Good replies so far. Let me contribute to this thread.
A good uppercut is powered by your legs and torso. The amount of actual arm movement is minimal in comparison to a straight punch or hook. This is the reason why uppercuts are specifically used as inside weapons to come up between an opponent's standard guard (as I've defined in the stickied thread How Do You Defend Against in this post here
and onward). You don't want to throw uppercuts from the outside without first setting it up with a jab and closing distance. Sure, some guys like Roy Jones Jr. have been able to shoot gazelle-like uppercuts from the outside with seemingly-indiscrete abandon of textbook methodology like he did against Montell Griffin (at the end of their second match here
). Before I even start suggesting that is something that a budding fighter (or enthusiast) can entertain, you have to understand that Roy Jone Jr. possesses a level of talent and athletic ability for boxing that isn't present in 99% of the people on earth. Conventional wisdom and technique applies to everybody
, so I'll just stick to that.
With the specific details of distance, stance and timing aside, let me break down the "how-to" on a textbook uppercut. I'll list the steps from the lead side (weak side) first as explaining from the rear/strong side (if you fight that way) is much the same with a few slight differences. To throw the "textbook" uppercut:
- Use your knees to dip your stance 6 to 8 inches. You need to use your knees and not bend at the waist. Doing so will compromise your defenses and open a lot of nasty opportunities for your opponent. It isn't a complete "hit the floor" drop of level, but a small economic movement to get under your opponent's jab, hook, etc.
- As you drop your level, bring your lead fist down 4 to 6 inches, while you turn your palm facing inward toward yourself. Don't think of loading up your punch in an exaggerated amount as Kin noted. Just think about dropping your elbow down and tucking it into your ribs. Anything more would be wasted movement and would open you up to a large variety of head shots.
- Stand up into the punch, and snap the lead side of your hip forward. This will rotate your lead shoulder into the punch.
- As you stand up, snap your fist upward as your shoulder turns. Your shoulder will lead before your fist.
- You should finish with your fist 4 to 6 inches past your opponent's chin (if you are shadow boxing or working the mitts, your fist should be aligned with your nose). Bringing your fist farther than that will invite open counters to the lead side of your head and body. Remember, this is boxing not Mortal Kombat. You want your movements short, tight and economic in case you are fighting a game opponent that will counter if they successfully defend or make you miss. Leave the 20-foot stuff to the video games.
- Once the punch finishes return to guard. Do this regardless of connecting or not. The worst thing a fighter can do is to "take a picture" and admire their work mid fight. If your opponent is just as determined as you, they will fire back and make everything worthless if you stop to smell the roses.
This is the regular step-by-step for the lead side uppercut. For the rear side uppercut, simply snap the rear side of your hip forward and turn your rear shoulder forward as you punch with your rear hand. If you are using the uppercut to the body, step in deeper before you throw the uppercut to the ribs or solar plexus. The beauty of the uppercut is that it can be seamlessly incorporated into a lot of standard defensive movements. Also, since the power isn't dependant on arm extension, it can be used as a devastating inside weapon after successfully evading an opponents' power shots to your head.
Again, it has to be emphasized that an uppercut's power comes from your legs and your hips. I know a lot of guys with bigger arms than me that can't throw an uppercut as with as much force for the fact that they rely on their arm strength only. Punching power comes from a co-ordinated effort of your entire body
, not just your arms.
Now... to develop good uppercut power, there are a few things you can do. You can do what kishiro suggested... if
you have someone around to tie you up and un-tie you. There are a few other thing that you can do that are simpler.
1) Drill the uppercut off of the duck. The duck is a defensive movement that is tailor made for uppercuts. Have your partner throw a jab or cross to get you used to ducking in and closing space. Once you are coming up from the duck, throw an uppercut. You want to really exaggerate the ducking movement to engrain it into your muscle memory. During an actual fight or sparring session, your body will learn to move just enough to make use of the duck to load your uppercut.
- Firstly, drill just "ducking in" on your opponent off of the jab or cross. You want to be able to seamlessly duck under you opponents attack and come up on top of them right afterwards.
- After doing that, add the uppercut to get a feel of the compelte movement and punch. This will train you to punch using your legs, not just your arms.
- After that, duck in and end with a combination starting with the uppercut. This will teach you to return to good guard after the punch, and not "admire" your work.
Second, learn how to throw Up/Uppercut elbows like I've illustrated in this post here
. Learning a good up elbow is akin to learning a good uppercut, and the body mechanics are practically the same.
Of course, I leave you with a little show and tell:
- Learning how to throw an uppercut from the folks at Expert Cillage. As a disclaimer, I hate the fact that he emphasizes cocking your shoulder back to throw the uppercut. I think that is a completely wasted movement that can be used by good fighter to counter you. Drop that part, and I agree wholeheartedly.
- A quick look at Mike Tyson using the uppercut in a match here. Mike used his uppercuts beautifully, and if you watch a lot of his highlights, you will notice that he completely comes up onto his toes when throwing a lot of his uppercuts.