Commando Boxing
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Boxing Tip #12: Understanding Weight Transfer and Flow

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Every movement in one direction results in an adjustment in the opposite direction.

That adjustment creates a natural expected flow as a result of any movement to re-position the boxer's weight distribution.

The technique below opened my eyes and finally made me understand the whole concept of weight transfer and flow.

As I worked through this combination a light bulb went on and I completely understood how one movement or punch puts you in position for another. Maybe it was the explanation at the time, or maybe I was just open to understanding that day, but I hope I can do this justice and give you the same light bulb moment.

The technique below opened my eyes and finally made me understand the whole concept of weight transfer and flow.

As I worked through this combination a light bulb went on and I completely understood how one movement or punch puts you in position for another. Maybe it was the explanation at the time, or maybe I was just open to understanding that day, but I hope I can do this justice and give you the same light bulb moment.

The Defense - How to Use the Double Slip - Bob

The Defense - How to Use the Double Slip - Bob

You can use this defensive maneuver and counter attack when your opponent throws a 1-2-3 combination (Jab, Straight Right, Left Hook).

Visualize it:

  1. If you fight orthodox, your left foot is forward. Picture an orthodox opponent also with his left foot forward.
  2. Now in slow motion, picture his lead hand coming towards you, throwing a jab at your head.
  3. Just before it impacts, you slip to your right (outside).
  4. You know a straight right is now on its way as your opponent's torso begins to twist, squaring off in front of you.
  5. Again you slip, this time to your left and now stop this picture in your mind at the extreme left of your slip

That's the double slip portion of the technique and it is obviously good against 1-2 combinations.

If your opponent stops there, fine, the double-slip puts you in a position to counter with a left hook to either the body or head. But, I'd expect at least a three punch combination attack. The 1-2 will be followed by a 3, so as he brings the left hook around to catch you as you recover from your slip, alter your slip path and duck/bob back to the right as the hook flies harmlessly over your head.

You can use this defensive maneuver and counter attack when your opponent throws a 1-2-3 combination (Jab, Straight Right, Left Hook).

Visualize it:

  1. If you fight orthodox, your left foot is forward. Picture an orthodox opponent also with his left foot forward.
  2. Now in slow motion, picture his lead hand coming towards you, throwing a jab at your head.
  3. Just before it impacts, you slip to your right (outside).
  4. You know a straight right is now on its way as your opponent's torso begins to twist, squaring off in front of you.
  5. Again you slip, this time to your left and now stop this picture in your mind at the extreme left of your slip

That's the double slip portion of the technique and it is obviously good against 1-2 combinations.

If your opponent stops there, fine, the double-slip puts you in a position to counter with a left hook to either the body or head. But, I'd expect at least a three punch combination attack. The 1-2 will be followed by a 3, so as he brings the left hook around to catch you as you recover from your slip, alter your slip path and duck/bob back to the right as the hook flies harmlessly over your head.

The Counter Attack - How to Throw the Body-Body-Head

The Counter Attack - How to Throw the Body-Body-Head

Right at this point, your opponent has missed you (hopefully) and is fully extended and twisted slightly away from you trying to recover from his hook. You are now in a position to inflict some damage and regain the initiative in the fight.

Think of how you are positioned at this point. Likely crouched, bent slightly to the right (weight more over on the right). There is a giant body target in front of you, so nail it with everything you've got - Right Hook to the Body and follow through with the weight transfer. Ensure you keep low as you twist back to the left.

If you hit your opponent right, he is going to twist back to his left (your right) which will open up his body on his right (your left). Take advantage of it and throw a left hook to the body.

That body assault is going to make your opponent drop his guard enough to give you a clean shot with either a left hook or straight right to the head. That left hook to the body transferred weight back to your right - so it is natural to throw a straight right. But, because it's natural it's also predictable - so I prefer another left hook at this point - so immediately follow your left hook to the body with a left hook to the head. Notice how doing so breaks the natural flow of weight from left to right. There's the body-body-head portion of this boxing combination.

Right at this point, your opponent has missed you (hopefully) and is fully extended and twisted slightly away from you trying to recover from his hook. You are now in a position to inflict some damage and regain the initiative in the fight.

Think of how you are positioned at this point. Likely crouched, bent slightly to the right (weight more over on the right). There is a giant body target in front of you, so nail it with everything you've got - Right Hook to the Body and follow through with the weight transfer. Ensure you keep low as you twist back to the left.

If you hit your opponent right, he is going to twist back to his left (your right) which will open up his body on his right (your left). Take advantage of it and throw a left hook to the body.

That body assault is going to make your opponent drop his guard enough to give you a clean shot with either a left hook or straight right to the head. That left hook to the body transferred weight back to your right - so it is natural to throw a straight right. But, because it's natural it's also predictable - so I prefer another left hook at this point - so immediately follow your left hook to the body with a left hook to the head. Notice how doing so breaks the natural flow of weight from left to right. There's the body-body-head portion of this boxing combination.

Put it all Together and Practice the Double Slip-Bob-Body-Body-Head

Put it all Together and Practice the Double Slip-Bob-Body-Body-Head

Best way to perfect this technique is to break it into two parts and then combine them once you've perfected both.

  1. Defensive Portion - learn to thwart the attack and end up in the perfect position to launch your offensive actions. So, start slow and have someone throw a 1-2-3 combination at you. Keep low and tight and slip at the last second. You need to draw out the entire 1-2-3 combination in order to get yourself in position to fight back. If your opponent doesn't commit entirely to the 1-2-3 combination, it's going to mess up your plans, so provide him the targets - but be fast enough to ensure he misses. Slip, slip, bob - Slip, slip, bob. A lot of this comes from your legs, so start doing those body weight squats...

  2. Offensive Portion - Here's where the weight transfer is extremely important. Throw the right hook to the body and notice how your weight naturally transfers over to the left. Let it. Follow through and let it load your left hook. Once loaded, throw it - Snap and then throw another left hook to the head immediately afterwards. The timing for the whole action is Snap--------Snap, Snap.

Ideally, you want to practice this with someone who can throw a 1-2-3 combination, but you can just as easily visualize what is happening with a heavy bag. Heavy bag work becomes 200% more effective if you are visualizing it as an opponent. It is not just a big padded leather bag, it is an opponent complete with arms that throw punches at you. The sooner you picture that, the sooner you can develop those reactions required to evade those punches in the ring.

Let me know if you try this and tell me how it works out for you. Boxon.

Best way to perfect this technique is to break it into two parts and then combine them once you've perfected both.

  1. Defensive Portion - learn to thwart the attack and end up in the perfect position to launch your offensive actions. So, start slow and have someone throw a 1-2-3 combination at you. Keep low and tight and slip at the last second. You need to draw out the entire 1-2-3 combination in order to get yourself in position to fight back. If your opponent doesn't commit entirely to the 1-2-3 combination, it's going to mess up your plans, so provide him the targets - but be fast enough to ensure he misses. Slip, slip, bob - Slip, slip, bob. A lot of this comes from your legs, so start doing those body weight squats...


  2. Offensive Portion - Here's where the weight transfer is extremely important. Throw the right hook to the body and notice how your weight naturally transfers over to the left. Let it. Follow through and let it load your left hook. Once loaded, throw it - Snap and then throw another left hook to the head immediately afterwards. The timing for the whole action is Snap--------Snap, Snap.

Ideally, you want to practice this with someone who can throw a 1-2-3 combination, but you can just as easily visualize what is happening with a heavy bag. Heavy bag work becomes 200% more effective if you are visualizing it as an opponent. It is not just a big padded leather bag, it is an opponent complete with arms that throw punches at you. The sooner you picture that, the sooner you can develop those reactions required to evade those punches in the ring.

Let me know if you try this and tell me how it works out for you. Boxon.

Boxing Tip #11: Clinching

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If you've watched a boxing match, then I'm 99% sure you've seen clinching in action. It happens in every fight and to someone who doesn't know any better - it's annoying as hell because it breaks up the action.

Clinching is an essential part of your competitive game so if you're aiming to become a competitive boxer, you have to understand clinching: when to clinch, how to clinch, what to do in a clinch, and how to get out of a clinch.

If you've watched a boxing match, then I'm 99% sure you've seen clinching in action. It happens in every fight and to someone who doesn't know any better - it's annoying as hell because it breaks up the action.

Clinching is an essential part of your competitive game so if you're aiming to become a competitive boxer, you have to understand clinching: when to clinch, how to clinch, what to do in a clinch, and how to get out of a clinch.

Why do boxers clinch?

Why do boxers clinch?

There are usually two reasons boxers clinch. One is because the boxers are tired and they think they have no other choice. The other is because one of the boxers is getting pummelled and needs to stop the onslaught.

Clinching is a survival technique to use sparingly. Most boxers use clinching at a time when they can't afford to - and that is when they are already super tired. Tying yourself up in a clinch takes a lot of effort and expends more1 energy than it takes to get out of the way. Clinching becomes necessary when you're cornered, have no place to go, or can't seem to get away from the punches your opponent is unleashing on you. When that's happening, clinching allows you to break your opponent's momentum.

There are usually two reasons boxers clinch. One is because the boxers are tired and they think they have no other choice. The other is because one of the boxers is getting pummelled and needs to stop the onslaught.

Clinching is a survival technique to use sparingly. Most boxers use clinching at a time when they can't afford to - and that is when they are already super tired. Tying yourself up in a clinch takes a lot of effort and expends more1 energy than it takes to get out of the way. Clinching becomes necessary when you're cornered, have no place to go, or can't seem to get away from the punches your opponent is unleashing on you. When that's happening, clinching allows you to break your opponent's momentum.

What is the goal of the clinch in boxing?

What is the goal of the clinch in boxing?

The goal of clinching in boxing is to tie up your opponent. You want to capture both of his arms under yours - much like giving him a big bear hug that effectively prevents him from lifting his arms and punching.

Don't think you are going to be able to do this for long. In boxing it's against the rules to hold or tie up your opponent and the referee will break you apart - but it can be just enough of a break if you are getting destroyed and need to stop the onslaught.

The goal of clinching in boxing is to tie up your opponent. You want to capture both of his arms under yours - much like giving him a big bear hug that effectively prevents him from lifting his arms and punching.

