May 3, 2007

BOXING - Punches Technique

There are four basic punches in boxing: the Jab, Cross, Hook and Uppercut. If a boxer is right-handed, his left hand is the lead hand, his right hand is the rear hand. The following techniques apply to a right-handed boxer. A right-handed boxer's handedness is commonly described as orthodox. A left-handed boxer is called an unorthodox boxer or a Southpaw.

Jab - A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand from the guard position. The jab is accompanied by a small, clockwise rotation of the torso and hips, while the fist rotates 90 degrees, becoming horizontal upon impact. As the punch reaches full extension, the lead shoulder is brought up to guard the chin. The rear hand remains next to the face to guard the jaw. After making contact with the target, the lead hand is retracted quickly to resume a guard position in front of the face. The jab is the most important punch in a boxer's arsenal because it provides a fair amount of its own cover and it leaves the least amount of space for a counterpunch from the opponent. It has the longest reach of any punch and does not require commitment or large weight transfers. Due to its relatively weak power, the jab is often used as a tool to gauge distances, probe an opponent's defenses, harass an opponent, and set up heavier, more powerful punches. A half-step may be added, moving the entire body into the punch, for additional power.

Cross - A powerful straight punch thrown with the rear hand. From the guard position, the rear hand is thrown from the chin, crossing the body and traveling towards the target in a straight line. The rear shoulder is thrust forward and finishes just touching the outside of the chin. At the same time, the lead hand is retracted and tucked against the face to protect the inside of the chin. For additional power, the torso and hips are rotated counter-clockwise as the cross is thrown. Weight is also transferred from the rear foot to the lead foot, resulting in the rear heel turning outwards as it acts as a fulcrum for the transfer of weight. Body rotation and the sudden weight transfer is what gives the cross its power. Like the jab, a half-step forward may be added. After the cross is thrown, the hand is retracted quickly and the guard position resumed. It can be used to counterpunch a jab, aiming for the opponent's head (or a counter to a cross aimed at the body) or to set up a hook. The cross can also follow a jab, creating the classic "one-two combo." The cross is also called a "straight" or "right."

Hook - A semi-circular punch thrown with the lead hand to the side of the opponent's head. From the guard position, the elbow is drawn back with a horizontal fist (knuckles pointing forward) and the elbow bent. The rear hand is tucked firmly against the jaw to protect the chin. The torso and hips are rotated clockwise, propelling the fist through a tight, clockwise arc across the front of the body and connecting with the target. At the same time, the lead foot pivots clockwise, turning the left heel outwards. Upon contact, the hook's circular path ends abruptly and the lead hand is pulled quickly back into the guard position. A hook may also target the lower body (the classic Irish/Mexican hook to the liver) and this technique is sometimes called the "rip" to distinguish it from the conventional hook to the head. The hook may also be thrown with the rear hand.

Uppercut - A vertical, rising punch thrown with the rear hand. From the guard position, the torso shifts slightly to the right, the rear hand drops below the level of the opponent's chest and the knees are bent slightly. From this position, the rear hand is thrust upwards in a rising arc towards the opponent's chin or torso. At the same time, the knees push upwards quickly and the torso and hips rotate anti-clockwise and the rear heel turns outward, mimicking the body movement of the cross. The strategic utility of the uppercut depends on its ability to "lift" the opponent's body, setting it off-balance for successive attacks. The right uppercut followed by a left hook is a deadly combination.

These different punching types can be combined to form 'combos', like a jab and cross combo. Nicknamed the "one-two combo", it is a very effective combination because the jab blinds the opponent and the cross is powerful enough to knock the opponent out.

A large, swinging circular punch starting from a cocked-back position with the arm at a longer extension than the hook and all of the fighter's weight behind it is sometimes referred to as a "roundhouse" or "haymaker" punch. Relying on body weight and centrifugal force within a wide arc, the roundhouse can deliver a great deal of power. It is usually, however, thrown as a wild and uncontrolled punch that leaves the fighter delivering it in a poor position, usually off balance and with an open guard, as well as being slow and "telegraphed", giving the opponent warning and time to react. For this reason, it is not considered a conventional punch and is a mark of poor technique or deseparation. Another unusual punch is the "bolo punch", in which the opponent swings an arm out several times in a wide arc, usually as a distraction, before delivering with either that or the other arm.


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