For everything to know about technique:
Tao of Jeet Kune Do
(Bruce Lee breaks down all intricacies of fighting)
To become a fearsome fighter, one must practice religiously. Everyone knows that the more you practice, the better you get. However, what if you practiced all the time with crappy form? You’d become a crappy fighter. As Bruce Lee put it, become a fighter of substance.
Below is my rendition of four basic
punches every boxer needs
(jab, straight, lead hook, and rear uppercut).
Practice them in front of a mirror for optimum form. The only thing left is footwork; which can be refined while you are shadow boxing and hitting the heavy bag, and then augmented through cardio, cardio, and more cardio.
The jab is the most important tool you have. Modern boxing is based around using jabs and speed to interrupt your opponent’s rhythm. It’s useful in offense and defense. It can block your opponent’s vision and set up KO shots.
The jab should be trained the most. With your lead hand in high guard, swiftly throw your fist in a straight line towards your opponent as well as back to high guard. Step in as you jab with your lead leg. When you are landing the blow, it’s best snap it at the last possible moment while rotating both your fist and shoulder forward and down. Keep your chin down and safe behind your shoulder. Finally, once your jab comes back into guard, it should look and feel like someone releasing the tension of a rubber band. It should sink back into guard, not pulled. Your fist should come back with the leftover momentum from when your fist “snaps.” So when it comes back, it comes back quickly, softly, and effortlessly.
The Straight (aka Cross)
The straight is the punch that people love to throw. It’s often misused and swung wildly because people get impatient and want to finish the fight all at once with power. This punch is always slightly downwards and never upward. It begins in high guard, and is thrown while your head moves out of center line. Feint with your rear hand before throwing straight. As you throw your punch, your arms should feel like they are connected to a pulley. So when your lead shoulder moves forward, your rear shoulder moves back giving the punch maximum power. Simultaneously, your hips twist to also give your punch more power. Timing, coordination, and accuracy of aim are all essential in throwing a terrific punch.
An accurate hook is your most reliable KO punch. So, it’s important to jab or feint first to measure distance. Keep the lead shoulder high while punching to increase leverage. Step in off your rear leg and pivot on the ball of your lead foot (as shown above). Swing sharply without twisting your body out of shape. Try not to hit with your thumb by keeping your thumb pointed up. Minimize as much motion as possible. The real power comes from the looseness of delivery and the fluid pivoting of the lead foot and body. The weight of the body is shifted to the opposite side from which your are “hooking” your punch. Step in to get into range, and let it fly in an easy compact snapping motion.
The upper cut travels along the vertical center line of your opponent’s body while rotating your hips. Since it isn’t very useful against fast upright boxers, it’s used most effectively when in-fighting because it’s thrown in a short and compact motion. Shift your rear hand forward from guard and then scoop your fist along the opponent’s center line upwards to the chin, snapping the hand back to guard. An effective combo is to uppercut someone’s head up out of their guard and then drive a hook into the side of their unguarded head.
For proper feet placement: Place a long piece of tape or some type of straight marker on the ground. If you’re a righty, your left foot is the lead foot (orthodox style). The toes of your lead foot should be in line with the heel of your rear foot. Feet are pointed at ~45 degree angles. Your lead foot is for establishing your position, while your rear foot is for determining your angle. Therefore, good footwork is dependent upon how well you pivot on your lead foot and how well you step off your rear. Make adjustments to the distance between your feet until you’re yourself balanced and comfortable.
From there, practice going forward and back, left and right, diagonal, around an imaginary circle, etc. But don’t cross your feet! Make this an important part of your shadow boxing. Footwork is needed for attack and defense to be effective. Step in when you punch, and get out of the way when your opponent punches. Practice leaning and shifting your head and torso in different directions. Find out what you like to do and practice it. Doing this will prevent you from getting hit more than you need to. For fantastic footwork, I recommend studying Vasyl Lomachenko.
Check out Bruce Lee’s teachings on footwork: