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  • Writer's pictureSean Spencer

The Importance of the Fundamentals in Boxing

I am what some people in the sport of boxing refer to as a "Fundamentalist." My style of fighting and coaching rely heavily on the basic techniques and in my opinion everything comes down to one principle: How and when to use the fundamentals. The basics include stance, punches, blocking, head movement, and foot maneuvers, although I know that some coaches have different ideas of what constitutes these fundamentals. Specific techniques may vary slightly depending on the instructor.

More often than not, a combination of these techniques are used simultaneously (or one immediately after another), especially considering the fact that a competitor constantly has to be mindful of both offense and defense. There is a lot to consider and pay attention to, even when executing only one technique. In my coaching experience, students tend to forget even the most simple principles as they start to incorporate multiple techniques together and use them in rapid succession. That being said, anyone who is first getting into boxing or any other combat sport needs to work hard in the beginning stages in order to develop correct form and avoid bad habits which will become hard to break in the future.

Two of our competitors demonstrate good fundamental defense as they keep their hands up

There is no need to get into too many specifics in just one article but we will look at one example and cover a couple of the important concepts of one of the punches I teach everyone on their first day, which is the jab. This is arguable the most important punch in the sport of boxing as it can be used for a variety of applications against all types of opponents one may face. Let's take a look at Coach George as he throws the punch in two different ways. One picture shows incorrect technique while the other shows the correct way. The subtle difference is easy to see but not everyone will understand the importance of why only one of the pictures is fundamentally correct. Can you guess which picture is more accurate?

If you chose the second picture you were correct. In the first example George dropped his right hand below his chin, which, although a subtle mistake, can be devastating when fighting an opponent. Looking at the second, and more accurately thrown jab, George does a much better job keeping his right hand exactly where it should be.

What I like to tell all my students is "Whatever hand you are not using to punch you are defending yourself with." In this case, while throwing the jab, it is essential to keep your rear hand on your cheek to prevent being hit by a potential left hook. This same principle can be applied to any other punch thrown by either the left or the right hand. As i said before, many of my students start to perform incorrect technique once they begin incorporating multiple punches and other maneuvers together. For some reason, when throwing a jab (this is just one suitable example) many people focus their entire attention on the punch being thrown, and lose focus on all other important aspects of their form. When properly executing any technique the entire body works in unison; this includes both hands, head positioning, shoulder positioning, weight distribution and foot placement.

One of my main goals as a coach is to not only provide quality training for all those who want to learn, but also to ensure that everyone develops in the correct way. Even when these athletes start learning more complicated and advanced techniques and strategies, it always goes back to the basics.

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