Bolo Punch - Martial Arts Punching Technique

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Bolo Punch - Martial Arts Punching Technique

The Bolo Punch is a Filipino martial arts punch. It is comparable to a large circular uppercut punch and can be a powerful punch if timed properly. This punch has a large wind-up which looks almost like a softball pitch. Nevertheless, the wind-up and wide circular motion of the bolo punch is often used as a distraction in order to land a traditional punch with the other hand.

This punch is associated with boxers such as Kid Gavilan and Sugar Ray Leonard. For example, Sugar Ray Leonard used an exaggerated circling bolo punch as a taunt and an effective punch in his fight against Roberto Duran in 1980. See video below.

For other martial arts punches, please visit the main Punches & Strikes section.

History of the Bolo Punch

The infamous “Bolo Punch” is a punch that is known to most boxing fans. However, very few know about the origin of the term “Bolo Punch” or where the technique came from. After the USA defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War, many Filipinos began immigrating to the United States, mainly Central California and Hawaii, and worked on the local farms. Many of these Filipino immigrants were practitioners of the Filipino Martial Arts, which includes a variety of weapon training such as sticks, knives, swords and empty hand - Filipino Boxing - also well known as Panantukan or "Filipino Dirty Boxing". At the time, many of these farm workers gravitated towards competing in western boxing because it paid more than farm labor. They could make more in one boxing match than working for one week on the farms.

These Filipino Boxers started to call a certain punch they were using in their fights a “Bolo Punch” because the punch was similar to swinging a machete (bolo) when working to cut down crops like sugar cane. One Filipino Boxer who made the Bolo Punch famous was Ceferino Garcia (World Middle Weight Champion in 1939). Today the Bolo Punch is widely used in Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai and of course, still used in Filipino Panantukan.

Demonstration of a Bolo Punch

Bolo Punch in the Sugar Ray Leonard vs Robert Duran Fight

Reference Sources

  1. History information kindly provided by Apolaki Krav Maga & Dirty Boxing Academy, http://www.apolakidirtyboxing.com/blog/4589044930/The-Bolo-Punch/9645897, Added - 09/09/15


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