Improve Your One-Inch Punch

One way to get better at Bruce Lee’s one-inch punch is to learn what it isn’t:

I see martial artists all over the place claiming to teach Bruce Lee’s One-Inch Punch. Unfortunately, a lot of them are getting it wrong. Worse, not only do some of these punches have nothing to do with principles found in Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s martial-arts system), but a percentage of them aren’t even good punches.

Bruce Lee’s Punch Is Not a Push

Even though this short technique can send an opponent flying back, the punch is not a “push.” There is definitely penetration to the hit. It hits into; it’s not a smooth shove backwards.

Not a Reverse Punch

This short punch is most often executed from a vertical position. You don’t start with a fist where the phalanges of your fingers are on top and the back of your hand is on the bottom at the beginning of the technique and then reversed when the punch makes contact.

The Punch Doesn’t Rely On Draw-Back Energy

Some punches penetrate forward… and continue moving in a forward direction. Others rely on the retraction for some of the punch power. (Yes, it really is true.)

Bruce Lee’s One-Inch Punch relies on forward energy. Punching through and past your target is oh-so important in this punch.

The One-Inch Punch Is Not Simply a Stunt

There are definitely some stunts in martial arts that are nothing more than tricks. They rely on some physical law that the audience doesn’t know is in effect… or even a gimmick of some kind. Not so with this punch.

It’s the real deal.

Sure, the hit makes for a great demonstration, but there is a lot more to it, than that. Imagine being able to generate that kind of power from such a short distance. You could punch anywhere with knock-back force.

Even though the punch focuses on such a small amount of movement, you still need proper positioning throughout the body. Good positioning is good positioning. But in the case of Bruce Lee’s punch, it will definitely ramp up the power.

Keith Pascal is the author of “How to End the Fight with One Hit“: