Boxing 101 – There is no one right answer in boxing!
I get asked a number of questions while coaching: Is the shoulder roll better than the high guard? Should I cross-block or keep my back hand by my cheek? Do I block the uppercut with the same-side hand, or do I use the opposite hand so I can free up my other hand for a counter-punch?
If you’re asking questions – great! The truth is, there’s no one definite answer to every situation. You’re in there with a live opponent who can react to your every move and pick up on your tendencies.
Great trainers have primary philosophy of training fighters, with adaptations as they fight better and better opponents. You never saw Cus D’Amato teaching Mike Tyson the shoulder roll. But you also need the trainer to train the fighter for the most suitable style of fighting. Joe Frazier tried to train his long and lanky son Marvis Frazier to fight the only way he knew how, which may have limited his ceiling in the sport.
The quote “when all else fails, jab!” oversimplifies the sweet science. Yes, the jab is by far the most important punch in boxing, but it’s not the only punch. It’s important to understand the basic principles of boxing, but also when to break those rules. For example, a well-timed lead right from time to time can disrupt rhythm, which then sets you up to lead with the jab again. Or having your hands down to draw an opponent in could be analogous to a gambit in a game of chess, giving your opponent a temporary opening before unloading a viscous counter attack.
That all being said, your tried and true rules are there for a reason (I’m just saying not to follow them blindly, or be the stereotypical internet coach criticizing pro fighters). When I started playing chess, I had fun with a few gambit openings until playing higher ranked players and getting picked apart. This sport ain’t easy.
What you can do:
I have a library of boxing drills segmented by theme on my website. I hope to teach young fighters the sweet science – and truly understand when each skillset or combination is useful.
About the Author:
Coach Ian is an ultra-marathon runner and a volunteer coach at the non-profit boxing organization, Dreamland Boxing, in San Jose, CA. He competed in boxing for both Dreamland and collegiately at UCLA. His goal is to empower all to be the best that they can be, in boxing and in life. You can find Coach Ian on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
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