When you strike something you want to properly release your energy into the object you are striking. Be it a shin, chest, face, focus pad etc.. This goes the same for most of types of strikes you will do unless you have a specific purpose to what you are doing that you will change that energy. But for most part you will use this energy in the majority of the strikes.
As Steve Golden said numerous times.... -The way you think of things will control the out come of how you do them.
Training over the past 35+ years I have seen difference in the way people hit. And I am sure I will see some new ones in years to come. I prefer to think of my strikes as something I want to count on in the street. I want to end the fight quickly and I will be handed. I will not want to be punching like a sport.
I have come across some people that train martial arts yet have NEVER hit anything. Focus pads or bag or anything. Never wore gloves. When they tell you that they are in a art that strikes, it makes you really question their training that they told you they had. Either made up or how well they trained. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to help those people.
So for the sake of this quick blog... lets think about this in the terms of the punch. When you punch you want to be loose. Quick.... snappy. I tell my students that they should think about speed more than actual brute strength. If you tense your muscles.... there are opposing muscles. Again... the punch..... Your biceps pull your hand in... and triceps help push it out. You want to relax so that you biceps are not tensing and aka putting the breaks on your speed. It's almost like stepping on the gas in your car while also stepping on the break slightly...
A principle that is in JKD is called water in the hose. And how I have heard it described to me...is that you arm is loose like a deflated hose, sitting in the sun on a warm summer day. When you turn that faucet on, you crank it open and the hose just snaps out. The idea is the relaxation prior to turning that faucet. Be totally relaxed.
Now when you hit... Despite what some people say in boxing.. etc.. you want to cut into the target. You want to penetrate into what you are hitting. I always say that you hit and dig into around 2-3 inches into that object. Again.... People who never hit anything before simply hit and pull their hand back after scratching the surface. You need to dig into that. I tell people to punch the mitts like the surface was not there.... go through it... dig in 2-3 inches and snap at the end of the punch bring your hand immediately back. You do not want to tighten your arm up when you make contact. That again will simply cause the punch to be stopped and halted.
I sometimes tell people to think like they are punching a thick dense amount of Jello. You want to be relaxed and calm.... send the energy into the jello. Now thinking of jello and the slow motion video clips. Imagine after you dig into the jello how it will reverberate and push back against you. What you want to do is think that you want to send the energy of your fist into the jello and before the jello reverberates back against your fist you snap it back to the return position. This is allowing the ENERGY to be properly released into the target without the energy coming back into your hand/arm.
Now I take it the next step. Think that there is a raw egg buried 2-3 inches in that jello. Penetrate the jello and crack the egg and pull your hand bag.
This is the way knock out shots happen. Do not just SCRATCH the surface. Dig.... relax....
End result.... SMASH things...