Boxing Journey

Discussion in 'Training Logs' started by Ero-Sennin, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Although I have a thread in this forum section containing my current training, I have been wanting to write down my experiences as far as learning how to box and how to teach boxing (my ambition is not just to learn fighting, but to teach it to others, I hope to make it a profession so I tend to be pretty attentive to how things are taught and the best methods to teach them). This sort of content does not seem to have a place in my current training log as I am using it as an actual data sheet now to track what I'm doing and when to up the intensity/duration, and the sort of content I wish to put here would not only clutter up that thread but be a bit off subject to it as well.

    So for this thread, I just want to write things I've learned between how to box myself, experiences I've had showing other people technique, and just the sport of boxing in general. It will all be my own perspective on things and I do not claim that anything contained here is a say all, end all method of training or thought. I also encourage anyone who decides to read anything in here (especially if you are an experienced boxer) to put their input in as well. I do help out new guys in the gym and make it a point to, and if something I put down that I use for training myself or others throws up a red flag to you I would appreciate you saying something (it's not fun to be wrong and show others a wrong way of doing things, only to find out about a better way later).

    All that said, intro post finished.
  2. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Setting Up A Punch

    Setting Up A Punch

    Today I ended up sparring about 10 rounds between 3 different people. All of their experience levels were different and I would say with confidence that I could beat them all in a boxing match. One of them has some skill but was extremely out of shape, another was in extremely good shape but lacked the power necessary to do damage as well as equalling my own skill level, and the other is about three months into learning how to box and not with any real conviction.

    Because of this, we sparred extremely light in punches to the head, but medium to intense with body shots. What resulted in this was extremely good defense against body shots and almost none to head shots. I tried to implement more jabs to the head to discourage this habit and even tapped people with hooks or crosses to let them know they were open, but treating the sparring like it was a legitimate and intense sparring session where strikes to your head help define your defensive tactics just wasn't going to happen. Hell, I was even defending my body too much sometimes. What ended up happening in the long run though was me feeling like I was taking too many body shots compared to what I should have been dealing out.

    So this got me thinking about why I couldn't land more body shots even though I knew I was more skilled. I still got them in, just not the amount I thought I should. Then I started thinking about other sparring matches I've had with people more skilled then me, or at my level and during more intense sessions. I remember being able to get a lot more body shots in and it caused me to think even more why I couldn't land more body shots during sparring.

    Basically, the conclusion I came to was obvious. If people know they are going to get hit in the body, they're going to defend their body. If they know it's coming at their head, their head will be defended more. Duh right? This is why I had more success with body shots, or head shots even in an intense sparring match vs. one with known restrictions. You can always take something from sparring though and the former conclusion is not what I feel is the lesson but rather a further understanding of how to set up a punch to land.

    When you're sparring intensely, it's normal take a defensive posture that will protect your head more. I would put the rations of defense for boxing to protect your head more then your body, and if you put it into a percentage I would say something like 70% guarding your head, 30% guarding your body as far as body and arm positioning. How you move your body and arms during an exchange of punches obviously changes those percentages, but making your opponent change what he thinks he has to guard is one of the main ways you get your punches to land.

    So back to sparring today. After a few rounds I started working some different feints and making use of the hand turnover speed I've been working on. One point during sparring that I remember clearly was noticing my sparring partner (southpaw) covering his lead side rips and belly with his lead arm. How the heck could I get a good punch in? So I started throwing lead straights to his chest which caused him to raise his lead arm to parry/block. So I feinted a lead straight, flipped my hand around to an uppercut and landed a beautiful shot to his lead side serratus while my sparring partner raised his arm to block the straight he thought was coming, enough to get a grunt on impact even. To be honest, it was like trying to punch a fleas anal sphincter while it was jumping 2 inches laterally between two couch cushions. It's not easy to land a clean body shot when the body is guarded at 100%.

