Learn How to Box: The Basics
TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP TO BOXING GREATNESS...
Boxing is a mix of technical skill, grace, speed and aggression. When all of these things come together, one is witness to a power and finesse that is incredibly awesome.
It all starts at the beginning though just like everything else. You must master the basics to become a great boxer. You must develop a great offense with a repertoire of punches, defense in the form of blocks and movement, counter moves and footwork tying it all together.
The boxing tips given here will consist of:
Sidenote: In addition to this site, there are a great number of books and other aids which will help you become a better boxer. The books recommended in the How to Box store may help you get your head around some of the concepts. While not necessary, buying one or two of these suggested titles will probably help in your development until you can find a trainer or gym.
BOXING FOOTWORK - STANCE AND RHYTHM
Kerry is a professional trainer on How to Box
First thing you need to do is get in your boxer's stance. The stance is the basis for everything else you do so take the time to get it right. The theory behind it is to create a stable platform from which you can unleash your fury and not fall over or be caught off balance.
To enter the stance, first we'll position your feet. Stand facing a mirror (get used to looking at yourself, you'll be doing a lot of it, it's a great way to perfect your technique), feet about shoulder width apart. Now take a comfortable sized step backwards, moving the foot which is the same as your dominant hand and at the same time rotate your feet about 45 degrees in the direction of the foot that moved.
For instance, if I am right handed, I will take a small step backwards with my right foot and rotate my feet 45 degrees to the right. If you are left handed, reverse the process. The heel of your back foot should be in line with the toes of your front foot.
The position should feel strong. Bend your knees slightly and feel for the floor with your lower body. You should be slightly turned presenting a shoulder to your target. You should feel like no matter who came and pushed you, you would not fall over.
Now for your hands and head. Tilt your head down bringing your chin to your chest. You must protect your chin. I'm sure you've heard boxing commentators talking about how good someone's chin is. If you are caught square on the chin with a punch, it does a lot of damage. One good hit can knock you out.
With your head tilted down, it is as if you are trying to look up out of your eyebrows. Your hands are then brought up so the hand of your side which is forward is just below your left eye and the other hand (of the back foot) is right beside your chin.
For example, if I am right handed, my left hand is partially curled and rests near my left eye, protecting my chin, with elbow tucked tightly into the body. My right hand is partially curled to the right of my chin, elbow tucked into the body. This is the boxer's stance and everything you do stems from it. You should be relaxed and loose, never tight. Hands are not clenched into fists, but loose and ready to strike out. You are stable and knees are slightly bent. You are ready for anything, able to defend against punches and deliver your own offensive arsenal.
I know what you're thinking. Nice stance, now how do I move. In boxing, you can basically move in four directions:
- towards your opponent,
- away from your opponent
- and to either side of your opponent.
No matter if you are orthodox or southpaw, to move left, your left foot moves first. To move right, your right foot moves first. The opposite foot then quickly follows, sliding parallel to regain your stance.
Basically, the objective is to maintain your solid foundation which is provided by the boxer's stance and when you move you take short steps, barely lifting your feet off the ground - it's more of a slide. You never cross over your feet and you never bring them close together. Doing so can land your ass on the mat as your opponent clocks you while you are off balance.
To Practice Your Footwork
Stand in the boxer's stance in front of a heavy bag and give it a shove away from you. Now move forward as it goes back and backwards as it comes forward. Dance with the bag. Get used to it, it's your new friend.
To practice side to side movement, you need to learn one more thing, the pivot. To quickly change direction you need to pivot. Your front foot is the pivot point and your rear foot initiates the move by sweeping right or left depending on which way you want to go. Your front foot then quickly adjusts if need be, sliding left or right to maintain your stance.
Now you can practice your side to side movement. Again, in front of the bag, give it a shove but in a slightly more circular motion. As the bag approaches you take a step to a side, and then pivot so you are facing the bag. Keep doing this moving around the bag, then switch directions and do it some more.
Picture yourself moving to the outside of your opponent. If you move to the outside of each punch, you do not set yourself up to be hit as your opponent will not be in a position to hit you.
When one thinks of boxers they think of jabs and hooks, never the part the legs play in the whole match. That is the wrong way to think, your legs set up your punches and keep you out of striking distance. They propel you to places where you can deliver punches at angles your opponent is not expecting. Do yourself a favour and take the time to become fleet of foot. (in other words, make sure you can do the dance).
Boxers are never static, they do not stand still. You have to develop a rhythm. Some boxers have a long rhythm which is a gentle forward and backward movement and some have a shorter rhythm with more side to side and head movement. Watch some fights and pick them out, then figure out which you want to adopt.
Inside fighters like Joe Frazier use a shorter rhythm with lots of head movement and for good reason. Being within striking distance constantly means they have to keep their head moving or it's going to get knocked off. The longer rhythm is used by outside fighters as they keep their opponent at bay with jabs. A good example is Muhammed Ali.
Until next time, Boxon.