About the Boxing Stance
There is a very good reason why the very first ‘skill’ article that I post is about the boxing stance and on-guard position. If we don’t get the basics of the stance and on-guard right, then any boxing skill that we try to learn will not be as good as it can be.
The need for balance, mobility and a sound body shape in boxing cannot be emphasised enough. If you understand the boxing stance, and understand why it is so important, then you will be able to more easily develop the footwork, punches and defensive actions necessary to constitute an effective boxing style.
There are two types of boxing stance; orthodox and southpaw. An orthodox boxer is someone who is naturally right-handed and holds the left hand and left leg in front, closer to the opponent. Conversely, a southpaw boxer is someone who is naturally left-handed and leads with the right hand and right leg. If you are a beginner, don’t get caught up in the notion that it feels more comfortable as a right-hander using the southpaw boxing stance. As a rule of thumb, if you’re right-handed you are orthodox, if you’re left-handed you’re southpaw.
Here’s the boxing training video, then check out the mechanics and common faults below:
The Mechanics of the Boxing Stance
In order to reinforce the points made on the video I’ll outline them here:
- The feet should be a little more than shoulder width apart, with the front foot being at an angle of 45 degrees to the imaginary line drawn from the toe on the front foot to the heel on the back foot (the line is not so imaginary on the video, but you get the point). By ensuring that the feet are slightly offset and a comfortable distance apart, you provide the best possible base upon which to develop the full boxing stance.
- Remain on the balls of both feet. Never allow the back foot to go flat, otherwise you’ll have the mobility of an anvil. Ensure the knees are bent slightly and relaxed, again maximising the ability to be mobile;
- As an orthodox boxer, the right shoulder and left shoulder should align to point in the general direction of the opponent. This minimises the target area to the opponent and also offers more leverage when throwing punches.
- Bring the hands up to cheek level, turning the palms of the hands very slightly toward you. This will have the effect of drawing your elbows in to provide protection for your body. Make a fist with your hands, but don’t ‘clench’ that fist, stay relaxed.
- Rest your chin on your chest, without tensing up. Effectively, you look ‘through’ the eyebrows. By doing this, your chin will remain as well protected as it can be (punches on the chin often have a very undesirable effect!)
- Ensure that your body weight remains central or on the back leg. Don’t fall into the habit of allowing your bodyweight to ‘lean’ onto your front leg. A simple way to nail this is to not allow your nose to go past the line of your front knee.
Common Faults with the Boxing Stance
Common faults with the boxing stance include:
- Turning the shoulders ‘square on’, thereby offering the opponent a much greater target to hit.
- Losing the imaginary line from the toe on the front foot to the heel on the back foot, thereby messing up your balance.
- Going flat-footed, thereby messing up your ability to be mobile.
- Allowing your chin to raise above the height of the raised hands, thereby increasing the chances of being smacked in the mouth.
- Allowing your body weight to transfer onto your front leg, thereby being “front-heavy” and vulnerable to attack.
And there you have it. Every other boxing training video that I post will be demonstrated from the static boxing stance. It will become second nature to you as a boxer. I will work in the orthodox position, but this can be easily transposed to the southpaw stance (to those southpaws out there, statistically about 1 in 10 of you, please don’t take offence! I appreciate the wondrous mysteries of all things southpaw and fully intend to cater for you guys within this site…if you know how to use what you’ve got, you’ll give us orthodox types all the trouble we need!!)
A final tip, it is crucial that you examine your stance with the aid of a mirror (full length if possible). The mirror is not to admire your fine muscle tone or questionable hairstyle, more to offer a window into what your opponent may see. Understand the feeling of holding your stance whilst ensuring that no ‘faults’ are creeping in.
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