How to Knock an Attacker Down with ONE PUNCH!

Hopefully, you never find yourself in a position where you have to defend yourself. But if that kind of situation ever happens, knowing a bit of self-defence can definitely be beneficial. There are some tricks you can learn to ward off an attacker, but using the Five Ancestor’s Fist style of punching could knock the attacker out cold with only one swing.

The idea is to generate the most amount of power and with precision and concentration, be able to strike your opponent down instantly or cause immediate injury. Ideally the punch will keep the attacker down, but in terms of self-defence, even if it just stuns him, the strike will buy you some time to hopefully escape or call for help.

Historically speaking, this punching technique was designed for a battle situation where you would have to face multiple attackers at once. In the middle of a battle, knocking down as many attackers as possible and as swiftly as possible will increase the chances of your team’s victory and your own survival. This technique saves a lot of time and energy.

Disclaimer: Knowing the theory is very different from putting the theory into practice. To be able to fully defend yourself, consider joining a martial arts class or practising at a gym.

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Ngo Cho Principles for Punching

In order to successfully drop an opponent instantly using this style, you must have a focused and well-targeted punch. Practice will help you develop your aim and train your body to move correctly.

In Ngo Cho, the main principles for throwing a proper punch are:


Turns out, mother does know best. We should all listen to mom when she tells us to drink our milk. Bone density is the measurement of calcium and minerals in the bone. A higher bone density means you have strong and sturdy bones. You can increase your bone density by drinking milk, but you can also increase it by conditioning your bones.

When you punch an attacker, you want your fist to be solid and compact in order to do more damage. Increasing your bone density through conditioning will help your fist to be able to withstand the impact when punching. As part of iron bone conditioning, students will hit a piece of wood gradually over time until their fists become used to hard targets. This will give you a more powerful punch.


It is important to be as relaxed as possible during a fight. Staying relaxed will increase speed and striking power. However, the moment your fist makes contact with your opponent, it should tense up for a more powerful punch. For many, tensing the punch is something that is done unconsciously.


When you are in the middle of a fight, it is important to maintain control and to fight with a certain level of intensity. Having intensity will increases your performance in a battle. It shows that you are taking the fight seriously and that you won’t go down easily. Having the right amount of intensity also increases your awareness of your surrounding. In a fight, your execution must be focused and concentrated on the target. A wrong move could be fatal.


four coners concept3

It is very hard to get to a level where you can throw explosive punches. Ideally, your punch should have enough power to be able to punch through an opponent’s defensive arms. The more power behind a punch, the more damage the opponent takes, making it harder for the opponent to be able to retaliate.


Intent is very important in a match. You shouldn’t have to question on whether or not to throw a punch in the middle of a fight. You shouldn’t have to question anything in the middle of a fight. Your execution must be decisive and calculative. Whether or not you intend to cause damage to your opponent, or simply win the fight.


How to have a stronger punch

1. Put a spin on it

A punch should be executed with a spiral motion in order to increase momentum. To really imagine how this works, think of an arrowhead or a bullet. Both of these, when fired, will travel in a spiralling motion which causes a deeper penetration on the target. This same idea is applied to punching.

straight punch spiral motion2

2. Use your first two knuckles

Your first two knuckles, known as the striking knuckles, are aligned with your wrist and elbow. When you punch with these two knuckles, your fist has better support. The natural alignment the first two knuckles have are able to give a straight transfer of power. If you were to use the last three knuckles when punching, the attack wouldn’t be as effective since you would have to push your pinky forward to create the alignment. This would significantly weaken the punch and increase the risk of causing damage to the hand.

3. Conditioning and forms


strauight pnch posture

Conditioning is an important step to take to improve performance. Along with regular punching exercises, conditioning will improve the force and strength of your bones and skin.

The training in many Ngo Cho forms, such as Di Sip Kun (Twenty Punches) helps to develop the proper punching technique while also training the mind, body and spirit.

4. Using the five concept

The five concept of Ngo Cho takes in all elements of a punch from footwork to breathing. The development of the five concept includes:

  1. Rooting – the focus on footwork and fighting stance.
  2. Hip – the torque use of body rotation to mechanically deliver less use of external energy.
  3. Shoulder – the amplification that results from the hip and rooting.
  4. Arms – the bone density, including the fist, to penetrate the target.
  5. Breathing – the utilisation of body oxygen to increase concentration, intensity and power.

straight punch position

3 thoughts on “How to Knock an Attacker Down with ONE PUNCH!

  1. Hello, fellow, wu zu quan practitioner here. Good article overall. I just stopped by to drop my own comments on the two knuckle theory. I asked my sifu once ‘which knuckles should I aim with’. He more or less said hit a punching bag from multiple angles and you’ll know. The basis of what he was trying to get across was that rather you aim with the last three or first two knuckles depends on several body and target angles. Best I can boil it down to is you need to figure out if you want to line up your punch with your radius or ulna based on the situation. For example, reverse punches work great with the first two, but vertical punches work best with the last three. Two knuckles tend to have a more sting effect, while three has more of a push effect but they both have both qualities.

    Anyway I’m not a doctor or kinesthesiologist or anything like that, I can only tell you what feels natural for me.


    1. Hello Maaluenxg,

      Thanks for your feedback.
      There is a lot of debate over which knuckles are best to use for punching, but I think it completely depends on what kind of punching style you are using. It’s important to keep in mind that the last three knuckles are more delicate and prone to injury and breaking, especially when using power punches.


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