Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Lead Hand Punch

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Marine Corps Martial Arts Tan Belt - Lead Hand Punch

This section focuses on tan belt techniques used by the Marine Corps martial arts program. This page examines how to punch in the Marine Corps martial arts program. To learn about other martial arts punches, please visit the main Punches & Hand Strikes section. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP).

For more Marine Corps techniques, please visit the main Marine Corps Martial Arts Program section.


Telegraphing a strike informs your aggressor that your intentions are to launch an attack through your body movements. Often, an untrained fighter will telegraph his intention to attack by drawing his hand back in view of his aggressor, changing facial expression, tensing neck muscles, or twitching.

These movements, however small, immediately indicate an attack is about to be delivered. If your aggressor is a trained fighter, he may be able to evade or counter your attack. If your aggressor is an untrained fighter, he may be able to minimize the effect of your attack. Staying
relaxed helps to reduce telegraphing.

Lead Hand Punch

The lead hand punch is a snapping straight punch executed by the forward or the lead hand. It is a fast, unexpected punch designed to stun an aggressor and to set up for follow-on techniques. A lead hand punch conceals movement and allows you to get close to the aggressor. If possible, lead hand punches should strike soft tissue areas.

Striking Surface

The striking surface is the first two knuckles of the fist.

Target Areas of the Body

Soft tissue areas such as the nose, the jaw, and the throat are the primary target areas.


~ Assume the basic warrior stance.
~ Snap your lead hand out to nearly a full extension, while rotating your palm to the deck. Do not over extend your elbow because this can cause an injury due to hyperextension of the joint.
~ Keep your rear hand in place to protect your head.
~ Retract your hand rapidly, returning to the basic warrior stance.
~ The fist will travel out and back in a straight line. A mistake that is commonly made is pulling back low and then resetting, which will leave you open to a counter punch.

See figure 2-6.


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  1. Information from Public Domain Document, MCRP 3-02B, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP),, Added - 02/18/15

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