    My conclusion for this whole thing has been a further understanding of "finding an opening." Two to the head, unload on the body. Flurry to the body, come up to the head. Make them put their defense where you want it, then hit the area they aren't defending. It all has a deeper meaning to me now. It seems simple, but having the ability and understanding to do it is entirely different as well as knowing what is being defended and what is not being defended when your opponent's body is in a certain position. I also gained a different respect for sparring sessions in which you just go hard to the body. Sure, it may not be realistic as far as competition or a real sparring session goes, but it definitely works the mind in being able to process, determine action, and eventually set up a punch that lands in a much more strict and harder to succeed environment. Looking forward to doing some legit sparring and trying a few more things out to add to the tool box because of this.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  3. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    Keep at it, makes a good read. :)
  4. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sparring Intensity

    Sparring Intensity

    I'm a firm believer that if you want to learn how to perform in combat sports, you have spar. It's as simple as that. Hitting the bag or shadow boxing, jumping rope or building endurance and accuracy with a double end or speed bag only helps to refine the skills you apply against an opponent and from my experience you don't even grasp what you're practicing on those training tools until you've actually been in the ring and applied them. You can't get around it. Learning offensive/defensive tactics, distancing, footwork, awareness of how to use the ring . . . . all these things just need to be learned in sparring.

    Sparring often brings a lot of anxiety for people though, especially in beginners. Actually fighting is associated with getting hurt, being knocked down or out, and crushing egos and pride. It's understandable that many people don't want to do it and are content with looking real pretty on the speed bag or jumping rope, or yelling their war grunts with every punch on the heavy bag (I hate that with a passion, all that loud grunting).

    My first experience with sparring in boxing ended up being pretty good. The trainer put me against a female who is very skilled in boxing and could handle the swinging gorilla that I was at the time, but didn't have the power to completely crush my soul. I describe the experience in this thread:

    I have changed drastically in how I box since that time. In fact I would say I would completely destroy my past self within 1 round of intense sparring. That's good though because that's how stuff is supposed to work, and my skill level now comes from all the sparring I've done since that time. It didn't come from bag work, double end bag work, skipping rope or any other boxing routine. This is why I always am willing to jump in with anyone sparring, especially the newer guys so actual boxing skill is learned which leads me into how I break down sparring into different intensity levels and why they are important. You can't always bang with full intensity and these are the things I tend to discuss with people who are looking to increase their boxing skill.

    Light Sparring

    With light sparring there will be no shame brought upon you.

    This kind of sparring I believe is absolutely necessary to help build confidence and understanding of footwork and distancing in beginners and refinement in more experienced people. Footwork and distancing are extremely important in boxing and if you're worrying about catching a cross to your face or a brutal hook to the jaw . . . you're just not going to focus on the things you should be focusing on, especially if what you should be focusing on lack actually hitting your opponent in a way that you hope causes them to back off. This type of sparring I believe is absolutely necessary for beginners and should consist of the bulk of their sparring in the first month, and should be implemented for more experienced people during lighter training days.

    Medium Intensity Sparring

    You may get knocked down or rocked, but you're certainly not going to have somebody follow up with consecutive punches to completely humiliate you with this kind of sparring.

    Medium Intensity Sparring brings an element to sparring that changes up everything you should focus on, actually getting hit with a little bit of force. The only time I have ever run into getting hit hard with this kind of sparring is if somebody is throwing a punch at me while I'm moving in on them, and you can't blame somebody for hitting you hard during medium intensity sparring if you were too stupid to defend while moving in and ran into their punch.

    When you add "getting hit" into the equation you have to start learning or refining different skills then distancing and footwork. You start implementing parrying, blocking, and different techniques or maneuvers to land your own punches on your sparring partner. It also puts an emphasis on working on head movement and defensive footwork to avoid being hit. This is probably the majority of the kind of sparring that is most beneficial to refine your skills at any level.

    High Intensity Sparring

    It's on like Donkey Kong. Prepare for shame.

    High Intensity Sparring is not the place to work on and refine your skill set. It is the time to apply your skill set. I believe that the learning aspect of sparring is very small at this intensity level. This is when you learn to deal with being hit hard, what to do during fatigue, and how much more conditioning you need to do in order to be able to perform at your highest skill level in the ring. Unless you want to compete or are a hardcore hobbyist, this isn't an intensity level I believe you should engage in often. It's simply not necessary. This level of sparring is where being hit, knocked down, knocked out, or becoming so tired you become a punching bag becomes a reality. This is the kind of sparring new people think about when they first spar and their level of anxiety can be seen in their short breathing, reclusive behavior, and clammy skin while they wait in the corner for the bell to ring. However it is absolutely necessary to do at higher levels looking to compete.


