Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Develop Good Boxing Defense?

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based boxing coach and kenpo master Bill Packer says that unlike karate and other martial arts that block incoming strikes, boxing teaches athletes to dodge attacks. This is because boxing punches come in fast and in flurries. A block would leave a boxer no time to counterattack, and often no time to block the second incoming punch.
According to Packer, footwork is at the core of all boxing skill. The ability to shuffle in and back, circling away from your opponent's position of power, is key to successful boxing defense. Boxers drill for hours to improve their mobility, strengthen their calves and build the cardiovascular endurance they need to keep their feet moving for an entire 10-round bout.
Bobbing and Weaving
The most common method for avoiding a boxing punch is simply moving the head out of the way. Boxers will duck under an incoming punch, slip the head backward, just out of reach, and dodge right or left of where their head was a moment earlier. When training to dodge a punch, most boxers work not just the dodge but their follow-up. A boxer is most vulnerable while throwing a punch, so a boxer who has just ducked under a punch has an opportunity to throw a devastating counterattack.
Karate black belt and experienced boxer and kickboxer Matt Zanger recommends a defense strategy called checking the punch. For punches to the head, a boxer holds the arms and gloves up in a cage around the head, taking his opponent's punches on the arms. For the body, this means dropping the elbows to catch body blows on the sharp, bony parts of the arms rather than on the soft, vulnerable parts of the torso. A common counter-tactic to checking is to intentionally punch the arms, causing fatigue that limits a fighter's ability to punch. This works especially well against checkers because checking presents the arms as a target.
Training for Defense
The best training for defense is to spar, either competitively or as a training drill intended to build a specific skill. Although some like to practice sparring where one athlete is allowed to defend only, black belt and training expert Dave Coffman disagrees. He points out that defense is easy if you never attack; only by punching will a boxer expose himself enough to have to take special steps to defend himself.
Packer believes the best way to learn about boxing defense is to watch boxers defend themselves in the ring. Zanger points out that lightweight fighters are usually better for this purpose than heavyweights. Lightweight boxers use their mobility more than heavyweights since heavyweights are better able to rely on simple muscle mass and strength to absorb blows rather than avoid them. Though you can watch fights live, in practice or on TV, you get more out of it by watching with a qualified coach or expert who can point out particular techniques and mistakes.

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