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Boxing Workouts, Techniques and Sparring
By Doug Werner, Alan Lachica
Tracks PublishingCopyright © 2000 Doug Werner
All rights reserved.
Workouts on the bags only
_ Shorts or sweats
_ Athletic socks
_ Athletic footwear
_ Wraps $6
_ Bag gloves $50
_ Heavy bag$80
_ Partner drills and sparring
_ Headgear $70
_ Mouth guard $10
_ Sparring gloves $135
_ Groin protector $145
Assuming you know what T-shirts, shorts and athletic socks are, we'll start with the footwear.
Sneakers that fit well are fine for now. Don't bother with actual boxing shoes. If you're training in a gym you may need to avoid dark soles that could mark up the floor. High tops are nice because of the extra support.
Before you put on gloves you must wrap your hands for support and protection with long strips of cloth called wraps. Get the kind that have Velcro ties since they're the most convenient to use. Many fighters prefer Mexican-style wraps because they're longer and provide better protection. $6.
Bag gloves are different from sparring or competition gloves. Bag gloves have just enough padding to protect a boxer's hands as he whales the heavy bag. Training or sparring gloves are more carefully designed to protect the hands and offset the force of a blow from a sparring partner.
Bag gloves come in various weights, styles and degrees of quality and convenience. We suggest a quality pair of 12-ounce leather gloves with a wide Velcro strap closure for easy on and off. Such gloves cost about $50 or $60.The cheapest pair costs half as much, but heck, for $25 more you can get professional durability, design and safety. They're your hands, it's your choice. Like a good pair of shoes, make sure they fit and stay secure on your paws.
Heavy bags come in a variety of styles, but a basic bag is about 14 inches in diameter, 42 inches high and weighs 70 pounds. They can be made of canvas, vinyl or leather. You can buy a bag with hard fill or soft fill — the soft fill simply has a thicker foam liner. It should come with hanging chains, hooks and a swivel so it can be hung from a beam. About $80 for a canvas bag.
Don't skimp here! Purchase a design that covers as much as possible: chin, cheeks and forehead. There are models with a face bar that protect the nose and mouth, but breathing in them is a little difficult. Get headgear with lace straps in order to keep the thing tight on your head. You don't want headgear slipping over your eyes after every punch you take. About $70.
Very important unless you plan on never getting hit. The "boil and bite" variety are inexpensive (under $10) and work fine. "Boil and bite" refers to the method used to form-fit this type of guard to your teeth. First it's boiled in water to make it pliable, then you place it in your mouth, press it with fingers to your teeth and bite down. The mouthpiece is made of material that doesn't retain heat and won't burn you.
As stated previously, sparring gloves are designed differently from bag gloves since they'll be used to strike a person and not a bag. We suggest 16 ounce gloves, padded with two inches of multilayered foam and are secured with large Velcro straps for easy on and off. About $135 for a very good pair of leather gloves. Don't skimp here either.
This is a girdle-like thing that protects groin, hips and kidneys. A simple jock and cup aren't quite enough protection in this sport. About $45.
Note for female boxers
Women have their own designs to choose from for groin and breast protection. Gloves are specifically manufactured for women, as well. The suggested retailers all carry gear for females and it's usually clearly presented in their catalogs.
Where to buy
We suggest you buy from a catalog because equipment sold by mass merchants is often crap. Call these respected names for a catalog of their products.
Title: -800-999-1213/www.titleboxing.comCHAPTER 2
Stance, footwork & rhythm
Boxer's Stance: Basic Position, Legs & Feet
The foundation upon which all boxing skills are based is the stance. In front of an imaginary opponent, position yourself sideways so that you present a shoulder to your target. By and large, your leading side is the opposite of your preferred hand. Lead with your left shoulder if you're right-handed or your right shoulder if you're left-handed. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
If you're leading with the left shoulder, place your right foot out in front of yourself so that the heel of your right foot lines up with the toe of your left.
With both heels in place, swivel your feet 45 degrees toward your target. Flex your knees and bend a bit at the hips keeping your back fairly straight. Slightly lift your back heel off the deck.
This is more or less a basic athletic posture in which you're balanced and solid on your feet. A push from any direction will not cause you to easily stumble. You are ready to move in any direction the action dictates.
