Friday, October 03, 2008

Boxing 101

Just a few pointers for those of you who love to box (like me).

1. Gloves to cheeks - in a proper boxing guard, the second knuckle of your gloves should be resting against your cheekbone. Get in the habit of touching your face with your gloves EVERY TIME you execute a movement. Gloves against your cheek should be your home position where your gloves always return. Muhammad Ali could get away with having his gloves down - you can't.

2. Elbows in - one of the most common mistakes is to let your elbows come out. This is especially true when throwing hooks. Elbows should be perpendicular to the floor when in guard position, and parallel to the floor during hooks. Adam could spare a few ribs - you can't.

3. Kneed Help - BEND YOUR KNEES. Your knees are the way to control your height/level when you box, and also act as shock absorbers when you cover to take a punch.
Bending your knees also helps you coil your hips to generate power in all your punches. Standing straight up will get you laid straight out.

4. Leaning Tower - Keep your back straight and do not lean from side to side. To keep balance and generate power, it is critical that your spine remain straight and in alignment with your head. Leaning is an especially common mistake during bob and weave. Yes, that also means not turning your head from side to side. It is acceptable to lean slightly backward when doing a "pullback block", but in that case your gloves remain on your cheeks and get straight immediately afterward. Your head should be facing forward, toward your opponent, chin slightly tucked.

5. Keep Moving - Boxing is dynamic. That means you should always be moving and not give your opponent a stationary target. Weight should always be on the balls of the feet. Plant only for the split second when you are hitting - then get right back on the move. Stay in one place, die in one place.

6. Feet Up - Your feet should never both be flat on the floor. NEVER. Always have one foot up, and that is the foot of the side you are punching with. lead leg punches: jab, lead leg hook, lead let uppercut should bring the lead foot slightly higher (back foot is still on the ball of the foot). The opposite for back leg punches: cross, hook, uppercut. Flat feet will leave you flat on the canvas.

7. Hips in - Your hips should be facing into your opponent, never sideways. Feet should be just wider than your shoulders to give a strong power base while keeping mobility.

8. Go Through - When punching, your aim should be about 6 inches past your target. Be careful not to overextend, and return to guard (gloves on cheekbones) after every single punch.

9. Distance - Your knees control your height. Your feet control your distance. This means being able to float in and out of punching range. You want the wrong range for your opponent and the right range for you.

10. Breathe - Hard to believe, but many people forget this in the heat of the moment. You should have a strong exhale as you launch your punches, and DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH.

Make Mickey Proud - don't be a bum!

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