We’ve been working on distance and timing recently and this post will attempt to define and illustrate some of that work with video of exceptional boxing defense. I learnt very little about this subject before training at Primal where it was given great importance. It seems that this area of training is often neglected in many forms of martial arts, although it should not be. I am not the only person with this opinion, in the video on the Burmese Boxing post the instructor states the very same.
In one lesson last week we worked on understanding the distance between you and the opponent, what Steve Morris refers to as the ‘Red Zone’. This is the zone, or range, from where the other bloke can hit you, either with hands, legs or both. So long as you are outside of this zone you are safe, if your opponent moves toward you, you end up inside the zone, their range. To stay safe the easiest thing to do is to move out of range again. Going straight back is one option, moving off on an angle is better as the other person has to adjust before moving toward you again.
Alternatively, if in the zone you have to do something to prevent taking damage; slipping, covering, striking, clinching are some options from boxing defense. The following video provides clips of excellent boxers using their understanding of this concept to avoid and then strike their opponent.
There’s some classic early Tyson clips where he uses defensive boxing movements when in range, in the ‘Red Zone’, to avoid being hit and to make up ground before striking himself. Then there’s Naseem Hamed messing around on the periphery of the striking range, controlling the distance so he can move in and out to strike from odd positions.
There’s some classy defence from Mayweather and Pernell Whitaker, showing continuous movement when in the zone, using all manner of body movement to avoid taking damage – this is probably what tai sabaki in Karate was supposed to be about! Then there is Pep just staying out of range frustrating his opponent but ensuring he uses sufficient motion when in range to avoid damage. Also there is some great stuff from Locche who manipulates the range by offering his head as a target, just in range, but being able to move it out again to stay safe. There are lessons in all of these great fighters, each showing an understanding of how to use the range to differing effect, for ‘slippery’ defensive I think Pernell Whitaker has it but Mayweather is close.
Of course, boxing only involves punching and so it could be argued that when kicks are involved a lot of these boxing lessons are useless, although Anderson Silva may disagree! Watch out for the clips of him against Franklin, there’s one when he dodges kicks as well as punches by exerting control of the distance. Obviously he is of a very high ability and uses this to bamboozle his opponent.
Controlling the distance, the ‘Red Zone’ or whatever you want to call it, prevents or at least makes it very difficult for the other bloke to hit you and presents gaps for you to exploit as he tries. ‘Early years’ Tyson did this on the way in to avoid jabs and land hooks and uppercuts, while Fedor does it with big looping overhand shots to get close enough to hit again or take his opponent down. In essence, this is the same approach, the boxing defense lessons from the sweet science video can be applied to all martial arts, not just boxing and not just other combat sports.
Originally posted 2011-01-09 19:08:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter