Feinting in Boxing – The Ultimate Deception!

by Fran on August 24, 2010

An Introduction to Feinting in Boxing

Something a bit different in this post.  If you have been a regular visitor to this site, you will know that each of the skill articles posted has a structured format consisting of 3 broad areas:

  • About the skill
  • Mechanics of the skill
  • Common faults with the skill.

This article is going to follow a slightly different path, but I hope that it will be no less helpful and informative.  The video presented is a free-form presentation regarding the different types of feint that are used in boxing.  This is the type of chat that I would have with a boxer prior to setting drills and practice routines, but that’s not to say that we don’t follow a structure.

I couldn’t possible cover all of the intricacies of feinting in one video article, but I can start us on the road.  It’s a big area of learning that covers many varied methods so I’ll need to expand as we move forward.

In this video, I cover 3 main types of feint:

  • Feinting with a punch
  • Feinting with a body movement
  • Feinting with a foot attack.

If as a boxer you do not incorporate all the boxing techniques of feinting within your style, then your ability to unlock the defences of even moderately clever boxing opponents will be extremely limited.  Understand the concepts described in the video, and I will be expanding on these offerings in the coming months (especially within the boxing combination range of articles.)

Watch the video, then leave a comment with your thoughts, especially as this is a new type of offering.  If you think there’s something we can build on with this format of video, let me know!

Why not check out the Roberto Duran Boxing Style Analysis article for some great feinting.  Check out also slipping punches, ducking and the bob and weave to understand why these are effective methods of feinting as well as defensive boxing techniques.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan May 26, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Fran,
I recently purchased TBF…well done! It’s clear to see you have put a lot of thought and effort into this. I have researched boxing techniques and coaches all over the internet and I am sure you have the best set up out there!
This is great stuff Fran!
Thanks!
Dan

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Fran May 26, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Cheers Dan, that’s really kind of you to say mate.

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axel October 6, 2015 at 10:38 am

so simply explained and demonstrated…i’m just starting out and cant believe how much is involved…your vids are fantastic and well explained.

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Fran October 8, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Thanks Axel, very kind of you to comment.

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Marco Castaneda, DC August 2, 2015 at 9:52 am

Hi Fran, excellent info as usual! I think a point made by Master Dan Anderson might be worth mentioning – that opponents will usually only respond to the type of feint they’ve been TRAINED to. Eg, if you teach a boxer to look for shoulder movement as a “tell,” and his opponent moves his shoulder (body) before a (faked tech ie, a ‘feint’) then the feint WILL likely work against this boxer. However, if you feint with your feet and your opponent has not been trained to watch the distance line or feet as the precursor to the tech, then your opponent will NOT respond to your (‘foot/footwork’) feint. (He has not been trained to watch for it, hence will not respond to it.) This is why Master Anderson has his athletes work through a series of feints (body, tech, commitment, I believe it was in this order) to find that style his opponent will respond to. Your material is very clear and practical. Kudos from Knoxville, TN! 🙂

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Fran August 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Hi Marco

Thanks you for your kind compliments.

Master Dan Anderson’s view makes real sense. In years gone by I have tried to use feints in ‘street situations’ and to be fair they didn’t work at all – simply too subtle I guess and the ‘opponent’ had not been trained to expect that type of action.

Thanks, very enlightening contribution pal 🙂

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bruce March 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Great videos! I have ben searching for a place with good instructions on boxing. This is the best sight. I will be purchasing your boxing foundation dvds soon.

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Fran March 29, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Bruce, there’s tons of info and vids so there’s usually always an answer somewhere 🙂

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Susan March 23, 2015 at 12:00 am

Good stuff! Enjoying all the videos and great info-thanks Fran!

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Fran March 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

You are most welcome Susan. Thanks for the comment.

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Henry November 18, 2014 at 12:34 am

Thanks, this really helps.

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Fran November 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

You’re welcome Henry, thank you for the comment.

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Ramiro October 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm

In the last two weeks, I learned more than in the last two years.
Your explanations are great.
Thank you very much Fran.
Ramiro, from South America

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Fran October 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

That’s great Ramiro. Thank you for taking the time to write, I appreciate it 🙂

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josip September 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Hi Fran

Thank you very much for sending me videos, they helped me a lot to understand more about what boxing is all about . Keep up the good work .

I wish you all the best
Greetings from Croatia

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Fran September 12, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Thank you Josip, very nice of you to say and I’m glad that the videos help.

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Andy Maran August 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

Thanks Fran. Interestingly I just looked at a few videos on youtube of pros working the heavy bag and they don’t seem to feint first before hitting it. Well maybe they do but their feints are too subtle for an amateur like me to spot! Or maybe they don’t need to practice their feints as it’s so well ingrained into them.

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Andy Maran August 21, 2014 at 10:16 am

Great article Fran, and so well explained. I will be incorporating this into my training from now on. One thing that springs to mind though. When I’m practicing on the heavy bag should I be feinting before throwing a combo? Obviously not in order to fool the heavy bag! But rather to ingrain the feinting actions that would be used in a sparring session or fight? Thanks Fran.

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Fran August 25, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Andy, and yes, feint on the bag, feint in shadow, feint all of the time until it is second nature!

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Gary July 18, 2014 at 7:36 am

Hi Fran,I am new to boxing but after subscribing to your website I find your instruction to be phenomenal.I am just starting to learn the very basics of boxing,foot work,proper hand placement ,and punching.This concept of feinting immediately made me think of mike tyson,who I am a big fan of.Would I be correct that Tyson also uses feinting before he sets up an opponent before one of his power shots?

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Fran July 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Thanks very much Gary, that’s very kind of you. The basics will never fail you so stick with them. As for Tyson, feinting was an absolutely integral part of his game. It had to be so that he could effectively close the ground when in against men who had a far greater reach than him, which was pretty much everyone! Here’s a link to a Mike Tyson style analysis. Hope you find it helpful.

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Scott England July 10, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I thought I was signed up and I still receive daily e-mails from you, but now my ID is no longer valid.
Any help?
Thanks
Scott

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Fran July 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Hey Scott

The ‘ID’ is for those that have become Boxing Training Foundation members. You are on my list so I’ll still be able to let you know about new stuff.

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Anonymous June 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

fient is pretty good for body shots fake the hooks
then smash the body fient the body then smash the heads fient the jab throwt the upper cutt fient the head bloke when they go down for the body upper cutt them….

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Christopher Mathhews April 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Great video on feinting, I’m not a competitive boxer but for years now I have been trying to learn as many techniques as I can, I love the art of boxing.

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Fran April 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Christopher. SOunds like you have ‘the bug’ for the sport 🙂

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Marko April 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Like always the best advices . Still workin on my stance and a jab and getin in and out . But this feinting is awesome. Thanks Fran.
Kind regards from Montenegro

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Fran April 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Thanks Marko, hope your training is going well.

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Ivan February 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Plain great material, keep up the good work Fran! Greetings from Serbia.

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Fran February 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Thank you Ivan, great comment. Glad you took the time.

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Ikram February 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Are you a scouser??

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Fran February 10, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I am Ikram, are you 🙂

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Matthew Adams July 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

Very nice I will be practising this alot with my shadow boxing and speed drills as this is where I feel im lacking. Got the right Ideas just need to practice and flow. Cheers

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Fran July 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Matthew, glad it helps.

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Mike March 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Hey Fran, just found you while browsing for some footwork tips online. After subscribing and I think your videos are very informative but also very easy to follow and understand. Fair play, keep up the good work 🙂

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Fran March 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Thanks alot Mike, and sorry for the delay in replying.”Fair play”, would you be a good Irishman by any chance?

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Paul Smith December 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Niiiice!

