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Are You an Orthodox or Southpaw Boxer?
When you were born, or very close after, you developed a dominant hand. It may even have been wired into you genetically - I don't know and it really doesn't matter. What matters is that you learned that hitting your brother or sister with one hand felt more natural than using the other.
Most of us learned to write with one hand.
You learned to throw a ball with one hand.
That favored hand is known as your dominant hand and is the reason people are called right or left handed. I'm sure that's nothing new to you, but stick with me.
Southpaw - Right Hand Forward
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
Orthodox - Left Hand Forward
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
The majority of the population is right handed while about 7-10% of the world is left handed. Those that are left handed also tend to have a bit of ambidexterity in them - meaning they can use either hand. Don't consider this a hard and fast rule. These are just generalizations, there are also plenty of right handed ambidextrous people out there as well.
Boxers will generally train either orthodox or southpaw. Sometimes they will do both for reasons I'll cover in a minute. An orthodox boxer is one who has a dominant right hand (right handed people). A southpaw boxer is a boxer with a dominant left hand (left handed people). I'd guess that close to 95% of the available boxing courses and books you'll find are dedicated to the orthodox boxer - simply because there are naturally a lot more of them.
I understand that there aren't just right handed boxers, so I attempt to enlighten the southpaw at the same time as the orthodox boxer. That said, basic techniques are just mirror images. If the right handed boxer stands with left arm forward, the southpaw stands with right arm forward. It's only when you get into boxing strategy, targeting, and so on, that things become specific to the type of stance you use and that's not really your focus. If you don't see a technique demonstrated specifically for the southpaw, it's not because I'm ignoring you, it's because it's the same, just mirrored. If it is specific to the southpaw, it will be clarified.
The concept and theory behind choosing to train orthodox or southpaw relates to your dominant hand which is where you carry most of your power. Those that hit harder and are more coordinated with the right hand should train orthodox. Those carrying their power in the left hand should consider a southpaw stance.
The weaker arm should be towards your opponent with the stronger arm cocked to the rear to deliver the power punches when the openings appear.
Which Way Should You Train?
Is an orthodox boxer better than a southpaw? Or is learning to box southpaw better than learning to box orthodox?
For the purposes of transforming your body - stick with keeping your dominant hand to the rear - so right handed - orthodox, left handed - southpaw.
Now, for those of you who think you may have an ambition to fight in the future....read on.
Both stances have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the southpaw stands so that their liver is more exposed than an orthodox boxer, but since there are fewer southpaws in the boxing world, a lot of orthodox boxers have no idea how to deal with them when they encounter them in the ring. Because the majority of boxers are orthodox, there are plenty of trainers, training techniques, drills, and strategy to aid in your development, while southpaws have a more difficult time finding a trainer that can cater to their needs.
It's Going to Feel Awkward
Whether you are right handed or left handed, if you adopt your natural stance, you're initially going to find it very awkward. This is because you lead with your non-dominant and weaker arm. Think about it. If you're right handed, you've been hitting, throwing, writing, your entire life with your right hand. The orthodox stance requires you to lead with your left arm and jab with your left arm. Until you get used to it and practice a lot, trying to jab with your left is going to make you think twice about training orthodox. You may think it more natural to switch to southpaw and start jabbing with your right. This is a mistake. Stick to the orthodox stance (or southpaw if you're left handed) and learn the techniques that will suit your natural tendencies.
As you progress, like a lot of boxers, you may decide to learn the alternate stance as well. This is a good idea as it gives you more tools in your tool chest, but remember it is far better to master one stance rather than be mediocre at two. You may confuse your opponent by switching it up mid-fight, but if you can't punch or move in either stance, it's not going to matter all that much.
In this lesson you learned:
- the difference between an orthodox and a southpaw stance
- you determined which stance you should train with
- you were introduced to some of the differences and vulnerabilities of each stance
If you are new to boxing, then I highly recommend you stick with learning one stance and that one stance should be your most natural stance. Learn the basic techniques, become a master for your chosen stance, and then, and only then, work on implementing the other.
Neither stance is completely superior to the other. Southpaws can beat orthodox boxers and vice versa, so no matter which you choose, you are not disadvantaging yourself. It just means taking into account the subtle nuances of that particular stance.
Either stance will work just fine as far as your body transformation is concerned.
Today's Action Steps
One thing for you to do today: