Category Archives for "Boxing Tips"

Boxing tips and techniques ranging from beginner to advanced that will help develop boxing skill and strategy. Sometimes it just takes one boxing tip or trick to turn a fight to your favour. Hopefully you’re able to add one or two of these boxing tips and techniques to your arsenal. Contact Coach Aaron if you have a boxing tip or technique that you think should be listed here.

32 Boxing Tips You Can Put to Use in the Ring Today

Every boxing match is unique - therefore there are no special tricks for controlling the flow of every fight.

Learning to control a fight or solve problems you encounter in the ring comes down to experience. The more time you spend in the ring - sparring and fighting - the more comfortable you'll get being in that combat situation. The better you will be able to pick up the subtle cues of combat and respond appropriately. 

That said, I promised you 32 techniques. These are tried and true ring strategems or boxing principles to keep in mind when you step through the ropes:

  1. Box with your head not your hands. No matter how good your opponent is - if you can out think him you can outbox him (or her)
  2. Show up in the best shape possible. Boxing conditioning will be an asset or a liability. It's one variable you have total control over so there's no excuse to show up without the strength, speed or stamina to perform at 100% effort for the entire match.
  3. Stay loose and relaxed. If you're tense - your reaction time increases and you burn energy for no reason.
  4. Fancy may work - boxing fundamentals do work. Your game plan builds on a solid foundation.
  5. Act invincible - even if you know you're not. Never show weakness. Like a shark in a feeding frenzy - if you show signs of fear, hurt, or indecision you can expect your opponent to feed on it. You'll effectively give them superpowers.
  6. On the other hand - rest easy knowing that your opponent is as or more hurt, tired, or afraid as you are.
  7. Your forward hand is the safest way to start a combination - use it.
  8. Move. Standing still and being a static target gives your opponent too much time to size you up and decide how to attack. Keep presenting something new but don't jump around unnecessarily and waste energy when out of striking distance.
  9. Protect yourself at all times - hands high - get lazy and get knocked out.
  10. Chin down. Enough said.
  11. Be aware of distancing. If your opponent is in striking range - you are in striking range. Strike first.
  12. Clinch and smother any chance of counter attack when you miss or are in a bad position. Exit the clinch correctly or wait for ref to break.
  13. Keep it random. Don't establish patterns by doing things the same way. Go down the same road twice and expect to get blown up.
  14. Once you cross the striking zone and are inside your opponent's guard - stay there and keep punching.
  15. Every opponent is tough. Remember that it doesn't take a lot of power, skill, or speed to knock someone out. 
  16. Don't over reach. Maintain a solid base so you are never off balance. Off balance and over reaching leaves you open for counter attack.
  17. If you punch - PUNCH! Snap it - don't push it.
  18. Connect - if you're punching for the sake of punching you're wasting energy. Find the opening - then attack otherwise move and feint until you get the opening.
  19. Your target is behind where you are hitting. Make sure your fist ends up there.
  20. Use forward momentum and torque from the hips when you hit to hit hard. There is no power in a punch while moving backwards.
  21. Protect against ambushes. If your opponent wants you to do something - make sure you do something else.
  22. If you stop punching - you stop winning. Never quit trying to land the one that will end it.
  23. Stay where it's safe - in close, head at waist level, hands high.
  24. Be extra careful when crossing into the striking zone or leaving it - those are the times when you are most vulnerable.
  25. If your opponent is set and about to punch - MOVE!
  26. Watch for what your opponent does immediately before he leads.. It's like being able to tell the future.
  27. Note peculiarities and patterns to exploit whenever possible.
  28. If you throw a left jab - expect a right cross - do something about it.
  29. Straight punches get to targets faster than bent arm punches.
  30. A two handed attack should be done from inside the guard - otherwise you're wide open for counters.
  31. Start your attack from outside the guard.
  32. Rear hand punches and short hooks are counters. Use them as leads and expect to get hit.

These ring strategems are adapted from Boxing (Naval Aviation Fitness Manuals)

Boxing Tip #19: How to See Punches

Dennis recently asked a question:

Dennis recently asked a question:

Is it possible to explain how the hand is quicker1 than the eye and how to deal with the punch you cannot see coming? Your defense must be good of course but how do you take advantage of this physiological fact? I assume that combinations and power punching produce this knock out punch.​​​​

Is it possible to explain how the hand is quicker1 than the eye and how to deal with the punch you cannot see coming? Your defense must be good of course but how do you take advantage of this physiological fact? I assume that combinations and power punching produce this knock out punch.

It's a great question, so for everyone's benefit, let's break this into two parts:

  1. Whether or not the hand is actually quicker than the eye; and
  2. How do you see punches coming so you can defend against them or use them in your offence.

It's a great question, so for everyone's benefit, let's break this into two parts:

  1. Whether or not the hand is actually quicker than the eye; and
  2. How do you see punches coming so you can defend against them or use them in your offence.

Is the hand really quicker than the eye?

Is the hand really quicker than the eye?

It might seem like the hand is quicker than the eye sometimes but the answer is no.

The human eye can detect movement discontinuities up to 60 frames per second. Your hands certainly cannot move that fast.

You don't have to take my word for it - put a nickel on the table in front of you and try to move it half an inch without your eye tracking it. You'll always see the movement.

Wave your hands in front of your face as fast as you can. No matter how fast you think you can move your hands, you'll never be able to move them so fast that they disappear in front of you. Your eyes track them from position to position and they may blur into a trail of hands, but they won't disappear.

Some may argue that magicians are able to carry out a number of their tricks because the hand is faster than the eye. That is a myth. In reality, magicians are really good at slight of hand or deception that makes it appear as if something appears out of nowhere.

Boxers could learn a thing or two from magicians with regards to feinting. They are masters at pulling your attention in one direction to make something appear elsewhere.

As far as boxing goes - it's a good thing that the hand is not quicker than the eye because if you can see it, you can do something about it.

It might seem like the hand is quicker than the eye sometimes but the answer is no.

The human eye can detect movement discontinuities up to 60 frames per second. Your hands certainly cannot move that fast.

You don't have to take my word for it - put a nickel on the table in front of you and try to move it half an inch without your eye tracking it. You'll always see the movement.

Wave your hands in front of your face as fast as you can. No matter how fast you think you can move your hands, you'll never be able to move them so fast that they disappear in front of you. Your eyes track them from position to position and they may blur into a trail of hands, but they won't disappear.

Some may argue that magicians are able to carry out a number of their tricks because the hand is faster than the eye. That is a myth. In reality, magicians are really good at slight of hand or deception that makes it appear as if something appears out of nowhere.

Boxers could learn a thing or two from magicians with regards to feinting. They are masters at pulling your attention in one direction to make something appear elsewhere.

As far as boxing goes - it's a good thing that the hand is not quicker than the eye because if you can see it, you can do something about it.

Seeing Punches

Seeing Punches

When your opponent throws a punch at you it is either going to come straight on (like a jab or straight right) or from an angle (hooks and uppercuts).

Of the two - the straight on punches are harder to see coming and leave less time for reaction.

That's because punches thrown straight at you are more difficult for your eyes and brain to recognize compared to a punch coming from the side.

Your eyes are made of cones and rods. The rods are responsible for picking up movement and are concentrated in your peripheral vision. Rods are also more light sensitive and allow you to pick up dimmer objects.

You can test this yourself by heading outside at night and looking at a starry sky. If you stare directly at some stars - they disappear but if you don't concentrate on them or use your peripheral vision to look at them they will reappear.

In terms of your own offense, hopefully you see the advantage here in throwing jabs and straights straight out from your chin and back. If the punch is in line with the eye it bypasses the motion detecting rods in your opponent's peripheral vision making it much more difficult to detect and react to. You stand a much better chance at landing a punch that is thrown directly in line with your opponent's vision.

The ability to better detect motion with your peripheral vision is also the reason why, as a boxer, you shouldn't be looking directly at your opponent's hands. In fact, you shouldn't be trying to focus on anything in particular at all. You will be much faster and see much more when you adopt the "thousand yard stare" and/or stop focusing directly on your opponent.

Your guard position helps you do this automatically. With your head bent forward and tucked into your shoulder protecting your chin, you are looking up through your eyebrows. If you don't strain your eyes up to look at your opponent, they are naturally out of the direct line of sight of the punches and you will pick up on movement much more easily.

From there it's a matter of drill and instinct. If you have trained enough and prepared your reflexes your reaction time should already be pretty good. You'll react in certain ways to certain punches - on instinct you will slip, catch, parry, or block whether your brain consciously registers the incoming punch or not.

Being able to detect movement earlier gives you more time to react. Put instinct and early movement detection together and suddenly you're moving faster than the Flash.

When your opponent throws a punch at you it is either going to come straight on (like a jab or straight right) or from an angle (hooks and uppercuts).

Of the two - the straight on punches are harder to see coming and leave less time for reaction.

That's because punches thrown straight at you are more difficult for your eyes and brain to recognize compared to a punch coming from the side.

Your eyes are made of cones and rods. The rods are responsible for picking up movement and are concentrated in your peripheral vision. Rods are also more light sensitive and allow you to pick up dimmer objects.

You can test this yourself by heading outside at night and looking at a starry sky. If you stare directly at some stars - they disappear but if you don't concentrate on them or use your peripheral vision to look at them they will reappear.

In terms of your own offense, hopefully you see the advantage here in throwing jabs and straights straight out from your chin and back. If the punch is in line with the eye it bypasses the motion detecting rods in your opponent's peripheral vision making it much more difficult to detect and react to. You stand a much better chance at landing a punch that is thrown directly in line with your opponent's vision.1

The ability to better detect motion with your peripheral vision is also the reason why, as a boxer, you shouldn't be looking directly at your opponent's hands. In fact, you shouldn't be trying to focus on anything in particular at all. You will be much faster and see much more when you adopt the "thousand yard stare2" and/or stop focusing directly on your opponent.

Your guard position helps you do this automatically. With your head bent forward and tucked into your shoulder protecting your chin, you are looking up through your eyebrows. If you don't strain your eyes up1 to look at your opponent, they are naturally out of the direct line of sight of the punches and you will pick up on movement much more easily.

From there it's a matter of drill and instinct. If you have trained enough and prepared your reflexes your reaction time should already be pretty good. You'll react in certain ways to certain punches - on instinct you will slip, catch, parry, or block whether your brain consciously registers the incoming punch or not.

Being able to detect movement earlier gives you more time to react. Put instinct and early movement detection together and suddenly you're moving faster than the Flash.

But That's Not All - Bonus Detection

But That's Not All - Bonus Detection

Punches do not originate in the hands if thrown correctly. They rise up from the ground - loading through the legs - accelerating through the hips - torquing with the torso - flowing through the shoulder and extending arm and out the fist.

So if that's the case, why would you focus directly on the hands if you want to see a punch coming?

You shouldn't. Forget the hands unless you are just starting out and are trying to figure out how things work.

Learn to look at your opponent's chest - actually get into a trance and stare right through the chest. It's kind of look looking at one of those 3D pictures made out of patterns. If you look straight at it, you see a bunch of meaningless colors. Stare through it (indirectly) and the image pops off the page.

Try this one out:

Punches do not originate in the hands if thrown correctly. They rise up from the ground - loading through the legs - accelerating through the hips - torquing with the torso - flowing through the shoulder and extending arm and out the fist.

So if that's the case, why would you focus directly on the hands if you want to see a punch coming?

You shouldn't. Forget the hands unless you are just starting out and are trying to figure out how things work.

Learn to look at your opponent's chest - actually get into a trance and stare right through the chest. It's kind of look looking at one of those 3D pictures made out of patterns. If you look straight at it, you see a bunch of meaningless colors. Stare through it (indirectly) and the image pops off the page.

Try this one out:

Do You See the Shark?

Focusing on a spot a couple of feet behind and through the center of your opponent's chest allows your peripheral vision to not only pick up movement of the hands, but also the legs and hips giving you even more time to react. The twisting or loading of the hips is a sure sign that a punch is about to come.

Over time all these subtle little cues will act as triggers that will cue up and play a certain boxing drill or maneuver to allow you to deal with whatever is coming. It just takes lots of experience of practice.

Focusing on a spot a couple of feet behind and through the center of your opponent's chest allows your peripheral vision to not only pick up movement of the hands, but also the legs and hips giving you even more time to react. The twisting or loading of the hips is a sure sign that a punch is about to come.

Over time all these subtle little cues will act as triggers that will cue up and play a certain boxing drill or maneuver to allow you to deal with whatever is coming. It just takes lots of experience of practice.

How to Practice Seeing the Punches?

How to Practice Seeing the Punches?

Learning to see punches is one of the best things about becoming a good boxer. I can tell you that for a long time, I would get hit and wonder where the hell the punches came from.

As time progressed and my training made my reflexes more instinctual things got better. Then I discovered the wonders of peripheral vision and it was like someone took off the blindfold.

The punches started to appear. I still vividly remember the day in the ring when everything suddenly seemed to slow down. It was exactly like in the movie The Matrix - the punches were coming and I was reacting without thinking. I could "see" everything flowing around me. It was incredibly surreal and you can experience it too.

Obviously the best way to practice is to get someone to throw punches at you. Start slow and start with one defensive technique. This will be an exercise that develops your instincts as well as giving you some practice not focusing on your opponent's hands.

As an example - have your partner throw jabs, slow to start and speed them up as you go. You parry with your right (orthodox boxers). Don't think about it - just do it. Stare beyond your oppone1nt and just let yourself react out of instinct.

As you master one technique and are up to a decent speed, introduce another technique. Again, start slow and speed it up taking your mind out of the equation.

It comes with practice and you'll soon find yourself able to stand in front of someone throwing punches at you and your hands will automatically be parrying, blocking, catching as you slip left and right. It really is amazing and you're going to love the feeling when it happens.

Learning to see punches is one of the best things about becoming a good boxer. I can tell you that for a long time, I would get hit and wonder where the hell the punches came from.

As time progressed and my training made my reflexes more instinctual things got better. Then I discovered the wonders of peripheral vision and it was like someone took off the blindfold.

The punches started to appear. I still vividly remember the day in the ring when everything suddenly seemed to slow down. It was exactly like in the movie The Matrix - the punches were coming and I was reacting without thinking. I could "see" everything flowing around me. It was incredibly surreal and you can experience it too.

Obviously the best way to practice is to get someone to throw punches at you. Start slow and start with one defensive technique. This will be an exercise that develops your instincts as well as giving you some practice not focusing on your opponent's hands.

As an example - have your partner throw jabs, slow to start and speed them up as you go. You parry with your right (orthodox boxers). Don't think about it - just do it. Stare beyond your oppone1nt and just let yourself react out of instinct.

As you master one technique and are up to a decent speed, introduce another technique. Again, start slow and speed it up taking your mind out of the equation.

It comes with practice and you'll soon find yourself able to stand in front of someone throwing punches at you and your hands will automatically be parrying, blocking, catching as you slip left and right. It really is amazing and you're going to love the feeling when it happens.

Boxing Tip #18: How to Knock Someone Out

This boxing tip might be a bit controversial. Some people believe you have to be born with knockout power in order to knock someone out. I, on the other hand, believe you can be taught how to knock someone out.

This boxing tip might be a bit controversial. Some people believe you have to be born with knockout power in order to knock someone out. I, on the other hand, believe you can be taught how to knock someone out.

WHAT IS A KNOCKOUT?

WHAT IS A KNOCKOUT?

Well, first, there is a difference between a knockout (KO) and technical knockout (TKO). A technical knockout is what happens when the referee or a boxer's corner in a boxing match decides the boxer can no longer safely continue. A full knockout is what happens when a boxer is simply physically unable to continue fighting following any legal strike.

Most anyone will associate a knockout with a sudden loss of consciousness where the boxer falls limp to the mat. This usually happens following a wicked shot to the head, but body shots such as those to the liver can also induce pain that results in a KO.

Well, first, there is a difference between a knockout (KO) and technical knockout (TKO). A technical knockout is what happens when the referee or a boxer's corner in a boxing match decides the boxer can no longer safely continue. A full knockout is what happens when a boxer is simply physically unable to continue fighting following any legal strike.2

Most anyone will associate a knockout with a sudden loss of consciousness where the boxer falls limp to the mat. This usually happens following a wicked shot to the head, but body shots such as those to the liver can also induce pain that results in a KO.

WHAT CAUSES A KNOCKOUT?

WHAT CAUSES A KNOCKOUT?

Your brain is kind of floating inside your skull. All around the outside of your brain - between your brain and your skull - is a liquid cushion (mostly water). This cushion keeps your brain from bouncing off your skull during most activities.

When you get hit in the head in boxing, you experience a cerebral concussion where the cushion is not able to stop your brain from smashing into your skull. Every time this happens you experience some degree of brain damage. Repeated blows to the head result in a lot of brain damage and you eventually end up with the consequences - punch drunk is the term often used.

Now the impact is not believed to be the main cause of the knockout, although it probably has something to do with it. It is generally agreed on that a knockout is caused by some trauma to the brain stem. This trauma is caused by punches that cause you to twist your head violently. The same motion will also induce your brain to smash against your skull.

Combining the two is a recipe for a knockout as it causes a disruption in your body's electrical system which basically causes everything to shut down instantly. I'm sure that's over simplified, but it's the jist of how a knockout occurs.

Your brain is kind of floating inside your skull. All around the outside of your brain - between your brain and your skull - is a liquid cushion (mostly water). This cushion keeps your brain from bouncing off your skull during most activities.

When you get hit in the head in boxing, you experience a cerebral concussion where the cushion is not able to stop your brain from smashing into your skull. Every time this happens you experience some degree of brain damage. Repeated blows to the head result in a lot of brain damage and you eventually end up with the consequences - punch drunk is the term often used.

Now the impact is not believed to be the main cause of the knockout, although it probably has something to do with it. It is generally agreed on that a knockout is caused by some trauma to the brain stem. This trauma is caused by punches that cause you to twist your head violently. The same motion will also induce your brain to smash against your skull.

Combining the two is a recipe for a knockout as it causes a disruption in your body's electrical system which basically causes everything to shut down instantly. I'm sure that's over simplified, but it's the jist of how a knockout occurs.

KINDS OF KNOCKOUTS

KINDS OF KNOCKOUTS

Not all knockouts are created equal. There are three types:

  1. Typical Knockout - characterized by lasting loss of consciousness. When you come back from lala land, you generally have no memory of the event.
  2. Flash Knockout - lasts less than three seconds and you retain memory of the combat that caused it. I experienced this one myself in the gym one day. I got smoked and one of my legs suddenly gave out staggering me a bit along with a tingling feeling. I remember it all and instantly knew how close to hitting the canvas I had come.
  3. Stunning Knockout - here you don't actually lose consciousness, you're just rendered totally inept. The blow leaves you unable to hear, see, or do much of anything - you're stunned temporarily until you can shake it off...

Not all knockouts are created equal. There are three types:

  1. Typical Knockout - characterized by lasting loss of consciousness. When you come back from lala land, you generally have no memory of the event.
  2. Flash Knockout - lasts less than three seconds and you retain memory of the combat that caused it. I experienced this one myself in the gym one day. I got smoked and one of my legs suddenly gave out staggering me a bit along with a tingling feeling. I remember it all and instantly knew how close to hitting the canvas I had come.
  3. Stunning Knockout - here you don't actually lose consciousness, you're just rendered totally inept. The blow leaves you unable to hear, see, or do much of anything - you're stunned temporarily until you can shake it off...

HOW TO KNOCK SOMEONE OUT

HOW TO KNOCK SOMEONE OUT

Now the moment you've been waiting for. I'm going to teach you how to knock someone out (by punching). My argument for why anyone can learn how to throw a knockout punch is based on the fact that a knockout actually does not require a whole lot of power. A properly placed punch with sufficient power that is more than your opponent can handle will knock him out.

Problem here is that everyone is different. The amount of power it takes to knock me out isn't necessarily the same as what it would take to knock you out. That's why boxing commentators will often make reference to how good a chin a boxer has - meaning his ability to withstand a knockout punch.

There are two things you can do (and one thing your opponent can do) to make it much more likely that you will knock them out:

  1. Pinpoint Accuracy (Technique) - the chances of knocking someone out are much more likely if you cause a violent turn of the head. This twist happens much more naturally if your punch lands on the chin or temple compared to the cheek or further back. The neck simply is weaker in preventing the twisting motion. If you want to spin a wheel, do you spin it from the center or from an edge - the edge is much easier - same principle applies.
  2. Effective Mass - knockout power isn't a result of massive arms alone - it's a result of how fast you can accelerate those massive arms into an opponent's head. Knockout power is a result of speed and technique moving a given mass. Perfecting your technique to increase speed and more efficiently transfer momentum will give you all the power you need.
  3. Dehydration - This is the one your opponent can do. If they are dehydrating themselves - say in the later rounds - that thin layer of cushioning in the brain gets even thinner meaning every punch causes that much more damage. So, stay hydrated.

That's why I believe anyone can learn how to knock someone out. Show them the proper technique and have them practice to the point where they have sufficient speed and can hit precisely on a target and a knockout is inevitable within reason. I say within reason, because there are some big dudes out there that can take quite a punch - but by the same token there are plenty of big dudes who can't.

To make it simple:

(Speed + Technique) > Opponent's Resistance = Knockout

Now the moment you've been waiting for. I'm going to teach you how to knock someone out (by punching). My argument for why anyone can learn how to throw a knockout punch is based on the fact that a knockout actually does not require a whole lot of power. A properly placed punch with sufficient power that is more than your opponent can handle will knock him out.

Problem here is that everyone is different. The amount of power it takes to knock me out isn't necessarily the same as what it would take to knock you out. That's why boxing commentators will often make reference to how good a chin a boxer has - meaning his ability to withstand a knockout punch.

There are two things you can do (and one thing your opponent can do) to make it much more likely that you will knock them out:

  1. Pinpoint Accuracy (Technique) - the chances of knocking someone out are much more likely if you cause a violent turn of the head. This twist happens much more naturally if your punch lands on the chin or temple compared to the cheek or further back. The neck simply is weaker in preventing the twisting motion. If you want to spin a wheel, do you spin it from the center or from an edge - the edge is much easier - same principle applies.
  2. Effective Mass - knockout power isn't a result of massive arms alone - it's a result of how fast you can accelerate those massive arms into an opponent's head. Knockout power is a result of speed and technique moving a given mass. Perfecting your technique to increase speed and more efficiently transfer momentum will give you all the power you need.
  3. Dehydration - This is the one your opponent can do. If they are dehydrating themselves - say in the later rounds - that thin layer of cushioning in the brain gets even thinner meaning every punch causes that much more damage. So, stay hydrated.

That's why I believe anyone can learn how to knock someone out. Show them the proper technique and have them practice to the point where they have sufficient speed and can hit precisely on a target and a knockout is inevitable within reason. I say within reason, because there are some big dudes out there that can take quite a punch - but by the same token there are plenty of big dudes who can't.

To make it simple:

(Speed + Technique) > Opponent's Resistance = Knockout

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF KNOCKING SOMEONE OUT

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF KNOCKING SOMEONE OUT

To make it more likely that your punches are going to have that knockout power, do the following:

  1. Work on Your Core and hip flexibility - Strong abs and obliques will enable you to twist your body with greater force which is a key part of the pivot principle. More pivot equals more power. Crunches, oblique crunches, hanging leg raises, side bends and roman twists will get this area functioning correctly. Likewise, you can't pivot correctly without flexibility in your hips - so work on achieving full range of motion.
  2. Work on Your Accuracy - Head on over to your heavy bag and put a couple of marks on it about chin and temple height. Now as you dance around the bag, aim to hit those spots dead on, every time from different angles. You can also put marks or tape something to your double end bag to try and hit. Because it's moving wildly, you'll develop your accuracy and hand eye coordination.
  3. Hit the Gym - while not the only factor, more strength can mean more speed and more mass. All of that together will make you more powerful as long as the added muscle isn't just for show (needs to be functional muscle). If you strength train, ensure you're throwing some body weight exercises into the mix as well. Total control of your body is what you're looking for and the ability to explosively move the muscles that matter.

To make it more likely that your punches are going to have that knockout power, do the following:

  1. Work on Your Core and hip flexibility - Strong abs and obliques will enable you to twist your body with greater force which is a key part of the pivot principle. More pivot equals more power. Crunches, oblique crunches, hanging leg raises, side bends and roman twists will get this area functioning correctly. Likewise, you can't pivot correctly without flexibility in your hips - so work on achieving full range of motion.
  2. Work on Your Accuracy - Head on over to your heavy bag and put a couple of marks on it about chin and temple height. Now as you dance around the bag, aim to hit those spots dead on, every time from different angles. You can also put marks or tape something to your double end bag to try and hit. Because it's moving wildly, you'll develop your accuracy and hand eye coordination.
  3. Hit the Gym - while not the only factor, more strength can mean more speed and more mass. All of that together will make you more powerful as long as the added muscle isn't just for show (needs to be functional muscle). If you strength train, ensure you're throwing some body weight exercises into the mix as well. Total control of your body is what you're looking for and the ability to explosively move the muscles that matter.

