FighterEmpire Interview: How to punch harder with Sam Alvey

Nothing is more satisfying than knocking out your opponent. And there’s nothing in a fight people like to see more than watching someone get knocked out. If you have a habit of dropping people, you will be quickly recognized and admired as a knockout artist. It takes a lot of skill to be able to knock people out, but with all the technique in the world you’re still not going to drop anybody if you punch like a pansy.

How do I stop punching like a pansy you may ask? Learning how to punch harder is one of the most common questions that our viewers have. There’s no one interested in MMA that would not like to have more power behind each punch. So we took your questions to our friend, the knockout artist Smilin’ Sam Alvey. He is 27-6 with 17 of those victories by KO/TKO. So as a UFC fighter fighting this guy you have a 70% chance of getting knocked out. And as a regular dude reading this you have 100% chance of getting knocked out. He is certainly qualified to answer any questions our community may have on the topic.

“What exercises can I do to build my knockout power?”

Sent by… Canswizz88

Sam Alvey: “The secret is just punch a lot. Go to a punching bag and punch before every workout. I do 100 punches on each arm and 100 kicks on each leg before the warmup. If you wanna be a good runner you run a lot. If you wanna be a good stair climber climb alotta stairs. if you wanna be a strong puncher you need to punch strong a lot.”
FighterEmpire: “So there’s no exercises you can specifically do, just punch a lot and your body will adapt?”
Sam Alvey: “I’d say if you wanna throw strong hooks throw hooks. If you wanna throw a strong jab throw jabs. A lot of it is mental too, you have to dedicate yourself to the punch. Alotta people that throw soft punches they only half throw it there already thinking of the move ahead. Every punch throw it like it’s the last punch. Anytime I hit a guy my intention is to shorten his life. I’m not aiming at his face I’m aiming at the back of his head going through through his face.”
FighterEmpire: “So hit hard hit often and punch through the target?”
Sam alvey: “Yes.”

Even when I get a clean shot i can never drop my opponent. Do you have any tips on how to increase the likelihood of a knockout?

Sent by… Utherion 5376: 

Sam Alvey: “The accuracy of your punches definitely helps. That’s why Anderson Silva was such a wonderful knockout artist. He didn’t hit harder than everyone else, he always tapped them in the right place. On top of what I was just saying, dedicate yourself to every punch. Use the dark side.”

“Would you say knockout power is genetic or learned through training?”

Sent by… Gabbylchocolzats

Sam Alvey: “I would definitely say it’s learned training but there’s nothing wrong with having genetics on your side either. If someone was born to punch softly, they can develop a strong punch. It just takes the time and dedication to do it.”

“What is your strategy when you are going for a KO or TKO?”

Sent by… Jasonx1995 

Sam Alvey: “I kinda answered that question or two ago, when I’m going for a KO or TKO I’m trying to shorten his life. I’m trying to make it so when he’s older I don’t want him to remember this day. I’m a real nice guy and afterwards I’ll apologize, but you know we’re two consenting adults and I’m sure he’s trying to do the same thing to me. Have bad intent with everything you throw.”

“Are there any punches in particular that are most likely to land a knockout?”

Sent by… Ajax Ajax

Sam Alvey: “Hooks work really well, and that’s more the physiology of your body. The button is a little lower in front of your ear. If you hit right there, any pressure you put there will weaken. Putting a lot of instant pressure on those nerves will lead to a knockout. The hooks wiggle your jaw left and right when you land it and the left and right motion is what puts the pressure on the button.”

“Having trained with many different people how big of a factor would you say weight class is in striking power and speed?”

