Tonight’s lesson was my new client’s second hour of a scheduled 10 hour course on Basic Western Boxing for Martial Arts Cross Training. We looked at better for force generation for the cross punch and I also introduced the hook.
We began with some shadow boxing, focusing on footwork. This changed to mirror footwork, where I layered in upper body movement – slipping, ducking, and bobbing and weaving. Training then went onto the focus mitts. Here we began work chaining together basic combinations and footwork into simple tactics. This included drawing and breaking rhythms.
The cross was then isolated and trained using restrictive methods. He punched from the wall. He learnt how to relax before throwing the punch using elastic force. We also spent time looking at driving up from the ground and using the oblique muscles to develop raw power. The arm, by contrast, was taught to be like a whip.
Next I introduced the lead hook punch. We looked at different versions of this punch and the argument for and against them. Most boxing coaches agree that a close-range hook is thrown with the palm facing in. However, some coaches allow the elbow to drop at a 45 degree angle so that it is similar to a shovel hook (as you would throw at the spleen or liver). Long range hooks are mainly thrown with the palm facing down. In amateur boxing circles this is apparently so that the puncher does not get accused of throwing a slap, which is prohibited (see Connor McGregor’s recent MMA fight). The mid-range hook causes the most debate. Apparently there is a rough difference on the two sides of the Atlantic with Americans favouring a palm facing in and Europeans favouring the palm facing down. I have seen Asian boxers throw both types at this range. There are arguments as to which is more accurate, which is more powerful and which has the best body mechanics. My conclusion has been that provided the punches are not telegraphed and the delivery system is sound then the punch should be dictated by the unique physical characteristics of the individual and the context of the fight. Therefore, provided I was happy that my client’s wrist was straight upon impact, my main concern was getting the right amount of pivot into the punch.
We then built up the four-punch combination and also linked in bobbing and weaving. The lesson was finished with a round of free-style focus mitt work and then a round divided up into technique, speed and power.