All-Inclusive Guide to Corkscrew punch in Boxing

The term Corkscrew punch was invented by a popular boxer Charles “Kid” McCoy, active between 1891-1916. Though McCoy was nefarious for his crazy antics outside the ring, there’s no doubt that the man was technically gifted inside it. Perhaps one of the slickest boxers to have ever graced the boxing ring. And one word that he is still closely associated with is the Corkscrew punch. Something, you’ve been searching for on the internet which brought you here or perhaps your curiosity of advanced boxing skills.

Right off the bat, let’s understand why is the punch called Corkscrew? Well, it’s called the corkscrew because it’s delivered whilst twisting the wrist. McCoy after watching a cat striking at a ball of string imitated the moment, which led to the birth of corkscrew punch. As per him, this added additional substance to the punch and was able to cut his opponent’s skin. (Back in the days, the hand protection was minimal and thus cuts and bruises were quite common).

What’s a Corkscrew punch?

A corkscrew punch is a special technique that adds a bit of flair to your current punching technique by adding a twist at the end. In earlier days, this technique was crucial in slashing and tearing opponents. With proper impact, you can still cause lasting damage on your opponent with all the protection these days.

Does Corkscrew punch make a difference?

Talk about some advanced boxing techniques and this one is right there amongst technical boxing marvel maneuvers such as leaping lead hook, double-cross, multiple hooks to name a few. In fact, Corkscrew as motion can be deployed in a wide range of punches and isn’t just limited to a single punch. You can throw almost any kind of punch as a Corkscrew punch – A lead hook, a rear hook, an overhand or a cross.

Corkscrew punch is unconventional yet the most effective punching technique which is often undermined. But the reason why most of the fighters don’t give it attention in contemporary boxing is that it’s not easy to perform. And the situation in which you perform them, might not be suitable. For instance, if you develop a habit of throwing these punches at a regular interval, a good counterpuncher will make a meal out of you. Most of the time, even executing these punches require a tremendous amount of agility.

Principles of Corkscrew punch technique in boxing

1. Wrist generates its power from the forearms

Almost all the punches that we throw are supported by the forearm or I should say should be supported by forearm. If you don’t back your wrist with your forearms, your punches won’t be effective. Especially, when implementing a corkscrew motion, your elbow should follow your list in line. 

If you throw any punch against the line of the fist, you’ll instantly feel the lack of power. Your elbow must shoot forward when throwing a straight. Your elbow must swing across and not drop when throwing a hook and your elbow must support your fist when throwing an uppercut in an upward angle. It’s natural movement but it does require practice to get it right.

2. Rotation of entire arm & punching angles

Corkscrew punch requires you to rotate your entire arm, right from the shoulder to the elbow, all the way to your fist. When it comes to corkscrew punches, you generally deploy a horizontal angle over a vertical angle.

What’s a horizontal angle? Try holding your arm with your palm facing down and try to punch straight. You’ll witness your forearms getting activated with your elbows pointing sideways pretty quickly.

On the contrary, a vertical angle with your palm facing sideways makes your elbow point down and the forearm doesn’t actively support your punch unless you try to fully extend it.

Thus, when you use the horizontal angle, you corkscrew your entire arm wherein the elbow moves much quicker.

3. Motion not a position

Corkscrew punching technique has everything to do with motion and not position. You can say that it’s harder to punch when palm’s sideways. Well, yes, but when you keep your fist facing down, your elbows will be forced out which will make defending your body a tough task. If you know the basic boxing stance, you’ll know that you’re required to protect your body with your elbows down.

If you follow the basic stance, you’re more likely to have a palm facing inwards or sideways. All-in-all, a corkscrew motion allows you to attack whilst helping you defend thanks to the shoulder position.

How to use the Corkscrew punch technique in boxing?

When you want to hit a corkscrew punch in boxing, you’d either use it for straight punches, head hooks or uppercuts. When you want to use it for straight punches, you’d either throw a jab or a straight right. If you want to use for head hooks, you can use it for an overhand right or a left hook. Finally, if you want to use it for an uppercut, you’d either choose the left or the right uppercut. Let’s understand how to use this technique in each of these punches.

Using Corkscrew punch technique for straight punches

To use corkscrew punch technique in a jab or straight right, simply rotate your entire arm while extending your fist. All you need to make sure is that your palm’s facing down when you’re about to land.

