How to Understand the Basics of Standup Fighting

Many styles of fighting have the same very basic moves. There are only so many ways you can kick, for example. Here we will cover the basic moves common to many different fighting styles.


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    Learn your Stance Keep your hands up in front of your face at-least above your chin and keep your elbows in.
    • Have your left foot forward and your right foot back if you are right handed, the opposite if you are left handed.
    • Understand that with a left-foot forward stance your left hand will be your jab and your right will be your power, and the opposite if you have a right foot forward stance.

    • Bend your knees at all times. More power and reach come from your legs and butt.
    • Clench your fists with your thumb curled under your fingers, not loose on the outside, or you may break it.

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    Master Basic Punching Extend your arm and make sure the back of your hand is facing the sky. Your elbow should be pointing out to the side and slightly down.
    • For your power punch (right hand if your right handed and left hand if your left handed) do the same basic thing as your jab but since this is the hand that should be in the back (because of the way your stance is one foot forward) you must use your shoulder power and move your shoulder forward so you are getting more power into it.
    • Put even more power into your punch by turning your foot and rotating your body towards your target: This will give you three powerful points to your punch: the shoulder turn; the body turn; and the elbow extension.
    • Remember to lead with your jab and return it quickly back to your stance. Use it more frequently to set up the big "knockout" shot that you use with your back-hand.

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    Understand the Basic Round Kick Most kicks come from your back leg. In all round-kicks you will be hitting your opponent with your shin! Not your foot! Stand in your stance and lift your back leg up so your knee is bent; rotate your hips in the direction you want to kick. Extend your leg and chop down at the area you want to kick. Make sure you rotate your foot when you kick, just like when punching, to get full power into your kicks.
    • Learn the three main side kicking areas that will inflict the most damage: the leg, the midsection, and the head.
    • Hit the thigh of your opponents leg right above the knee. If you hit your shin against theirs it will be painful to the both of you so condition yourself to give pain.
    • Aim for right, below the opponents ribs where the kidneys are for the midsection kicks.
    • Learn the best strike zones for a head kick: the jaw and on the temple. Head kicks are only good if you are flexible enough to reach your target without falling. Stretch and practice.

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    Learn the Clinch Hold The clinch hold is important if you want to take the fight to the ground, or prevent going to ground. Clinching is when both opponents are locked up, standing but holding on to each other. The martial art that focuses on strikes from the clinch is Muay Thai (Thai boxing).
    • Locked in a neutral clinch position each person will have an underhook. An underhook is when you have your arm hooked under your opponents bicep or armpit. Having two under hooks is an advantageous position. Other types of clinching include when you have your arms lock around your opponent’s waist. You can transition to this position from double underhooks by lowering yourself and locking your hands.

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    Clinching 2 From the arms locked around waist position your opponent can knee you but even if they do you have a huge leverage advantage over them and can actually lift them up (if you have any strength at all and your opponent is within 25lbs) and drop them. Matt Hughes (the previous welterweight UFC Title holder) was famous for KO'ing people just with this slam. Also from that position you can knee your opponent in the calf.
    • Remember to keep your front foot steady so you don’t fall when kneeing any opponent.
    • Shoot your hips forward while kneeing. Kneeing is just as much in the hips as it is in the knees as you should as you follow through with the knee.

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    Clinching3 Perhaps the most dangerous strike that has been used in NHB fighting is the elbow. It has been used to knock out opponents from the ground and practically anywhere else.
    • All punching power comes from your legs, butt and hips. Bend your legs(this is called sitting in your punches), you should point your toes in the direction your punch is being thrown and put your hips into it. This is how you get your body behind your punches.
    • Get your opponent up against a wall, fence or ring and transition your lead forearm up against their chest or if possible, the neck. This should hold them in position for at least a couple of seconds. The exact position you will be, your lead forearm against their neck and your back arm up against their shoulder. Your lead shoulder should be up against their shoulder trapping their arm. Quickly free your other arm from holding him against the wall and elbow your opponent in the face. It should be a quick fluid motion that follows through than quickly returns after it makes contact. The arm used for elbowing should be immediately returned to holding your opponents shoulder against the wall so he doesn’t escape.


  • If your opponent rushes forward to take you to the ground sprawl. Learn wrestling techniques to keep from being taken down. Clenching will get you closer to being put down.
  • Always keep your stance solid.


  • These techniques may be dangerous just to practice (pulling muscles, dislocating joints).
  • Fighting is dangerous and illegal when not in a sport.

Things You'll Need

  • Determination.
  • A punching bag.
  • A sparring partner.

Article Info

Categories: Combat Sports