IN SUMMARY

IN SUMMARY

There you have it - your complete guide to learning how to knock someone out. With enough practice, determination, skill, power, and luck in terms of your opponent - you could be the victor standing over a twitching mass on the floor one day. Good Luck.

Have you been knocked out or knocked someone out? Let's hear about it. Maybe you don't agree with me that you can teach knockout power? Let's debate it. Leave a comment.

There you have it - your complete guide to learning how to knock someone out. With enough practice, determination, skill, power, and luck in terms of your opponent - you could be the victor standing over a twitching mass on the floor one day. Good Luck.

Have you been knocked out or knocked someone out? Let's hear about it. Maybe you don't agree with me that you can teach knockout power? Let's debate it. Leave a comment.

Boxing Tip #17: Become a Patient Swarmer

Yesterday as I was hitting the heavy bag, I had one of those “aha” moments – an epiphany of sorts. In particular, I was drilling slipping a 1-2 followed by a counter punch sequence 3-2.

After a few minutes of this, it occurred to me that this might be a more sane way of boxing.

You see, in terms of boxing styles, I’m a swarmer. Always have been and probably always will be. My legs just naturally carry me towards my opponent, whether I like it or not – which really sucks when I’m tired but definitely makes for more exciting fights. This constant pressure on my opponents is desirable, but it never comes without risk.

That's because a swarmer is always conducting a frontal assault. The bell rings, the blinders go on, and we attack head on where and when our opponents are most ready for us. They know we’re coming at them. They just have to decide when and how to launch their attack when we’re in range.

The result – you guessed it – we take a lot of punches trying to get in range and then stay there.

Sometimes, if we're smart, we try to mitigate it a bit by coming in at various angles, varying speeds, or launching an offensive on the way in, but the result is always the same – there is no surprise – my opponent knows I’m coming in to striking distance - so they wait.

More often - we just try to push our way through our opponent's defenses taking whatever punches we get as our price of admission.

So yesterday when I had my moment of clarity, it dawned on me that maybe my strategy is flawed. If my opponent is set and ready to defend as I attack, they are at their strongest. They are in a perfect position to counter or block anything I throw as I come at them no matter how fast or slow I come in.

Their base is stable. They are not off balance and they are able to react or worse - disrupt my attack.

I’m showing them my cards and hoping that if I overwhelm them with firepower that their defenses will crumble. It’s akin to smashing a fly with a sledge hammer or bombing an entire town to dust just to get at one individual.

In a sport as intense as boxing, where conditioning and fitness play such a critical role in success or defeat, the swarmer bets his success on being more fit and capable of taking more punches than his opponent. He’s hoping to quickly disable him before he runs out of energy to maintain the constant assault.

The result – you guessed it – we take a lot of punches trying to get in range and then stay there.

Sometimes, if we're smart, we try to mitigate it a bit by coming in at various angles, varying speeds, or launching an offensive on the way in, but the result is always the same – there is no surprise – my opponent knows I’m coming in to striking distance - so they wait.

More often - we just try to push our way through our opponent's defenses taking whatever punches we get as our price of admission.

So yesterday when I had my moment of clarity, it dawned on me that maybe my strategy is flawed. If my opponent is set and ready to defend as I attack, they are at their strongest. They are in a perfect position to counter or block anything I throw as I come at them no matter how fast or slow I come in.

Their base is stable. They are not off balance and they are able to react or worse - disrupt my attack.

I’m showing them my cards and hoping that if I overwhelm them with firepower that their defenses will crumble. It’s akin to smashing a fly with a sledge hammer or bombing an entire town to dust just to get at one individual.

In a sport as intense as boxing, where conditioning and fitness play such a critical role in success or defeat, the swarmer bets his success on being more fit and capable of taking more punches than his opponent. He’s hoping to quickly disable him before he runs out of energy to maintain the constant assault.

But hope is not a viable course of action…

But hope is not a viable course of action…

I’m not saying for one second that a swarming style is not useful. But what I’m getting at is perhaps those of us who like to get in the face of our opponents can improve our strategy a bit.

What if, instead of charging ahead, we exercised a little patience and tested the waters a bit. Move in and out of range and see how our opponent reacts. This is nothing new, usually happens during the first round – the feeling out round.

But, instead of just feeling them out, what would happen if we combined our swarming prowess with a little bit of intelligence? Move into range and force your opponent to commit – then use that to launch into an all out swarming assault as per usual.

It would combine the tactical acumen of a boxer-puncher or counter puncher with the ferocity of a swarmer.

Exercising a little patience and launching your swarming style following a counter punch makes a lot of sense.

Rather than launching against someone who is steady in their stance, put them in motion and keep them off balance. They are not set and capable of defending in the same manner as they would be if they were stationary.

Their minds are not in defensive mode – they went offensive the second they decided to throw punches at you, so you have a split second to take advantage of that, and their new position, before they re-cock.

It could result in a lot less damage to you. Rather than just take the punches as you get into your swarming range, you use them to your advantage effectively blocking, slipping, or parrying them to open up an unobstructed lane you can use to launch an all out assault.

When you’re done, or need a breather, you extract yourself – regroup – and then get busy on a second assault in the same manner.

I’m not saying for one second that a swarming style is not useful. But what I’m getting at is perhaps those of us who like to get in the face of our opponents can improve our strategy a bit.

What if, instead of charging ahead, we exercised a little patience and tested the waters a bit. Move in and out of range and see how our opponent reacts. This is nothing new, usually happens during the first round – the feeling out round.

But, instead of just feeling them out, what would happen if we combined our swarming prowess with a little bit of intelligence? Move into range and force your opponent to commit – then use that to launch into an all out swarming assault as per usual.

It would combine the tactical acumen of a boxer-puncher or counter puncher with the ferocity of a swarmer.

Exercising a little patience and launching your swarming style following a counter punch makes a lot of sense.

Rather than launching against someone who is steady in their stance, put them in motion and keep them off balance. They are not set and capable of defending in the same manner as they would be if they were stationary.

Their minds are not in defensive mode – they went offensive the second they decided to throw punches at you, so you have a split second to take advantage of that, and their new position, before they re-cock.

It could result in a lot less damage to you. Rather than just take the punches as you get into your swarming range, you use them to your advantage effectively blocking, slipping, or parrying them to open up an unobstructed lane you can use to launch an all out assault.

When you’re done, or need a breather, you extract yourself – regroup – and then get busy on a second assault in the same manner.

Rocky Marciano vs Joe Frazier

Rocky Marciano vs Joe Frazier

Both of these guys are swarmers. They constantly pressure their opponents and fight on the inside.

I admire Rocky's tenacity and his record speaks for itself - he's a frickin machine and his strategy was always to out condition and out hit his opponent, but have a quick look at how he boxes. Notice that when he pressures his opponent he isn't doing a whole lot to counter or even avoid those initial punches as he gets close - he just accepts them as a cost of doing business.

Both of these guys are swarmers. They constantly pressure their opponents and fight on the inside.

I admire Rocky's tenacity and his record speaks for itself - he's a frickin machine and his strategy was always to out condition and out hit his opponent, but have a quick look at how he boxes. Notice that when he pressures his opponent he isn't doing a whole lot to counter or even avoid those initial punches as he gets close - he just accepts them as a cost of doing business.

Now contrast that with Joe Frazier - also a formidable swarmer - and also a great boxer. Compare Rocky's advance to his target to Joe's.

In my opinion, Joe does a lot better at neutralizing those initial punches to get inside and unleash his fury. A lot more head movement. Slips followed by quick closing of the distance.

I didn't count the number of hits each boxer takes in a round, but it appears that Rocky absorbs more than Joe does.

Now contrast that with Joe Frazier - also a formidable swarmer - and also a great boxer. Compare Rocky's advance to his target to Joe's.

In my opinion, Joe does a lot better at neutralizing those initial punches to get inside and unleash his fury. A lot more head movement. Slips followed by quick closing of the distance.

I didn't count the number of hits each boxer takes in a round, but it appears that Rocky absorbs more than Joe does.

Visualize Patience in Practice

Visualize Patience in Practice

Going back to my workout on the heavy bag, let’s try and picture how this could actually work:

  1. Picture an orthodox opponent standing in front of you. His left arm is forward, right arm cocked to the rear.
  2. You move within his range.
  3. He throws a 1-2 combination which you slip right and left. (outside of both punches).
  4. You now have a clear lane as your opponent misses with the right exposing the entire right side of his body and head. Without hesitation you quickly close the distance and counter with a 3-2.
  5. You’re now in range and can continue on with your assault for as long as you want before leaving the danger area happy in knowing you just inflicted a lot of damage with relatively none done to you.