Using Corkscrew punch technique for head hooks

In order to throw an overhand right or a left hook using this technique, rotate your entire arm while swinging the hook. The goal here is to land your punch with your elbow either being at the same level of the first i.e. hooks or higher than the fist i.e. overhand. So, it’s just about the angle at which you punch.

Using Corkscrew punch technique for uppercuts

This one’s slightly challenging because it doesn’t follow the same motion mechanism. In order to throw an uppercut, you need to use reverse motion. Herein, you must rotate your arm inwards instead of outward. Once you do this, your punch will land with your elbow moving inwards to support your uppercut. I won’t advise using this technique on every uppercut but only when you want to land some tight uppercuts on the inside.

Why do you need to learn corkscrew punch for boxing?

While we have already learned about the mechanism of this punching technique. Let’s emphasize on the benefits of learning this punching technique. Sure, there are fighters who don’t have a pleasant opinion on this technique whilst others find it difficult to integrate. There are many boxers who’ve knocked their opponents out cold with this technique. So, here are the major benefits of a corkscrew punch:

Protection of hands:

When you punch using this technique, your forearms provide additional stability to your wrists. Most of the fighters end up injured while throwing power punches. However, when you use the corkscrew technique, you safeguard your hands as the point of impact are your knuckles followed by the thumb. Thus, your knuckles make the initial contact with the opponent’s body and then the thumb which reduces any risk of injuries.

Chin Protection

Try this technique for yourself. When you throw a corkscrew punch, your shoulder automatically rises. What this does is it protects your chin naturally. We have studied numerous times about the importance of shoulder in guarding your chin. Thus, by using this technique, you actively protect your chin against a possible counter which is a huge benefit.

Better Defensive Posture:

You can’t perform the corkscrew punch without leaning at a particular angle. Thus, when you perform it, your opponent will have a hard time trying to catch you with a counterpunch. However, it doesn’t mean you use this technique every time. There are some punches that work well but if you overdo them, they’ll work against you. Try avoiding the corkscrew jab as it doesn’t leave you in good position since you can’t follow up with other combinations. Even uppercuts are slightly odd when trying to implement them in a corkscrew technique.

Crucial tips when using the corkscrew punch technique

Crucial tips when using the corkscrew punch technique

Corkscrew the entire arm:

When wanting to use the corkscrew motion, ensure that you corkscrew the entire arm. Start with your shoulder, followed by your elbow and fist. Don’t just think about the fist as the motion initially begins with your shoulder. To get used to this motion, try to experience the snap followed by a quick rotation in your shoulder and the elbow. Ensure that your arms are relaxed which will then easily snap into a corkscrew motion.

How do I know if I’m doing it right?

If you do it in the correct manner, you’ll feel your elbow flicking up as the entire arm moves in sync. Start practicing the easier motions first – per se the straight punches. If you like to push punch, then avoid using this technique as it will slow you down because of the complete range of motions. The corkscrew motion will make you feel as if you’re consuming a tremendous amount of energy. And in reality, it will. However, if you really want to use it, make sure you use it as a tool to defend and guard yourself whilst getting in an advance position. That’ll give you a psychological advantage. 

Don’t focus on your arms:

Like I mentioned earlier, try to activate the powerful muscles right from the shoulder. The corkscrew effect requires the movement right from the lat muscles and shoulders. Rotate your forearm and elbow and your wrist will automatically get into the right position. Once you get the snap right, you’ll automatically be able to throw a power punch in corkscrew motion.

Reference to Corkscrew punch in martial arts

The Corkscrew punch as I mentioned earlier has been at the center of oriental martial arts. It’s something every student who’s started with any form of dojo knows. Twisting the fist is the most basic drill thought to us. Be it Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu or Karate, almost everybody uses the Corkscrew punch.

A fascinating part is that though most of the people use this skill, very few actually know how to use it right. For instance, martial arts practitioners often rotate the fist to ensure the correct finishing position. However, they often don’t realize that the rest of the arm is involved in making the entire movement happen.

It’s been over a century since this punch was first discovered, however, it’s been adapted and embraced by all of the martial arts. In fact, many martial arts already had the technique of twisting the forearms while delivering the punch. Many suggest “It’s twisting the wrist”, but technically you can’t twist your wrist on its own. It’s the forearm that you twist which puts the wrist in motion.


Don’t try the corkscrew technique in the ring unless you’re familiar with it. Firstly, learn to protect your wrist and thumb if you’re not accustomed to corkscrew motion. I hope this detailed corkscrew guide helped you drive home with some valuable points about this advanced boxing technique.