In a punch, you arm is used to accelerate the fist to a high speed so it will strike harder. A locked elbow makes your arm similar to a straight stick. Attach two leather cords to the end of a long stick and try to whip the stick out fast enough to make the cords snap, which means they are breaking the sound barrier, about 700 mph. It’s impossible to move the stiff stick that fast. Now attach the cords to the end of a piece of rope the same length as the stick, AKA a whip, and try to make the cords snap. It is easy to make them snap since the limp rope allows the tip to move much faster than the grip end. When punching, a relaxed arm that stays limp until impact will increase the speed of the fist much more than a tensed arm.
When you are younger, you can do things the wrong way and the body can adapt and make accommodations for using poor technique. As you age, the body cannot absorb as much punishment and it heals more slowly. Therefore, as you age, your must strive for perfect technique. Once you have achieved it, the skill never goes away, such as the skill bicycle riding never goes away. As you age, you find that, although your reflexes are not a quick as the used to be, your technique is still perfect and it allows you to beat younger opponents who are relying upon their youth to overcome their imperfections.
I once had a “tennis elbow” injury I received during police baton training that would not heal. A doctor prescribed Voltaren (diclofenac) and the injury healed in a few days.
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