Today’s two hour session concerned another client’s request for Western Boxing in Martial Arts Cross Training. It would appear that many avid cross-trainers look to modern Western Boxing as useful base for their own fighting style. Western Boxing has evolved a tremendous amount in the last century or so. The introduction of the Jack Broughton’s mufflers as the norm rather than just as a sparring tool, made some drastic alterations to the game and the art. The head became a far more frequent target, leading to higher guards and more angled stances. The abolition of all grappling save the clinch went towards a greater dependency and higher volume of punching along with a greater demand to parry punches.
In the early days of gloved prize fighting, self-defence orientated pugilists criticised the use of the hook. However, we can see that the isolation of all punches save those that use the back of the fist has led to a better quality of punching to develop both in and outside the ring. In turn, this has influenced better mechanics for open hand strikes used in self-defence. The evolution of modern western boxing can be seen a model for attribute training. Maybe we should bear that in mind when we look at the way other combat sports have introduced new rules. Restriction can provide a surprisingly fertile ground for attribute training, which then feeds back into better all-round skill development no matter what area your training takes you.
One thing that modern Western Boxing appears to lead the way in is footwork. The boxer needs to be able to change direction on his feet in an instant to throw and deflect strikes from the most dextrous appendage nature has provided humans: the hand. We explored angling offline and returning back to a central position using the jab. This was trained with an attacking and defensive movement. We then explored the uppercut jab and straight hook, mixing it in with jabbing combinations. Next we moved onto the power jab and the anchor punch, exploring defensive footwork and baiting an opponent. Training was done with a partner, on the focus mitts and against the heavy bag, each area offering its own unique advantages. We also covered flash-pad drilling and passive coaching.
The session was finished with a series of different exercises designed to work the right actions and muscle groups. We trained the tyre war, press-throwing the medicine ball, barbells cleans and barbells snatches, and floor press using the atlas stone.
Photos by Charlotte Von Bulow-Quirk Photography featuring Amanda Wilding and Kai Wilson in a photo shoot for my available book, “Mordred’s Victory and Other Martial Mutterings” and my upcoming book, “Bullshitsu and the Fight to Make Martial Arts Work”.