Haymaker

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Mawashi-tsuki (literally: “go-around punch”) is known as a haymaker punch in English speaking-countries, since its motion mimes making hay with an invisible scythe. They are often derisively referred to as "cowboy punches," since they were a staple of Western movie fight scenes.

To perform a haymaker, whip your arm from the shoulder in a large horizontal loop. Unlike a conventional karate punch, haymakers do not “snap,” they use weight transfer to generate momentum, rather than using muscle contraction to deliver power. This requires a significant wind-up, which telegraphs the punch. To optimize your momentum, take a same-side step forward as your swing, like a pursuit punch. Unlike a hook punch, haymakers have little to no bend in the elbow, to increase their range. As a consequence your wrist must be turned slightly inward, to ensure that your knuckles contact the opponent -- however, your fist will not be in line with your forearm, increasing your risk of suffering a sprained wrist or a boxer’s fracture. Because of their large, looping path, haymakers must travel a distance which is (by definition) π-times larger than a straight punch. As such, haymakers will take over three times longer to connect than a straight punch, giving even a moderately-skilled opponent the necessary time to evade, block, and counterattack.

For the reasons given above, haymaker punches are rarely, if ever, used in karate, except when acting in the opponent role during haymaker-defense waza. However, haymaker punches are extremely popular among untrained fighters (e.g., kids on playgrounds, drunks outside of bars), because they look spectacular, feel powerful, and require literally no skill. Karateka must study haymakers to know how to defend against them, because if you are ever attacked, it will likely be with a haymaker.

{Video of Haymakers from the front and side}