Sent by… HernanCB69

Sam Alvey: “I definitely noticed the bigger the guy is the harder they hit, at least the harder it feels for me. That is if they’re punching correctly and putting their body weight behind the punch. So the bigger you are the more bodyweight to have behind the punch. That’s not to say a little guy cant get power as well, but a little guy hitting a bigger guy it’s harder to get that power. But a little guy hitting another little guy that powers there.”
FighterEmpire: “So would you say a heavier size effects their speed? Could a heavyweight have the same speed as a featherweight?”
Sam Alvey: “Probably not. Bigger guys have longer quickfire muscles. They can be fast, look at Mike Tyson he was faster than any featherweight in the ufc right now. But on average you’re not gonna find a heavyweight than can move anywhere near as fast as a featherweight”

“What exercises do you do to train your punching speed?”

Sent by…Gregsnz 

Sam Alvey: “Alot it is again I hit the bags a lot. Sometimes 5 minutes will be all power. Other times I just hit the bag as many times as I can. One of my conditioning coaches has got a drill where he’ll stand behind me with a laser pointer and shine the wall in different spots and my job is to react as fast I can. It’s not so much a speed drill for my hands as it is for my eyes to my hands.”
Fighterempire: “So both with punching harder and punching faster it equates to punching more often? If you wanna punch hard punch hard and if you wanna punch fast you need to punch fast?”

“Do you have any tips on how to increase the speed of my punch?”

Sent by… Terryiezsx

Sam Alvey: “How you fight is a product of how you train. If you train to punch faster then you’ll punch fast in the fight.”

“How can i better conserve my energy while striking?”

Sent by… Perry pjsmith

Sam Alvey: “It’s a matter of breathing, you gotta teach yourself how to breathe. That takes time and experience and a good coach working with you while you’re doing it.”

“Is it possible to better train myself to take a punch?”

Sent by… Jerodajay

Sam Alvey: “I think there’s a way to train yourself to react better to being punched. But working out your button that is genetics. whether you got a thick skull or not. But there are ways you can move with punches to lessen the effects of punches. But better yet, don’t get hit.”

So what have we learned about striking from Sam Alvey?

  1. Use the dark side. You need to have bad intent with everything you throw, when you are throwing a punch you are attempting to shorten his life. You don’t want him to even remember this moment, this day or even his childhood. Follow through and throw it like it’s the last punch you’re ever gonna throw.
  2. Punch through their face. When you are punching someone in the face don’t aim at their face. Aim at the back of head going through their face.
  3. Stay committed. Never half ass a punch because you are too busy thinking about and acting on your next move. Every punch you are landing has the potential to drop your opponent, treat it as such.
  4. Punch hard punch often. You are a product of how you train. If you want to punch harder, you need to punch hard. If you were a runner you’d run, if you were a swimmer, you’d swim. If you want to punch harder, or punch faster simply go to a heavy bag and practice hitting it harder and practice hitting it faster.
  5. Hooks will rattle their brain. Hooks have a nice tendency of knocking people out because they land right on the “button”. Which is right below your ear. The side swing of a hook rattles the jaw from side to side. And that left and right motion puts a lot of pressure on the nerves there. Resulting in a knockout.
  6. What doesn’t kill you will make you weaker. Constantly taking more and more punches to the head is not going to strengthen your skull and ability to take punches. It will only weaken you and make you more susceptible to a knockout. You can learn how to better take a punch in the first day of our Octagon series by clicking here.
  7. Size matters. To correctly throw a punch you need to throw your body weight behind it. So of course having more body weight would give you more weight to throw behind each punch.
  8. Punch accurately. You can be the fastest and strongest puncher in the world but that will mean nothing if you have no accuracy. Being able to correctly land your punches and in the right places will make you a deadly striker like Anderson Silva. Who has an average striking accuracy of 70% per fight and has never had less than 50% striking accuracy. With 20 knockouts under his belt you should see the correlation.


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Thank you for taking the time to read our article, we always appreciate your time. But don’t stop now! There is still so much left to learn in your MMA journey. This is just one piece of our BJJ series, if you are serious about MMA just look to the left and learn the rest! Each article was helped written by actual UFC fighters living your dream, answering your questions personally! Click any article, and the next few minutes will be a serious investment of your time into your MMA journey you will not regret.  

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