Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leaning into Punches to Increase Reach

I did some boxing training today. I've been avoiding grappling and ground work to let my injured hip flexor heal. The boxer that was training me is a shorter fellow, only 5'6", but he's pretty well built and therefore heavier. As a result, he fights in the super middle weight category. This means he often ends up fighting people significantly taller than himself. With this in mind, he has been helping me increase my range, which would be useful for minimizing the reach advantage taller people have, as well as giving myself a reach advantage over people my own height.

The trick is, when you're doing jabs and crosses, to lean in slightly at the hips, while simultaneously taking a slight shuffle forward with the front foot. The lean creates extra reach and the footwork keeps my balanced centred. It's a little hard to describe, but it works.

At first, it seemed unnatural, but once I got the hang of it, I found it gave me a significant increase in reach. I'm actually quite looking forward to sparring with it and trying it out.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the lean when punching should be something practised by all. The only problem I would have against it is that it takes longer to resume a safe fighting position ready to defend possible counters after the punch. It may be wiser to sometimes wait, and gain a good distance to strike without having to lean. But like I said, it should be practised and used sparingly.

Lori O'Connell said...

I would have thought the same thing too coming from a martial arts background. But then the boxer showing this to me has a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo and is well-versed in balance/ defense compromise and recovery. He showed me how to do it without sacrificing defense. And he was right, it doesn't have to sacrifice defense. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those things that defies description. When it is described as a "lean", it make me imagine that the recovery from the punch would be slower. But because of a combination of way the lean is performed and the footwork, you're still able to defend. Sorry, I wish I could explain it better than that. It is quite a cool trick.

Lori O'Connell said...

Oh, and the other thing is, you only use it when you when you need to to make the shot. Obviously, if the person is already within range, extending your reach further than is necessary actually takes the power out of the punch. Thought I should mention that if it wasn't obvious.