Make sense?

Of course, all of this only works if you have the ability to draw your opponent into acting AND can neutralize that attack. If you can’t avoid the beating then you’re no further ahead and might as well have stuck with your usual tactic.

And if being patient doesn't work?

Either way you’re getting hit in the head – you might as well feel like you’re the one in control.

Going back to my workout on the heavy bag, let’s try and picture how this could actually work:

  1. Picture an orthodox opponent standing in front of you. His left arm is forward, right arm cocked to the rear.
  2. You move within his range.
  3. He throws a 1-2 combination which you slip right and left. (outside of both punches).
  4. You now have a clear lane as your opponent misses with the right exposing the entire right side of his body and head. Without hesitation you quickly close the distance and counter with a 3-2.
  5. You’re now in range and can continue on with your assault for as long as you want before leaving the danger area happy in knowing you just inflicted a lot of damage with relatively none done to you.

Make sense?

Of course, all of this only works if you have the ability to draw your opponent into acting AND can neutralize that attack. If you can’t avoid the beating then you’re no further ahead and might as well have stuck with your usual tactic.

And if being patient doesn't work?

Either way you’re getting hit in the head – you might as well feel like you’re the one in control.

In Summary

In Summary

Swarmers are formidable opponents. They are either completely stupid or completely fearless (there’s a fine line…). It doesn’t phase them to come at you with everything regardless of the damage they will sustain on the way in.

The only thing that stops them is someone more powerful who can totally destroy them when in range or skilled enough to move around them - forcing the swarm to chase but never catch. Eventually - the swarmer runs out of gas. When they have nothing left in the tank - they are nothing more than a deflated balloon ready to be pushed over at will.

By putting a little patience into the mix, in terms of boxing styles, swarmers become even more of a threat - they can negate that power of the slugger and defeat the defenses of the pure boxer – essentially making them the most dominant style in the ring.

Swarmers are formidable opponents. They are either completely stupid or completely fearless (there’s a fine line…). It doesn’t phase them to come at you with everything regardless of the damage they will sustain on the way in.

The only thing that stops them is someone more powerful who can totally destroy them when in range or skilled enough to move around them - forcing the swarm to chase but never catch. Eventually - the swarmer runs out of gas. When they have nothing left in the tank - they are nothing more than a deflated balloon ready to be pushed over at will.

By putting a little patience into the mix, in terms of boxing styles, swarmers become even more of a threat - they can negate that power of the slugger and defeat the defenses of the pure boxer – essentially making them the most dominant style in the ring.

Boxing Tip #16: Knowing When to Cover Up

Once upon a time, there was a boxer named Jim.  Jim loved boxing and would train up to 3 hours a day, working hard on his conditioning and generally turning himself into a hell of a fighter.  Jim knew he was good, in shape, and decided to reward himself with a vacation -- a couple weeks cruising the Caribbean.

Jim will be the first one to tell you that a cruise quickly turns into a battle of who can be the bigger slug.  With food everywhere, the most exercise you get is walking ten steps from bar to eatery to pool and back again.  Sure there is a fitness room, but Jim wasn't there to workout.  He was there to relax, drink himself silly, and eat whatever he wanted -- and he did just that.

By the end of the vacation, Jim had thoroughly indulged himself, enjoyed himself, and was ready to get back in the gym. On returning home, there was a message waiting for him -- his coach had setup a fight  -- the catch -- it was in three days.

Ordinarily Jim wouldn't have blinked as he keeps himself in prime fighting condition all year long, doing his best to peak when he plans on stepping in the ring, but this time, he knew he would be in trouble.  He just felt heavier, slower, and not anywhere near his peak.  Not one to pass up a match though, he called his coach back and said he'd take it.

So what happened to Jim when he got in the ring?  It wasn't pretty.  Out of breath right from the start, he knew it was going to be a long fight -- if he could withstand the beating.  Damn, he was wishing he hadn't let himself "go" for the week.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Jim though.  Because Jim knew what to do when he was out of breath, tired, and incapable of putting on his regular fleet footed show.  The result, he eeked out a win, but it sure wasn't a pretty display of boxing.

Once upon a time, there was a boxer named Jim.  Jim loved boxing and would train up to 3 hours a day, working hard on his conditioning and generally turning himself into a hell of a fighter.  Jim knew he was good, in shape, and decided to reward himself with a vacation -- a couple weeks cruising the Caribbean.

Jim will be the first one to tell you that a cruise quickly turns into a battle of who can be the bigger slug.  With food everywhere, the most exercise you get is walking ten steps from bar to eatery to pool and back again.  Sure there is a fitness room, but Jim wasn't there to workout.  He was there to relax, drink himself silly, and eat whatever he wanted -- and he did just that.

By the end of the vacation, Jim had thoroughly indulged himself, enjoyed himself, and was ready to get back in the gym. On returning home, there was a message waiting for him -- his coach had setup a fight  -- the catch -- it was in three days.

Ordinarily Jim wouldn't have blinked as he keeps himself in prime fighting condition all year long, doing his best to peak when he plans on stepping in the ring, but this time, he knew he would be in trouble.  He just felt heavier, slower, and not anywhere near his peak.  Not one to pass up a match though, he called his coach back and said he'd take it.

So what happened to Jim when he got in the ring?  It wasn't pretty.  Out of breath right from the start, he knew it was going to be a long fight -- if he could withstand the beating.  Damn, he was wishing he hadn't let himself "go" for the week.

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Jim though.  Because Jim knew what to do when he was out of breath, tired, and incapable of putting on his regular fleet footed show.  The result, he eeked out a win, but it sure wasn't a pretty display of boxing.

So What's My Point?

So What's My Point?

No matter who you are and how much you train, you're going to have off days and there is a good chance those off days might coincide with a scheduled fight or sparring session.

On those days, your gas tank is nowhere near full and you've got to conserve your energy, using it when it counts.  When you only have a 1/4 tank of gas in your car and need to drive 400 miles, you don't floor it and hope to coast on fumes.  You slow it down, get the best efficiency you can, and use the gas when you need it.

Jim won that match because he knew how to cover up and choose the moments when his energy exertion was going to matter.  Covering up is relatively easy and comes pretty naturally -- ever see someone turtle?  The hard part is remaining focused at the same time.

No matter who you are and how much you train, you're going to have off days and there is a good chance those off days might coincide with a scheduled fight or sparring session.

On those days, your gas tank is nowhere near full and you've got to conserve your energy, using it when it counts.  When you only have a 1/4 tank of gas in your car and need to drive 400 miles, you don't floor it and hope to coast on fumes.  You slow it down, get the best efficiency you can, and use the gas when you need it.

Jim won that match because he knew how to cover up and choose the moments when his energy exertion was going to matter.  Covering up is relatively easy and comes pretty naturally -- ever see someone turtle?  The hard part is remaining focused at the same time.

How to Cover Up

How to Cover Up

Covering up doesn't take away your need to expend any energy as ideally you want to keep your head, arms, and feet moving, but it will give you a second or two to breath if required.  At the same time, your opponent will be slamming you with punches, but if you're doing this right, they aren't going to be doing a lot of damage.  So, he'll tire himself out, and as long as you keep an eye on what is going on, you'll find an opportunity to strike back.

To cover up, from a high peek a boo guard, simply turn both fists 90 degrees inwards to present your forearms to your opponent.  Tighten your abs causing you to lean slightly forward and drive your elbows into your body.  Push your hands tightly against your forehead.

This last part is important.  If you have any space between your gloves and your head, you're going to be punching yourself in the face when your opponent hits your hands. 

Now here is where you need to remain focused and keep your hands and head moving.  If you just assume the position, your opponent is going to beat you like a heavy bag and it's going to hurt -- eventually.  This position as it is does nothing to protect you from hooks and you're still going to be feeling the impact of hard straights.

But, if you keep your hands moving, sliding around your head from front to side and back, you'll end up deflecting a lot of punches and deflecting is a lot better than absorbing blocks.  Plus chances of opponent connecting go way down when both head and hands are constantly moving messing up his target.

Like I said though, covering up is no good if you don't remain focused on what is going on.  You have to be aware and looking for the opportunity to strike and regain the initiative.  That's what Jim did.  He played a smart game, knew his limitations at the moment and what he was capable of, and then adjusted his gameplan accordingly.  Knowing how to cover up effectively gave him options. 

Covering up doesn't take away your need to expend any energy as ideally you want to keep your head, arms, and feet moving, but it will give you a second or two to breath if required.  At the same time, your opponent will be slamming you with punches, but if you're doing this right, they aren't going to be doing a lot of damage.  So, he'll tire himself out, and as long as you keep an eye on what is going on, you'll find an opportunity to strike back.

To cover up, from a high peek a boo guard, simply turn both fists 90 degrees inwards to present your forearms to your opponent.  Tighten your abs causing you to lean slightly forward and drive your elbows into your body.  Push your hands tightly against your forehead.

This last part is important.  If you have any space between your gloves and your head, you're going to be punching yourself in the face when your opponent hits your hands. 

Now here is where you need to remain focused and keep your hands and head moving.  If you just assume the position, your opponent is going to beat you like a heavy bag and it's going to hurt -- eventually.  This position as it is does nothing to protect you from hooks and you're still going to be feeling the impact of hard straights.

But, if you keep your hands moving, sliding around your head from front to side and back, you'll end up deflecting a lot of punches and deflecting is a lot better than absorbing blocks.  Plus chances of opponent connecting go way down when both head and hands are constantly moving messing up his target.

Like I said though, covering up is no good if you don't remain focused on what is going on.  You have to be aware and looking for the opportunity to strike and regain the initiative.  That's what Jim did.  He played a smart game, knew his limitations at the moment and what he was capable of, and then adjusted his gameplan accordingly.  Knowing how to cover up effectively gave him options. 

Boxing Tip #15: Pre-Emption

To preempt someone is to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first.

It is a mission verb used in combat to describe a situation where you attempt to launch an offensive effort before your opponent in order to seize and then maintain the initiative. You know your opponent is planning something, but you need to beat him to the punch (literally).

Everyone has a decision cycle (also referred to as an OODA loop). When you see something happening, your brain has to process it, make decisions about that event and then cause you to react to it.

In boxing, reaction is bad.

Actually in combat, reaction is bad.

If you are reacting, you are always in the defensive. Proactivity is the remedy for reactivity. I've made it clear you that you can not win without an offense, so to be reactive means defeat.

Back to the OODA loop, if you can launch your offensive before your opponent makes his next decision, you get inside his OODA loop and pre-empt his attack. You always want to be one step ahead of your opponent, planning your next move while he is still reacting to the last one.

A while ago I wrote about universal and idiosynchratic tells. These are the little cues people give off before they do something that basically tell you what they are going to do. For this boxing tip, we are going to look in depth at tells that forecast an opponent has decided to throw a jab so that you can pick up on them and preempt his attack with a jab of your own.

To preempt someone is to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first.

It is a mission verb used in combat to describe a situation where you attempt to launch an offensive effort before your opponent in order to seize and then maintain the initiative. You know your opponent is planning something, but you need to beat him to the punch (literally).

Everyone has a decision cycle (also referred to as an OODA loop). When you see something happening, your brain has to process it, make decisions about that event and then cause you to react to it.

In boxing, reaction is bad.

Actually in combat, reaction is bad.

If you are reacting, you are always in the defensive. Proactivity is the remedy for reactivity. I've made it clear you that you can not win without an offense, so to be reactive means defeat.

Back to the OODA loop, if you can launch your offensive before your opponent makes his next decision, you get inside his OODA loop and pre-empt his attack. You always want to be one step ahead of your opponent, planning your next move while he is still reacting to the last one.

A while ago I wrote about universal and idiosynchratic tells. These are the little cues people give off before they do something that basically tell you what they are going to do. For this boxing tip, we are going to look in depth at tells that forecast an opponent has decided to throw a jab so that you can pick up on them and preempt his attack with a jab of your own.

A Quick Story

A Quick Story

Once you know what your opponent is going to throw, it causes shock and disbelief when you beat him to the punch. I remember sparring with a young guy and it was incredibly easy to see when he was going to throw a jab. Repeatedly, I would strike first knowing that over and over again, he was going to tell me exactly when he was about to throw his jab. Not only did I preempt his attack with an offense of my own, but I also disrupted his attack. (another combat mission verb).

By the end of the sparring, the lad was completely demoralized. He thought I possessed super speed to be able to beat his jab time and time again with a jab of my own, and his nose was quite sore where he got popped over and over again.

I was completely inside his OODA loop and knew what he was going to do before he did. It's about this time you begin to feel invulnerable.

Once you know what your opponent is going to throw, it causes shock and disbelief when you beat him to the punch. I remember sparring with a young guy and it was incredibly easy to see when he was going to throw a jab. Repeatedly, I would strike first knowing that over and over again, he was going to tell me exactly when he was about to throw his jab. Not only did I preempt his attack with an offense of my own, but I also disrupted his attack. (another combat mission verb).

By the end of the sparring, the lad was completely demoralized. He thought I possessed super speed to be able to beat his jab time and time again with a jab of my own, and his nose was quite sore where he got popped over and over again.

I was completely inside his OODA loop and knew what he was going to do before he did. It's about this time you begin to feel invulnerable.

Preempting the Jab

Preempting the Jab

To preempt anything you need to be quick. Jabs are well suited for preemption because you can throw one from pretty much any situation - off balance, stepping back, down, up, and so on. So first thing you need to do is practice your jab, throwing it out quickly, cleanly, and with decisive force and then recovering to your guard just as quick. Practice from odd angles - in close, and far out. You need your jab to flick out with force and intensity and 100% accuracy.

To preempt anything you need to be quick. Jabs are well suited for preemption because you can throw one from pretty much any situation - off balance, stepping back, down, up, and so on. So first thing you need to do is practice your jab, throwing it out quickly, cleanly, and with decisive force and then recovering to your guard just as quick. Practice from odd angles - in close, and far out. You need your jab to flick out with force and intensity and 100% accuracy.

Read Your Opponent

Read Your Opponent

In order to preempt, you need to know when your opponent is going to launch his attack. So, watch for the signs of an incoming punch. For a jab:

  • weight shifts slightly to his front foot;
  • hips begin to rotate;
  • shoulder drops (in poor jabs);
  • elbow of the front arm begins to rotate up;
  • you can see it in your opponent's face; or
  • you see movement of the glove.

Obviously not a definitive list and it will vary from boxer to boxer, but all of us forecast our intentions in some way. The quicker you can pick up on your opponent's tells, the quicker you can decide how the fight is going to go. 

In order to preempt, you need to know when your opponent is going to launch his attack. So, watch for the signs of an incoming punch. For a jab:

  • weight shifts slightly to his front foot;
  • hips begin to rotate;
  • shoulder drops (in poor jabs);
  • elbow of the front arm begins to rotate up;
  • you can see it in your opponent's face; or
  • you see movement of the glove.

Obviously not a definitive list and it will vary from boxer to boxer, but all of us forecast our intentions in some way. The quicker you can pick up on your opponent's tells, the quicker you can decide how the fight is going to go.

Strike First

Strike First

As soon as you see any of these signs, strike. Do not think about it, just throw the punch. If you are right and he is throwing a punch, by the time yours makes it to him, he will be wide open. Have faith that you will hit first. You will be elated the first time you do this and you connect. It's like your opponent just drops his hands and lets you hit him.

As soon as you see any of these signs, strike. Do not think about it, just throw the punch. If you are right and he is throwing a punch, by the time yours makes it to him, he will be wide open. Have faith that you will hit first. You will be elated the first time you do this and you connect. It's like your opponent just drops his hands and lets you hit him.

Look for the Surprise

Look for the Surprise

A bonus feature - look for the look of utter surprise in your opponent's face following your jab. He will have no idea how you managed to throw a punch that quick. Remember, he is caught up in his decision cycle and is oblivious to what is happening around him. His brain is engaged in deciding to throw a jab. He won't be able to react to yours until his cycle has completed - so beat him to it and you win.

Do you have any stories of pre-emption? Is there some tell you've noticed your sparring partners give before they launch? Leave a comment, or ask a question.

A bonus feature - look for the look of utter surprise in your opponent's face following your jab. He will have no idea how you managed to throw a punch that quick. Remember, he is caught up in his decision cycle and is oblivious to what is happening around him. His brain is engaged in deciding to throw a jab. He won't be able to react to yours until his cycle has completed - so beat him to it and you win.

Do you have any stories of pre-emption? Is there some tell you've noticed your sparring partners give before they launch? Leave a comment, or ask a question.

Boxing Tip #14: Jab Fake

Similar to how I learned the Jab Tap, I learned this technique the hard way - glove to face in the ring.

When I first started boxing, I tended to hold my hands just below eye level. That's not necessarily a bad habit, but my trainer had a hay day with it.

Similar to how I learned the Jab Tap, I learned this technique the hard way - glove to face in the ring.

When I first started boxing, I tended to hold my hands just below eye level. That's not necessarily a bad habit, but my trainer had a hay day with it.

In The Beginning...

In The Beginning...

Being new to the sport, I didn't have the skill or reflexes to bring my hands up to catch, parry or block what seemed like lightning bolt jabs coming from my trainer. He easily came through my mixed boxing guard - over and over again.

Well, eventually, I got tired of getting hit in the face and reasoned that if I couldn't block his jabs, I'd just hold my hands higher, adopting a much more peek a boo guard at the risk of exposing my body. I have a strong core and figured I could take the punishment the few times that I couldn't get my elbows down to block a body shot.

This actually worked -- for a little while. I held my hands more at the level of my forehead and peeked through the opening between my forearms. My head was completely protected - or so I thought.

Being new to the sport, I didn't have the skill or reflexes to bring my hands up to catch, parry or block what seemed like lightning bolt jabs coming from my trainer. He easily came through my mixed boxing guard - over and over again.

Well, eventually, I got tired of getting hit in the face and reasoned that if I couldn't block his jabs, I'd just hold my hands higher, adopting a much more peek a boo guard at the risk of exposing my body. I have a strong core and figured I could take the punishment the few times that I couldn't get my elbows down to block a body shot.

This actually worked -- for a little while. I held my hands more at the level of my forehead and peeked through the opening between my forearms. My head was completely protected - or so I thought.

My Demise...

My Demise...

Once my trainer wisened up, and it didn't take long, he taught me a valuable tip - again - the hard way.

If you think about my stance, hands held high, body more or less exposed, forearms nearly directly in front of my face, getting a jab in there is pretty difficult. If you were fighting me, you could easily go to my body, but I knew that and I'd be watching for it - I had a plan to adapt to a body assault.

To defeat my guard, my trainer simply said to himself - okay, I won't jab him, I'll pretend to jab and then nail him with a left hook. And that is what he did, over and over and....over.

So every time he threw a fake jab, I braced for impact from the front and somehow he managed to change his jab into a solid left hook that connected every time. I couldn't react fast enough to block the hook when I finally realized the jab wasn't actually going to impact.

Back to the drawing board for me as I was pummeled repeatedly by left hooks the rest of the night.

There was another benefit for my trainer too. He only had to connect once with that left hook to make subsequent punches easier for himself.

Just the fact that he made it through my solid fortress of forearms made me question where his jab was going to actually go. Now, if I made a move to block the hook, he just carried through with the jab. Either way - I was back to getting nailed in the head.

If you perfect this boxing tip - the jab fake - you will have a punch - hook or jab - that will land 90% of the time (or at least until your opponent figures out a way to react to it).

To defeat my guard, my trainer simply said to himself - okay, I won't jab him, I'll pretend to jab and then nail him with a left hook. And that is what he did, over and over and....over.

So every time he threw a fake jab, I braced for impact from the front and somehow he managed to change his jab into a solid left hook that connected every time. I couldn't react fast enough to block the hook when I finally realized the jab wasn't actually going to impact.

Back to the drawing board for me as I was pummeled repeatedly by left hooks the rest of the night.

There was another benefit for my trainer too. He only had to connect once with that left hook to make subsequent punches easier for himself.

Just the fact that he made it through my solid fortress of forearms made me question where his jab was going to actually go. Now, if I made a move to block the hook, he just carried through with the jab. Either way - I was back to getting nailed in the head.

If you perfect this boxing tip - the jab fake - you will have a punch - hook or jab - that will land 90% of the time (or at least until your opponent figures out a way to react to it).

When to use the Jab Fake

When to use the Jab Fake

This works best when your opponent is in a peek a boo stance. With his arms held high, it is much more difficult for him to react quickly - partly because of the position of his arms, but also because his vision is likely partly obstructed by his own arms and hands. This lends perfectly to faking a punch, especially if you manage to change the punch behind one his blind spots.

If you don't know what I mean by a blind spot, sitting where you are, lift your arms up in front of your face as if you were in a peek a boo stance. Anything that happens behind your arms is partially obstructed from view - those are blind spots.

If you can initiate a fake punch from where your opponent can see to where he or she can't - their instinctual reaction will start and it will be too late to change by the time the punch comes back into view and they realize it isn't where it's supposed to be.

This all happens in a split second so you're not going to consciously see it, but what you might see is a flinch in one direction at which point you go the other way.

Granted, throwing something in a blind spot is more a matter of luck than skill, but it is still something you should strive to achieve.

To summarize, use the jab fake against someone who is squared off in front of you in a fairly upright position, with arms held high partially blocking their view.

This works best when your opponent is in a peek a boo stance. With his arms held high, it is much more difficult for him to react quickly - partly because of the position of his arms, but also because his vision is likely partly obstructed by his own arms and hands. This lends perfectly to faking a punch, especially if you manage to change the punch behind one his blind spots.

If you don't know what I mean by a blind spot, sitting where you are, lift your arms up in front of your face as if you were in a peek a boo stance. Anything that happens behind your arms is partially obstructed from view - those are blind spots.

If you can initiate a fake punch from where your opponent can see to where he or she can't - their instinctual reaction will start and it will be too late to change by the time the punch comes back into view and they realize it isn't where it's supposed to be.

This all happens in a split second so you're not going to consciously see it, but what you might see is a flinch in one direction at which point you go the other way.

Granted, throwing something in a blind spot is more a matter of luck than skill, but it is still something you should strive to achieve.

To summarize, use the jab fake against someone who is squared off in front of you in a fairly upright position, with arms held high partially blocking their view.

Utilizing the Jab Fake

Utilizing the Jab Fake

You initiate a jab fake like you would any jab and you have to make it believable (like any sort of feint). Your opponent has to believe a jab is coming at him and it is going to impact. If he believes it and he is in a high peek a book guard, he will brace his forearms for impact (if he doesn't try slipping). If it is not believable, he won't, and you'll have less chance of landing the actual punch.

So - throw your jab, but pull it back about a quarter of the way into it and loop it into a left hook that goes around your opponent's forearm and strikes the intended target. This is hard to do. Stopping the forward momentum is difficult and the more you can loop on the way back, the more powerful the hook will be as you change the direction of the force. Speed is key here.

Another way to aid in making your opponent commit to an incoming jab and brace is to give other cues - such as throwing your shoulder forward. Read the boxing tip on feints for other ideas on making a believable fake.

You initiate a jab fake like you would any jab and you have to make it believable (like any sort of feint). Your opponent has to believe a jab is coming at him and it is going to impact. If he believes it and he is in a high peek a book guard, he will brace his forearms for impact (if he doesn't try slipping). If it is not believable, he won't, and you'll have less chance of landing the actual punch.

So - throw your jab, but pull it back about a quarter of the way into it and loop it into a left hook that goes around your opponent's forearm and strikes the intended target. This is hard to do. Stopping the forward momentum is difficult and the more you can loop on the way back, the more powerful the hook will be as you change the direction of the force. Speed is key here.

Another way to aid in making your opponent commit to an incoming jab and brace is to give other cues - such as throwing your shoulder forward. Read the boxing tip on feints for other ideas on making a believable fake.

Practicing the Jab Fake

Practicing the Jab Fake

You can practice this pretty much anywhere. The biggest thing to master is halting the forward momentum of your jab and re-routing that force into a left hook. It is going to feel awkward but with practice you can do it and even get your torso to throw a little extra force behind it. Do this on a heavy bag and strive to achieve a solid left hook after you fake the jab.

Then find a willing partner. Have him spar with you with hands held high. See if you can get him to believe in your fake jab and trick him into receiving your left hook. It will give you a good idea of how much you need to pretend to commit the jab in order to give you the time required to land the hook.

Strike Fast, Strike Hard...Good Luck.

You can practice this pretty much anywhere. The biggest thing to master is halting the forward momentum of your jab and re-routing that force into a left hook. It is going to feel awkward but with practice you can do it and even get your torso to throw a little extra force behind it. Do this on a heavy bag and strive to achieve a solid left hook after you fake the jab.

Then find a willing partner. Have him spar with you with hands held high. See if you can get him to believe in your fake jab and trick him into receiving your left hook. It will give you a good idea of how much you need to pretend to commit the jab in order to give you the time required to land the hook.

Strike Fast, Strike Hard...Good Luck.

