Tuesday, October 07, 2008

John Sculley's Thoughts on Boxing Technique

There's been an unusual focus here at TDA on boxing lately. Have you noticed that? I keep getting egged on by my friends to write more on it, and it never stops. To put an end to the madness, I am bringing in a real expert, John Sculley! Check out this great article on Saddoboxing.com. Some excerpts:


JAB: A boxer having no jab is like a basketball player not being able to dribble. The Jab is the MOST IMPORTANT PUNCH in a boxers arsenal. A boxer not having a good jab is like a basketball player not being able to dribble. What good is having a great jump shot or being able to slam dunk if you can't dribble? It's like trying to build a house and you try to construct the attic first. You have to start from the ground and work your way up. The jab is starting at the ground and you can't complete yourself as a boxer (your house) without building a good and solid jab first...

I'd have to agree - from a sport perspective, the jab is critical. In MMA, it's underutilized (see the jab section of this post), leading to folks being hit when they shouldn't be (on offense), and hit when they should be (on defense). It's a great tool to opening up a defense when you have time to build combinations. When you're fighting an untrained opponent, it's not as important to jab, but to close the gap and use powerful straight punches (including the jab on occasion) and have a good outside guard, as you're more likely to take shots from the outside angles. In self-defense, military, and law enforcement applications, you have to do anything you can to gain control of the situation and de-escalate or finish the situation quickly (sometimes both). Therefore, the jab is a tool for the non-sport situation, but only one of many, as building up points and wearing down an opponent are less critical than staying alive or quickly defeating the opponent by taking the situation outside of his range or area of expertise. See the early days of the Gracie Challenge for an example of this: none of their challengers seemed to prepare by even learning to defeat the single/double-leg takedown, so the Gracies were able to change the situation from being comfortable for their opponents (kicking and punching range) to uncomfortable (groundfighting). Use the jab, when you are able, as the Gracies used the shoot, but don't try to base your fighting style on it because outside of the ring, you don't control the range or rules!


HOOK: ... In my opinion, the best time to throw the hook is when it follows your right cross (as in the traditional combination of jab, right hand, left hook). Throwing the right hand will and SHOULD put you in perfect position to let the left hook go. You want to turn your body in a snapping motion. Think of your left hook (or right hook if you are a southpaw) as a piston in an engine. You want it to snap out in that manner. In terms of the left hook to the body think of Micky Ward and his famous double hook (my favorite combination. Hook to the head first and then down to the body). Bend your knees when you want to really dig a body shot. Bend your knees and get down low enough so that you are almost looking right at the part of the body that you want to hit. Roll up with your punches. Picture the angle that it would take to push a mans bottom rib, down by his waist, up towards his throat. Roll up into the lower rib cage with that in mind. For the record, I would say that two of the most vicious -and yet underrated body punchers of all time are both Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns. Watch them both to see vicious, two handed body work.

I love the vicious language here, because I can relate ("Picture the angle that it would take to push a mans bottom rib, down by his waist, up towards his throat." Heh!), and I love the hook punch (uh, giving it, not receiving!). Read the rest of the article for great information and the perspective of someone who's a boxing fan. I will later post more information on where I deviate from orthodox boxing doctrine, primarily for reasons of practicality - will it work to save your life, will it work versus the untrained, will it work versus a skilled streetfighter? Those are more important to many of us than will it will a decision in the ring.

Please read the whole article for more on the Straight Right, the Uppercut, Combinations, and great tactical advice on using those techniques in the ring along with practical advice for training for the same. Read it!

For more information:

TDA Best body-punch knockouts!
TDA Why I love body shots!
TDA The Frazier Left Hook Unleashed
TDA Watch this body shot!
TDA Is Boxing Viable for Self-Defense?
TDA Boxing for Self-Defense and MMA
TDA Practical Hand Techniques

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