Don't think you are going to be able to do this for long. In boxing it's against the rules to hold or tie up your opponent and the referee will break you apart - but it can be just enough of a break if you are getting destroyed and need to stop the onslaught.

Key to Remember

The clinch can keep you from losing, but you can't clinch to a win.

Key to Remember

The clinch can keep you from losing, but you can't clinch to a win.

How to Clinch

How to Clinch

To clinch you have to capture both of your opponent's arms under yours. Once you've achieved that, put your forehead on his shoulder, hold him in tight and put as much weight as you can on him.

This serves two purposes - first, it gives you a bit of rest and second, it makes him work harder.

To get into a clinch, move towards your opponent with your guard high and elbows close together. Shoot your arms forward hooking both arms of your opponent just above the elbows and immediately pull him in close enough to share sweat (this alone is a good reason to do this sparingly 🙂 Then lean on him and do not let him open the distance. Keep his lead leg between your legs and then use his movement to balance yourself.

Once you've got it locked in, consciously rest, control your energy output and breathing and look for every opportunity to get in a couple body or head shots while he's tied up. 

To clinch you have to capture both of your opponent's arms under yours. Once you've achieved that, put your forehead on his shoulder, hold him in tight and put as much weight as you can on him.

This serves two purposes - first, it gives you a bit of rest and second, it makes him work harder.

To get into a clinch, move towards your opponent with your guard high and elbows close together. Shoot your arms forward hooking both arms of your opponent just above the elbows and immediately pull him in close enough to share sweat (this alone is a good reason to do this sparingly 🙂 Then lean on him and do not let him open the distance. Keep his lead leg between your legs and then use his movement to balance yourself.

Once you've got it locked in, consciously rest, control your energy output and breathing and look for every opportunity to get in a couple body or head shots while he's tied up.

Keep the referee from breaking your clinch.

Keep the referee from breaking your clinch.

Clinching in a boxing match is never allowed for long, but you can prolong it by looking busy in the clinch. If one of the boxers has an arm free and is fighting, the referee may not break it up.

Fighting in a clinch takes a tremendous amount of energy and nullifies any kind of rest break you might be looking for.

If you fight an opponent that likes to tie you up, then feed it to him. Get one arm free and slam it into his liver and side as he clinches you. Occasionally push back a bit and get a hook into the head.

If you want to get illegal about it, the clinch gives you a clear shot of your opponent's kidneys and a rabbit punch or two is always available as well. I don't recommend you resort to illegal tactics, but a warning shot can signal an overly clinchy opponent to back off.

Clinching in a boxing match is never allowed for long, but you can prolong it by looking busy in the clinch. If one of the boxers has an arm free and is fighting, the referee may not break it up.

Fighting in a clinch takes a tremendous amount of energy and nullifies any kind of rest break you might be looking for.

If you fight an opponent that likes to tie you up, then feed it to him. Get one arm free and slam it into his liver and side as he clinches you. Occasionally push back a bit and get a hook into the head.

If you want to get illegal about it, the clinch gives you a clear shot of your opponent's kidneys and a rabbit punch or two is always available as well. I don't recommend you resort to illegal tactics, but a warning shot can signal an overly clinchy opponent to back off.

How to safely exit a clinch.

How to safely exit a clinch.

Getting out of a clinch can be dangerous because your arms are tied up and your guard is lowered. The first one to free his arms in the clinch can easily land a punch on exit which can lead to a full fledged combination and suddenly one fighter has the initiative. If the referee isn't going to separate you and you want out - here are two methods of getting out of a boxing clinch: spin out or shove out.

  • Spinning Out: Decide which side you are going to spin out on. Usually it is done on the lead hand. So, if you are orthodox, you want to use your left hand/palm and grip your opponent's arm just above the elbow. Control it and push it across your chest and down at abou1t 45 degrees as you step left and around your opponent. This effectively spins him away and you around. This is an excellent time to throw a left hook or straight right. I like to practice the spin and push followed immediately by a left hook.
  • Shove Out: In the clinch, quickly bring your hands in and give your opponent a strong decisive shove in the middle of his chest while simultaneously stepping back. You may find it better to even use the shove as a starting point for a quick hop backwards, but at any rate, ensure your shove is strong enough to throw your opponent off balance for a moment. You want to ensure he is not in any position to throw a jab or any other punch as you break the clinch.

    A safer method of doing this is to leave your lead hand tying up your opponent's lead arm while using your rear hand to initiate the shove. You can then guide your opponent's lead as you shove off ensuring a successful and safe exit from the clinch.

If a referee breaks you up, then step back cleanly and don't attempt to cheat and get in a cheap shot. At the same time, realize that this is boxing and cheap shots are plenty - so protect yourself at all times. 

Getting out of a clinch can be dangerous because your arms are tied up and your guard is lowered. The first one to free his arms in the clinch can easily land a punch on exit which can lead to a full fledged combination and suddenly one fighter has the initiative. If the referee isn't going to separate you and you want out - here are two methods of getting out of a boxing clinch: spin out or shove out.

  • Spinning Out: Decide which side you are going to spin out on. Usually it is done on the lead hand. So, if you are orthodox, you want to use your left hand/palm and grip your opponent's arm just above the elbow. Control it and push it across your chest and down at abou1t 45 degrees as you step left and around your opponent. This effectively spins him away and you around. This is an excellent time to throw a left hook or straight right. I like to practice the spin and push followed immediately by a left hook.
  • Shove Out: In the clinch, quickly bring your hands in and give your opponent a strong decisive shove in the middle of his chest while simultaneously stepping back. You may find it better to even use the shove as a starting point for a quick hop backwards, but at any rate, ensure your shove is strong enough to throw your opponent off balance for a moment. You want to ensure he is not in any position to throw a jab or any other punch as you break the clinch.

    A safer method of doing this is to leave your lead hand tying up your opponent's lead arm while using your rear hand to initiate the shove. You can then guide your opponent's lead as you shove off ensuring a successful and safe exit from the clinch.

If a referee breaks you up, then step back cleanly and don't attempt to cheat and get in a cheap shot. At the same time, realize that this is boxing and cheap shots are plenty - so protect yourself at all times.

The Mayweather-Hatton fight gives you plenty of examples of the clinch in action, especially through the initial rounds up to round 8.

If you can get through the first two minutes of this video (cheesy tribute introduction), you can see a number of clinching highlights. Notice around the 3rd minute how Hatton ties up Mayweather. It is a very obvious bear hug and you will also notice how the clinch can deteriorate into some vicious infighting.

The Mayweather-Hatton fight gives you plenty of examples of the clinch in action, especially through the initial rounds up to round 8.

If you can get through the first two minutes of this video (cheesy tribute introduction), you can see a number of clinching highlights. Notice around the 3rd minute how Hatton ties up Mayweather. It is a very obvious bear hug and you will also notice how the clinch can deteriorate into some vicious infighting.

In Summary

In Summary

Use the clinch for the right reason - to stop an opponent's momentum and steal his initiative. Don't clinch out of tiredness as there is a good chance that you will end up even more tired afterwards. If you're finding yourself too tired to continue, then maybe you have more work to do in the gym?

Use the clinch for the right reason - to stop an opponent's momentum and steal his initiative. Don't clinch out of tiredness as there is a good chance that you will end up even more tired afterwards. If you're finding yourself too tired to continue, then maybe you have more work to do in the gym?

Boxing Tip #10: How to Box a Taller Fighter

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Unless you're taller than average yourself - eventually you are going to find yourself matched up with someone you literally have to look up to.

Boxing a taller opponent has some unique challenges.

The tall opponent will usually have a significant reach advantage, longer legs, and a target area that is not where you are used to hitting.

The tall opponent will usually have a significant reach advantage, longer legs, and a target area that is not where you are used to hitting.

What does that mean for you and how do you deal with it?

What does that mean for you and how do you deal with it?
  1. The longer arms of a taller opponent means you are within his striking distance before he is in yours. Chances are he knows this too. I don't want to generalize too much, but tall fighters can easily adopt a boxing style where they keep their distance and pick off their opponents from the outside simply because its advantageous to do so.

    If you think you're going to keep your distance and let him come to you - you might as well quit before you get punched in the head too many times. That is the worst thing you can do. You're playing to his advantage - he'll just maneuver around you and pick you off whenever he gets close enough. You'll never be able to hit him.

    Don't play his game - make him deal with yours - maintain the initiative.

  2. Bring the fight to him. That means you are going to have break through his defenses and thwart his counter-punching to get up close and personal. Once you do get inside - STAY THERE.

    You are probably going to take a few shots every time you attempt to get inside and possibly even more when you get back out again so the best thing you can do is stay in close where you nullify your tall opponent's accuracy and power.

  3. Inside fighting is an art form of its own. Once you are there, condense everything and stay as close to the body of your opponent as you possibly can.

    It doesn't hurt to put your forehead on his chest to gauge the distance and then punish his body with short, controlled combinations. Your guard has to be super tight - do not expose any vital areas. Keep working and when you can't work anymore, either clinch or explode out of the danger zone.

It is absolutely necessary that when you do decide to go to the taller opponent that you do it with authority and decisiveness. Do not hesitantly walk towards him -- explode into him, push him back, corner him and punish him. Do not go in on a straight line, but rather duck, weave and whatever else you can do to give him the fastest moving target he has ever seen. 

  1. The longer arms of a taller opponent means you are within his striking distance before he is in yours. Chances are he knows this too. I don't want to generalize too much, but tall fighters can easily adopt a boxing style where they keep their distance and pick off their opponents from the outside simply because its advantageous to do so.

    If you think you're going to keep your distance and let him come to you - you might as well quit before you get punched in the head too many times. That is the worst thing you can do. You're playing to his advantage - he'll just maneuver around you and pick you off whenever he gets close enough. You'll never be able to hit him.

    Don't play his game - make him deal with yours - maintain the initiative.

  2. Bring the fight to him. That means you are going to have break through his defenses and thwart his counter-punching to get up close and personal. Once you do get inside - STAY THERE.

    You are probably going to take a few shots every time you attempt to get inside and possibly even more when you get back out again so the best thing you can do is stay in close where you nullify your tall opponent's accuracy and power.

  3. Inside fighting is an art form of its own. Once you are there, condense everything and stay as close to the body of your opponent as you possibly can.

    It doesn't hurt to put your forehead on his chest to gauge the distance and then punish his body with short, controlled combinations. Your guard has to be super tight - do not expose any vital areas. Keep working and when you can't work anymore, either clinch or explode out of the danger zone.

It is absolutely necessary that when you do decide to go to the taller opponent that you do it with authority and decisiveness. Do not hesitantly walk towards him -- explode into him, push him back, corner him and punish him. Do not go in on a straight line, but rather duck, weave and whatever else you can do to give him the fastest moving target he has ever seen.

Specific Drills to Practice to Prepare you for the Taller Opponent

Specific Drills to Practice to Prepare you for the Taller Opponent
  • All forms of defense against the jab - but become a master at catching, blocking, or parrying the jab as you move forward. You will have to figure out a way to use his jab in your attack. Consider it punch number one of your combination.
  • Body work - hooks and uppercuts that are short, controlled and fierce. Each one must be delivered from within. Best way to practice is to put your head on the heavy bag with a slight pressure as if you were pushing your opponent backwards with your forehead and then unload. If you aren't unloading, cover up but do not let the distance grow. Clinch if you have to. Inside you are relatively safe against a taller opponent because you use the length of his arms against him.
  • Leg work. You need explosive power in your legs in order to get in and out. Work the plyometrics and practice any type of explosive leg movement such as jumping squats, burpees, bounding, half crouch heavy bag sessions and so on.
  • Ducking and bobbing - especially moving forward. Picture the tall guy throwing a jab and how you would counter it and move in. Picture him throwing a right cross and how you would duck, sidestep and arrive at your destination. Picture a hook and the bob and weave you do to make it miss its intended target and position you where you need to be. Practice a strategy for dealing with each type of punch so you have a plan ready to go for each situation. Drill it into your nervous system so when your eyes see the punch, your body reacts.
  1. All forms of defense against the jab - but become a master at catching, blocking, or parrying the jab as you move forward. You will have to figure out a way to use his jab in your attack. Consider it punch number one of your combination.
  2. Body work - hooks and uppercuts that are short, controlled and fierce. Each one must be delivered from within. Best way to practice is to put your head on the heavy bag with a slight pressure as if you were pushing your opponent backwards with your forehead and then unload. If you aren't unloading, cover up but do not let the distance grow. Clinch if you have to. Inside you are relatively safe against a taller opponent because you use the length of his arms against him.
  3. Leg work. You need explosive power in your legs in order to get in and out. Work the plyometrics and practice any type of explosive leg movement such as jumping squats, burpees, bounding, half crouch heavy bag sessions and so on.
  4. Ducking and bobbing - especially moving forward. Picture the tall guy throwing a jab and how you would counter it and move in. Picture him throwing a right cross and how you would duck, sidestep and arrive at your destination. Picture a hook and the bob and weave you do to make it miss its intended target and position you where you need to be. Practice a strategy for dealing with each type of punch so you have a plan ready to go for each situation. Drill it into your nervous system so when your eyes see the punch, your body reacts.

To get a good visual of what you need to do, take a look at this fight between Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes.

Holmes has a decent height advantage over Tyson and you will notice how Holmes attempts to pick Tyson off with jabs from the outside. He lets Tyson come to him (which works with Tyson's style anyways).

Tyson explodes towards Holmes at every opportunity and attempts to stay there to unleash a few combinations.

You will see how Holmes defends against this by tying up Tyson - even going as far as pinning/holding Tyson's arms under his own to nullify Tyson's ability to punch once he defeats Holmes' outer guard.

This should give you a good idea of the kind of explosion required to get inside and the work it is going to take to stay there - especially against anyone who knows what to do with you when you do get there.

To get a good visual of what you need to do, take a look at this fight between Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes.

Holmes has a decent height advantage over Tyson and you will notice how Holmes attempts to pick Tyson off with jabs from the outside. He lets Tyson come to him (which works with Tyson's style anyways).

Tyson explodes towards Holmes at every opportunity and attempts to stay there to unleash a few combinations.

You will see how Holmes defends against this by tying up Tyson - even going as far as pinning/holding Tyson's arms under his own to nullify Tyson's ability to punch once he defeats Holmes' outer guard.

This should give you a good idea of the kind of explosion required to get inside and the work it is going to take to stay there - especially against anyone who knows what to do with you when you do get there.

In Summary

In Summary
  • Look at boxing a taller opponent as a new challenge that will force you to become a better all-round boxer.
  • Pick the moment and explode inside.
  • Once inside - stay there at all costs.
  • Work once you are inside and don't stop.
  • If you need a breather - clinch or explode back out.
  • Be decisive - never hesitate when going in or out.

Good luck and Boxon.

  • Look at boxing a taller opponent as a new challenge that will force you to become a better all-round boxer.
  • Pick the moment and explode inside.
  • Once inside - stay there at all costs.
  • Work once you are inside and don't stop.
  • If you need a breather - clinch or explode back out.
  • Be decisive - never hesitate when going in or out.

Good luck and Boxon.

Boxing Tip #9: Stop Losing Fights Before You Lose the Fight

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Imagine the biggest, scariest, fastest, most ripped, super aggressive fighter you can think of, multiply him by a thousand and then put him in the opposite corner from you. Picture him sitting on that stool coldly staring at you, penetrating your very soul.

Imagine him standing just waiting for the bell to ring so he can run over and pummel you with everything he's got. Every breath he takes causes every muscle to bulge and twitch with eager anticipation of what he is about to do to you.

Raise your level of anxiety just a little bit?

Well, here's a secret - no matter who you fight, the worst opponent will never be the one sitting across the ring from you.

The worst is inside of you - by a long shot. If you don't win the fight going on in your head before you step in the ring - you'll lose long before the bell actually rings.

You can literally psych yourself out of a victory and by letting on to how tired or scared you are - you will strengthen your opponent.

Posturing is part of fighting - on the psychological plane of warfare. It starts long before the fight and if you want to win - you'll continue it throughout the fight.

It's the smack talk at the weigh-in. It's the looks and glares of confidence - the "I'm going to kill you" looks. It's the pre-fight warmup where your opponent will try to intimidate you with his power and speed. All of it is done to make you doubt yourself and weaken you before you step into the ring.

What you think will affect the outcome of the fight. So if you doubt your ability to win - you stand a great chance of losing.

Not only do you hamper your own ability to perform - but more importantly - you give power and strength to your opponent if you let on how nervous, fearful or doubtful you are.

Raise your level of anxiety just a little bit?

Well, here's a secret - no matter who you fight, the worst opponent will never be the one sitting across the ring from you.

The worst is inside of you - by a long shot. If you don't win the fight going on in your head before you step in the ring - you'll lose long before the bell actually rings.

You can literally psych yourself out of a victory and by letting on to how tired or scared you are - you will strengthen your opponent.

Posturing is part of fighting - on the psychological plane of warfare. It starts long before the fight and if you want to win - you'll continue it throughout the fight.

It's the smack talk at the weigh-in. It's the looks and glares of confidence - the "I'm going to kill you" looks. It's the pre-fight warmup where your opponent will try to intimidate you with his power and speed. All of it is done to make you doubt yourself and weaken you before you step into the ring.

What you think will affect the outcome of the fight. So if you doubt your ability to win - you stand a great chance of losing.

Not only do you hamper your own ability to perform - but more importantly - you give power and strength to your opponent if you let on how nervous, fearful or doubtful you are.

How to Control Your Fear

How to Control Your Fear

Most normal people will carry some amount of fear, apprehension, or nervousness into a boxing match. You're not going to eliminate it completely and you don't want to. Those sensations - if controlled - make you faster, stronger and sharpen your reflexes - so embrace the sensations of combat.

The key is control and you develop that control with practice and experience - by spending time in those uncomfortable situations and reframing how you perceive what is going on. The next time you feel some fear or nervousness - try this:

  • Get out of your own head. Catch a thought, picture it sitting on the table in front of you and picture yourself examining it and feeling the sensations that thought causes like a scientist examining something through a microscope. Just observe what the thought is doing to you.
  • Break it down. Now dissect that thought. Ask yourself if it is really rational and probable. Keep any emotion out of it - be objective.
  • Dismiss it. Downplay its importance - present all the reasons that the thought couldn't possibly be true and then dismiss it - throw it in the garbage.

Most of our fears and apprehensions are caused by the unknown and worrying about the unknown isn't helpful. Deal with what is in front of you - keep yourself present before a fight and focus on the next second, not the next round.

Here's another secret - no matter how bad off you think you are, if your opponent is tired - you can feed on that.

Some of you will understand this feeling. You notice the hesitation in your opponent or see them getting tired and you suddenly feel stronger and more confident. You smell the blood and can taste the victory. It may seem primitive but we do find strength and solace in the discomfort of our opponents.

Ross Enamait wrote an article over at rossboxing.com about Boxing with a Poker Face

Most normal people will carry some amount of fear, apprehension, or nervousness into a boxing match. You're not going to eliminate it completely and you don't want to. Those sensations - if controlled - make you faster, stronger and sharpen your reflexes - so embrace the sensations of combat.

The key is control and you develop that control with practice and experience - by spending time in those uncomfortable situations and reframing how you perceive what is going on. The next time you feel some fear or nervousness - try this:

  • Get out of your own head. Catch a thought, picture it sitting on the table in front of you and picture yourself examining it and feeling the sensations that thought causes like a scientist examining something through a microscope. Just observe what the thought is doing to you.
  • Break it down. Now dissect that thought. Ask yourself if it is really rational and probable. Keep any emotion out of it - be objective.
  • Dismiss it. Downplay its importance - present all the reasons that the thought couldn't possibly be true and then dismiss it - throw it in the garbage.

Most of our fears and apprehensions are caused by the unknown and worrying about the unknown isn't helpful. Deal with what is in front of you - keep yourself present before a fight and focus on the next second, not the next round.

Here's another secret - no matter how bad off you think you are, if your opponent is tired - you can feed on that.

Some of you will understand this feeling. You notice the hesitation in your opponent or see them getting tired and you suddenly feel stronger and more confident. You smell the blood and can taste the victory. It may seem primitive but we do find strength and solace in the discomfort of our opponents.

Ross Enamait wrote an article over at rossboxing.com about Boxing with a Poker Face:

A boxer must also conceal emotions throughout the competition. If he is hurt or fatigued, he must mask these feelings from his opponent. The idea behind the poker face is to present a specific image to your opponent. For example, entering the final round of a bout, there is a good chance that both you and your opponent are battling with fatigue. Your arms may feel heavy, the legs unsteady. It is during these times that you will look to identify a weakness within your opponent. Is he also tired? Is he breathing heavy? What can you read from his body language?

A boxer must also conceal emotions throughout the competition. If he is hurt or fatigued, he must mask these feelings from his opponent. The idea behind the poker face is to present a specific image to your opponent. For example, entering the final round of a bout, there is a good chance that both you and your opponent are battling with fatigue. Your arms may feel heavy, the legs unsteady. It is during these times that you will look to identify a weakness within your opponent. Is he also tired? Is he breathing heavy? What can you read from his body language?

Maintain Focus and Composure through Fatigue

Maintain Focus and Composure through Fatigue

First - keep yourself from getting fatigued in the first place - condition and train so you can outlast and outbox anyone who gets in the ring with you. Do the work before the fight and you won't have to work so hard to maintain focus through fatigue in the fight.

Now - when you meet someone who also prepared for the fight and you're both in peak physical form - you have to hide how tired you might be. You might be so completely wiped out and dreading the sound of the next bell, but if you let on that you are tired, you are only going to fuel your opponent.

Look at your opponent and watch for his level of energy and carefully monitor the signals you are sending out. In order to do this, you have to be aware of your image at all times in the fight, and that happens by being aware of yourself during training so you condition your mind to keep your body in check.

So right now, when you are in the gym, stop huffing and puffing and complaining. Stop sitting down, taking breaks, whimpering, and grunting. Stop throwing pathetic, weak little punches and letting your guard down. Give your trainer 100%. Now is the time to get it right, so when you are in the ring your opponent will be staring at you and coming to the realization that he is up against an invincible force who showed up to kick his ass. You show weakness and it will be exploited. You portray invincibility and you will weaken your opponent without even hitting him.

You will never find anyone who can outbox you more than yourself. Even when you know everything, are conditioned up the wahoo and are literally in your prime, if your head isn't on straight you will lose before stepping into the ring. So, train how you will fight. And that means not showing weakness in the gym or even when you are by yourself. You will respond in a fight the way you have drilled your body and mind. So make sure you drill it right.

First - keep yourself from getting fatigued in the first place - condition and train so you can outlast and outbox anyone who gets in the ring with you. Do the work before the fight and you won't have to work so hard to maintain focus through fatigue in the fight.

Now - when you meet someone who also prepared for the fight and you're both in peak physical form - you have to hide how tired you might be. You might be so completely wiped out and dreading the sound of the next bell, but if you let on that you are tired, you are only going to fuel your opponent.

Look at your opponent and watch for his level of energy and carefully monitor the signals you are sending out. In order to do this, you have to be aware of your image at all times in the fight, and that happens by being aware of yourself during training so you condition your mind to keep your body in check.

So right now, when you are in the gym, stop huffing and puffing and complaining. Stop sitting down, taking breaks, whimpering, and grunting. Stop throwing pathetic, weak little punches and letting your guard down. Give your trainer 100%. Now is the time to get it right, so when you are in the ring your opponent will be staring at you and coming to the realization that he is up against an invincible force who showed up to kick his ass. You show weakness and it will be exploited. You portray invincibility and you will weaken your opponent without even hitting him.

You will never find anyone who can outbox you more than yourself. Even when you know everything, are conditioned up the wahoo and are literally in your prime, if your head isn't on straight you will lose before stepping into the ring. So, train how you will fight. And that means not showing weakness in the gym or even when you are by yourself. You will respond in a fight the way you have drilled your body and mind. So make sure you drill it right.

Boxing Tip #8: Effective Body Punches

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Destroy the body and the head will die.

Far too often boxers will only target their opponent's head and neglect throwing body punches. This is a mistake. Hurting the body, while not usually immediately obvious or as satisfying, is a sure route to victory. To develop a complete offensive game, learn how to effectively throw body shots and body punches. 

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR BODY PUNCHES ARE EFFECTIVE?

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR BODY PUNCHES ARE EFFECTIVE?

Destroy the body and the head will die.

Far too often boxers will only target their opponent's head and neglect throwing body punches. This is a mistake. Hurting the body, while not usually immediately obvious or as satisfying, is a sure route to victory. To develop a complete offensive game, learn how to effectively throw body shots and body punches.

A knockout from a blow to the body is totally possible and happens quite often - you just don't see a lot because highlight reels tend to show the head shots that send boxers sprawling across the canvas while a well placed body shot simply crumples them to the mat.

As such, they don't always make the ESPN recap.

Ending a fight with a body shot is totally possible but most of the time when you assault your opponent's body, you will not see or hear much progress being made. You may hear the occasional grunt or groan, but body shots tend to be a cumulative effort. They build up over time to win the fight for you. There are ways to figure out if your body punches are being effective though:

  1. Your opponent will start breathing heavy.
  2. You'll begin to notice slowness both in punches and movement.
  3. Eventually, obvious signs of distress will appear- buckling over, shaky legs, inability to catch breath and knockdowns.
  4. Total knockout - if you get in a good one.
While any punch to the body will do some damage, you will see more effects quicker by placing well targeted punches.

Hit the liver - where to punch the body.

Precision is the name of the game for the body. Pelvic bone, hipbone, abs - the body has bones and muscles that offer a lot of protection, while in other places there is little - sternum (marked as X in picture), under pectorals, ribs (marked by arrow in picture), liver. Hitting one of these prime targets can disable your opponent instantly or at least knock the wind completely out of him which will set you up for a finishing blow.

The liver shot is a sure-fire knockout punch and boxers like Antonio Margarito are fans of hitting high up on the ribs in the armpit cavity.

The body is generally well protected by the elbows and arms - at least in experienced boxers. Plus, getting in close enough to throw your punch without getting clocked in the head is always a challenge. Body punching is something you will require a lot of practice with to get good at. 

While any punch to the body will do some damage, you will see more effects quicker by placing well targeted punches.

Precision is the name of the game for the body. Pelvic bone, hipbone, abs - the body has bones and muscles that offer a lot of protection, while in other places there is little - sternum (marked as X in picture), under pectorals, ribs (marked by arrow in picture), liver. Hitting one of these prime targets can disable your opponent instantly or at least knock the wind completely out of him which will set you up for a finishing blow.

The liver shot is a sure-fire knockout punch and boxers like Antonio Margarito are fans of hitting high up on the ribs in the armpit cavity.

The body is generally well protected by the elbows and arms - at least in experienced boxers. Plus, getting in close enough to throw your punch without getting clocked in the head is always a challenge. Body punching is something you will require a lot of practice with to get good at.

THROWING A JAB TO THE BODY

THROWING A JAB TO THE BODY

You actually bend over at the waist to throw a jab to the body ensuring you punch up into your opponent. If you were to crouch straight down and throw a jab to your opponent's body, you completely expose your head and against and orthodox fighter, you can be sure he will come over your jab and nail you with a straight right. So, to lessen the danger and to generate some power, you bend at the waist perpendicular to your opponent while simultaneously bringing your right hand up to protect the right side of your chin and burying your head in your shoulder and outstretched arm. Only the top of your head should present a target. Throw it and then recover just as quickly.

It is all one fluid motion with a step toward your opponent. This will take some getting used to, but with practice your balance will develop and you will be able to get a little power behind it. This is a jab remember, it is not meant to knock out your opponent. It is meant to set something else up and you really should only use it against a hesitant boxer -- one who isn't initiating any attacks. It is a means of getting him to commit to something. You want to aim at your opponent's sternum, but the target can fluctuate depending on how his body is protected.

There is a variation of this where you turn your body directly to the right (orthodox) or left (southpaw), bend over at the waist and then drive your jab toward your opponent as you bend.

You actually bend over at the waist to throw a jab to the body ensuring you punch up into your opponent. If you were to crouch straight down and throw a jab to your opponent's body, you completely expose your head and against and orthodox fighter, you can be sure he will come over your jab and nail you with a straight right. So, to lessen the danger and to generate some power, you bend at the waist perpendicular to your opponent while simultaneously bringing your right hand up to protect the right side of your chin and burying your head in your shoulder and outstretched arm. Only the top of your head should present a target. Throw it and then recover just as quickly.

It is all one fluid motion with a step toward your opponent. This will take some getting used to, but with practice your balance will develop and you will be able to get a little power behind it. This is a jab remember, it is not meant to knock out your opponent. It is meant to set something else up and you really should only use it against a hesitant boxer -- one who isn't initiating any attacks. It is a means of getting him to commit to something. You want to aim at your opponent's sternum, but the target can fluctuate depending on how his body is protected.

There is a variation of this where you turn your body directly to the right (orthodox) or left (southpaw), bend over at the waist and then drive your jab toward your opponent as you bend.

THROWING A STRAIGHT RIGHT TO THE BODY

THROWING A STRAIGHT RIGHT TO THE BODY

This is very similar to throwing a jab to the body except you bend forward and down while you twist at the hips like you normally would for a straight right. You can get some pretty good power with these punches as you get the added benefit of gravity. Your punch should never go down, but hit at an upward angle just like the jab to the body.

Be sure to keep your left hand high and ready to block any counter and watch for an uppercut as you bend over. If your opponent sees you start to go for the body, any kind of uppercut could hit you as you bend over into it. Also be careful on the recover. Try moving as you come back up so you don't put your head back where it was when you went down. When we react to enemy fire in the army, we hit the ground and roll before coming back up to return fire. Looking through a scope if you see where someone went down, it's easy enough to wait for them to come back up in the same spot. Rolling over forces the enemy to re-aim and it's the same basic principle in boxing.

The punch itself is thrown just like a regular straight right. You transfer the weight from the back to the front while snapping your arm out and back in a straight line from your chin. You are aiming for the sternum - about two inches below the center of the chest where the rib cage comes together. If you've ever had the wind knocked out of you, you'll know why. 

This is very similar to throwing a jab to the body except you bend forward and down while you twist at the hips like you normally would for a straight right. You can get some pretty good power with these punches as you get the added benefit of gravity. Your punch should never go down, but hit at an upward angle just like the jab to the body.

Be sure to keep your left hand high and ready to block any counter and watch for an uppercut as you bend over. If your opponent sees you start to go for the body, any kind of uppercut could hit you as you bend over into it. Also be careful on the recover. Try moving as you come back up so you don't put your head back where it was when you went down. When we react to enemy fire in the army, we hit the ground and roll before coming back up to return fire. Looking through a scope if you see where someone went down, it's easy enough to wait for them to come back up in the same spot. Rolling over forces the enemy to re-aim and it's the same basic principle in boxing.

The punch itself is thrown just like a regular straight right. You transfer the weight from the back to the front while snapping your arm out and back in a straight line from your chin. You are aiming for the sternum - about two inches below the center of the chest where the rib cage comes together. If you've ever had the wind knocked out of you, you'll know why.

THROWING A LEFT AND RIGHT HOOK TO THE BODY

THROWING A LEFT AND RIGHT HOOK TO THE BODY

The left and right hooks to the body are devastating. You can put a tremendous amount of power into them and they are exactly like throwing them to the head except you bring your arm down instead of up. However, you have to get in close enough to land your punch. To do so, jab your way in, slip left, then throw it. It will place you in a good position to land a precisely placed punch either directly to the ribs or upwards underneath your opponent's right pectoral. Hit too low and you'll nail his hipbone/pelvic bone which is hard and will not do too much damage. Place your punch in the fleshy, unprotected rib/pec region and he is going to feel it. 

The left and right hooks to the body are devastating. You can put a tremendous amount of power into them and they are exactly like throwing them to the head except you bring your arm down instead of up. However, you have to get in close enough to land your punch. To do so, jab your way in, slip left, then throw it. It will place you in a good position to land a precisely placed punch either directly to the ribs or upwards underneath your opponent's right pectoral. Hit too low and you'll nail his hipbone/pelvic bone which is hard and will not do too much damage. Place your punch in the fleshy, unprotected rib/pec region and he is going to feel it.

TIPS AND TRICKS

TIPS AND TRICKS
  • In all the punches watch the positioning of your rear foot. If it is 90 degrees to the way you are facing (turned too far outwards) you run the risk of tearing ligaments in your knee, especially if you slip and your knees buckle. Maintain your stance with your feet turned out at 45 degrees. This will let your knees bend in a more natural way and prevent injury.
  • It is highly likely there will be an elbow in front of your intended target. If your straight right is going to end up hitting an arm, then try looping around instead of throwing it straight out. As I mentioned before, worry less about power in your body punches and more about precision. Deliver enough powerful little blows to the right spots and the fight will turn in your favour.
  • At all times be aware of how you expose your head and try to compensate either by blocking with the hand not throwing or by movement. A combination of the two works well as well.
  • Body shots, as most punches, should always be thrown as the start of combinations. Try practicing throwing two left hooks to the body followed by a straight right to the body or mix it up and throw a body shot followed by a head shot followed by a body shot. Never think of it as a one punch deal.
  • Last, condition your legs. They are the biggest factor in effective body punching. You have to be able to crouch down repeatedly and not lose leg strength. Squats, lunges, calf raises, running, and plyometrics should all be effectively used to condition your legs. Don't neglect them

...and don't neglect your opponent's body. Work it hard. 

  • In all the punches watch the positioning of your rear foot. If it is 90 degrees to the way you are facing (turned too far outwards) you run the risk of tearing ligaments in your knee, especially if you slip and your knees buckle. Maintain your stance with your feet turned out at 45 degrees. This will let your knees bend in a more natural way and prevent injury.
  • It is highly likely there will be an elbow in front of your intended target. If your straight right is going to end up hitting an arm, then try looping around instead of throwing it straight out. As I mentioned before, worry less about power in your body punches and more about precision. Deliver enough powerful little blows to the right spots and the fight will turn in your favour.
  • At all times be aware of how you expose your head and try to compensate either by blocking with the hand not throwing or by movement. A combination of the two works well as well.
  • Body shots, as most punches, should always be thrown as the start of combinations. Try practicing throwing two left hooks to the body followed by a straight right to the body or mix it up and throw a body shot followed by a head shot followed by a body shot. Never think of it as a one punch deal.
  • Last, condition your legs. They are the biggest factor in effective body punching. You have to be able to crouch down repeatedly and not lose leg strength. Squats, lunges, calf raises, running, and plyometrics should all be effectively used to condition your legs. Don't neglect them

...and don't neglect your opponent's body. Work it hard.

Boxing Tip #7: The Pendulum Step

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The pendulum step is an essential footwork technique for boxers.

It is useful for resting while maintaining movement and the ability to react quickly when outside of striking distance, as a propulsion and timing mechanism for more advanced attacks, and as a conditioning tool during training sessions. Because it uses more energy than standing still, you should be careful about when and how you use it.

When you punch or are in striking range of your opponent, your feet are planted to generate power and movement through your legs. As they are firmly anchored they are doing a significant amount of work and muscles are tensed and contracted. The pendulum step is useful when you move out of striking distance to give your legs a bit of a break before moving back in for another attack. As you shift weight from one to the other you give them small breaks at the expense of increasing your cardio system's energy expenditure.

When timed correctly, the pendulum step is very effective at delivering a powerful jab that will completely catch your opponent off guard. As a component of the attack it utilizes momentum from both yourself and your opponent to magnify the striking power of the jab while keeping you out of range of a retaliatory blow. It also allows you to dart in and out of range much quicker to give you additional offensive and defensive options.

As a conditioning tool - it takes more energy to keep moving up on your toes thus it burns more calories and the work against gravity places a greater workload on your calves much like skipping.

Sound intriguing?

The pendulum step is an essential footwork technique for boxers.

It is useful for resting while maintaining movement and the ability to react quickly when outside of striking distance, as a propulsion and timing mechanism for more advanced attacks, and as a conditioning tool during training sessions. Because it uses more energy than standing still, you should be careful about when and how you use it.

When you punch or are in striking range of your opponent, your feet are planted to generate power and movement through your legs. As they are firmly anchored they are doing a significant amount of work and muscles are tensed and contracted. The pendulum step is useful when you move out of striking distance to give your legs a bit of a break before moving back in for another attack. As you shift weight from one to the other you give them small breaks at the expense of increasing your cardio system's energy expenditure.

When timed correctly, the pendulum step is very effective at delivering a powerful jab that will completely catch your opponent off guard. As a component of the attack it utilizes momentum from both yourself and your opponent to magnify the striking power of the jab while keeping you out of range of a retaliatory blow. It also allows you to dart in and out of range much quicker to give you additional offensive and defensive options.

As a conditioning tool - it takes more energy to keep moving up on your toes thus it burns more calories and the work against gravity places a greater workload on your calves much like skipping.

Sound intriguing?

What is the Pendulum Step?

What is the Pendulum Step?

The movement is relatively straight forward as both a means of conditioning and rest - simple back and forth motion - hopping from front to back to front up on your toes with your hands up or down depending on how close you are to your opponent (resting) or the aim of the conditioning session.

The movement becomes much more interesting when you use it in your offensive and defensive game.

If you've watched Muhammed Ali box you'll have a pretty good idea how this works. You bounce back and forth from toe to toe almost like you are skipping. The hops are small and controlled basically putting your head in range and then pulling it out of range just as quick. Not a lot different than the typical boxing stance except there is constant movement in a pendulum motion - forward and back, forward and back.

As you are actually lifting your weight off the mat, this is also a dangerous move. Timed right, your opponent can knock you flat out simply because you have no contact with the floor. At the same time, the momentum you build up gives you the ability to change directions in a split second and transition into various combinations at will.

I'll describe one way of how this can work for you as an attack.

The movement is relatively straight forward as both a means of conditioning and rest - simple back and forth motion - hopping from front to back to front up on your toes with your hands up or down depending on how close you are to your opponent (resting) or the aim of the conditioning session.

The movement becomes much more interesting when you use it in your offensive and defensive game.

If you've watched Muhammed Ali box you'll have a pretty good idea how this works. You bounce back and forth from toe to toe almost like you are skipping. The hops are small and controlled basically putting your head in range and then pulling it out of range just as quick. Not a lot different than the typical boxing stance except there is constant movement in a pendulum motion - forward and back, forward and back.

As you are actually lifting your weight off the mat, this is also a dangerous move. Timed right, your opponent can knock you flat out simply because you have no contact with the floor. At the same time, the momentum you build up gives you the ability to change directions in a split second and transition into various combinations at will.

I'll describe one way of how this can work for you as an attack.

Using the Pendulum Step to Attack

Using the Pendulum Step to Attack

In this technique you use the pendulum step to tempt your opponent to commit to an attack. You put your head into striking distance to lure your opponent into throwing a jab which you will promptly return with something a lot more powerful.

As you hop in a controlled manner from front foot to back foot - forward to back - you put your head in and out of range. Doing this at some point will entice your opponent to attack and throw a jab. When you see it coming you have to immediately jam your front foot into the floor and push back to get out of range of the jab - backwards in a straight line. You're not done though -- as soon as you've cleared the range of the jab, slam your back foot down propelling yourself forward with a counter jab of your own. Timed right, you will follow your opponent's jab back striking your opponent with the force of your jab, your forward momentum, and momentum of your opponent.

The result will completely stun your opponent and regain you the initiative. It's shock action at its best.

It's also dangerous. Jabs rarely come in singles so if you propel yourself at your opponent at the wrong time you can run into a second jab or worse - a straight right. Thus, it's important to use this technique when you know your opponent is more of a one-jab pony.

In this technique you use the pendulum step to tempt your opponent to commit to an attack. You put your head into striking distance to lure your opponent into throwing a jab which you will promptly return with something a lot more powerful.

As you hop in a controlled manner from front foot to back foot - forward to back - you put your head in and out of range. Doing this at some point will entice your opponent to attack and throw a jab. When you see it coming you have to immediately jam your front foot into the floor and push back to get out of range of the jab - backwards in a straight line. You're not done though -- as soon as you've cleared the range of the jab, slam your back foot down propelling yourself forward with a counter jab of your own. Timed right, you will follow your opponent's jab back striking your opponent with the force of your jab, your forward momentum, and momentum of your opponent.

The result will completely stun your opponent and regain you the initiative. It's shock action at its best.

It's also dangerous. Jabs rarely come in singles so if you propel yourself at your opponent at the wrong time you can run into a second jab or worse - a straight right. Thus, it's important to use this technique when you know your opponent is more of a one-jab pony.