Boxer's Stance: Arms, Hands & Head
Now tuck your elbows in close to your sides and raise your forearms up straight. Arrange the pillars of your arms so they protect that area of your torso that faces the target. Hold your arms with just enough tension to keep them upright. This position shouldn't be tight or rigid. Bend your head forward so that you're viewing your opponent partially through your eyebrows. At this point, your hands should be about chin to cheek level. Palms are turned in.
This is your boxer's stance. You are equally prepared to throw punches as well as defend against them. In this ready position you are relaxed. Never tense.
Boxing is a lot more like dancing than you might imagine. One thinks of using hands and arms when you box but not so much legs and feet. However, being able to move rapidly and economically, balanced and ready to attack or defend, is vital.
The idea in all movement is to maintain the integrity of your boxer's stance. Basically, that means you never overstep, cross over or bring your feet together.
There are four directions you may go: toward your opponent, back from your opponent, to the side you are mostly facing and to the side at your back.
In each direction you have a lead foot which initiates the movement and opens your stance. After the lead foot has taken a step, close the distance with your trailing foot and regain a shoulder width stance. Steps are short in length and taken close to the surface of the floor – almost in a slide.
Pivot & Slide
Quick changes in direction are made by sweeping the rear foot in either direction and pivoting off the ball of your lead foot. Again, the sweeping motion of the foot is held close to the floor surface.
Boxers never stand still. There should always be some sort of motion going on between steps and punches to keep you primed, pumped and ready for action.
There's the long rhythm, which is a kind of mellow back and forth bouncing between the feet. The short rhythm is a more aggressive side-to-side that involves moving the head and shoulders.
One of the all-time rivalries in boxing history showcased the two rhythm styles: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazer. Muhammad Ali was the classic long-rhythm guy. His game was outside fighting – using the jab and moving around the outskirts of an opponent's range. His arch rival, Joe Frazer, was an inside fighter and the classic short-rhythm boxer. Since inside fighters are always within the striking zone of an opponent, Frazer had to keep his head moving at a brisk (almost furious) pace in order to make himself a harder target to hit.
Practice the two rhythms until they become natural and fluid – like dancing – and incorporate them into your drills. Remember, you don't boogie when you step or throw punches.
Getting it together in front of the mirror may take some time. Developing an inner beat is a personal thing, and combined with the stepping and punching, can be a little tricky. But keep at it. Good form goes hand in hand with technical proficiency. Getting it right will enhance your skills and looking sharp builds self-confidence.CHAPTER 3
Illustrations in this chapter break down and demonstrate proper technique for the major punches. This is how you should look in your training mirror. When you begin drilling and practice mirror training (Chapter 6), refer to this section to check yourself out.
Make a fist
The thumb rests below the tucked in fingers, not
curled inside, but you knew that. What you might not know is that the fist is not clenched until just before point of impact. Hands are held loose in readiness (like everything else) – even on the way to the target. Ideally the fist tightens as it lands and immediately relaxes as it's pulled back. You don't use energy until you need it. And that's a law that underlines everything you do in boxing.
Note for southpaws
For convenience, most of the book will focus on instruction for right-handed or left-foot-forward readers. If you're left-handed or prefer to box with the right foot forward, reverse the instructions where applicable.
Meet the most important punch in boxing – the one you'll use the most in your boxing career, whether you're fighting for fitness or glory.
In the boxer's stance your fists are held in a relaxed, palms-in, ready position. The jab is a punch thrown with the leading hand straight from the chin in a direct line toward your target. As the hand leaves its guard position next to your chin, the fist rotates a quarter to a half notch. As the punch is delivered, the fist gradually clenches and is completely clenched just before impact. It is then immediately relaxed and withdrawn into the guard position.
The jab is the busiest weapon in boxing because it can be thrown quickly without compromising a boxer's defensive posture. It's utilized to score, to keep opponents at bay, to set up combinations and power punches and to wear down defenses.
Although the jab is not considered a power punch, an effective use of the jab over the course of a bout will cause a considerable deal of damage. A boxer can also learn to stiffen his jab by turning his hips with the punch and stepping into its delivery.
I'm told that the jab is the only punch to use in a street fight because it can be thrown with a great deal of effectiveness without risking exposure, loss of balance or mobility. The wallop of a crisply thrown jab is more than enough to break a nose and hopefully end the dispute.
