Boxing is one of the oldest forms of martial arts, which comprises the use of the hands to, both attack and defend. Practiced through the ages as a popular sport, it is highly demanding, both physically as well as mentally. A boxer requires speed, agility, power, and endurance, along with focus, determination, and mental toughness. He must be able to not only throw powerful punches, but also defend against them while standing on his feet. Boxers therefore turn out to be some of the finest and fittest of athletes around.
Today, boxing continues to remain popular as a sport, while at the same time, has been adopted by many as a highly effective means of improving overall fitness. So, if you are a beginner looking to learn the basics of this sport, or a fitness enthusiast wishing to adopt boxing in your workout regime, go through the moves and techniques presented below for a brief introduction to the fine art of boxing.
Note: The moves presented here are given assuming that the user is right-handed. These can also be adopted by left-handed users, simply by interchanging the right hand with the left hand.
Moves and Techniques in Boxing
The stance is the body position that a boxer maintains when he isn’t actively attacking or defending himself. In the basic boxing stance, he stands with his legs parted – left foot slightly forward, knees slightly bent, and the left shoulder and left arm extended forward a little. Both the arms are held close to the chest, with the right one near the chin and the left one a little away from it in the forward direction. Thus, the stance allows the boxer to protect his head and upper body with his arms, while at the same time positions his fists and legs such that he is able to attack quickly.
The jab is one of the primary boxing punches. After you get in to the appropriate stance, you simply perform a quick punch with your left hand (jab) towards the opponent. With your chin tucked in, aim to go ‘through’ the target, rather than just hitting the target’s surface. A good trick is to align the first two knuckles of your hand with the target before jabbing. Also focus on maintaining a straight line from the shoulder to the arm. Extending the hip and shoulder as you jab is important for generating enough power in the punch.
Fundamentally a power punch, it is also referred to as a ‘straight’. The dominant hand is used to deliver this power punch, typically when the opponent tries to punch with his opposite hand. As the blow crosses over the leading arm, it is called the cross.
The uppercut is an effective offensive move targeted towards the chin. In tandem with the cross, it is considered as one of the power punches in boxing. This technique involves lowering the right hand, and then, with maximum power and thrust, driving it straight up towards the opponent’s jaw. Extending your knees as the body comes up gives the requisite power to the punch. Since, in the boxing stance, the right hand is behind the left one, this move should be performed only when the opponent is in close range.
The hook is semi-circular punch that is delivered using the left hand to the side of the opponent’s head. From the guard position, the elbow has to be drawn back, with the fist in a horizontal position, that is, with the knuckles pointing forward and a bent elbow. At the same time, the rear hand has to be tucked firmly against the jaw for protecting your chin. The torso and hips are sharply rotated clockwise, propelling the wrist in a tight circular arc across the front of the body.
The clinch can be classified as a type of grappling, where the boxers have no distance left between them, and none of the punches can be used. Here, one boxer tries to pin down or hold the opponent’s hands to prevent him from throwing punches. Clinching is an effective defensive technique in boxing, which is typically used after being hit to gain some time to recover.
The face being the main target in boxing, needs to be protected against oncoming punches. To do that, you are required to keep an eye on your opponent’s hands, and anticipate a punch. When he tries to strike your face/head, you should raise your hands and cover up, by hiding your face behind them. Thus, you can shield your face, head, and neck region, blocking your opponent’s punches with your hands and forearms.
This technique involves anticipating a punch, and then moving the upper body and head backwards. Doing this helps the boxer lessen the impact of the punch, or even dodge it completely.
This defensive move requires you to go down by bending your knees, so that your opponent’s punch glances off or entirely misses your head.
Blocking and Parrying
Blocking and parrying is more effective than simply covering-up against the opponent’s punches. In this technique, you block your opponent’s punches with your shoulders and arms, and at the same time try to slap them away with your gloves. This technique requires very good reflexes and a lot of practice to be able to correctly identify the trajectory of the incoming punch.
Bob And Weave
Bobbing involves quickly ducking beneath your opponent’s punch (bobbing your head) by bending the knees, moving laterally, and reemerging on either side of his still extended arm (weaving). This defensive maneuver not only helps in dodging a hit, but also puts you in a position of advantage, where you are better able to attack and land a punch or two on your opponent. Moving to the outside of an opponent’s arm is known as ‘bobbing to the outside’, while moving inside is known as ‘bobbing to the inside’.
Slipping is an advanced defensive maneuver that requires a lot of skill. In it, you wait till your opponent’s punch comes close, before sharply twisting your hips and shoulders to narrowly avoid getting hit. This action turns the chin sideways, thus allowing the punch to ‘slip’ past your head. The big advantage of this move is that, it catches your opponent completely off guard, as he is led to believe that he is going to make contact. He is focused on hitting you, and thus his defenses are down, giving you the opportunity of landing a hard punch.
There are many more offensive and defensive moves used by boxers, which have been developed from these basic moves. The key to mastering the art of boxing lies in extensive and regular practice. So, if you are motivated enough, and are ready to throw a jab… go punch!