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Boxing: The Art of Punching!


Boxing is a dynamic and strategic combat sport that focuses on punches, footwork, and defensive techniques to outmaneuver and defeat an opponent. Here is an overview of the focus points of boxing


Stance

Adopt a balanced and athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your lead foot (left foot for an orthodox stance, right foot for a southpaw stance) slightly forward. Keep your knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of your feet, and heels off the ground.

Protect yourself by keeping your hands up, covering your face, and positioning your elbows close to your body. Your lead hand (left for orthodox, right for southpaw) is your jab hand and should be closer to your opponent. The rear hand is your power hand and is positioned closer to your chin.



Footwork

Footwork is a fundamental aspect of boxing that involves the movement and positioning of a fighter's feet to control distance, create angles, and facilitate effective offensive and defensive maneuvers. Begin with a balanced and athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent to allow for quick movements. Distribute weight evenly between both feet. Stay on the balls of the feet to maintain mobility. Adopt an orthodox stance if you are right-handed (left foot forward). Adopt a southpaw stance if you are left-handed (right foot forward).


Forward Movement- Move forward by taking small steps. Lead with the front foot by pushing off your rear leg, then follow with the rear foot stepping forward. Maintain balance and avoid crossing your feet.

Backward Movement- Similar to forward movement concepts but in the backwards direction. You will step with the back foot first.

Lateral Movement- Similar concepts, now in a lateral direction. Move laterally to the left or right by taking short steps.


Basics of moving forward, backwards, and sideways


Pivot steps are a fundamental footwork technique used to create angles, evade opponents, and set up effective offensive or defensive maneuvers.


Pivot Steps


Visual Focus

In boxing, the focus of the eyes is a critical aspect of a fighter's overall awareness and defensive capabilities. I like to focus my eyes around the area of my opponent's collar bones. This allows me to read my opponent's shoulders, hips, hands, and maintain awareness of the ring with aid of my peripheral vision while reducing eye strain. The level of the opponent's chest or collarbones tends to be a typical focal point among most boxers that allows for the best awareness of the opponent's movements.


Punches

The Jab- The jab is a quick, straight punch thrown with your lead hand.

Use the jab to measure distance, set up combinations, and disrupt your opponent's rhythm.

The Cross (Straight Right for Orthodox, Straight Left for Southpaw)- The cross is a powerful, straight punch thrown with your rear hand. Rotate your hips and shoulders for maximum power, and snap the punch back quickly to maintain defense.


Jab and Cross Tutorial


Hooks- Hooks are lateral punches thrown with a bent arm. These punches can be very powerful and are thrown at the opponents body or head.


Lead and Rear Hook Tutorial


Uppercuts- Uppercuts are vertical punches thrown upward from close range. Uppercuts can be used to target the opponent's chin or body.


Lead and Rear Uppercut Tutorial


Bonus Punch: Overhand- I call this punch a bonus because it is not typically focused on in boxing routines; however, it can be an effective option if done correctly. While the overhand punch can be a potent weapon, its looping trajectory makes it crucial for boxers to time it correctly, ensuring that it lands effectively while minimizing the risk of being countered. Additionally, proper setup and strategic use enhance the overhand punch's effectiveness in a boxer's arsenal.


Overhand Punch Tutorial


Defenses

Slip

The slip is a defensive maneuver in boxing where a fighter skillfully moves their head to avoid an opponent's incoming punch. By bending at the waist and shifting the upper body to the side, the boxer evades the punch while staying in a position to counterattack. The slip is an essential defensive skill, allowing a boxer to minimize damage, maintain strategic positioning, and capitalize on openings created by an opponent's missed punch. Successful slipping involves precise timing, head movement, and an understanding of an opponent's patterns and tendencies.


Slipping Tutorial


Roll- Rolling under a punch in boxing is a defensive maneuver that involves smoothly moving the upper body under an opponent's punch. This technique is a slip, followed by a bend at the knees and use of the legs to roll the upper body through a U shape to avoid punches.


Rolling Tutorial


Blocks- Blocking in boxing is a fundamental defensive technique where a fighter uses their arms and gloves to shield against incoming punches, minimizing the impact of the strikes.

High Guard- When you raise both hands to cover your head, bringing your gloves close together. Keep your elbows down to protect your body. This creates a "high guard" position, commonly used to defend against headshots.

Low Guard- Lower your hands to cover your midsection and lower body. Position your gloves to shield your ribs and abdomen. This forms a "low guard" to defend against body shots.

Catching- The catch in boxing is a defensive maneuver where a fighter intercepts an opponent's punch with their hand or glove, redirecting or stopping the incoming strike. Unlike a traditional block, the catch involves using a more active and controlled motion to catch the punch mid-air. This technique is often employed to disrupt an opponent's rhythm, create counterattacking opportunities, or minimize the impact of the incoming punch by controlling its trajectory. Successful execution of the catch requires precise timing, quick reflexes, and a good understanding of an opponent's punching patterns.

Parry Blocks- are defensive maneuvers that involve redirecting an opponent's punches away from their intended target. Parrying is most effective when timed with the opponent's attack. Use the palm or the inside of your glove to gently deflect or redirect the opponent's punch away from your centerline. For example, to parry a jab, you might use your lead hand to guide the opponent's jab slightly off course. Parry blocks can be applied to various punches, including jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts. Different hand positions and movements may be used based on the type of punch being parried. After successfully parrying a punch, look for counterattacking opportunities. The deflected punch may create openings for your own offensive maneuvers.


High guard, low guard, catch, and parry tutorial


Parry Tutorial: A deeper dive on parrying variations


Combinations

String together different punches to create effective combinations. Mix up the levels (head and body) to keep opponents guessing. Combos are typically called out in numbers, the order of numbers can vary slightly pending the gym; however, I have listed the most common order of punches called by number:

  1. Jab

  2. Cross

  3. Lead Hook

  4. Rear Hook

  5. Lead Uppercut

  6. Rear Uppercut

*Punches are typically assumed to be thrown at head level unless specified as body. After specifying a punch as 'body' an instruction may be followed as 'head' to verify the punches should go back to being thrown at head level.


There are many combinations to try, I will list a few and include a few videos for instruction and conditioning purposes. It is important to note that combinations are typically 2-3 punches that should be followed by a defensive or evasive maneuver to practice for the opponent's retaliation.


Some Combinations to Try:

  • 1, 2 -- Jab, Cross

  • 1, 1, 2 -- Jab, Jab, Cross

  • 1, 2, 3 -- Jab, Cross, Hook

  • 2, 3, 2 -- Cross, Lead Hook, Cross

  • 1, 1, 2 (body), 3 (head) -- Jab, Jab, Cross to the Body, Lead Hook to the Head

  • 3, 5 -- Lead Hook, Lead Uppercut

  • 5, 2, 3-- Lead Uppercut, Cross, Lead Hook

  • 6, 3, 2 -- Rear Uppercut, Lead Hook, Cross

  • 1, 1, 1 -- Triple Jab

  • 1, 1, 2, 1, 4 -- Jab, Jab, Cross, Jab, Rear Hook

  • 1 (body), 3 (body), 3 (head) -- Jab to Body, Lead Hook to Body, Lead Hook to Head

  • 5, 4 -- Lead Uppercut, Rear Hook

  • 1, 2, 3, 3 (body) -- Jab, Cross, Lead Hook, Lead Hook to the Body


Video Example Combinations

  • 1, 2 -- Jab, Cross

  • 2, 3 -- Cross, Hook

  • 1, 2, 3 -- Jab, Cross, Hook

  • 5, 3, 2 -- Lead Uppercut, Lead Hook, Cross

  • 1, 2, 3, 2 -- Jab, Cross, Lead Hook, Cross


Conditioning: Putting It All Together

I will include a few videos that put these concepts together well and include some great conditioning. These workouts can be done using a punching bag, or by shadow boxing at home.






Sparring:

Practice your skills in controlled sparring sessions with a training partner. Focus on implementing your techniques while staying defensively responsible. Remember, learning to box is an ongoing process that involves consistent training, proper technique, and a commitment to physical conditioning. It's advisable to seek guidance from experienced coaches and trainers to refine your skills and ensure safety during training.


Virtual Sparring- In lieu of a sparring partner, there is content that offers virtual sparring. Obviously you should aim to get real rounds in if you are serious about learning the sport. However, virtual sparring can be a great aid to train your brain to read an opponent and react accordingly.






Conclusion

In conclusion, boxing is a dynamic and disciplined sport that demands a combination of physical conditioning, neuromotor training, strategic intelligence, and mental resilience. Beyond the raw display of strength and skill, boxing embodies the art of controlled aggression, where fighters employ a range of punches, defensive maneuvers, and footwork to outsmart and outmaneuver opponents.

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