Basic Skills You Need To Engage in A Practice
Stance: The boxer needs to remain on the balls of their feet, in a slight squat position sitting back like they are in a chair. The boxer’s body stays aligned at a 45° angle (called being Bladed) except for the face which is pointed forward with the chin down towards the chest. Hands are up at approximately the cheekbones, while still retaining full vision. The feet are shoulder width apart with the dominate foot towards the back. The toes of this back foot should be aligned with the heel of the lead foot. Approximately 60% of the boxer’s weight is on the back foot.
Basic understanding of the four punches:
Jab: A punch where the fist of the lead hand moves directly from the face to the target that is accompanied by a simultaneous step with the lead leg and push off of the back foot, creating a springing motion with the legs. This is often referred to as a "1".
Straight Punch: A punch where the fist of the back hand moves directly from the face to the target that is accompanied by a simultaneous pivot of the back foot, engaging the muscles of the leg, buttocks, and abdomen. This is often referred to as a "2".
Hook: A punch using either the lead or back hand that arcs away from the face to the target. This is accompanied by a simultaneous pivot of the same leg as the hand used, engaging the muscles of the leg, buttocks, and abdomen. This is often referred to as a "3".
Upper-Cut: A punch using either hand in which the fist lowers to approximately chin level as the legs bend the into a deeper sit position and then spring up from underneath of the target.
Any one of these offensive punches can be used in any combination with each other, for example, a basic combination is a Double Jab-Straight combination. This combination consists of three punches quickly executed together with a certain rhythm and timing.
Footwork can also be classified as offensive movements. Learning to move forward and backwards is good, but is not all that you need. Footwork and body language are what wins fights. The place to start is with Lateral and Longitudinal Movements. After that, you can begin to learn how to cut angles:
Lateral and Longitudinal Movement: Leading with the foot of the direction that you would like to go first, take a normal size step that direction while maintaining a stable stance. For example, to go left, lead with the left foot, to go forward, lead with the lead foot. Follow with the same size step with the remaining foot, ending back up in a stable stance, with feet shoulder width apart.
Cutting Angles: Cutting angles is footwork that ends up giving you the advantage. It is what leads you to be "ahead" of your opponent. You have moved in an arch (in either direction) as opposed to a straight line. This allows you to stay in distance of your opponent, but they cannot reach you to effectively land a punch.
Like the offensive movements, these defensive movements can, and should, all be used in combination with each other. Also like offensive movements, a coach would often teach particularly common defensive combinations. For Example: slip-parry-Straight. In this example, the Straight is the counter punch.
Defensive-Jab: This Jab is used while taking a step backwards with the back leg first, just as an offensive Jab is executed as one takes a step forward with the lead leg first.
Parry: Opening the glove, and coming slightly away from the face, use the fingers of the glove to push the punch down.
Block: A movement performed in order to place part of the glove or arm in between an opponent’s punch and the boxer’s body.
Slip: A shift in weight placement that moves the targeted area out of the way and outside of the incoming punch.
U-Bend: Sitting deeper into the boxer’s stance, the boxer takes one step with the foot of the direction he or she is going (for example, to go left, first step with the left foot) while bending slightly at the waist under the punch.
Head Movement: This may seem simple, but takes a long time to perfect. It is simply moving your head to keep the target of your face as a moving target for the opponent and harder to hit. It takes less energy and is faster than a slip. Unlike a slip, it should be occurring continuously throughout the match.
Counter-Punch: A counter punch is a punch that comes off of a defensive movement. This might be a jab over the top of an opponent’s punch after a parry, or it might be a hook following a U-Bend. It is a quick punch decided on in the moment based on where the boxer’s weight currently is following the defensive movement. These can be some of the most effective punches used in a match since a boxer (therefore the defensive boxer’s opponent) is most off balance and open while attempting to execute a punch.
Foot Movement: This can be something as simple as moving to stay out of distance of the opponent, and as complex as cutting angles to stay in distance, but “ahead” of the other fighter: you can reach them and land a punch, but they cannot before you have moved again.