How Matt Damon Perfected His Left Hook for 'Jason Bourne'

Credit: Courtesy Universal Pictures

It's clear that Jason Bourne knows how to fight. Unlike the overly produced scenes of his predecessors, Bourne has tangible skills that unfold in real time. “There are no cheeky one-liners with Bourne,” says Glen Powell, who mapped out the clashes for The Bourne UltimatumJason Bourne as well as all of Daniel Craig's Bond films. “He hasn’t got time for that, and I think his way of combat is the most realistic.” 

Resourcefulness aside (Bourne has neutralized enemies with books, Bic pens, electrical cords, and even a rolled up magazine), there is no question that Bourne’s deadliest weapons are the ones attached to him. Damon worked with long-time boxing coach Matt Baiamonte to make the character even more deadly. Here are a few tools Baiamonte helped add to Bourne’s arsenal. 

The Left Hook

“If you’re a right-handed fighter, the left hook is the most powerful punch you can throw,” says Baiamonte. “The straight right can knock someone out, but the left hook is even more dangerous because they can’t see it coming. When you throw a left hook you have to bring your elbow up. How I explain it is think of how an airplane looks when it’s taking off, when it’s in flight, and when it’s landing. You want to be punching like an airplane that is in flight. The elbow should be positioned between your nose and your mouth. As you’re doing that you are rolling the thumb over.”

The key to giving the left hook the proper stopping power is starting out with 55 percent of your weight on the back foot and 45 percent on the front foot. Then as you are swinging the left side of your body to the right, swap that percentage from back to front. “I know that hook looks amazing in the trailer,” Baiamonte says, “but I assure you when you’re there in person, it’s even more brutal.”

The Tyson Combo

“Matt is a huge Tyson fan, so he always wanted to learn his right to the body, right to the chin uppercut combo,” says Baiamonte. The move is seen in the film during the final fight scene when Bourne squares up with The Asset, played by Vincent Cassel.

In order to score those Tyson-style knockouts you have to be aware of your weight disposition. “You have to bend at the knees,” Baiamonte explains. “You’re shifting the left side of your body back while pushing down on the feet and aiming that first punch at their left side. Then you’re recoiling to set up that second right hit, that’s when your opponent thinks you may be coming with a left punch. So they are taken by surprise when it’s a short right upper cut to the chin. If you want a combo like that to be second nature you have to put in the work. We would go six rounds of Matt doing nothing but that move.”

Of course the foundation of any good fighter is physical fitness, which is why Damon works non-stop with trainer Jason Walsh. “Powerful punches come easy when you have a strong core,” says Baiamonte.