Wow… This has been a while in coming. Okay, I will now get into how to punch off of a back step. I’ve broken down the techniques behind a textbook jab, cross, hook and uppercut in this thread here
. Now all we have to do is combine that with the footwork methodology here and you will end up with a general idea on how to punch while backing up. Before I get into the particulars, let me make you aware of 2 things:
1) The Hips don’t lie
. Since you are not actively advancing forward, the ability to commit body mass into your punches is going to depend mostly on the rotation of your hips and shoulders. To generate power you have to be able to turn your hips in a ballistic fashion and punch with speed. Be loose, and fluid.
2) Rhythm is the key
. You will be punching either on beat or on a half-beat and the hand you want to punch with (be it your lead or rear hand) will influence that greatly. If you are punching on your back step simultaneously, the rhythm of you movement would simply be “1… 2… 3… 4…” However, if you are punching off the back step on the half-beat, the rhythm or your movement would be more like “1,2… 2,2… 3.2… 4,2…” with your punch being thrown on each half-beat or “2.”
Because of the basics of generating power (see #1 above), here is something to keep in mind: When punching on beat, you will punch with your lead hand
. The act of stepping back will not facilitate rotating the rear side of your hip forward (thus lessening power). So unless you simply want to post out with your rear hand, you won’t be using it for punching. When punching on the half-beat, you can use either your rear or lead hand
. The reason being is that your rear foot has already settled down and your can spring off of it to commit your body mass into your strikes for either hand.
So, here is the step by steps for punching while retreating.
To Punch While Stepping (On the Beat):
1. Slide your rear foot back a few inches.
2. While your foot slides back, the lead side of your hip will naturally begin to turn inward. Use your leg as a counterbalance to snap that side of your hip over.
3. While your hip is rotating, turn your lead shoulder in the same direction.
4. Throw you lead jab, hook or uppercut. Your punch should connect at the same time your rear foot hits the ground.
This type of punch is done more as a deterrent to your opponent
. It is done to discourage them from closing the distance you have opened. Since the majority of your body mass is moving the opposite direction you want to apply your force, your punches will only carry about 40% to 60% of your normal power. However, if your opponent is moving toward you their mass and acceleration will add to the generation of force by about 20% to 30%. While these aren’t exact scientific formulas, the principles of physics work that way. This is why Ali would be able to dance around and frustrate the hell out of his opponents that tried to close the distance on him. In their efforts to run in, they were doing a lot of the work of generating force for him.
To Punch After the Step (On the Half-Beat):
1. Slide your rear foot back a few inches.
2. Once your rear foot settles down, push off the ball of your foot forward (it should be just like a coiled spring). This will commit your mass forward.
3. As you begin moving forward, turn the lead or rear side of your hip forward.
4. While your hip is rotating, turn your shoulders in the same directions.
5. Finish with a Straight, Hook or Uppercut off the same side of your hip that is turning.
This type of punching is done in reaction to an opponent that is closing the distance, or done in anticipation that your opponent is going to close the distance. In comparison to punching while stepping back, this punch will carry about 60% to 80% of your normal power (it lacks a complete drop step to punch “through” the opponent). Taking in consideration the compounded momentum of your opponent stepping in (an additional 20% to 30% to the generation of force as noted above), done correctly this can create a fight stopping scenario even if you don’t have thunder in both hands. This was done beautifully by Antoni Hardonk against Colin Robinson. You can see he jabs right as his rear foot gets set in this .gif.
That should cover moving straight back. I'll put a blurb on how to punch while moving at an angle or circling away when I can later.