Common Mistakes with the Basic Stance 5
Common Mistake 5. Dropping your Hands
Not just when you're learning how to box but throughout your entire boxing career there are a whole host of mistakes that you can make, and unfortunately boxing is an unforgiving sport for mistakes. As you move up the competitive ranks and your quality of opposition improves, your margin for error decreases substantially. A good fighter will spot holes in your game and customize their attack accordingly. Likewise a good cornerman will also spot any openings you may leave by dropping your hands.
There are many common times that people drop their hands. The following is not an exhaustive list but illustrates key areas to watch and mke sure you are not doing, or to search for in your opponent to exploit and attack
1. While moving:
If you watch people who are learning to box try and shadow box you will notice that they generally fall somewhere within 3 groups with respect to what they do with their hands they either pump, double pump or rock.
A) Pumping is the motion that occurs when you drop your hands downward away from your face before returning it back to its original correct position. It usually occurs when punching so will be explored in the next section.
Double pumping: occurs when a boxer is moving around or on the spot and with each step drops both their hands downwards away from their face before returning it to the original correct position. A good boxer will notice this pattern even if only small and time their shots to hit when your hands are dropped below your chin.
Rocking: is also most easily observed in beginners who are trying desperately hard to keep their hands up and chin down and refers to the rocking forwards and backwards of ones shoulders. While this does not strictly involve dropping ones hands, the net result is the same because by keeping the hands in a fixed position while rocking the shoulders around them the boxers chin is still ultimately exposed.
2. While punching
A) Pumping: An example of this is watching a beginner attempt to jab, you will notice that they almost always drop their right hand while throwing their left which leaves them open for a left hook counter.
B) Telegraphing: refers to any unwanted additional movements that occur before throwing your punch that allows your opponent to see what punch is coming. An example of this is when trying to get additional power on a right hand their is a tendency for people to wind up and take their hand away from their chin before punching. This makes the punch come out in a curved fashion rather than a straight line. If there is one rule of physics that's incredibly important to boxing it's that the quickest route between two points is a straight line. So by winding up on your shots you run the risk of being counter attacked before your shot lands if your opponent has good timing and nice straight shots. Remember the hardest punch in the world is useless unless it lands.I
3. While defending
The parry is one of the most common defenses in boxing, it is also one of the most incorrectly performed especially in relatively inexperienced boxers. The parry along with the other different types of boxing defense will be explored in detail in future posts. However for now think of the parry as a deflection of a punch away from its intended target just like swatting away a fly that wants to land on your nose. The intended destination of most punches to the head is either the nose or chin. The aim of a parry should therefore be to deflect the punch away from this target. However if the parrying motion is too large eg if you are trying to force your opponents hand away or pre-emptively swiping at their hand before they punch you are exposing your chin and running the risk of being hit.
The reason that inexperienced boxers often open themselves up during defense is that they have yet to fully accompany themselves with being hit and thus over react in a sense when a punch is thrown at them. An experienced boxer does only what is necessary and thus conserved energy, avoids punishment and positions themselves close enough to counter attack. Contrastingly the inexperienced boxer does more effort to try and not get hit and ironically opens themselves up to attack as a result.
For this reason throwing fakes and feints is a good option if you are relatively inexperienced and against similar competition. Wait until your opponent over reacts to your fake and then attack.
While many of the examples listed above refer to beginners and relatively inexperienced boxers it is important to remember that they often hold true in experienced boxers and world champions (just to a much smaller degree). It has been proposed that yawning is a remnant of an ancient method of communication before humans were able to speak hence why you often yawn when someone around you yawns even if you're not tired, it's a habit that's imprinted in your mind that you don't even know is there (or so one theory suggests). So too do many of the habits that we attempt to unlearn get stored in our memory. We may practice to the point where they are not frequent occurrences but they can still appear when under pressure or after being 'rocked' by a shot.
They can also come out when trying to finish a fight and when trying to generate excess power. Watch a world title fight of technically sound fighters then watch it in slow motion. Notice how even the seemingly perfect technique has openings in between punches. A great fighter exposes themselves for only a split second while a beginner may be exposed for most of a given round. The important thing to remember is that they may often be exposed at the same occasions (eg the ones listed in the preceding pages) just for differing amounts of time.