    These are what I believe to be the very basics of sparring, what to keep in mind when you approach sparring, and how to describe sparring to beginners to help alleviate some of the anxiety sparring brings with it. This explanation does not cover sparring drills or sparring handicaps/set conditions, nor the attitude any particular boxing gym has towards sparring.
  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I'm intrigued at your use of the words "shame" and "humiliation".

    This is something I've never experienced in sparring, or training at all.

    Is this alien to me because I've not trained in a competitive sport? Or because I don't have a competitive personality?

    On intensity of sparring, I feel that an important aspect is to work around what I'll call the "panic cusp". To whittle away at your flinch reflex, and increase the level of intensity at which you become flummoxed. Until you've worked on this for a while I feel there is little point doing much harder sparring, as bad habits will be reinforced, not reduced.

    Great posts BTW, you write well and I'll be following these.
  6. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    I actually started out doing martial arts with Issinryu Karate and it was set up in a very TMA way. When it came to sparring there was more of a fear of being hurt then a "shame/humiliation" factor to it. I moved on to a MMA that was a lot more focused on grappling and BJJ then striking and the sparring environment was pretty good and I started to notice during drills where people are watching others that some wouldn't take part (most often the ones that weren't very good). I see the same thing at the boxing gym I go to now. There is only 1 ring and people who know they aren't very good don't like to get in and spar with everyone watching.

    Watching people fight is a good learning tool and every combat sport related martial arts gym I've been to often does drills or sparring where other people watch to learn from it. Between knowing what it's like to be put on the spot and the anxiety that brings for wanting to perform well, my conclusion is a lot of beginners don't want to spar in the gym because in a way it becomes a sort of spectacle for observation. The fact that a lot of the sparring goes on during times where most people go to the gym produces an environment where if you're too scared to perform in front of other people and be possibly left shamed or humiliated keeps a lot of guys from hopping up in the ring. Heck, I experienced this myself and still do against better sparring partners but the need to get better is what usually pushes me in there.

    I would say this sort of environment is more associated with combat sports then TMA's based on my own experience and it's a shame really. I take advantage of people a lot when there are just a few guys training and will often ask if they want to get some work in the ring. With new guys I usually have to talk them into it, explaining most of what my post on sparring intensity is to them. Most of the time it works and strict explanation of what is going to happen in the ring is extremely helpful in getting guys in there. I've done sparring sessions with guys where I didn't even throw a punch until the 3rd or 4th round. You would be surprised how much just rushing in to clinch can scare somebody who's not used to sparring, much less an actual punch. I've had good experiences getting people to spar, and a few of them have progressed tremendously and have started sparring during class times where a lot of people watch. A few of them even want to compete now which makes me happy because I need more sparring partners to prepare me to compete!

    What you call the "panic cusp" is extremely important to reduce. A lot of fatigue is brought on from being way too tense and moving way too much to avoid just a jab. Relaxation is definitely a major factor in preventing fatigue during sparring/fighting, especially when you actually start getting hit.
  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio


    I get the being nervous, apprehensive or self-conscious, but being dominated in sparring is when I feel people have the most opportunity to learn. I don't get the shame aspect, but anyway...

    From your wtitings here it sounds like you'll make a good teacher.
  8. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jumping Rope

    Jumping Rope

    Jumping rope is one of those classic Boxing exercises. It's a beautiful tool to help develop endurance, footwork, get you light on your feet, and it's one of the most craptastically boring exercises known to man if you ask my opinion about it. However, it is necessary to learn and do.

    Recently I've been working on rope jumping tricks. You know, those cool things like crossing your arms, whipping the rope to either side, double jumps, little things to help take of the edge of an exercise that can feel like reading a scholarly textbook on the usage of the word Ye' in old English literature or something. My only interest in jumping rope is building calf endurance and getting lighter on my feet. The only reason I'm learning all the little tricks is simply because it's a mark of competent boxers and it makes a rope jumping routine more tolerable. If you go watch some of the rope routines of some of the greats, or just a pro fighter you see rope jumping and all the tricks, and I'm willing to bet they like jumping rope for hours on end a week as much as I do.

    That said, whether it's just learning to jump rope, or learning the tricks once you got a handle on skipping there has been once constant I've found to get proficient at it. I've been able to skip (meaning able to bounce from one foot to the other for a prolonged period of time without whipping myself or getting my feet caught in the rope) for about 6 years now. The skill has never been lost to me, no matter how long I've gone without touching a jump rope. I remember how I got there though; constant practice, frustration, and hate. That's really all it takes, the picking up and jumping rope part. You first pick up the rope and start your journey of frustration and woe until you figure out you don't have to jump 10 feet in the air to hop over a 5cm thick rope, then you start alternating feet . . . . it sounds so simple. All it takes is the will to succeed and DOING it.

    The same can be said for all the tricks too. I've been working them for 3 weeks now and increasing round time every other week. I started with 5x3 min and am now at 5x5 min. My main scheme has been to pick a trick like crossing the arms, and pyramid from 10 regular hops, 1 cross arm hop, 9 regular hops, 1 cross hop all the way down to 1 regular hop to a cross and back up the pyramid scheme. I've found that this helps you prepare mentally for the challenging task of crossing your arms that should really be simple, and then work your way slowly to being able to do the maneuver without thinking a lot quicker. I do the same scheme for double jumps, whipping the rope to the side, and my best trick, a cross arm hop, whip to both sides and jumping into a double jump. Fancy. The constant in learning though has been simply DOING it.

    I see a lot of guys pick up the jump rope and quit after a round or two because it's so frustrating and it makes me laugh because I know the pain they are going through trying to learn the exercise. Although I wouldn't put myself as an expert rope jumper or anything near, I know I have some skill in it which I'm continuing to develop. The only thing I have to say to anyone learning the skill is to keep with it, learn how to relax and shut your mind down, and figure out some sort of number counting scheme to help ease the pain of all those minutes and frustration you'll experience learning how to skip rope or do those fancy tricks. There aren't any crazy mechanics or techniques involved with it, it's just one of those simple, "it works" exercises that makes you feel like smacking a baby with the lollipop you just took out of its mouth.

    My favorite thing to do after a rope skipping routine . . . . throw the rope across the room :cool:
  9. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jump Rope Innovation

    Jump Rope Innovation

    I've been increasing my rope skipping quite a bit the last three weeks. Started off doing 5x3 min rnds and am now up to 5x5 min rnds and a lot of the focus has been on doing tricks and keeping a consistent, fast pace. I had to throw away a "competition" wire jump rope I had because it got kinked and was a little too short to do crossovers without changing how I jumped through the rope, and the wire was a bit too light. The boxing gym I go to has a ton of jump ropes but mostly the crappy quality you find at sports retail stores but I did find a pretty red one made from Rival Boxing. My joy was short lived, after 3 sessions of doing 5x5 min. rounds the weird, plastic tube stuff snapped at the handle. So on one of my rest days I'm looking for jump ropes because I like to have a nice rope and I came across something that made me realize I've been doing the wrong thing as far as rope skipping and there is a far easier way to learn the skills involved . . . . . .

    [ame=""]Another useless invention, JumpSnap, the ropeless jump rope - YouTube[/ame]

    All jokes aside, looking at different jump ropes is actually turning out to be a daunting task. I'm currently interested in the SR-1 rope from Rogue Fitness where there are a lot of reviews about how it makes doing double jumps a lot easier. I can do double jumps no problem, but I'm left wondering if I will be missing out on some sort of training value if I get a rope that makes doing certain things easier rather then having to really focus on doing things perfectly to execute a crossover, double under or any other number of rope skipping techniques. Less snags and screw ups because the rope is a good weight and moves the way it's supposed to sounds great, but should you be able to pick up any jump rope and skip with ease? Is the benefit of skipping in the focus you have to have with a double under with a crappy rope, or in the short, mildly more explosive skip and handle turn?

