This morning I taught the third hour of a 10 hour course I am holding for two junior students in Western Boxing for Martial Arts Cross Training. We looked at the lead hook and worked on tightening up stances and footwork.
The first part of the lesson was entirely dedicated to positioning and footwork. If there are three things that every fighter needs to have in their physical skills foundation it is to be on balance, to keep their chin in and to keep their hands up in a active position. Few combative arts deviate from this field. Certainly none in the full contact unarmed field. Footwork then takes this fixture and moves it in a fluid way. I wanted both my students to feel natural about attacking and drawing as they moved. We began with linear footwork, immediately breaking up the patterns so they had learnt how to effectively move in and move out as well as draw and advance on an opponent. We then went onto angling off. Finally we did some circular footwork, bringing in attacking and retreating. The jab was finally added.
Next each fighter was taken through their particular style of fighting individually. They worked their slipping and were introduced to bobbing and weaving. Jab/cross was drilled and weaknesses exposed. I checked early bad habits such as dropping the rear hand and problems with stances. It is quite common for fighters to allow their stance to either become too side on or completely parallel. Another problem can be becoming flat-footed and allowing the stance to become too narrow when transitioning. These are areas an opponent will easily exploit.
Finally I introduced the lead hook. We covered close-range hook, mid-range hook and long-range hook. We discussed different views on the fist positioning. Then we worked on getting the right torque in the mid-section and pivot on the lead foot when throwing the punch. We then incorporated bobbing and weaving, where I demonstrated its immediate connection with the hook’s execution. This punch was added onto the jab/cross, making the standard three-punch combination. Once this was confirmed on the focus mitts I added on another crossing making the four-punch combination. This was then trained with technique, then speed and then power. I also broke it up with slipping, bobbing and weaving as well as with variations on footwork already covered today.