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Coach Winkeljohn Provides Top-Tier Tips On The Rear Hook!

Coach Winkeljohn Provides Top-Tier Tips On The Rear Hook!

Master The Rear Hook With This Inside Look At The Technique!

Having coached some of MMA’s biggest stars such as Jon Jones, Holly Holm, Carlos Condit and Donald Cerrone, Coach Mike Winkeljohn and his team at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico are some of the most highly sought after instructors in the world. Here, Coach Mike Winkeljohn gives pointers on how to land one of the most devastating strikes you can throw. Whether you are Boxing, Kickboxing, doing Muay Thai or MMA the Rear Hook is a powerful punch that if landed can deal massive damage to your opponent!


To start, Coach Mike Winkeljohn explains that the rear hand hook has a lot in common with the lead hand hook (which he goes into detail on in the full length instructional). Coach Winkeljohn explains that to get power in this punch you have to engage the hips which mean you need to pivot your foot. Your rear foot pivots to engage the hips, that way you are not throwing just an arm punch but a punch that has your body weight behind it. 

Coach Winkeljohn further clarifies that if you over rotate on your punch it will take longer to return to your stance because you essentially unbalanced yourself by turning too far through on your punch, this is fine when you are first learning how to throw a hard hook. Coach Mike Winkeljohn says that you really want to  over turn to learn how to feel that energy for that hook. As you learn to throw that hook hard then you will start to tighten it up so you are not making such a big movement to generate power or punching through so much that you are off-balancing your stance. This is the same concept with the lead hook Coach Winkeljohn says, rather than pivoting and turning real far to throw your punch, your pivot tightens so it is small and your knee just barely pushes in to engage the hips into your hook.

Now Coach Mike Winkeljohn explains the order of operation that your body goes through to generate power in your hook. Like a whip, Coach Winkeljohn shows you want to pivot your foot and turn the hip through, a split second before throwing the actual hook punch with your arm. What this does is it creates a kinetic chain where the power is generated in the legs and hips, pulling the hook through the target. Coach Winkeljohn demonstrates that this method is much stronger compared to pivoting, turning the hip and throwing your hook all at the same time. The count should be a 1, 2 Coach Winkeljohn says, hips engage then the hand goes, rather than it being altogether. 

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Comparing the process of learning how to throw a rear hook to test driving a car, you need to play around with it a little bit to understand it best as well as figuring out how it works best for you because everybody is different. Coach Winkeljohn explains that you can teach yourself more than he can if you just think about how you can get more power out of your body such as engaging the power of your hips into whatever it is you are doing.

A part of getting more power in this hook comes down to the distance as well. The tighter this hook is, so you can have your arm bent with the elbow lifted allowing your forearm to brace your wrist with your palm facing in towards you, allowing you to hit with your two big knuckles. This is a more powerful way to throw this hook, but the problem is when people are leaning back, if you keep your palm facing in and still try to reach them with your inner knuckles, it becomes more of a slap and loses out on the structure of the elbow and forearm. In this case, Coach Winkeljohn shows how to throw a long range hook. The longer the distance is, the more Coach Winkeljohn turns his palm down to hit with one knuckle as well as rotating his shoulder more into the strike. Coach Winkeljohn explains that in small MMA gloves you can use this to find holes to slip through in your opponents guard. 

Placement for your hook is just as if not more important than throwing a hard hook. You can have the hardest punch in the world but if you cannot land it it is no good. Coach Winkeljohn explains that a common way people fracture their hands on hooks is they come down on the opponents skull. What you want to do is hit the jawline for the most damage as well as for protecting your hands. Coach Mike WInkeljohn further explains that your long range hook is a good way to hit the jaw or mastoid muscle (side of the neck) because using it when people lean back means their chin is up and exposed. The long range hook can be a good counter to someone who is pulling back just out of your range.

Another way you can use this long range hook, which is cheating in a sport context Coach Winkeljohn explains but perfectly fine for self defense, is using that long range hook to loop behind the opponent and hit them in the back of the head or neck with your fist or forearm blade, almost like a Karate ridge hand. 

Power Punching by Mike Winklejohn
Check Out Mike Winkeljohn’s Power Punching, a clear concise instructional on how to add more pop to EVERY Punch!