How to Practice the Pendulum Step

How to Practice the Pendulum Step

1. With a partner: Start slow and get the timing right. Get into the pendulum step hopping forward and back in front of your partner. Have your partner throw continuous jabs and get the feel for evading them backwards in time with your hops and then moving forward as your partner draws his jab back. Once you have that, go for the attack. Practice as before, but this time throw a jab on the return trying to beat your opponent's jab back to the guard.

2. Without a partner: If all you've got is a heavy bag, you can still practice this. Give the bag a push and then get moving in the pendulum motion in time with the bag. Picture a jab coming at you as the bag moves toward you and take a slightly bigger hop back (that simulates evading the jab). When you land, propel forward with a jab of your own catching the bag as it is moving away from you (simulates the withdraw of the jab). The quicker you can catch the bag with your jab as it is moving back the better you are getting.

1. With a partner: Start slow and get the timing right. Get into the pendulum step hopping forward and back in front of your partner. Have your partner throw continuous jabs and get the feel for evading them backwards in time with your hops and then moving forward as your partner draws his jab back. Once you have that, go for the attack. Practice as before, but this time throw a jab on the return trying to beat your opponent's jab back to the guard.

2. Without a partner: If all you've got is a heavy bag, you can still practice this. Give the bag a push and then get moving in the pendulum motion in time with the bag. Picture a jab coming at you as the bag moves toward you and take a slightly bigger hop back (that simulates evading the jab). When you land, propel forward with a jab of your own catching the bag as it is moving away from you (simulates the withdraw of the jab). The quicker you can catch the bag with your jab as it is moving back the better you are getting.

Some Tips

Some Tips

This step is all about timing and conditioning yourself to decrease your reaction time. This will help develop your reflexes while increasing footwork agility. When the basic pendulum step starts to become second nature, you can increase the level of difficulty by bringing angles into the equation. When you do the evade, hop back and to a side. This will give you an even clearer shot at your opponent on the counter attack. You can also try throwing other kinds of punches. The jab is most effective because you can shoot it out extremely quickly and you are well aligned to do so, but a quick hook or uppercut could also be effective (or a hybrid of both).

This step is all about timing and conditioning yourself to decrease your reaction time. This will help develop your reflexes while increasing footwork agility. When the basic pendulum step starts to become second nature, you can increase the level of difficulty by bringing angles into the equation. When you do the evade, hop back and to a side. This will give you an even clearer shot at your opponent on the counter attack. You can also try throwing other kinds of punches. The jab is most effective because you can shoot it out extremely quickly and you are well aligned to do so, but a quick hook or uppercut could also be effective (or a hybrid of both).

What to Avoid

What to Avoid

Consider the amount of energy you are willing to use to maintain the pendulum motion. Ensure you are well-conditioned if you plan on using it.

The constant forward and back is rhythmic and easily timed. It creates a predictable pattern and telegraphs where your head is going to be as you come forward. Once in the air you can't change direction.

When using the attack described - eventually, your opponent will figure out what you are doing and use it against you by faking their jab and then catch you hard as you come in. The skill level of your opponent will dictate how often and how long you can use the technique before running into problems. It obviously works better with someone who is not expecting it.

Consider the amount of energy you are willing to use to maintain the pendulum motion. Ensure you are well-conditioned if you plan on using it.

The constant forward and back is rhythmic and easily timed. It creates a predictable pattern and telegraphs where your head is going to be as you come forward. Once in the air you can't change direction.

When using the attack described - eventually, your opponent will figure out what you are doing and use it against you by faking their jab and then catch you hard as you come in. The skill level of your opponent will dictate how often and how long you can use the technique before running into problems. It obviously works better with someone who is not expecting it.

Boxing Tip #6: How to Deal With Getting Hit

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Like it or not, if you box you get hit. Everyone deals with it differently and you will discover your own reaction seconds after your first one.

You are kidding yourself if you think you are going to go head to head with someone and defend every punch. You are going to get hit hard – in the face, gut, and a lot of other places.

Yeah, it sucks!

But, if you plan on being a decent boxer, you have to learn to deal with the initial pain and the secondary effects – the blood, cuts, broken bones, concussions, stolen air, and your brain attacking you. It can be done though, and I’ll show you how.

Now that we’ve established that you are going to get nailed repeatedly and you are OK with that, what can you do to prepare yourself? 

Like it or not, if you box you get hit. Everyone deals with it differently and you will discover your own reaction seconds after your first one.

You are kidding yourself if you think you are going to go head to head with someone and defend every punch. You are going to get hit hard – in the face, gut, and a lot of other places.

Yeah, it sucks!

But, if you plan on being a decent boxer, you have to learn to deal with the initial pain and the secondary effects – the blood, cuts, broken bones, concussions, stolen air, and your brain attacking you. It can be done though, and I’ll show you how.

Now that we’ve established that you are going to get nailed repeatedly and you are OK with that, what can you do to prepare yourself?

The top three things to remember before the hit:

The top three things to remember before the hit:
  1. Keep your eyes open at all times and never turn your back. Bring up your guard and do your best to avoid the onslaught, but always keep your eyes on your opponent. Never close them and hope your opponent is going to get tired and go away. They won’t. You can’t fight back if you have no idea what is going on.

  2. Move. If you do get hit don’t put your head or body back where it got slammed in the first place. If I throw a jab, I’m expecting my opponent’s head to whip back and then come straight back towards me. Bob, weave, step, duck or do something to make your opponent guess where his target is going to be and hopefully miss any follow up.

    In the army, when we come under enemy fire, we hit the ground and roll. Why? Because by rolling, the enemy doesn’t know where you will pop back up. If you come up where you went down in the first place, you are sticking your head in your enemy’s sights. All he has to do is pull the trigger.

  3. Control your instinct to flinch. It’s natural, but you must overcome it. If I walk up to you and pretend to smack you in the face, you are going to respond. You are going to shut your eyes, maybe move your head, or bring your hands up to protect you. That is your body’s natural way of defending itself and it usually works pretty good. Problem is, it is easily tricked. If you flinch for no reason, you set yourself up to actually get hit.

    How do you control your flinching? Get used to things coming at you hard and fast. Go all “matrixy” and actually see the bullets coming at you. So, to deal with the flinch:

    • Keep your eyes open. No matter what, at all costs, keep your eyes open so you can see what is going on. You can’t react to what you can’t see.

    • Allow close misses. In boxing you want to make small controlled movements that expend minimal energy. When you slip a jab you want it to just barely miss you. When you duck, you want the hook to blow air through your hair. If it is more than a millimetre away from you, it is too far.

    • Drill it. When you drill it enough, you will be unphased by punches whizzing by your head. You will remain steady and focused. That is when you know you have control of your flinch.

You are going to be surprised that over time you will notice fewer and fewer of the hits. They really don’t hurt as much as you perceive them to in the first place. It’s just such a foreign concept for most people to get hit in the face that when it happens it’s like WOW. After a while though, it’s nothing more than a nuisance (for the most part). Even better is that with enough practice, things will slow right down and you will feel like you are in the matrix.

You will have incredible reaction time as your reflexes develop. 

  1. Keep your eyes open at all times and never turn your back. Bring up your guard and do your best to avoid the onslaught, but always keep your eyes on your opponent. Never close them and hope your opponent is going to get tired and go away. They won’t. You can’t fight back if you have no idea what is going on.


  2. Move. If you do get hit don’t put your head or body back where it got slammed in the first place. If I throw a jab, I’m expecting my opponent’s head to whip back and then come straight back towards me. Bob, weave, step, duck or do something to make your opponent guess where his target is going to be and hopefully miss any follow up.

    In the army, when we come under enemy fire, we hit the ground and roll. Why? Because by rolling, the enemy doesn’t know where you will pop back up. If you come up where you went down in the first place, you are sticking your head in your enemy’s sights. All he has to do is pull the trigger.


  3. Control your instinct to flinch. It’s natural, but you must overcome it. If I walk up to you and pretend to smack you in the face, you are going to respond. You are going to shut your eyes, maybe move your head, or bring your hands up to protect you. That is your body’s natural way of defending itself and it usually works pretty good. Problem is, it is easily tricked. If you flinch for no reason, you set yourself up to actually get hit.

    How do you control your flinching? Get used to things coming at you hard and fast. Go all “matrixy” and actually see the bullets coming at you. So, to deal with the flinch:

    • Keep your eyes open. No matter what, at all costs, keep your eyes open so you can see what is going on. You can’t react to what you can’t see.


    • Allow close misses. In boxing you want to make small controlled movements that expend minimal energy. When you slip a jab you want it to just barely miss you. When you duck, you want the hook to blow air through your hair. If it is more than a millimetre away from you, it is too far.


    • Drill it. When you drill it enough, you will be unphased by punches whizzing by your head. You will remain steady and focused. That is when you know you have control of your flinch.

You are going to be surprised that over time you will notice fewer and fewer of the hits. They really don’t hurt as much as you perceive them to in the first place. It’s just such a foreign concept for most people to get hit in the face that when it happens it’s like WOW. After a while though, it’s nothing more than a nuisance (for the most part). Even better is that with enough practice, things will slow right down and you will feel like you are in the matrix.

You will have incredible reaction time as your reflexes develop.

Some boxing drills to prepare you for the eventuality of getting hit:

Some boxing drills to prepare you for the eventuality of getting hit:
  1. Spar and put yourself on the receiving end. This is a defensive drill where you attempt to block and slip while your partner wails on you. You are not allowed to throw anything back so your partner knows he is good to go to unleash on you without fear of reprisal. Keep your eyes open, guard up, stay relaxed and allow the close misses. Use angles and movement to keep from getting hit. When you do get hit, move and regroup.

  2. Hang a slip bag. (See Tyson training). This is as simple as tying a small bag to a string. Hit it and let it come swinging back at your face. At the last possible second, slip allowing it to brush by. Get in position and repeat.

  3. Have a partner throw things at you (preferably soft things). Practice moving at the last possible second.

  4. Build muscle. Especially true for body shots. If you have a strong shield of abdominals, the effects of body shots are going to be diminished. With a partner, whip medicine balls at each other’s abs and allow them to hit you. Or, lay on the floor and throw a ball into the air and allow it to land on your gut. You’ll quickly learn when the best time to tense the muscles is.

  5. In a controlled manner, get hit. I’m not talking full power, but let someone with gloves on hit you in the face and in the stomach. (you may want to wear a full face headgear) You have to get used to getting hit, recovering, and getting ready for the next one. If you don’t, the first time it happens will leave you standing in the middle of the tracks waiting for the locomotive to mow you down.

  6. Double end bag training is great. That little sucker tends to want to hit you in the face all on its own and is incredibly effective for developing slipping skills and reflexes.

Getting hit is not as bad as it seems. Sometimes it hurts and is going to break things or cut you, but generally, hits are relatively harmless. The pain lets you know you are still in the game. The key is getting accustomed to your own reaction (generally fear) and dealing with it effectively. You’ll never be 100% ready for a hit, but you can condition yourself to deal with it better than turtling and crying like a baby. 

  1. Spar and put yourself on the receiving end. This is a defensive drill where you attempt to block and slip while your partner wails on you. You are not allowed to throw anything back so your partner knows he is good to go to unleash on you without fear of reprisal. Keep your eyes open, guard up, stay relaxed and allow the close misses. Use angles and movement to keep from getting hit. When you do get hit, move and regroup.


  2. Hang a slip bag. (See Tyson training). This is as simple as tying a small bag to a string. Hit it and let it come swinging back at your face. At the last possible second, slip allowing it to brush by. Get in position and repeat.


  3. Have a partner throw things at you (preferably soft things). Practice moving at the last possible second.


  4. Build muscle. Especially true for body shots. If you have a strong shield of abdominals, the effects of body shots are going to be diminished. With a partner, whip medicine balls at each other’s abs and allow them to hit you. Or, lay on the floor and throw a ball into the air and allow it to land on your gut. You’ll quickly learn when the best time to tense the muscles is.


  5. In a controlled manner, get hit. I’m not talking full power, but let someone with gloves on hit you in the face and in the stomach. (you may want to wear a full face headgear) You have to get used to getting hit, recovering, and getting ready for the next one. If you don’t, the first time it happens will leave you standing in the middle of the tracks waiting for the locomotive to mow you down.


  6. Double end bag training is great. That little sucker tends to want to hit you in the face all on its own and is incredibly effective for developing slipping skills and reflexes.

Getting hit is not as bad as it seems. Sometimes it hurts and is going to break things or cut you, but generally, hits are relatively harmless. The pain lets you know you are still in the game. The key is getting accustomed to your own reaction (generally fear) and dealing with it effectively. You’ll never be 100% ready for a hit, but you can condition yourself to deal with it better than turtling and crying like a baby.

Boxing Tip #5: Learn to Read the Signs

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When you can read your opponent like an open book, you can flip to the back to spoil the ending.

Everyone has tells. To be a successful poker player, you have to learn to read your opponent to know when they are bluffing. The same thing happens in boxing. Beware though, one man's tell is another man's deception.

When you can read your opponent like an open book, you can flip to the back to spoil the ending.

Everyone has tells. To be a successful poker player, you have to learn to read your opponent to know when they are bluffing. The same thing happens in boxing. Beware though, one man's tell is another man's deception.

There are two types of tells:

There are two types of tells:

1. Universal tells. These are based on physiology. For instance, the hips have to rotate a certain way to throw a certain punch.

2. Idiosyncratic tells. These are unique to your opponent. They are habits they have developed over time which have either gone unnoticed or unchecked. 

1. Universal tells. These are based on physiology. For instance, the hips have to rotate a certain way to throw a certain punch.

2. Idiosyncratic tells. These are unique to your opponent. They are habits they have developed over time which have either gone unnoticed or unchecked.

How to Read the Universal Signs

How to Read the Universal Signs

1. The hips don't lie. Shakira knew it, and boxers know it too. Stop looking your opponent in the eyes and start looking at his center of mass and how it shifts. If a hip begins to rotate towards you, something is coming from that side. It is a sign of loading - bringing power up through the legs, torso, to the punching arm.

2. Watch the twitch in the shoulders. Inexperienced boxers will lead with their shoulders. Much in the same way you can read the hips, if a shoulder begins to move, expect an attack from that side, especially if your opponent is new to the sport. Experienced boxers will check this habit delivering crisp punches straight out without a lot of shoulder movement.

3. Watch for the load. This is a bit harder to do, but when your opponent is about to throw a punch, they will generally load up. This could be anything from a more firm stance on the ground, bend in the knees, hip movement, shoulder movement or whatever. What is happening is that he is getting ready to throw a punch. The harder the punch, the bigger the load as he positions himself to shift weight into the attack. It's hard to describe but you will almost get a feeling of impending doom. That is, after enough practice, you will almost be able to sense an attack coming. That sense is your subconcious analyzing the fight to that moment and hypothesizing or predicting probable outcomes of subtle movements.

4. Watch for tension. Related to point 3, but an opponent who suddenly tenses is likely to attack or move. You have to be relaxed when you box. Tensing up in an effort to jab speedily will only forecast what you are about to do. Practice jabbing from a relaxed state, and look for this tell in your opponents.

5. Beware of the eyes. This depends on your opponent, but the eyes can really mess up your boxing match, or aid you in victory. Generally speaking as experience level goes up, the amount of trust you can put in where your opponent is looking goes down. Beginners, for obvious reasons look at their target before hitting. It's like hockey. If I'm going to pass to someone, should I look at them basically telling the other team, "hey intercept this". No, I look at someone to draw attention away from where I am really looking to hit.

1. The hips don't lie. Shakira knew it, and boxers know it too. Stop looking your opponent in the eyes and start looking at his center of mass and how it shifts. If a hip begins to rotate towards you, something is coming from that side. It is a sign of loading - bringing power up through the legs, torso, to the punching arm.

2. Watch the twitch in the shoulders. Inexperienced boxers will lead with their shoulders. Much in the same way you can read the hips, if a shoulder begins to move, expect an attack from that side, especially if your opponent is new to the sport. Experienced boxers will check this habit delivering crisp punches straight out without a lot of shoulder movement.

3. Watch for the load. This is a bit harder to do, but when your opponent is about to throw a punch, they will generally load up. This could be anything from a more firm stance on the ground, bend in the knees, hip movement, shoulder movement or whatever. What is happening is that he is getting ready to throw a punch. The harder the punch, the bigger the load as he positions himself to shift weight into the attack. It's hard to describe but you will almost get a feeling of impending doom. That is, after enough practice, you will almost be able to sense an attack coming. That sense is your subconcious analyzing the fight to that moment and hypothesizing or predicting probable outcomes of subtle movements.

4. Watch for tension. Related to point 3, but an opponent who suddenly tenses is likely to attack or move. You have to be relaxed when you box. Tensing up in an effort to jab speedily will only forecast what you are about to do. Practice jabbing from a relaxed state, and look for this tell in your opponents.

5. Beware of the eyes. This depends on your opponent, but the eyes can really mess up your boxing match, or aid you in victory. Generally speaking as experience level goes up, the amount of trust you can put in where your opponent is looking goes down. Beginners, for obvious reasons look at their target before hitting. It's like hockey. If I'm going to pass to someone, should I look at them basically telling the other team, "hey intercept this". No, I look at someone to draw attention away from where I am really looking to hit.

How to Read the Idiosyncratic (Personality Driven) Signs

How to Read the Idiosyncratic (Personality Driven) Signs

1. Make your opponent tell you what they are. Throw something at him and watch closely. You may have heard the term "feeling out" round. Both opponents are seeing how each other react. So, throw a good jab at his face and watch what he does. Especially early in the fight, he will very often show you exactly how he is going to react to your advances.

2. Look at his history. Easier to do in the pros because fights are taped, but if you are scheduled to fight someone, do your homework. Get video of past fights or go watch him or her in training (if you can...) Get a friend to go watch -- Yes, spy. Time on recce is time seldom wasted.

3. Let your inner mind do the work. Over time, your mind will instantly pick out the tells whether you are consciously looking for them or not. The key is to be aware so that you pick them out sooner than later. Your mind is an incredible pattern recognizing machine. Remaining relaxed and observant will serve you well. It may take a few rounds, but soon enough you will know what the predictors are. Common predictors include:

  • movements
  • twitches
  • glances
  • rhythmic footwork (patterns)
  • funny steps
  • deep breaths
  • eye movements
  • breathing movements

Pretty much anything can be a tell and it is in your best interest to find them early and exploit them fully. Just remember, if you are looking for your opponent's tells, he is probably looking for yours. This is one reason shadowboxing in front of a mirror is so important. You can actually see what your opponent is seeing. As well, a good trainer will be watching for your patterns and predictors so he can at least alert you to them. This will allow you to make a conscious decision to hide them.

What kinds of signs have your opponent's shown you? 

1. Make your opponent tell you what they are. Throw something at him and watch closely. You may have heard the term "feeling out" round. Both opponents are seeing how each other react. So, throw a good jab at his face and watch what he does. Especially early in the fight, he will very often show you exactly how he is going to react to your advances.

2. Look at his history. Easier to do in the pros because fights are taped, but if you are scheduled to fight someone, do your homework. Get video of past fights or go watch him or her in training (if you can...) Get a friend to go watch -- Yes, spy. Time on recce is time seldom wasted.

3. Let your inner mind do the work. Over time, your mind will instantly pick out the tells whether you are conciously looking for them or not. The key is to be aware so that you pick them out sooner than later. Your mind is an incredible pattern recognizing machine. Remaining relaxed and observant will serve you well. It may take a few rounds, but soon enough you will know what the predictors are. Common predictors include:

  • movements
  • twitches
  • glances
  • rhythmic footwork (patterns)
  • funny steps
  • deep breaths
  • eye movements
  • breathing movements

Pretty much anything can be a tell and it is in your best interest to find them early and exploit them fully. Just remember, if you are looking for your opponent's tells, he is probably looking for yours. This is one reason shadowboxing in front of a mirror is so important. You can actually see what your opponent is seeing. As well, a good trainer will be watching for your patterns and predictors so he can at least alert you to them. This will allow you to make a concious decision to hide them.

What kinds of signs have your opponent's shown you?

Boxing Tip #4: Disrupt and Counter

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To explain this boxing tip, I'm going to use a block. I could just as easily have used a parry, roll, slip or any other defensive technique. Any of them cause a disruption to your opponent's plan of attack and give you a chance to counter. But, let's start from the beginning - using a block...