Boxing Tip #13: How to Get Out of the Corner

Sooner or later you are going to find yourself trying to battle out of a corner.

The boxing ring has four of them and if your opponent is any good at controlling the ring, you're going to find yourself back against the turnbuckle with no avenue of escape.

This is where you want to put your opponent - so it's only logical to reason that he or she is going to try and put you there as well.

Sooner or later you are going to find yourself trying to battle out of a corner.

The boxing ring has four of them and if your opponent is any good at controlling the ring, you're going to find yourself back against the turnbuckle with no avenue of escape.

This is where you want to put your opponent - so it's only logical to reason that he or she is going to try and put you there as well.

Prevention is the Best Medicine 

Prevention is the Best Medicine

First and foremost, stay out of the corners. Control the fight. If you don't let yourself get in the situation then you don't have to deal with it.

Be aware of where you are in the ring and in relation to the corners and maneuver to stay in and control the center of the ring.

The center is where you have 360 degrees of freedom and the ability to use every boxing technique you have. Controlling the ring is an art form of its own requiring agility and excellent footwork. It also known as ring generalship (something I will describe in a later article.)

First and foremost, stay out of the corners. Control the fight. If you don't let yourself get in the situation then you don't have to deal with it.

Be aware of where you are in the ring and in relation to the corners and maneuver to stay in and control the center of the ring.

The center is where you have 360 degrees of freedom and the ability to use every boxing technique you have. Controlling the ring is an art form of its own requiring agility and excellent footwork. It also known as ring generalship (something I will describe in a later article.)

What to Do When You Get Stuck in the Corner

What to Do When You Get Stuck in the Corner

First and foremost - when your back hits the turnbuckle - do not panic. Your opponent knows that he has you in the corner and will take that opportunity to attack (or they should). If the situation is ever reversed - you want to keep your opponent in the corner and unleash a relentless attack.

Being in a corner nullifies half of your opponent's ability - he can't move and has to rely on a strong defense and his wits to get out of it.

Second, if there was ever a time to keep your eyes open, this is it.

What are you looking for?

Two things:

  1. Punches coming in - so you can deal with them either blocking, slipping, or catching.
  2. An opening - for you to get out of the corner.

Getting out of the corner requires excellent timing and decisive action. If you do this right, you can actually change spots with your opponent -- putting him in the corner and you on the offensive.

Concerning the punches coming in - you are just going to have to deal with them the best you can.

With any luck your opponent will start throwing haymakers and getting sloppy. If he stays tight, accurate, and on target you are going to have a tough time spinning him.

People tend to get excited when they corner someone and that excitement leads to a total disregard for technique. Not saying it will always happen that way, but there is a good chance of it.

You also want to lean forward - not backward. You need to be coiled and ready to step forward or pivot in a split second.

Now watch for your opening.

Your chance to turn the tide occurs when your opponent throws a punch that either overextends him or transfers his or her weight. With haymakers or looping rights and lefts, that opening will be quite obvious and you will have a substantial amount of time to react.

If your opponent transfers weight to their right (they throw a left hook for instance) and you let them overextend (by ducking), you'll see an opening on their left. When you see that opening you immediately and without hesitation drive your front foot to the outside of your opponent's lead foot and do a hard pivot left around your opponent. At the same time give your opponent a slight tap/shove.

As you spin around him, he is naturally going to try and realign (spin). He will be off balance and the tap/shove you give him will send him back first into the turnbuckle. You effectively switch positions - now use that opportunity to attack.

It is natural to want to back up and experience freedom - you're wasting a good advantage if you do that. Move right in and give a little back of what you just got.

You are now in control - stay tight and throw controlled, accurate punches. Don't get excited and sloppy.

You may see an opening on your opponent's right side (if they throw a straight right for instance) and you manage to slip to your left. You'll take a quick step to your leftt and pivot hard to your right - attempting to spin around your opponent just like you did when you went to your right.

First and foremost - when your back hits the turnbuckle - do not panic. Your opponent knows that he has you in the corner and will take that opportunity to attack (or they should). If the situation is ever reversed - you want to keep your opponent in the corner and unleash a relentless attack.

Being in a corner nullifies half of your opponent's ability - he can't move and has to rely on a strong defense and his wits to get out of it.

Second, if there was ever a time to keep your eyes open, this is it.

What are you looking for?

Two things:

  1. Punches coming in - so you can deal with them either blocking, slipping, or catching.
  2. An opening - for you to get out of the corner.

Getting out of the corner requires excellent timing and decisive action. If you do this right, you can actually change spots with your opponent -- putting him in the corner and you on the offensive.

Concerning the punches coming in - you are just going to have to deal with them the best you can.

With any luck your opponent will start throwing haymakers and getting sloppy. If he stays tight, accurate, and on target you are going to have a tough time spinning him.

People tend to get excited when they corner someone and that excitement leads to a total disregard for technique. Not saying it will always happen that way, but there is a good chance of it.

You also want to lean forward - not backward. You need to be coiled and ready to step forward or pivot in a split second.

Now watch for your opening.

Your chance to turn the tide occurs when your opponent throws a punch that either overextends him or transfers his or her weight. With haymakers or looping rights and lefts, that opening will be quite obvious and you will have a substantial amount of time to react.

If your opponent transfers weight to their right (they throw a left hook for instance) and you let them overextend (by ducking), you'll see an opening on their left. When you see that opening you immediately and without hesitation drive your front foot to the outside of your opponent's lead foot and do a hard pivot left around your opponent. At the same time give your opponent a slight tap/shove.

As you spin around him, he is naturally going to try and realign (spin). He will be off balance and the tap/shove you give him will send him back first into the turnbuckle. You effectively switch positions - now use that opportunity to attack.

It is natural to want to back up and experience freedom - you're wasting a good advantage if you do that. Move right in and give a little back of what you just got.

You are now in control - stay tight and throw controlled, accurate punches. Don't get excited and sloppy.

You may see an opening on your opponent's right side (if they throw a straight right for instance) and you manage to slip to your left. You'll take a quick step to your leftt and pivot hard to your right - attempting to spin around your opponent just like you did when you went to your right.

An example

An example

Picture the following scenario. It is one of many, but the principles are the same:

  • You are in the corner, back against the turnbuckle and your opponent is throwing punches.
  • Your stance in the corner should see you leaning slightly forward, absorbing hits, slipping, and ducking as required, but always maintain the forward leaning stance.
  • Your weight should be distributed more on your lead foot. Don't let him punch you back against the turnbuckle.
  • Your opponent begins to throw a looping right hand and you realize this is your chance.
  • You duck as the punch comes in, stepping towards your opponent's left side at the same time.
  • As the punch misses its target you find yourself under his armpit and basically grab him around the abdomen, helping him to spin as you step around him, finishing off with a quick tap/shove which pushes him into the corner.
  • You then unleash the fury.

One of three things will happen when you attempt to spin your opponent:

  1. You will succeed - and you will find him and you exactly where you want to be. Enjoy.
  2. You will fail - and you will find yourself still in the corner. Repeat until you succeed.
  3. You will partially succeed - Even partial success is better than the alternative - you will find yourself out of the corner, but you may also find your opponent isn't in the corner either. Now you're back to square one - don't let yourself get put in the corner again - control the fight.

Good luck. Boxon.

Picture the following scenario. It is one of many, but the principles are the same:

  • You are in the corner, back against the turnbuckle and your opponent is throwing punches.
  • Your stance in the corner should see you leaning slightly forward, absorbing hits, slipping, and ducking as required, but always maintain the forward leaning stance.
  • Your weight should be distributed more on your lead foot. Don't let him punch you back against the turnbuckle.
  • Your opponent begins to throw a looping right hand and you realize this is your chance.
  • You duck as the punch comes in, stepping towards your opponent's left side at the same time.
  • As the punch misses its target you find yourself under his armpit and basically grab him around the abdomen, helping him to spin as you step around him, finishing off with a quick tap/shove which pushes him into the corner.
  • You then unleash the fury.

One of three things will happen when you attempt to spin your opponent:

  1. You will succeed - and you will find him and you exactly where you want to be. Enjoy.
  2. You will fail - and you will find yourself still in the corner. Repeat until you succeed.
  3. You will partially succeed - Even partial success is better than the alternative - you will find yourself out of the corner, but you may also find your opponent isn't in the corner either. Now you're back to square one - don't let yourself get put in the corner again - control the fight.

Good luck. Boxon.

Boxing Tip #12: Understanding Weight Transfer and Flow

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

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?
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