The Polish hammer is a wrestling move in which a combatant clasps both hands together, raises them high above their head, and brings them down on an opponent -- usually their back, neck, or chest. The name Polish hammer is derived from wrestler Ivan Putski, who utilized a running version as his finishing maneuver.


The move was extremely popular in American television and film during the late 1960s and early 1970s, with almost every depicted fist fight ending with the hero using the Polish hammer to defeat their opponent.

Notably, the technique was used as the "finishing blow" by Logan (Michael York) on Francis (Richard Jordan) in Logan's Run, and in numerous fights between Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and myriad opponents in the Star Trek series. The move was also delivered by Optimus Prime to Megatron in the climax of their battle at the beginning of the original Transformers movie

Popularity fades

The Polish hammer all but disappeared in the film and television in the late-1970s, when the "wild west" fighting style it was part of was eclipsed by the skyrocketing popularity of different martial arts.

In wrestling the move was relegated to a lower status, no longer perceived as a finishing level maneuver until Scott Putski, son of Ivan, attempted to revive it during the early 1990s, and again by Chris Masters and Hal Peterson in the 2000s.

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