Lead Hooks & Round Kicks (diary entry)

hook punch Hook Punch (close) darker



Monday night’s private lesson began my client’s new course on stand-up fighting. We will be exploring Muay Thai, Western Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts stand-up range over a 10 hour period. I will be looking to strengthen personal weaknesses in my client’s style, introduce new techniques, tactics and strategies as well as work on such areas as southpaw fighting.


After a callisthenic and dynamic stretching warm-up we began with mirror footwork and then isolated head movement before combining them. This then brought us onto the focus mitts where we just trained Western Boxing. I began with revision of basic combination work as well as breaking up patterns with extra footwork and head movement.


Then we zeroed in on the lead hook. We trained this at close range, mid-range and long range.  Short range was trained using the same hand execution as one uses for a shovel hook. Many people find this manner of delivery to be the most comfortable and has the advantage of coming up at strong angle. We trained it in combination with a cross. The mid-hook is where I think the hottest debate reigns with some coaches preferring the “European” hook, where the fist is held horizontally, and others going in for the “American” hook, where the fist is held vertically. My view is that whatever suits the fighter and suits the situation prevails. I am more concerned about everything that comes behind the hook. We trained it off the classic three punch combination. Both the close-range and mid-range hook were thrown to the body and the head. The long range hook is really the straight hook and really should be thrown with a horizontal fist in most Boxing styles to avoid being penalised for using a palm strike. This is generally not illegal in MMA and nor is the “wrist-watch” turn, but such techniques are rare even in limited rules competition and probably have a greater function self-defence. The straight hook was trained in conjunction with lateral footwork and sandwiched between light jabs and a stiff jab/cross combination. We tried it with both the pawing jab and the flicker jab.


Moving onto Muay Thai we concentrated on the lead round kick. This was thrown both as a normal lead kick and as a switch kick. We trained it in conjunction with the lead hook and in conjunction with the rear round kick. It was also used to set up for a jumping round kick. Other techniques included double jab/lead round kick/cross. This is more of kickboxing technique than a Muay Thai one. We also looked at Muay Thai’s approach of intercepting and absorbing techniques when countering. Moving off from the Dutch Kickboxing training method of exchanging kicks in a one-for-one fashion, we countered a rear leg kick with a lead leg kick. Then we countered a mid-section or high rear kick with a low kick destabilising a kicking opponent.


The lesson finished with four rounds of sparring. Two rounds were under Western Boxing rules and one round was under Muay Thai rules.

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