“Fighting is not hitting, any fool can hit. Fighting is making the other fella miss. He miss, he think, he worry. It’s a mind game.” (Gladiator, 1992)
Tonight’s second course in Boxing for Martial Arts Cross-Training brought my client up to the four hour point. We combined the previous two lessons’ work on slipping, bobbing and weaving, and also introduced ducking for a comprehensive review of upper body mobility. As my client pointed out, we had mainly looked at attacking from outside an opponent’s guard. Therefore, I was inspired to look at moving to the inside as well.
The warm-up consisted of mainly focusing on body movement without throwing any punches. This isolation work is great for positioning and ensuring the fighter has a solid scaffold to build his combinations. With great mobility, balance, timing and positioning, the punches are much easier to place and the combinations become more intuitive. This began with line-work, looking at footwork. We moved backwards, forwards, laterally, in a circular direction and angled-off. Next, slipping and then bobbing and weaving were introduced into different footwork patterns. Finally, we looked at switching stances and changing levels for ducking. This final exercise promotes explosive changing of positions whilst remaining in front of an opponent.
Next up, we revised slipping with punches and bobbing with punches. We looked at slipping to the side and also incorporating bobbing to promote a smooth change of position. Here we come across what appears to be contradiction to many, the business of rooting and stability whilst throwing effective punches. Whilst it is accurate to say that stronger punches are thrown from a stable position and that the fighter needs to be rooted in order to do this, such snap-shots of a fight can only occur effectively if the fighter has been able to move into a good position.
I used the simple four punch combination model to build-up my client’s head movements with punches. By using a jab to provoke an opponent to jab back, we began with a simple slip/jab, coming back with the cross. This was then built up into jab, slip/jab, cross, hook, cross combination. Next we added on an inside slip, which isolated and trained first before introducing into the full combination. This gave us jab, slip/jab, slip/cross, hook, cross. Bobbing and weaving was then introduced. Here we had a little diversion, looking at bobbing in the opposite direction to the inside slip for a three-punch combination. That works well for a plan to keep the attacks coming from each side and is more harmonious for head movement i.e. it keeps the head moving from side to side, but it requires the fighter to throw two punches from the rear hand, a cross and a hook, which isn’t always easy. However, it would make sense if the opponent is sticking to opposite side punching – jab/cross/hook. This gave us jab, slip/jab, slip/cross, bob (outside)/hook. We then returned back to the normal combination and put the bobbing on the same side as the last slip: jab, slip/jab, slip/cross, bob/hook, cross. This required more footwork, but made sense if a) the opponent goes for a second rear punch, such as hook or b) the fighter wants to angle more to the inside.
Tonight’s lesson was very technical and each combination was not done for more than five bursts, less if it was clear that immediate correction was required. This led to marked improvement from the client in the placing of their punches, fluidity of head movement and overall better coordination. Disciplined rest periods are a vital part of any workout, particularly if new technical details need to be confirmed.
We then took all of this information into the sparring arena for three rounds. The first two rounds limited one sparring partner to defence only, focusing on movement and positioning. The final round was normal boxing sparring. The lesson finished with a mop-up on ducking, where very basic combinations were covered involving changing levels.
Please see below video on private lessons like the one described above
Picture from “How to Bob and Weave” on WikiHow