While one punch can be effective, when they are delivered in vollies of two, three, four, five or six or more they become devastating. Anyone can dodge or slip one punch, but it is a lot more difficult to get out of the way of five incoming, well thrown punches in sequence. That is the theory behind combinations.
Combinations take skill and stamina, both to deal with, and to deliver. This section will mainly focus on your delivery, but one quick note. If someone is unleashing combinations on you, you have to counter attack and disrupt their flow, optimally with a combination of your own. You cannot possibly hope to slip every punch, unless you are incredibly fast or your opponent is super slow.
You can theoretically throw hundred punch boxing combinations over and over if you had perfect form and perfect conditioning. Combinations require that you complete each punch correctly so that it sets you up for the next one. This includes the recovery from every punch you throw. Your technical form from beginning to end of your punch has to be perfect so so that your weight is placed in the best position for the next punch in the sequence. This is where attention to detail and your level of conditioning becomes very important. Boxing combinations require you to expend a lot of energy punching away and only through conditioning will you be able to last a whole fight whether it is one round or twelve.
Boxing combinations flow. They are never awkward to perform as long as all the punches are performed in sequence and with technical precision. Boxing combinations feel right when you deliver them correctly, and it is because your weight is shifting and setting you up for every punch in the combination. For instance, picture a jab. You throw out the jab and your left hand is far forward hitting your target. At the same time you thrust your left hip forward to give you some extra power. The position you are in at that moment sets you up perfectly to throw a hard straight right because as you bring you hips and jab arm back into your guard, you've already started the movement required to throw the straight right. Letting momentum carry you, you just complete that motion and you have your first combination - the 1-2.
Taking that further, the way your weight and body is setup when the straight right hits the target puts you in a perfect position to throw a left hook. Ideally, when throwing combinations you shouldn't have to move your feet. Your weight and forces and flowing to different parts of your legs in such a manner that allows you to shift it back the other way with another punch. If you have to take a step, you did something wrong, because your weight ended up shifting too far or not far enough to allow you to deliver the next punch.
That's not to say you will never have to take step while delivering combinations. It is highly unlikely your opponent will just stand there and let you beat on him. If he does, I'd like his name so I can arrange a meeting... In reality, it's about keeping your balance while throwing as many punches as you can. Especially in amateur matches, winners are chosen because of the number of punches they land. Obviously throwing combinations will help out in that goal.
So where's the list of boxing combinations?
Well, there are many, but you will want to master the basics (again, see Fighting Fit by Doug Werner and Alan Lachica for illustrations of these combinations as well as over 450 other photos). Start with the four below and then move on from there. At some point, the essence behind boxing combinations will hopefully click in your head and you will understand why one punch follows the one before it. Before long, you should be able to make up your own combinations.
Once you have identified a combination you want to learn, you have to drill it into your head. It's all fine and good to start off thinking to yourself, 1-2, 1-2-3, 2-3-2, but everytime you think about it, you lose that split second. You need to be able to react to an open target and if you have taken the time to drill these boxing combinations into your head, they will instantly flow out when you need them.
So, when trying to learn new combinations I recommend keeping these two things in mind:
- Don't try to learn too many at one time: Stick to two or three a week and once you've learned them, you have to practice them frequently otherwise skill fade creeps in and soon you are back to square one and learning them all over again.
- Drill: Dedicate entire rounds to one combination. Throw it over and over and over and over and over and over again. Get the picture. Do not mix other combinations in with it. You have to teach your muscles to work in a certain order for each combination.
Remember on the punches page, each punch had a number beside it, well here is where they will come in handy. To recap (again reverse for southpaws):
- 2-Straight Right
- 3-Left Hook
- 4-Right Hook
- 5-Left Uppercut
- 6-Right Uppercut
The Basic Boxing Combinations
1-1 or 1-1-1 (Double Jab and Triple Jab)
So, a 1-1 is two jabs, a 1-1-1 is three jabs.
These combinations are an effective way to throw a bunch of punches from a distance. It is imperative you recover completely after each jab so subsequent jabs are delivered effectively and accurately.
1-2 (The Jab Straight Right Combo)
One of the most important and famous of all combinations, the mighty 1-2. In this, you throw a jab which closes the distance and sets up the head for the power punch of the straight right delivered right after.
The objective with the jab is to snap your opponent's head back with your jab which exposes his chin. You then nail him with a right sending him to the mat. Throughout the whole sequence, you should feel firm on your feet, never off balance. If you do, you're not doing something right. It's one of two things, you are either reaching for the opponent or not recovering completely from your punches, both big no no's.
1-2-3 (The Jab, Straight Right, Left Hook Combo)
The other most important combination (good english eh), jab/straight right/left hook. This basically completes the 1-2.
Same objective for the first two punches, jab the head to expose the chin, nail the chin with the straight right. This creates a weight transfer to the left side which automatically sets you up to land a devastating left hook. Your target for the left hook is the right temple of your opponent - clobber it.
Perfecting these two combinations will take some time but make sure you do, they are all natural and like all combinations must flow. You'll have a pretty good indication when you are doing them right because it will feel right, not to mention the power of your punches will increase.
2-3-2 and 3-2-3 (The Right Left Right and Left Right Left Combo)
The right-left-right and the opposite left-right-left. The goal here is to time the weight shifts correctly. With every punch you throw, it should set you up nicely for the subsequent punch. The right shifts the weight over the left which is perfect for the left hook which subsequently puts the weight back over the right which naturally makes you want to throw the right again.
The challenge here is to ensure you are not just throwing a flurry of arm punches. You must get your body involved because that is where the power comes from. Then you will see true devastation as your opponent receives your offense from two different angles.
That's part of the beauty of combinations. Delivered correctly, punches start hitting you from all different angles. It makes defense that much harder.
The use of combinations while extremely effective, also requires extreme caution. It is easy to forget to recover after each punch when you send out the flock of arms, but every time you don't recover you expose half your head and if your opponent realizes it, kiss a few brain cells bye bye.
Adding uppercuts into the mix
Word of advice, get the four combinations mentioned above perfected first, then worry about putting in the uppercuts.
Uppercuts are used in close and you do need to work them into your combinations but adding them is very hard to do correctly and takes a great deal of time and precision and dedication to master.
More Boxing Combinations
The following pages will introduce you to an abundance of other boxing combinations. I have broken them up into 7 series: 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, and a bonus 7 Series. Within each series you can create a virtually unlimited number of combinations based on the sequence you put together. The difference is that 1 series focuses on one type of punch, 2 series - 2 punches, 3 series - 3 punches and so on.
If you have no interest in learning the reasoning behind these combinations and just prefer to work down the list and memorize them, go ahead. Personally I learn them better by taking the time to slowly do one and understand exactly why. Whatever works for you. If you have any combinations you want to add, just add a comment.