Throwing the Body Hook with Stephen Whittier
Back to basics? Smart! After all, it is a common thought that there is no such thing as advanced techniques but rather, basic moves performed at advanced levels. Regardless of what art you practice, Stephen Whittier is the person to give you a solid foundation of the basics in striking. Stephen Whittier understands the importance of having a proper understanding of basic striking techniques and wanted to give everybody the chance to have a blueprint. This is why he released his instructional, Fundamentals of Functional Striking. In other words, this instructional is basic striking that works.
Often put on the back burner in fights, body shots are not utilized as often as techniques to the head. This is simply due to the fact that the damage done to a fighters head is usually more visible, satisfying and can lead to knocking an opponent unconscious. However, not only do techniques to the body help to set up head shots by increasing the amount of space a fighter has to protect, body shots have the ability to take the breath away from fighters, exhausting them, and even ending the fight when thrown with intention.
There are plenty of examples of the devastating power that hits to the body bring to the fight game. One great example in boxing was when Erik Morales captured the WBC Super Bantamweight Championship from Danial Zaragoza. In the 11th round of the fight, Morales threw a right cross to the body of the former champion, dropping him and ending the fight.
In MMA, fighters have a plethora of options to attack their opponents with. While there’s definitely examples of pure boxing, such as Jose Aldo’s TKO win over Jeremy Stephens with powerful body punches. There are also more varieties of examples including David Loiseau’s spinning back kick to the body Charles McCarthy, which visibly hurt McCarthy. Loiseau then followed with a flying knee to the body which promptly ended their fight in the second round. Anderson Silva, one of the greatest MMA fighters ever, finished Stephen Bonnar, who is known for going through wars in fights, with a knee to the body which instantly dropped Bonnar and put an end to the fight.
In this clip, Stephen Whittier explains the fundamental guidelines of how to throw a hook punch to the opponents body, or as Whittier states “bringing the levels down with the circular style punches.” He continues by giving cues in regards to the level change, and it’s structural difference in the bodies position when compared to other strikes. As Whittier explains, many times when throwing common techniques, such as the jab, cross, hook and uppercut, the body remains square to the opponent for most, if not all of the technique.
Want more from Whittier? Click Learn More!
When throwing the body hook, Whittier expresses the need to have the shoulders at a slight angle as you load the hip for the lead hook to the body. He states that there are some techniques that are more functional when thrown from the position where the hip is loaded and the shoulders dip to the loaded side, rather than having the hips and shoulders square.
Can you throw the body hook with the back hand? Of course, but it is more critical to get to an angle and close the distance when throwing the body hook with the back hand. For this reason Whittier speaks about throwing the hook with the front hand as it is quicker, and safer. Whittier starts by placing his head over his toes, loading the hip over his front foot, and dipping his shoulder. He shows the slightly upward pathway that the body hook takes as he reviews the mechanics of the punch, throwing it slowly.
After throwing the punch in slow motion for the camera, Stephen Whittier reviews the punch with a partner. He begins by reviewing the complete set of motions the fighter will need to go through in order to throw a proper lead body hook. This includes closing the distance while getting to a slight outside angle of the opponent with the fighter's lead leg. As Whittier states, a fighter can close the distance by throwing punches themselves, leading up to the body hook. Another way to close the distance is by slipping oncoming punches from the opponent.
Either way the result should be loading the front leg at an outside angle, and dipping the shoulders. After a quick review of the technique, Whittier shows multiple powerful body hooks onto his partners body shield, the punches coming at a slightly upward angle as Whittier turns his hips and unloads technical repetitions.
Check out his instructional here!