    Regardless I think I'm going to purchase the SR-1. No sense in not buying a good rope when I already have access to about a thousand crappy ones. Maybe the wire in this one won't get stuck between my toes when I'm wearing my toe shoes . . . . (pffft, who am I kidding?).
  10. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Heavy Bag Work

    Heavy Bag Work

    I don't think anything is more heavily associated with Boxing then hitting the heavy bag. I think people are more inclined to think of hitting a heavy bag when they think of Boxing before think about actual Boxing (that thing in the ring where two guys try to hit each other) to be honest. But what exactly gets done during heavy bag training? Go to any Boxing gym, or any gym with one, and you will usually see somebody wailing away on the darn thing, but what exactly are they doing?

    The first step in implementing heavy bag training actually isn't using the heavy bag at all. First you have to learn the correct technique to the basic six: jab, cross, lead and power hook, lead and power uppercut. Once you can get those down without hitting anything you're at the point in which you're truly ready to make some use of the heavy bag. So you do. You learn hitting something (the heavy bag) drastically changes what it feels to throw correct technique in the basic six, and how to work the technique to generate power and speed (and wait until you see how useless the bag seems when you start sparring with a moving opponent!). Heavy bag training for the basic six is basically just building muscle memory. You will honestly throw about 1,000 of each of the basic 6 until you start throwing some decent punches and have somewhat a grasp on the technique of each one. At this stage, building muscle memory is the biggest key to continued success.

    So what happens once you have the basic six down? Are you forever caught in a limbo of 6 moves to practice, making heavy bag work as monotonous as skipping rope and less interesting then seeing how many tiles you can count on the ceiling in a SuperWalmart? Well, in my opinion it's time to start sparring; preferably with somebody much more experienced who can easily avoid your attack and will allow you go at an intense pace while not cleaning your whistle. Woe and behold how sorry your boxing skill really is! If you do this, you find out real quick like that you can't just throw any of those basic six and land a punch, and it's a lot harder to even throw a punch with somebody trying to hit you too. But by doing this, the doors do open. Explanations about distancing, footwork, parrying, and a plethora of Boxing discussion on tactics and techniques that will take you months and years to make use of suddenly start making more sense to you. Now you're ready to really do some heavy bag work.

    The first thing I usually show new guys after sparring that they can do on the heavy bag is work on their jab. The basic footwork, distancing, and speed or force of the jab can all be worked on the heavy bag with a much better understanding after the first sparring session. No longer will the new guy just thrust his lead hand out in a straight line and call it a jab, but rather a look of focus dawns their face while they start figuring it out. Heck, sometimes they even look down to check their feet! I know I did.

    There are a lot of different ways to work the heavy bag, and whenever I'm in the midst of a Boxing class and we are assigned to do multiple rounds of bag work I can see the difference in people who are there for fitness and people who are there to learn the skill. The difference is in the eyes, the movements, the focus and intent behind every punch. Sometimes the people working on skill will look pathetic next to somebody trying to burn off some calories, throwing the same combo at different speeds and every so often doing something impressive next to the viscous ape trying to clobber the bag off the chain it's hanging from next to them. The results are seen in the ring though.

    This is one installment of something I'll continue to write in this thread. There are a range of different subjects and uses of the heavy bag involving everything from building punching endurance and hand turnover speed, to not even hitting the bag and working on footwork with the heavy bag as your centerpiece to move around. If I listed just the things I normally practice and think about during heavy bag work currently nobody would even read this, never mind the full scope of different training methods that revolve around the heavy bag. If you made it this far in this post, feel free to comment and criticize, add your own input, or let me know if I should explain something a little different to get the point across a little better on any of the posts dealing with heavy bag work.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I'd love to hear you describe what you think is good method with the heavy bag.

    More technical explanation please! :)
  12. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sure! Right after I do this thing called sleeping! :D

    Theres a lot to cover with the heavy bag with what I currently know and practice right now (and there's a whole lot more, I'm only reaching a year on purely boxing and I just made/learned two new drills off of some things I learned the other day) and it takes a little time between re-reading, editing, and explaining a wide scope of things in one post while trying to keep it short too. I'll definitely be getting on it though.
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Cool, looking forward to it!
  14. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Heavy Bag Work (Cont.)

