Shovel Hooks (diary entry)

liver punch



Tonight’s class brought my client up to his sixth hour of training in Western Boxing for Martial Art Cross Training. I am very happy with his speedy progress. He is clearly taking home a lot of the material being taught, training it and doing the appropriate research before bringing it back for further development in the lesson.


Our course brought us up to the final actual punch: the shovel hook. Everything else is now a variation on a specific punch. For example, there are many different types of jab, including some that cross over into other techniques – the straight hook and uppercut jab are such examples. It could be argued that the shovel hook is identical in its form to the way some amateur boxing coaches teach close-range hooks. However, its purpose is often described by the precise area it is intended: the liver or the spleen.


Using this technique requires a good degree of set up unless it is thrown from a clinch. A straightforward way is to introduce it into a standard 3-punch combination, replacing the lead hook with the shovel hook to the liver. Another way is to feign a v-step to your opponent’s left before pivoting back to the right. The initial movement is designed to draw the opponent away in that direction, exposing their liver for the pivot back and punch.


The spleen punch can be set up in a similar fashion as the overhand right covered in last week’s lesson. Here we trained a slip/jab/v-step/spleen punch. Again, taking advantage of angles and using high punches for the setup provide a good chance of exposing an opponent’s mid-section to throw in these powerful punches.


Both punches were drilled through partner work and on the focus mitts. We integrated them into various combinations and setups. The lesson finished with a round of sparring.

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