Moving the Body to the Target (diary)

downward cross



My client completed his second and third hour of my course on basic western boxing for martial arts cross-training. We warmed up with a revision of jabbing and footwork drills – including slipping, the shuffle, angulation and stance switching – before getting onto the cross.


The main area of focus today was on moving the entire body to the target. Due to our innate drive to preserve energy and also to view techniques at their extremities – i.e. we tend to look at the fist mainly when we think of punching – it is common for new students to reach for techniques. Therefore, the low jab is often thrown without squatting. This is why I included a squatting stance-change exercise in my warm-up. It provides great muscle activation relevant to moving the body up and down when punching as well as including an explosive element with the quick stance-change.

John lines Jamie up for right cross

Moving the body to the target was also flagged up when the cross was introduced, especially when the fighter was on the move. Again, it is quite natural to try to reach for a target after the jab has been thrown, despite the target being further away for the cross. To compensate for this many fighters tend to drag their rear leg, compromising mobility, stability and power for the sake of conserving energy or rushing the punch. We deconstructed the technique by cutting out the punching. Again, another good warm-up exercise included was Peter Constrerdine’s chasing and cornering exercises as well as footwork mirroring. These partner exercises encourage both evasive and offensive manoeuvring as well as how to stick close to your opponent. We then brought the cross back in and started including it in some basic combinations. The low jab was also brought back in and the low cross introduced, emphasising the bobbing/squatting action.


The hook was then briefly brought into play in its most classic form. We focused on hooking to the head off both the lead and rear. These were then incorporated into that mainstay of all modern western boxing combinations: jab/cross/hook.


With my student worked reasonably hard it was time to move away from technical work and to do some speed and power burnouts on the pads. These 30 second bursts of each hand and then both hands together went over basic jabbing, crossing, hooking and then in combination.

Hook Punch (close) darker

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