Everything you do when you train is intended to train your boxing skill. Whether you are doing push ups, sit ups, running, or skipping rope, look for ways to use these tools to train your boxing skill. For example, when you skip rope, instead of pushing your body up from your feet and jumping, try just lifting your legs by bending your knees up creating space for the rope to pass. Also, try keeping the head and chin down. Another good warm up is...
...just to sit in your stance for a round or two. Again, focus on the key elements. Keeping your heels slightly raised, staying on the balls of your feet. Have your lead foot pointed almost completely forward with your knee directly over your ankle for support, proper alignment, and rotational power. Keep the front toe and the back heel roughly on the same line. Keep the back foot also pointed forward as much as possible. The angle will roughly be 60 degrees. Keep the knees slightly bent. Your hips should be squatting slightly; stick your butt out a little, and straighten your back. This will aid you in slipping and ducking punches.
A straight back is essential for generating rotational power as you rotate along the spine (centerline). Your torso should be bladed and to the side as much as possible. Don’t stick the front hip out, but keep it bent. Keep the hands up, arms resting on the ribs, and turn your head as much as you can to face your opponent. Remember to maintain pressure against your head and ribs with the fists and elbows. Keep it tight.
Some, additional drills you can do include the basic box set. The idea is to stack up an elevated platform 2 squares high and work on push stepping over it. Start with your lead foot on the platform, push from your back foot, move your lead foot forward onto the floor and bring your backfoot onto the platform. Then go in reverse, push off your lead foot, step your back foot back and place your lead foot back on the platform. The key to this is to keep a tight defense. There should be four points of contact with your 2 elbows touching the ribs and your fists touching the top of your face on either side. Maintain this tight position. There should be no space in between.
Also maintain pressure pushing your elbows and fist in toward your body and head. These should not be easy to separate for each other. Maintain your four points of contact. Make sure you go all the way over the platform. Don’t just switch your feet by placing your rear leg where your lead leg was and keeping the majority of your weight over the platform. Move your weight over the platform completely. Do this drill for 4 three minute rounds.
Another great footwork drill you can work is just setting up four cones to make a square and work on sidestepping around the square. Remember to keep your stance bladed and at a sharp angle. Push off your left foot to go right and your right foot, to go left. Remember to stay on your toes. This is not a step and slide, but a push step. As you push off, step with your opposite foot laterally. Keep everything along the same line. If you’re moving right, just go right keeping the lead foot on the same plane. Don’t shift up and down if you’re moving laterally. Push your shoulder into it as you move. When moving toward your lead side, blade even more and turn the shoulder, give your opponent your shoulder. Remember to take small steps. Don’t drag your feet.
Another variation of this is to have a partner hold out a light stick and to slowly try to touch you with it forcing you to move. The idea is to not let the stick touch you. As the stick comes toward your right, you push step left, as it comes forward toward you, push step back. Start with just taking one step. This should be done slowly at first just to train you to move in a direction that you may not want to go. You’ll feel your weight have to shift and feel where you’re off balanced. Another variation is to have your partner just follow you. You are outside the square and he is inside following you. You are moving and keeping a bladed angle giving him as little a target as possible and forcing him to adjust.
Once you’ve got the basics there, it’s time to move on towards punching. We cover the various types of punches in other articles, but will briefly mention a few points with regards to the power jab. When throwing this type of jab, the first step is to push and turn the lead foot to the inside. So, if you’re southpaw, the lead right foot will turn toward the left while staying on the ball of your foot. This is one. Two is the knee also turns as a result. Three, the hip turns to generate power. Everything is supported by the back leg. Four, the elbow moves forward first. Five, the punch extends and the fist turns over. Remember to keep your elbow in and don’t let it flare out. When you turn the punch over, turn it over all the way so your thumb is facing the floor. This will naturally raise your shoulder up to cover your chin. Keep your rear hand pressed against your face and elbow pressed against your body. As you do this, it should press your chin into your shoulder. The idea is to keep it tight here. Your back foot needs to be planted and solid with the heel down. It’s supporting the structure of the punch.
When throwing the cross, it’s very similar. You’re still using that same rotational force. This time the rotation starts from the back foot rather than the front. The back foot turns as much as it can. The rear hip also turns and comes forward with the shoulder. You want to train it so you turn as much as possible. Don’t just stop the punch when you’ve squared up; keep turning so your rear shoulder becomes your front shoulder. This may naturally tilt your head toward your non-punching hand. To counteract that, press your chin into your punching shoulder with your non-punching hand. Remember to turn the back foot as much as possible with the heel up. The front foot is planted. Stay relaxed.
This concludes part 2 of boxing defensive basics. A lot of your defense will reside in your footwork and how you move, so, work that more than anything. Footwork is useless if it moves you out of range to counterattack. Eventually, you must counterattack as you can’t win a fight by just playing defense. Thanks for reading. This concludes part 2. Remember to always believe in you.
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