A block is done to prevent a punch from hitting you. Seems obvious enough, but it is only half of the defense. You see, you will not be able to block every punch coming at you. Depending on the strength of your opponent, you will not want to. Blocking punches from a strong puncher will wear you down. If they are strong enough, they will punch right through your blocks.

Luckily, a puncher with such strength is usually an anomaly and not the norm. However, you shouldn't go into a fight believing you are simply going to block every punch thrown at you. Doing so requires a lot of energy. Energy that can be better used to put you in an offensive mode.

A block is best when it is used as a bridge to a counter. Picture an opponent coming at you. Presumably they are not stupid and want to throw some type of combination knowing, as you do, that the more punches they throw, the better chance they have of scoring. So, this opponent throws a 1-2-3 combination. If you don't do anything, you get hit with all three punches. However, if you block any of them, you disrupt the combination AND use that disruption to launch your own offensive. You disrupt your opponent's planned course of action, you cause him to react which requires thinking. Depending on how skilled they are, the disruption will give you an opening.

This all seems very confusing, and doesn't seem to have much to do with blocking. Actually it does, let me clarify.

In the example above, if you decide to block all three shots and simply cover up, you are not disrupting anything. The jab comes at you, you put up your guard and absorb it, followed by the right which you may or may not absorb without hitting yourself in the face, followed by the left hook, which hopefully you managed to bring your elbow up to block as well. In the end, you expended energy blocking and are no better off than when you started other than decreasing the amount of damage those punches did to you -- hopefully.

But you can't win without offense...

Now, if you had blocked the jab and then moved to the outside as the straight right comes in, you are in a position to cause some damage of your own. Not only have you disrupted your opponent's combination, but you used your energy more wisely changing your situation to regain the initiative. You want to be an attacker, not a defender.

Sometimes the punches will be coming in so fast that you have no choice but to block, but you should strive to block and move and always be cognizant of the opening. In those instances when blocking is your only option here are some tips for making the blocks more effective and less taxing:

  1. Incorporate movement into the block. Picture a spring. If you were to punch a spring it would absorb a lot of your power. Kind of like a shock absorber. By moving in the same direction as the punch, you act like a shock absorber and some of the punch's energy will be absorbed by the movement. Never try and act like a brick wall (unless you are trying to send your opponent a message). The energy from the punch still has to go somewhere. You don't have to get hit in the face to feel the pain of a punch. Your forearms will notice them too.

  2. Angle your arms and body to deflect rather than absorb. Picture yourself belly flopping into the water vs diving into water. When your hands cut the water, entry is a lot easier. If your forearms are positioned so the punches glance off them rather than connect full on, they are going to feel a lot better. It may also throw your opponent off balance.

  3. Gauge the power of your opponent. Understanding how hard your opponent is hitting, will let you know how much you have to brace for impact. Subsequently, it gives you a better indication of how to position your arms in front of your vital spots to absorb the punches. For instance, if you brace up tight with your gloves actually touching your chin and face and take a punch from a strong opponent, you are not going to block much of anything. You will effectively be punching yourself in the head. In this case, your arms should be a little ways away from your face so you can absorb the power of the punch. If your opponent is weak, blocking with your gloves touching your face may not be a problem at all. You need to figure out how hard your opponent can hit. This is usually done in the first or second round of the fight (feeling out round).

Block and slip, block and move, block and counter punch. Block and do something.

To explain this boxing tip, I'm going to use a block. I could just as easily have used a parry, roll, slip or any other defensive technique. Any of them cause a disruption to your opponent's plan of attack and give you a chance to counter. But, let's start from the beginning - using a block...

A block is done to prevent a punch from hitting you. Seems obvious enough, but it is only half of the defense. You see, you will not be able to block every punch coming at you. Depending on the strength of your opponent, you will not want to. Blocking punches from a strong puncher will wear you down. If they are strong enough, they will punch right through your blocks.

Luckily, a puncher with such strength is usually an anomaly and not the norm. However, you shouldn't go into a fight believing you are simply going to block every punch thrown at you. Doing so requires a lot of energy. Energy that can be better used to put you in an offensive mode.

A block is best when it is used as a bridge to a counter. Picture an opponent coming at you. Presumably they are not stupid and want to throw some type of combination knowing, as you do, that the more punches they throw, the better chance they have of scoring. So, this opponent throws a 1-2-3 combination. If you don't do anything, you get hit with all three punches. However, if you block any of them, you disrupt the combination AND use that disruption to launch your own offensive. You disrupt your opponent's planned course of action, you cause him to react which requires thinking. Depending on how skilled they are, the disruption will give you an opening.

This all seems very confusing, and doesn't seem to have much to do with blocking. Actually it does, let me clarify.

In the example above, if you decide to block all three shots and simply cover up, you are not disrupting anything. The jab comes at you, you put up your guard and absorb it, followed by the right which you may or may not absorb without hitting yourself in the face, followed by the left hook, which hopefully you managed to bring your elbow up to block as well. In the end, you expended energy blocking and are no better off than when you started other than decreasing the amount of damage those punches did to you -- hopefully.

But you can't win without offense...

Now, if you had blocked the jab and then moved to the outside as the straight right comes in, you are in a position to cause some damage of your own. Not only have you disrupted your opponent's combination, but you used your energy more wisely changing your situation to regain the initiative. You want to be an attacker, not a defender.

Sometimes the punches will be coming in so fast that you have no choice but to block, but you should strive to block and move and always be cognizant of the opening. In those instances when blocking is your only option here are some tips for making the blocks more effective and less taxing:

  1. Incorporate movement into the block. Picture a spring. If you were to punch a spring it would absorb a lot of your power. Kind of like a shock absorber. By moving in the same direction as the punch, you act like a shock absorber and some of the punch's energy will be absorbed by the movement. Never try and act like a brick wall (unless you are trying to send your opponent a message). The energy from the punch still has to go somewhere. You don't have to get hit in the face to feel the pain of a punch. Your forearms will notice them too.


  2. Angle your arms and body to deflect rather than absorb. Picture yourself belly flopping into the water vs diving into water. When your hands cut the water, entry is a lot easier. If your forearms are positioned so the punches glance off them rather than connect full on, they are going to feel a lot better. It may also throw your opponent off balance.


  3. Gauge the power of your opponent. Understanding how hard your opponent is hitting, will let you know how much you have to brace for impact. Subsequently, it gives you a better indication of how to position your arms in front of your vital spots to absorb the punches. For instance, if you brace up tight with your gloves actually touching your chin and face and take a punch from a strong opponent, you are not going to block much of anything. You will effectively be punching yourself in the head. In this case, your arms should be a little ways away from your face so you can absorb the power of the punch. If your opponent is weak, blocking with your gloves touching your face may not be a problem at all. You need to figure out how hard your opponent can hit. This is usually done in the first or second round of the fight (feeling out round).

Block and slip, block and move, block and counter punch. Block and do something.

Boxing Tip #3: Use Your Opponent’s Momentum

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I mentioned in a previous boxing tip the idea of momentum and how you want to harness an opponent's momentum and use it to your advantage. In a way, you want to suck the force out of them and use it to double your own output in the ring. In the ring there is stationary and there is movement. Anytime movement is occurring, energy is being expended.

"Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another."

What do you think happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? After the initial collision, they are at equilibrium meaning neither side is getting ahead. In order to win, either the unstoppable force or the immovable object has to take energy from the other player to disrupt that balance.

I'm sure that sounded way too much like 10th grade science class to most of you, but what I'm trying to get at in a not so eloquent way, is that you can use the movements and energy expenditures of your opponent to your advantage if you know how. If you understand a few simple concepts, you can tailor your ring game to use the laws of thermodynamics (specifically the second law) to your advantage:

  1. Two objects moving towards one another will produce a more violent collision than two objects moving in the same direction: In boxing terms if your opponent is moving towards you and meets your fist moving towards him, the added force of his forward momentum will make your punch that much more powerful and capable of inflicting more damage. Lesson: Try and hit an opponent as they are moving towards you or at least add some movement of your own when trying to inflict maximum damage with a punch.
  2. An opponent who is moving is easier to throw off balance than one who is stationary. In boxing terms, this describes weight transfer. It requires energy and force to stop and move one's weight in another direction. If that weight is in transfer and you interrupt it by punching or moving, it may be quite difficult for your opponent to maintain his or her balance leaving them susceptible to counter attack. As an example, picture a straight right. As your opponent throws they are expecting to make contact. If you side step and the punch misses, if your opponent was not prepared to miss, the weight transfer will pull them too far forward leaving them unbalanced for a split second. That is when you need to strike.
  3. It is easier to redirect a moving object than a stationary one. In boxing terms, picture a jab coming at your head. To hold your hand in front of it and absorb all the energy and force that was put into it without allowing your hand to move would be nearly impossible. At very least, it requires the same amount of force as was put into that punch. However, if you simply deflect the jab, causing it to change direction - say 45 degrees to the right or left causing it to harmlessly pass by your head, you only need a fraction of the energy in your blocking hand to do this. As an added bonus, the deflection may carry over into principle 2 here and cause an off balance situation.
  4. Kinetic energy can be transferred from one object to another. In boxing terms, this is what happens when you land a punch. This is how damage is caused. A clean, quick, SNAP, transfers all of the forward momentum from your punch into your opponent and this is when maximum damage is caused. If you push or pull your punches, the energy is not being transferred in its entirety. Thus, you really need to practice on punching at the optimal distance from your target.

How to Practice Sucking Force

First thing you need to do is completely visualize what is happening. That is itself will make you more aware of your opponent's movements and put you in a position to use those movements to your advantage.

Second, watch professionals box. Don't watch like a fan would watch, watch like a student. It is helpful to record the match and play it back in slow motion. Watch how the boxers react to each other and pick out the places where they are using their opponent's movements to launch their own counters or their own offensives.

Third, move that theory into practice by shadowboxing the movements with an imaginary opponent. Picture them doing something and then react to it.

Fourth, bring it into the ring and put it to the test. Repeated sparring is the only sure fire way to drill your reactions. Build up a repertoire of reactions by perfecting one and then working on another. In short order you will be able to anticipate your opponent's moves and know how to use those forces to your own advantage.

As a last note, perfect your striking distance. Transfering the energy from your punch to your opponent is your goal and when your striking distance is perfect that transfer occurs effortlessly. 

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