Boxing is a great workout. It builds strength and muscular and cardiovascular endurance as well as self-esteem—developing the self-defense skills is a great confidence booster. But the average person who can throw a punch isn’t a boxer. Beginners must learn the basics to get the most out of their workout and skills. There are specific boxing techniques that you must know to prevent injury and to have the most power behind your punch.
The fight stance is your foundation. Once you have learned this position, you will be able to protect yourself and put a lot of power behind your punches. In your fight stance, your hands protect your face, your elbows and forearms protect the body and your shoulders block punches to your chin. If you’re right-handed, stand with your right foot behind the left, shoulder-width apart. Your left foot points forward and your right should point out to the side at about 45 degrees. Tighten your abs. Keep a slight bend in your knees; this position is also called “the snake,” because you’re “coiled” and ready to strike. Practice moving while in your fight stance—forward and backward, to the left and to the right, always leading with the left foot and following with your right foot. If you are a southpaw (left-handed), your right foot will be forward, with your left foot back.
This is the punch used most often in boxing. It’s a defensive punch and as well as a set-up punch for combinations. In your fight stance, take a step forward with your left foot and extend your left arm at the same time. Don’t punch from your elbow and don’t push with your fist. This punch comes from the left shoulder and from stepping into the punch. A tip to remember: you’re punching “through” your opponent, not trying to push him away. Southpaws will use the right jab.
Bob and Weave
Boxing is about offense and defense. The bob and weave is a great way to throw your opponent off balance and avoid punches. Imagine someone is throwing a punch at your head. Bend your knees and squat to avoid the punch. Practice the squat (duck) a few times. It’s an up-and-down movement. It’s easy to want to bend forward at the waist, but try not to. Stay in the squat position and step to your right with your right foot. Stand back up into fight stance. Repeat to the opposite side.
This is a basic punch combination—the left jab followed by a straight right. After throwing your left jab, shift your weight to your left foot and pivot off your back (right) foot. Make sure to rotate your hips and extend your punch. Don’t whip your entire body around, because you will lose your balance. When this combination is done correctly, the jab (1) stuns and/or distracts your opponent, and the straight right (2) could quite easily be your knockout punch, because it is powered by your hips, shoulder and arm. Southpaws lead with the right jab and follow with a straight left in the 1-2 punch combination.