curious about boxing and want more information about how difficult it is to learn.

Do Boxers Punch Harder?

Boxers have the most powerful punches. Boxers spend far more time developing punching skills and often work on building specific training to deliver the most powerful punches possible, up to 2,500N for an amateur boxer. This output is at least 10-35% better than the force delivered by MMA fighters.

An average ‘elite’ boxer could punch between the range of 700-800 psi, which is way higher than the punch pressure of the average person who can only hit around 150 psi.

Rumors have it that Mike Tyson, the hardest-hitter overall in boxing history, could hit a punch at about 1,800 psi. This powerful punch was similar to the force behind the bite of an African hippo.

Karate Punches vs. Boxing Punches

Since Karate and Boxing are both popular martial arts it is natural to want to compare the two. Punching techniques exist in both martial arts, but ultimately boxers, on average, will deliver the best punches.

Here are some of the major differences between Karate and Boxing in terms of punching:

  1. Use of Gloves: boxers tend to use heavy gloves, whereas karatekas will use bare hands, this changes a lot about the way somebody would approach throwing power punches, with gloved fighters preferring to throw more powerful strikes.
  2. Different Stances: Karate fighters use a blades stance that does not allow maximal power because weight is not as centered for optimal power output through rotation. Boxing has a more square stance that is better for punching.
  3. Power Output: boxers focus on delivering maximal power when they throw their punches because knockouts are a primary goal of the sport. This results in boxers sometimes being able to throw punches with up to twice the force of a Karate fighter.
  4. Training Focus & Specificity: due to the focus on the combat sports side of boxing, an average boxer will do a lot more training punching heavy bags or sparring than an average Karateka. This makes their punches more trained and powerful.

How Hard Do MMA Fighters Punch?

MMA fighters often have a strong striking background and a professional MMA heavyweight punch can deliver devastating punches. Like most martial arts that include more than just punching, they will not be specialized in delivering only punches, so they might not have the same power they would if they were a boxer.

However, fighters in MMA know how to take advantage of power, speed and timing to deliver devastating punches in MMA fights. Fighters need a strong background in boxing and kickboxing to succeed in the higher levels of MMA and train boxing skills directly, so they can sometimes rival pure boxing in power punching abilities.

What Is the Strongest Punching Technique?

The strongest punching technique is a perfectly timed uppercut. The uppercut punch technique is used in many striking disciplines and is commonly used in boxing and MMA. Timing the upward moving punches alongside your opponent dropping their head creates a devastating force output.

The uppercut is one of the most used power punches, especially in the context of boxing but is one of the most difficult punches to learn how to land effectively. It is mostly used in boxing, so if you want to pick up uppercut punching skills you might want to do some specific boxing training.

The widespread use of the uppercut in boxing makes it the best martial art that explores the most powerful techniques, including the jab and the straight punch.

If you have ever wondered why so many martial artists and combat sports athletes make noises while they throw punches check out Why Do They Shout and Make Sounds in Martial Arts and Boxing?

Final Thoughts

There are many martial arts that you can pick up to develop good punching techniques, but martial arts more tightly focused on developing punching skills will always give you the best results in developing punching proficiency. Other factors to keep in mind are the prevalence of sparring which includes punching against resisting opponents.

Ultimately, boxing has the best environment to develop solid punching skills since it is most specifically tied to punches and is practiced as a combat sport that includes a lot of live rounds of sparring.

For more check out What Kind of Punches Are the Most Painful?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I have always been fascinated with martial arts and train them as often as I can. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and train judo and wrestling as secondary martial arts. I help to coach a kid's grappling program that blends all three martial arts. I hope that you find the value that you are looking for in the articles on this website.

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