Boxing is like any other skill set, in order to learn how to execute it properly you need a good understanding of it’s fundamental principles. Most people when they look at boxing see a fighter with an incredible physique. The majority of our attention is drawn to that washboard like midsection, broad shoulders and arms that hit like hammers. We see fast moving hands delivering those powerful punches in rapid succession. To the untrained eye it would seem like boxing is a sport, activity or exercise that is dominated by upper body strength and movement.
What most people don’t understand is how important the legs are to boxing. Sure many a boxing enthusiast has seen a fighter with fancy footwork and noticed his ability to not get hit by using his feet. In Muhammad Ali’s prime his footwork and leg speed is one of the things that set him apart from all the rest. Then in the 80’s we saw one of the most vicious and exciting fighters of all time Mike Tyson come into his own greatness. Well one of things that both Ali, and Iron Mike had in common was a firm foundation. Although both used different styles, and Ali known for his ‘prettiness’ when fighting and Tyson known for his viciousness when fighting, both fighters had extremely strong legs. Their legs were the foundation for their speed, agility, power and defense.
In any dedicated boxing program a coach or trainer will not only teach you how to stand properly but how to use your footwork to establish:
- Stability, Balance, & Movement
- Punching Mechanics
- Offensive and Defensive Principles.
For the fitness enthusiast who wishes to learn boxing purely as means of getting in shape, learning the proper stance and footwork fundamentals will enhance your exercise experience in boxing. The more your legs work, the harder your heart works.
Learning how to skip rope rather than jump rope will help you become lighter on your feet and teach you how to begin to move rhythmically while developing cardio vascular conditioning. Although this sounds quite easy reading it, executing proper footwork is one of the main fundamental principles that is easier said than done. Look at it like this, imagine building a house without a firm foundation and building it on unstable land. How safe would you feel in that house? Probably not so safe especially when Mother Nature pays you a visit in one of her various forms. I see boxing in a similar fashion, plus I follow the school of thought that emphasizes teaching the basic fundamentals over fancier movements.
Most people who want to get in shape through boxing may not think it’s important to have good technique and pay so much attention to their stance and footwork. In all honesty they just want to come to a gym and hit a heavy bag to release stress. There is nothing wrong with that but it could lead to injury and it will for sure lead people to throwing bad punches just in favor of throwing lots of them for the cardio vascular benefits of the exercise. I will get into the basic punches in my next post, but for now just remember this, build a strong foundation in your exercise program. Be it for fighting, fitness or fun, strong legs and proper footwork will take your boxing training to the next level.
Yours Truly - Coach Djinji Brown