    Building Muscle Memory With The Heavy Bag

    Beyond the basic six punches you first learn and practice on the heavy bag, there are tons of other things you can work on with this training tool. One of the best uses of the heavy bag is to simply build muscle memory. When you do something repetitively, be it circling right or left, hopping back or lunging in, throwing a combination or single power shots, the neural muscular connection for that specific movement gets stronger and easier, making a punch or movement faster and more powerful (or "cleaner). As an example for this I'll use a jab.

    When you first learn to do a basic jab correctly you should be taught to step forward with the lead foot in the direction of the target and simultaneously throw your lead hand out to punch. Your lead hand shoulder should rotate up covering your chin while you tuck your chin in towards your chest (different from 'looking down'). That sounds really easy, but reflecting on my shortcomings in learning how to jab in the past and teaching new people to jab it is almost a comedic experience seeing an attempt to put all these factors together for one simple, basic punch. The difficulty in grasping a technique is not unique to just punching either. The awkwardness from learning anything new and familiar is always present weather it's throwing a certain combination correctly, moving while punching, or even backing away or approaching correctly. All these things can be refined and worked with a heavy bag routine.

    Beyond simply throwing a punch, the heavy bag can be used to build muscle memory in a lot of other areas of Boxing as well. Things like learning to circle the bag, refining combination punches, hand turnover speed, closing and opening distance, and throwing punches from different stances or height levels can all be refined, practiced, and worked on the heavy bag in ways that will transfer over into the ring. The more comfort and ease you have in performing movement from footwork to punching, the easier it will be to use your skills in the ring. Using a heavy bag offers a center piece to work around, simulating an opponent in the ring, and resistance to your punches keeping your technique honest unlike other forms of exercise like shadow boxing where it's possible and common to shorten or overextend your punches, or move around in an unrealistic fashion that would not be allowed in the ring due to the confined space.

    A heavy bag routine should definitely include a few rounds of boring, muscle memory building movements focusing on weakness you find in your sparring, or things you wish to be stronger and more fluid. Throwing "a jab" in the ring when fighting is supremely better then having to think "step forward, throw hand, roll shoulder, tuck chin", and "move left" is way better then "I want to move left, step with lead foot in that direction, slid rear foot into place." The difference between having refined technique vs. having to think in depth on everything you want to do is usually a couple punches to the face. The heavy bag is one tool to refine your muscle memory and skill. An awareness of what you need to work on, what you want to make stronger, and refining new things you learn can really make heavy bag sessions a strong developmental tool for your Boxing skills.
  15. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

    I love this thread. Seriously. Major props to you for writing this, I love it, it's awesome!
  16. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Bag Work (Cont. cont.)

    Bringing Sparring To The Heavy Bag

    Sometimes I think there is a mixup on how to focus on the heavy bag when you're boxing to increase your skill level, mostly because I had to correct the way I looked at it when I started boxing. When I first started I had the mindset to develop muscle memory and endurance for sparring and that I would take my training from the heavy bag into the ring. Now I take what I learn in the ring sparring to the heavy bag.

    I believe there comes a point where somebody has developed all the skill they can from using the heavy bag, and that's mostly getting a hand on the very basics between punching, footwork, and distancing. Once you start sparring you begin to develop your own unique style and way of handling things in that roped off box, and you have to start refining things that work for you in the ring or that you may think will work for you rather then just trying to build muscle memory on different things you're taught or that you think you're supposed to be working on during a heavy bag session.

    I think the best anecdote I can give for this is a personal experience that got me thinking about "bring sparring to the heavy bag." I hit a phase a couple months ago of watching a lot of Pro and Amateur Boxing matches, sparring and training videos. Every once in a while you catch something on video that you think you could adopt and that may work for you. There was one particular sparring video between two fighters I specifically remember where one Boxer ducked his opponent's jab and threw a variation of a power uppercut into his rib cage as a counter. It looked clean, and it looked like something I could use. So I did, and it ended up working out pretty good for me during sparring against multiple people. However, it's always good to throw more then one punch so I started building muscle memory for the counter and following with a left hook. Man oh man did it sound wonderful on the bag, just a pop POP and it was almost an orgasmic feeling throwing a cross right after the hook. I couldn't wait to try it out in the ring.

