Tangle and Clear – Dirty Boxing (diary entry)


After a brief hiatus, my client returned to his Dirty Boxing Course reaching the seven and a half hour point. Today was primarily concerned with layering all material that had been previously covered. We also used different rule-sets to focus on certain principles in different ways. We were primarily concerned with old-school modern Western Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and MMA. However, we also touched upon self-defence and how the pawing jab shares similarities with referencing tools.




We warmed up with some grappling exercises. I often use this now to confirm the base of clinch-based dirty boxing tactics. It encourages tactile awareness and familiarity with close-quarters fighting. All of the positioning found in stand-up grappling compliment striking in the clinch.



Dominant Grip


We drilled the inside dominant grip from a collar and elbow tie. From here we used it to off-balance the opponent. This led to setting up an inside sweep. This was then built on with an opposite side round kick and then a hook punch. We isolated these techniques from stand-up range and then reintegrated them into the clinch.


Boxing versus Wrestling

We then did some instructional sparring, pitting wrestling tactics against boxing. This was done to encourage accessing a clinch position and tying up.


Tying up and Striking


Next we looked at the over-hook and how, by using an arm-wrap and good head positioning, various punches can be set up. The over-hook is less used in MMA these days as much of the grappling side is driven by modern Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where under-hooking is regularly sought. Nevertheless, the over-hook always provided a good control point for old school boxers and wrestlers. Here the elbow joint can be trapped and hyper-extended in an arm-wrap. The other arm can also be trapped using the same arm. We used the shovel hook/overhand/spear knee same side combination. This was then trained in isolation as a stand-up combination and then reintegrated it into the clinch. We then looked at countering into shoulder lock, setting up for diagonal knee strikes and taking the back.


Pawing Jab, Circling Jab and Slap-Down Parry


We then reverted back to a longer range tactic. Here the pawing jab was used to maintain a tactile presence, setting up for crosses, hooks and uppercuts as well as round kicks and single-leg takedown. The circling jab was revised to obtain the clinch. The slap-down parry was used to set up punches. All of these techniques share a dirty boxing connection in that they are using the lead hand as a referencing or clearing tool rather than as a percussive instrument.




The lesson finished with three rounds of sparring, each focusing on the clinch. The first round was restricted to Boxing, the second to Muay Thai and the third to stand-up MMA.

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