Watch any competitive bout and the jab count far exceeds that of any other punch. It's the bread and butter of offensive boxing.
Exhale through pursed lips in short, spitting wheezes as you deliver all your punches. Believe it or not, the tendency is to hold your breath when punching. Perhaps it's the excitement, but at any rate, not breathing is a bad habit that should be avoided.
The jab is thrown directly from the chin with no windup or shrugging of the shoulders. The jab snaps toward its target and is pulled back immediately. A quick recovery is just as important as a quick delivery.
Straight right (2)
Your first favorite punch will be the one you throw with your preferred hand – naturally!
For the right-handed boxer, it's the straight right. From the guard position, the right hand is thrown straight from the chin on a direct line to the target. Unlike the jab, which is an arm-powered punch, the right is powered by a torquing torso and a pivoting right foot. Feel your back get into this one. The punch should accelerate and explode as the right heel of your pivoting foot swings outward. After impact the hand is sharply returned to guard.
Because of the weight transfer involved, the straight right is considered a power punch. But the weight transfer is also the weakness of power punches because for a nanosecond the boxer is without a balanced boxer's stance, and is therefore somewhat exposed. Hence the importance of getting back to guard quickly. The risk of throwing this punch too often far outweighs the natural pleasure of launching your favorite hand. The straight right is best utilized behind the jab or as a counter after a defensive move.
The straight right should be thrown straight from the chin without wind-up or dips of the shoulder. The punch accelerates as it tracks toward the target. Immediately before the explosion the fist clenches. Tension is immediately released as the hand snaps back to guard.
Left hook (3)
The legendary left hook is the most difficult punch to learn. Unlike the jab and straight right, the left hook has mysterious nuances that simply take time for most boxers to discover and assimilate.
The hook is generally misunderstood. Most beginners think the left hook is some sort of sweeping, roundhouse punch thrown and powered by a loopy left arm.
The hook is an inside power punch. It's most effective when you're close to your opponent. The punch begins with a weight transfer to your left side. From the guard position the left elbow is brought up, almost parallel to the floor, so that the arm forms a sort of hook (hence the name).At the same time the fist is rotated either palm down for a very close target or palm-in for targets farther away.
Here's the secret. The arm is held in place as described above; the punch is delivered by pivoting left foot, left leg and torso sharply to the right in a powerful, one piece torquing action. The arm does not move independently of the whole. Like a gate swinging around its hinged post, this punch is powered by leg, hips, back and everything else in the barn. When it's thrown properly, it's one of the mighty weapons in boxing and is held in very high esteem.
The straight right is powered by leg, back and shoulder. Pivot off the right foot and deliver the punch straight from the chin. The elbow stays tucked until it moves forward with the punch — it does not draw back. No good punch is ever drawn back.
Think about crushing peanuts with the ball of your left foot as you swing it around and think Hey buddy! as you bring the punch to completion by tucking it into your chest (like you're hugging him high around the neck). Like all punches, the hook accelerates as it tracks to the target, the fist clenches before impact and is sharply returned to the guard position along with everything else that went for the ride.
Remember, recovery is everything. Punches should never hang. Punches SNAP! Think acceleration, SNAP, recovery.
Left uppercut (5)
Uppercuts are stock and staple for inside fighting and are thrown with power coming from the legs and torso. They are not wind-up arm punches. From the guard position, dip the left shoulder so that your elbow nears your hip. At the same time rotate the fist palm up. Without cocking the arm back or winding up, propel this punch with the left side of your body. Accelerate, SNAP and recover. The right uppercut is a mirror image of the left.
All punching action is best executed from a balanced boxer's stance. This ensures power, accuracy and recovery. Punching off balance is ineffective and risks maximum exposure.
Jabs and straight rights or lefts are delivered directly from the chin with no preamble (wind-up, dips, shrugs).
All punches are SNAPPED! Accelerate, SNAP and recover. This includes sharp delivery and sharp recovery. A punch that hangs or is not recovered immediately exposes an entire half of a boxer to attack.
Never forget the hand that isn't punching. While one hand is attacking the other is in guard position. This is crucial — yet easy to forget! — when both hands are busy executing combinations of punches.
Excerpted from Fighting Fit by Doug Werner, Alan Lachica. Copyright © 2000 Doug Werner. Excerpted by permission of Tracks Publishing.
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