    So I get in the ring to spar one day, throw the counter uppercut, almost swallow my mouthpiece in excitement because it landed so cleanly, and then threw my left hook. Well, I was too close and couldn't generate any power with it or reach my sparring partner's head due to the angle I was at from the uppercut. Oh well, try it again right? Next time I was too far away and missed. The next time after that I was too close again, and the next time I got a cross to the face as a counter because my sparring partner knew what was coming due to my repetitiveness . I was quite disappointed.

    I don't even know if I did good sparring that day because I was so unhappy without being able to land what I thought was a good combination. I had the initial punch down good but my positioning just wasn't right to throw the left hook. This is when I brought my experience sparring to the heavy bag. I imagined my opponent as the heavy bag, imagined his jab, slipped his jab and threw my counter and instantly I could see what was going on. In order to reach with my counter uppercut I had to be closer then my own jab range, meaning my opponents lead foot was a little bit past my own bringing my lead side very close to his. Worst place ever to throw a lead side hook! However . . . retracting my power hand back, standing up and coming with a short hook or overhand right seemed like it might work against my imaginary, heavy bag sparring partner. I could see an overhand right moving over the opponents lead shoulder/arm, or a short hook sneaking its way past to their jaw. So I worked the moves a little bit and although it was a bit awkward at first I got it down pretty smooth.

    Next time sparring it worked beautifully, so beautifully in fact that I probably hit my sparring partner a little (lot) too hard for the level of intensity we were sparring by trying to make the two punches work. It's now one of my favorite counters and attacks (depending on the situation) now.

    To sum it up, not everything you can do on the heavy bag will work against an opponent. You reach a point where you can't take your bag work into the ring anymore, you have to take your ring work to the bag, and then take that work back to the ring. You can look fancy as can be during bag work. You can shuffle your feet, take a quick hop in one direction to put 1,000lbs more force into your punch lunging back into the bag, you can throw a 500 punch flurry or sound like you're the friggen hulk hitting the bag. Taking it to the ring against a moving opponent who's trying to hit you and avoid being hit himself is an entirely different story. You learn what skills you should work and how to work them on the heavy bag by sparring, and carrying your experiences and ideas to the heavy bag. You let your imagination work pretending the heavy bag is an opponent, treat it as such, and it shines a whole different light on what can be done on a heavy bag.

    Personally I think I've progressed tremendously adopting this way of thinking and it's helped me to develop a lot of different heavy bag routines that have benefited me in sparring. I don't think it's the only way to look at heavy bag training, but I think it's a darn good one.

    Heavy Bag Training (CONT. Cont. cont.)

    Using The Heavy Bag To Develop Power, Endurance, Speed, And All Those Other Fitness Things

    1.) Learn how to workout for fitness, there are rules and laws that generally work for everyone.
    2.) Apply that to bag work.

    And with that, the bag work part of this thread is over for now!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  17. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Muscle memory + visualization = good training :) (in the context of a dialogue with practice and experimentation on fully resisting opponents).

    Great stuff Ero!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  18. Madao13

    Madao13 Valued Member

    Thanks a lot Ero sennin for your posts!
    The heavy bag posts were really informative!
    This is currently, by far the best thread in the boxing sub-forum.
    Looking forward to your next posts!
  19. Kuniku

    Kuniku The Hairy Jujutsuka

    great thread ero, I look forward to reading more.

    my hands are something I need to work on with my fighting, along with restistance throws. unfortunately I don't have the time or money to add boxing training to my week. but my gym has recently installed a 'heavy' bag so I do plan on working more on that. You've given me something to think on with regards to that.
  20. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    To people commenting enjoying the thread, thanks a lot! As I said in the initial post, if you have anything to add, expand, or correct on feel free to. Although the title of the thread is rather cheesy I named it that because I'm putting my experiences this far and will continue to do so as I develop and learn. Part of writing it down is a hope for criticism to help me develop more (especially in the teaching aspect I wish to pursue in the future) as well as trying to put legit stuff down and not be full of crap!

    Thanks again for reading, I know some of these posts are a bit of a doozy to get through!

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