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predrag November 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

tank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ivan November 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I agree that feinting is a skill that should be practiced just like the other techniques. Unlike the other techniques, there is no single correct way to feint, all bluffs are called sooner or later. Variety and creativity are necessary in deception. I’ve seen greats like Ali and Sugar Ray deliberately telegraph a punch and then land it with ease, simply because their opponents did not expect them to telegraph and took it as a feint. Frazer would very often stalk his mark, load up with the notorious left hook and then throw….the left hook – no one is surprised except the opponent who thought it was just another feint. Not feinting between feints could be mean and misleading.

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Fran November 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Absolutely on the money Ivan as usual. We can feint in any number of ways. One way that I particularly like is to throw the shot slowly, delaying it’s arrival. Mixed in with full speed shots this is super effective, as you rightly point out with the Ali and Leonard example. Another variant is what people call the ‘screw shot’, which is in actual fact a feint to the body with the shot being brought to the head. Experimentation is the key Ivan. Something that I try to convey to my boxers is that if you aren’t punching, you should be feinting, and if you aren’t feinting then you should be punching. It’s a pressure business!

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ronnie miller February 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Fran,
Misssissippi here. As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve started training boxers after a long siesta. One of the issues I am finding is that the kids want to learn MMA as well and somewhat brush off boxing as only one part of what they want to learn. I’m trying to convince them that standup is important to learn first.

My question is: Do you find some contradictions in some MMA techniques vs boxing? For example, most MMA fighters don’t tuck the elbows in so they can do a push down when they spreak when the opponent goes for a front leg take-down. Also, when working in-close, the use of the elbows in MMA creates obvious differences.

Are you doing any MMA standup training and if so what is your approach?

Ronnie in Mississippi

Hi ya’ll

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Fran February 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Hey Ronnie, good to hear from our man in Mississippi again! I don’t coach MMA, but have done a little thinking on it. I’m with you, we are boxing coaches so my primary focus will always be boxing. However, I’ve found out a couple of things and one in particular relating to the elbows/arm placement. Having watched a few MMA fights, and I don’t mean this to sound derogatory, but effective body punching is not something that I notice too much. As you know, in boxing, body shots form a critical part of the game, so effectively defending against body shots is equally as critical. You rightly point out that there are good reasons for an MMA fighter to hold the arms where they hold them, but in boxing it would be a massive vulnerability as the body would be left wide open. Something else I notice is the willingness to lean forward when throwing shots. This is something I would never coach, but in MMA there is logic in doing this in that the guy can more easily defend against low level take-downs. You may be interested in this thread on the basics of the jab that I was involved in recently with a top guy called Jeff Joslin and some other good contributors, well worth checking out.

Hope this Helps Ron, take it easy mate!

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svenjamin August 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I’m back from being distracted by women for the last few weeks. I see you have kept busy with the posts, but not with making that accent any more intelligible. (wink wink)

The rest of this comment is about the “feinting with punches”
I didn’t really appreciate feinting until I started thinking in terms of “threat” as a general strategic principle (from chess to video games!)to create opportunities by drawing predictable reactions. And to use threats (like feints) to draw a reaction from an opponent, you must first establish a threat for them to be afraid of! So the first step to successful feinting with punches is, I believe…develop a vicious jab!

Secondly: feinting in the middle of a combination is even more effective than opening a combo with a feint, but I don’t see many people doing this. It’s much easier to sell a feint when their attention is focused on evading very real shots.

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Fran August 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Good to have you back! Yes indeed, women can be known to be distracting at the best of times. Welcome back from the dark side! (I’m gonna ignore the accent comment!!! ;-))

Feinting is a rich and varied area of discussion. I agree, the feint of the jab is probably the most commonly used feint and it is more effective after the opponent has already received a sample of the jab itself. Another area where we’ll cover some great feinting is during infighting, where an opponent almost ‘feels’ the shots coming by how your weight is distributed during the short range exchanges. I think that this is not unlike some types of martial arts, in particular Wing Chun. This is all stuff we can cover in the coming months.

Take it easy

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