Throwing The Perfect Rear Hook With Mike Winkeljohn
The hooks are so popular among practitioners as they are the most natural strike for a human. Hooks are sometimes called “Caveman Punches,” as you can see the strike performed as a swing on drawings among ancient cave walls.
Rookies in boxing love to use the hooks as the punch feels so powerful and easy to use; for example - when you ask a kid to fight, he naturally swings around with strikes that look like hooks. But is it a practical and easy punch that practitioners can develop early in their first day’s boxing?
The hooks are definitely one of the hardest punches to perform correctly, and even though it is usually developed right after you learn to throw the straight punches, it takes time to master them. Many practitioners think of hooks as powerful punches that will knock out any adversary they will face, but it is dangerous to think this way. Although the hooks are powerful, they are very short and are thrown in a wide arc that leaves the practitioner open to straight punches that can easily beat the hook to the punch if timed well.
To successfully deliver the hooks, we must have a good setup for them. We can use the straight punches in basic combinations and add the hook on top of them as a finishing blow or sneak our way into the close-range through footwork and head movement to land the hooks inside the pocket where they are less risky and more effective.
To be successful with the hooks, practitioners must understand the central concept behind the hooks - The hooks are made to deal with boxers that extend their hands away from their face.
When our opponent extends his arms through a defensive maneuver or throws a straight punch, he can block anything thrown at him in a straight line, but he can never defend a strike that comes around his hands.
So always remember, when the opponent extends his arms away from his face, we can easily land the hook at the opening created around his arms.
Who Is Mike Winkeljohn?
Mike Winkeljohn, also known as coach Wink, is one of the best teachers in MMA today. Coach Wink has started his way inside the martial arts world in Kenpo Karate, where he has a 5th-degree black belt. Later in his life, Coach Wink started fighting Muay Thai and Kickboxing competitions, where he earned many world titles and had a successful career. Coach Wink runs one of the best MMA camps today, Jackson Wink MMA, alongside Greg Jackson.
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Developing The Rear Hook
In this video, Mike Winkeljohn will show us how to throw the rear hook properly; previously, Mike taught the lead hook in his instructional, and we should always start learning the hooks with the lead hook as it has multiple uses inside a fight.
After we understand the left hook, we can implement the same concepts to the rear hook and learn it quickly. Let’s go over the steps of throwing a rear hook to see how similar they are:
- Turn the rear foot to start the rotation
- Engage the hips (create torque)
- Snap the rear hook
Notice that we never want to over-rotate our hips as it will be hard to get back to a neutral position when we engage the hips too much. So we want to snap our hip to put power in it and bend the knee, so there is more energy into the rotation.
Now, as we are in our fighting stance with our hands up, we can drill the primary movement for this punch - the hip snap. As we snap our hips a couple of times and rotate our foot, we can add up the rear hook to quickly follow right after in a smooth chain of movements.
Notice that it is always the hips moving first before the punch; this way, it can load the punch and use elastic recoil to get more power. Coach Wink gives the analogy of “car keys,” our hips are like keys; they get the car moving and gives us access to the power from our engine.
Coach wink fives us another detail on the structure of our hand when we hook. Mike says that it all depends on the distance; if the opponent is close, our thumb will face up as we hook, but if he is far away, I need to turn my hand, so my palm faces down and still hit him knuckles.
The good thing about the long hooks is that people usually pull back from the punch instinctively, exposing their neck and chin to the punch. But even if the opponent didn’t pull back, the long hook can land behind the ear, which is the sweet spot for the knockouts.
Learn More From Mike Winkeljohn
If you liked the concept behind the hooks shown here by Coach Wink, you would enjoy watching the full instructional- “Power Punching - By Mike Winkeljohn” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking.