Masters

Why The Left Hook Is So Devastating: John Hackleman’s Secrets to His Favorite Punch

Learn the secrets of the left hook from John Hackleman himself! Check out the left hook videos and more from The Pit Online Video Courses.

FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE LEFT HOOK

Hackleman youth

John Hackleman 1974

The main reason I fell in love with the left hook started when I was a young kid. As a skinny young 14-year-old Haole (white) kid with long blonde hair, I definitely did not look like the stereotypical aspiring boxer, and I was being driven to my first “sanctioned” boxing match. It happened to be against a local Hawaiian in his hometown. Needless to say it was a long drive. Fighting a local in his hometown was scary enough, but given that his hometown was nicknamed “No Haole zone”, added insult to injury.

I don’t know if I was more nervous about the fight it’s self, or getting mobbed by the crowd. Having my big local friend Adam, who is from on of the meanest projects in town coming with me, and telling me he had my back was my only source of comfort. The buildup to the fight was much more dramatic than the fight itself, I wanted it over quickly and my Adrenaline was definitely pumping. As soon he bell rang I ran across the rain with a leaping left hook (The Gazelle Hook, which Floyd Patterson used to knockout Ingmar Johansson in 1960), and knocked my opponent and out in about 10 seconds into the first round. The second that punch landed, and I saw my opponent fall unconscious, I was definitely hooked, on the left hook.

Since that day back in 1974, I would say the left took accounted for about 80% of all the techniques that I would throw in any given fight, and probably accounted for about 90% of my wins. I have trained the left hook, studied the left hook, and taught the left hook for decades.

I fell in love with the left hook for many reasons.

#1 POWER

A great reason the left took is so effective and knocking people out is you can turn your hip to its fullest rotation. That means you can put your entire body weight, and force into the strike, that sometimes only travels 6 inches.

#2 PROXIMITY
Your hand positioning to throw the hook is closer to your opponents chin than any other power strike, and the chin is the most vulnerable target on your opponent than any other power strike.

Hackleman left hook

John Hackleman throwing his famous left hook in his early boxing career

#3 STEALTH

The hook can be deployed, and land with the least warning of any other strike. It is The most stealth strike you have. There is no other strike in all of martial arts that can be so invisible and tell it lands. And it lands with extreme power when throne correctly.

#4 SAFETY

This is the hardest strike to counter because you are actually turning away from your opponent from a safe distance and you’re not leaving your targets open to counter attack. While throwing the hook, landing the hook, or even missing the hook You are not in a vulnerable position. I feel it is without a doubt the safest punch to throw.

#5 VERSATILITY

It is the most versatile strike a martial artist can throw. There are so many angles for the hook because it is on a ball and socket joint. They can almost come from completely under, to completely over, and all angles. It can also be thrown very close, or very far, no other strike has that versatility. You can also throw the hook moving forward, standing still, moving to your left, you’re right, or even moving back, again no other strike has that versatility.

Chuck Liddell John Hackleman Trainer

Chuck Liddell throw left hook in UFC fight against Tito Ortiz. A technique perfected by his trainer John Hackleman.

Whether you are an aspiring UFC champion (all three UFC titles changed hands by left hook at UFC 217), a martial arts instructor (please add it to your curriculum), student, or someone wants to stay safe on the street, the left took should be incorporated into your arsenal, and you should learn, and train with it.

Live Clean, Train Hard, Don’t let anyone take your lunch money.

Learn the secrets of the left hook from John Hackleman himself! Check out the left hook videos and more from The Pit Online Video Courses.

Best of the Best: Bill Wallace Picks the Top 10 Karate Fighters of the 20th Century

In the early 1980s, I was asked to name the top 10 karate fighters of the 20th century.

Here’s my list again — for the benefit of all the martial artists who never saw it when it ran and for those who are too young to have lived through those early years of martial arts in America.

No. 1 on my list of the top 10 karate fighters was Joe Lewis. I picked him because I have never met anybody who said he enjoyed sparring with Joe Lewis. I sparred with him several times and learned a lot, but I didn’t enjoy it — it hurt!

Joe Lewis (Black Belt photo)

Joe Lewis was very quick, and he knew where to hit you. In my estimation, he was probably the best because he was always in great physical condition, he was strong and powerful, he didn’t mind getting hit and he liked to hit you.

My No. 2 choice was Chuck Norris. When I started in karate in 1966, Norris was the epitome of the karate man. I saw him on TV doing jump spinning back kicks and different combinations, and he was my hero then. I saw Chuck Norris fight several times, and if he’s not No. 1, he’s definitely No. 2.

Chuck Norris, left (Black Belt photo)

Mike Stone was my No. 3 choice. I never saw Stone fight; I’m just going by what other people have told me. He was mean and aggressive, and the word “lose” was not in his vocabulary. His attitude was, “If we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight hard.”

Mike Stone’s fights weren’t pretty, from what I understand. He was a winner, and when he beat you, you knew he’d won.

Mike Stone (Black Belt photo)

My No. 4 choice was Ron Marchini. I fought him in 1970. He was a very good counter puncher, a good technician and a good all-around karate fighter. In 1969 he was voted the top competitor on the mainland team in the Mainland vs. Hawaii series, and he deserved that honor.

My No. 5 choice was Tonny Tulleners. I never saw him fight, but I met him several years ago. He’s a tall, rough-and-tumble guy. I watched him “spar” with his students, if that’s what you want to call it — he beat on them. Tulleners had a fantastic reverse punch, great timing, great distancing and good movement. He made me believe everything I’d heard about him.

The karate/kobudo master teamed up with Black Belt mag to make Fumio Demura Karate Weapons: Complete Video Course. Merging Demura’s classic DVDs with new new kata footage, the program streams lessons on the nunchaku, bo, kama, sai, tonfa and eku bo to your smartphone, tablet or computer. Details here!

No. 6 was Skipper Mullins. I fought him once in Dallas. That was enough. I won that fight, but he was the one I fashioned my kicks after. He was the first one I saw throw a roundhouse kick with his forward leg and be effective with it.

My No. 7 pick was Mike Warren. He was one of the best fighters the United States ever produced. He had all the agility in the world, all the speed and all the confidence. At one Battle of Atlanta tournament, Warren beat everybody. He beat me, Darnell Garcia and a bunch of guys. He was a superb athlete and a phenomenal kicker. We fought four times; he won twice and I won twice.

Black Belt Hall of Famer Burton Richardson teaches silat self-defense in a new book and a new online video course from Black Belt magazine. Start learning this fascinating Southeast Asian martial art now!

Frank Smith was No. 8 on my list. I never saw him fight, but from what a lot of respectable fighters tell me, he was one bad dude: a great technician and a strong fighter. Because of politics, Frank Smith, Mike Warren and Tonny Tulleners rarely fought in open tournaments, and they didn’t get the credit and recognition due them.

No. 9 was Howard Jackson. He and I did spar, and we were good friends. Jackson was a superb technician — greased lightning, very fast. His competitive career was cut short by a knee injury.

Can you imagine being the No. 1 fighter in the entire country, being at the top of your career, walking into a ring to fight at a small tournament in Denver, taking a step, slipping on a cup and tearing your knee up? That’s exactly what happened to Howard Jackson, and it ruined his career — a real shame.

Howard Jackson (Black Belt photo)

The No. 10 person on my list of greats was … me. I don’t know why I should be listed here, except that I was very …

Fumio Demura: Karate Master, Kobudo Weapons Expert, Black Belt Hall of Fame Member

Fumio Demura, ninth dan, is one of the most highly respected karateka in the world. Born in Yokohama, Japan, he began training during his grammar-school years, studying kendo as a means of building his strength and improving his health. When his teacher moved from the area, Demura transferred to another dojo that taught karate and kendo. He then studied aikido in high school and, later, judo.

While at Nihon University in Tokyo, from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics, Demura developed a special interest in kobudo, including the use of such weapons as the bo, nunchaku, kama, sai, eku bo and tonfa. He honed his technique under the tutelage of Okinawan karate master Kenshin Taira and weapons expert Ryusho Sakagami.

Ed Parker with Fumio Demura

Fumio Demura’s reputation as a martial arts champion was secured in 1961, when he won the All-Japan Karate Freestyle Tournament, and he was rated as one of Japan’s top eight competitors for the next three years. His many tournament wins include the East Japan Championship, the Shito-Ryu Annual Championship and the Kanto District Championship.

Demura also received the All-Japan Karate Federation President’s Trophy for outstanding tournament play and was awarded certificates of recognition from Japanese Cabinet officials for his contributions to the art of karate.

Fumio Demura’s Karate Weapons of Self-Defense: The Complete Edition, a best-seller at 765 pages! Order it here on Amazon.

In 1965 Demura came to the United States at the invitation of martial arts pioneer Dan Ivan to teach shito-ryu (itosu-kai), one of the world’s four major systems of karate. Within a few years, Demura was educating and entertaining thousands of people at such diverse places as Disneyland, the Las Vegas Hilton and the Playboy Club.

Demura has been a stuntman and an actor, with credits that include The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), The Karate Kid (1984), Mortal Kombat (1995) and Ninja (2009).

Fumio Demura was captain of the U.S. Japan Goodwill Championships of 1972 and a member of the Amateur Athletic Union national technical committee. He is on the board of directors of the International Martial Arts Federation; chairman and president of the Japan Karate Federation of America; president of the JKF International; and chief instructor and president of Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai in Santa Ana, California.

The editors of Black Belt spotted the rising star early on, which explains why Demura scored his first magazine cover in December 1967 (right). The black-and-white photo showed him posing with the sai. The cover story spanned 13 pages.

He was on the cover again for the March 1969 issue (below left). The story focused on the nunchaku — as did the article that accompanied his third cover in February 1972 (below right). Three more cover appearances followed. Two of them highlighted another popular kobudo weapon: the tonfa.

Throughout the ’70s, Fumio Demura developed a reputation as an extraordinary teacher of karate and kobudo. Black Belt twice honored him: In 1969 he was named Karate Instructor of the Year, and in 1975 he was Martial Artist of the Year.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Demura wrote a series of kobudo books that were published by Ohara Publications, Black Belt’s sister company. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, he committed his insights to video in a set of VHS tapes produced by Black Belt’s Dan Ivan. Later, those video masters were digitized and distributed in DVD format.

Now that most martial artists have moved beyond the limitations of physical media, Black Belt is releasing them as part of Fumio Demura Karate Weapons: Complete Video Course. A full-motion companion to his most recent book (shown at the top of the page), the course streams those classic Demura kobudo videos — which feature the nunchaku, bo, kama, sai, tonfa and eku bo — to your smartphone, tablet or computer. It also teaches 14 traditional kata designed to polish your skills with those classical weapons.

Bonus! Fumio Demura Karate Weapons: Complete Video Course includes an interview with the master recorded in October 2016 at the Black Belt studio. Among the topics he discusses are how karate has changed over the years, what continues to attract modern martial artists to traditional weapons and how you can improve your skills.

Fumio Demura: Select Career Highlights From the Pages of Black Belt Magazine

January 1967 issue: Bruce Lee plays Kato in The Green Hornet. Joe Lewis is the No. 1 karate fighter in the nation. Fumio Demura introduces America to shito-ryu karate.

October 1967 issue: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Fumio Demura demonstrate at Tak Kubota’s 3rd Annual Invitational Karate Tournament in Hollywood.

December 1967 issue: Fumio Demura gets his first Black Belt cover. He’s shown with a pair of sai.

September 1968 issue: “The power of the fist does not come from …

Everything You Need to Know About Combatives, Featuring Kelly McCann

Since 2008, Black Belt has released a ton of top-notch content featuring the knowledge, skills and real-world experience of Kelly McCann. (Here’s a sample.) All of it revolves around the subset of martial arts known as combatives. In his own words:

“Combatives represents a physical manifestation of force — a sledgehammer, not a jeweler’s mallet. Combatives is sometimes denigrated as ‘too basic’ by martial recreationalists because of the simplicity and the intentionally limited number of techniques.

“Bruce Lee had it right when he threw out all the stuff that was meaningless and boiled it down to ‘less is more.’ In combatives, we boil it down, then attempt it under duress.”

Photo Courtesy of Black Belt

The reason combatives has become so popular in the 21st century is the no-nonsense approach it uses, coupled with the effectiveness of the techniques. It appeals especially to those who don’t have time to devote to mastering a traditional art, not to mention those who love their traditional art but want to learn a few proven moves to fill in any self-defense gaps that might exist.

“The following illustrates a significant difference between pursuing art-form mastery and pursuing street effectiveness through combatives,” McCann says. “Various art forms may have increasingly complicated, intricate or unnecessarily lengthy solutions to a wrist grab. Most involve focusing on the hand that’s doing the grabbing without regard for the actual threat — the attacker’s opposite hand — and include an atemi (strike) along with some wrist manipulation.

“In contrast, a basic combatives solution for a wrist grab might go like this: You slam your free hand into your attacker’s face and simultaneously wrench your other hand out of his grip.

“If the situation doesn’t warrant that level of force, slam your free hand down onto his wrist while simultaneously wrenching your other hand out of his grasp.”

The newest release from McCann and Black Belt is titled Kelly McCann Combatives 2: Stick & Ground Combat. It’s a streaming-video course you can watch anywhere on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Here’s a snippet of McCann describing what you’ll get when you sign up. Click here to order.

There’s no sport form of combatives, McCann explains. “The curriculum is developed for one purpose: succinct, effective self-defense. Someone who learns and practices a combatives curriculum this year will likely be practicing the same curriculum years from now, albeit at a higher level of skill.

“Improved combatives performance isn’t rewarded with certificates or rank; instead, your reward is the personal satisfaction that results from moving faster and hitting harder, as well as the confidence that comes when you know you’re mentally and physically capable of handling unexpected violence.”

Are you ready to start your education in combatives? Check out Kelly McCann’s introductory course, also produced by Black Belt! Go here to sign up.

“There’s a common misunderstanding that combatives is pure, unadulterated violence,” McCann says. “That’s simply inaccurate. Use of force is regulated in combatives the same way as it is in other methods of self-defense — by using appropriate techniques for the level of threat you’re confronted with and by modulating your power.

“Many people harbor the opinion that combatives is ‘over the top’ or too violent because they’re considering imminent physical violence from a defensive perspective. In contrast, if you embrace hyper-avoidance but still find yourself confronted with an unavoidable and imminently violent situation, combatives training teaches you to attack.

“The logic is clear: If you could’ve avoided the situation, you certainly would’ve. The only requirement at that moment is to modulate your attack with regard to the level of threat you’re facing. And then escape.”

The best thing about combatives is anyone can learn it. Quickly. “First, you have to develop your ability to recognize pre-incident indicators so you can avoid potential confrontations altogether,” McCann says.

The next step it to seek out instruction in the right principles, strategies and techniques, then learn to execute everything explosively so you can dispense with assailants as efficiently as possible. “It’s over when the threat no longer exists,” he says. “Remember that the simplistic and violent nature of combatives doesn’t absolve you from having to act lawfully in self-defense; it just ends situations more quickly.”

Save money and sign up for both of McCann’s streaming-video programs! Get Kelly McCann’s Combatives Self-Defense Course and Kelly McCann Combatives 2: Stick & Ground Combat for one low price. Go here for the details.

About Kelly McCann:

A former U.S. Marine special-missions officer responsible for counterterrorism and counter-narcotics, Kelly McCann served as president of Crucible, a firm that manages protective details in high-risk environments, provides security support services and trains military, government and law-enforcement operators. He now runs Kembativz Brand, an organization devoted to teaching civilians the empty-hand and weapons skills they need to survive …

Learn the Most Important Martial Arts Lessons Bruce Lee Taught — From His Top Disciples! Part 5

Black Belt contacted 16 well-known martial artists who teach jeet kune do or were heavily influenced by it to get their thoughts on the most important part of Bruce Lee’s art. Part 1 features replies from Dan Inosanto, Tim Tackett, Kelly McCann and Joe Lewis. Part 2 offers the answers we got from Burton Richardson, Matthew J. Numrich, Teri Tom and Richard S. Bustillo. Part 3 includes Leo Fong, Bustillo, Paul Vunak and Gary Dill. Part 4 focuses on the thoughts expressed by Lamar M. Davis II, Dr. Jerry Beasley, Matt Thornton and Thomas Cruise. In this conclusion, we highlight Lewis, Fong, William Cheung and Richardson.

Photo Courtesy of Black Belt

JOE LEWIS
First-Generation Bruce Lee Student
Former World Karate Champion
Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer

The top three principles Bruce Lee emphasized for fighters were distancing, relaxed explosiveness and movement (rhythm). Although many of his students talked about broken rhythm, few understood what it really meant and almost no one could execute it. His indirect-angular-attack theory (progressive indirect attack) was primarily used to level the playing field when two equal combatants were engaged. As in the sport of boxing, this faking-type movement pattern is a last resort to disrupt the other person’s timing. Again, the problem was that few students developed the faking skills necessary to use this principle.

Shaolin monk Wang Bo, who began training at China’s revered Shaolin Temple when he was just 8 years old, is the featured instructor in a new online kung fu course from Black Belt magazine. Titled Tree of Shaolin, it streams video to your smartphone, tablet or computer whenever and wherever you like. Sign up here and start your journey along the 1,500-year-old Shaolin path!

Head, body and foot rhythm have always been a major weakness for martial arts practitioners. This rhythm principle (usually called movement) is used in all tactics. It’s the most important attribute of any strategy, both defensively and offensively. The two principles that are most useful in combat are distancing and controlling the set-point. Each requires the effective use of movement. Movement skills are the best way to control an opponent — to take away his best technique or challenge his will to fight. Bruce and I used to study the movement skills of Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson and, of course, Muhammad Ali.

Photo by Peter Lueders

LEO FONG
First-Generation Bruce Lee Student
Black Belt Hall of Famer
Author of Beyond Kung Fu

The most important principle is one that goes with the jab: progressive indirect attack. I used it to deceive my opponents. I never jabbed straight in; rather, I would shift slightly to the left or right before snapping out the straight front-hand lead. In other words, I would strike at an angle. Using this principle, I developed an entire repertoire of deceptive moves.

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The most important concept is using no way as way. When Lee shared this with us back in the mid-1960s, I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about. Today, I see it as meaning that once the technique is mastered, there are no boundaries or deliberation. It’s much like the relationship between a sound and an echo. In the elementary stage, you just do the technique and remain conscious of every detail. As you practice the technique over and over, it finds depth and becomes an expression and an emotional response to what is. You’re no longer self-conscious about whether you’re doing the technique correctly. You become the technique, so to speak.

Photo by Robert Reiff

WILLIAM CHEUNG
Wing Chun Master
Training Partner of Bruce Lee While in Hong Kong
Black Belt Hall of Famer

If I were to teach only one thing, it would be the wing chun vertical punch. The fundamental prerequisites in combat are keeping calm, using the eyes effectively, and achieving static and dynamic balance.

Why the vertical punch instead of the horizontal punch? The horizontal punch has only the elbow behind it. That doesn’t generate much power unless the whole arm is fully extended or you use your momentum by pushing your shoulder forward and putting your body behind it. Even then, if your opponent steps away or deflects your arm, you’ll be off-balance.

Silat for the Street is the title of a new online course from Black Belt Hall of Famer Burton Richardson and Black Belt magazine. Now you can learn the most functional silat techniques whenever and wherever you want on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Get more info here!

Before wing …

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