There clearly isn’t one perfect technique for boxing otherwise everyone will be using it. It also comes down to many attributes such as a boxer’s physique, fighting style, strengths, weaknesses, mental state and many more. There is no winning formula and boxers who find the most success usually apply the basics into their craft and create a style of his or her own.
For example, there are basically many ways to guard against punches, and I am not the kind to say that a specific way of guarding is wrong. Looking at the greats, they all have different ways of guarding and yes, some even have their hands VERY low, but it is VERY important to understand that for them to achieve whatever they did, they understand fundamentals very well.
In this blog post and few upcoming ones, I will be focusing on the different ways to guard. Or at least the kind of guards my Russian coach Alexey Volodin taught me, and what the coaches at Legends and myself (from experience fighting against different opponents and what I use myself) teach our members at the gym. I personally encourage my students to use the different guards for different situations. It’s always good to have more tricks and styles in your arsenal which allows you to adapt.
When someone walks in our doors and want to box, after going through footwork, we will get into fight stance and learn the basic guard. I sometimes call it “relax guard”. See image below.
This is basically the first guard you need to learn when you begin to box. When you’re first starting out, this is how you want to be guarding most of the time.
Pretty easy and straightforward. Keep both hands (fists) at your chin level, chin down, look at your opponent and your lead hand slightly in front to throw lead hand punches (like a fencer) or defend accordingly. Sometimes as punches come to temple area, I will bring my lead hand up to act as a shield. As if I’m saluting only that my elbows remain close to my body.
The basic guard places your hand in a good position to throw punches and defend at the same time. Be sure to bring your hands back to this starting position after throwing the punches you want to throw.
I recommend you practice this guard with a training partner. Get him to throw single punches and you practice your distance, hand positioning and get yourself familiar and comfortable being in this guard position.
It is quite common for new boxers to bring their chin out when punching or defending. They feel “safer”. There might also be an initial defensive mechanism of leaning forward when you are taking punches making you leave your body weight all in the front foot as if you are almost doing a lunge. Instead, let the punches come to you, and your body weight equally distributed in your front and back foot. This put you in a better position to counter attack if you want to and even when your opponent’s punches land, you still have great balance. I personally will have slightly more weight in the back foot as it compliments my fighting style.
Any style and guard can be effective. The trick is using it at the right time in the right situation. In the next blog post, I will touch on keeping the HIGH GUARD. Till the next one!