Posts Tagged combinations

Compound Attacks

From a tactical point of view, I can’t think of anything that will take your boxing to the next level more than implementing and launching compound attacks.  The classic scenario is you go to your opponent with a set of punches and head movement, and whether it’s 3 punches or 8 he knows that after you have launched your attack he can make his move or at least take a break for a about 5-10 seconds while you reset.  When you set up a second immediate attack (within 1 or 2 seconds) there is an element of surprise and sustained pressure which separates you from 90% of fighters.

The best compound attacker right now is Pacquiao, that doesn’t mean he’s the best boxer, I still think it’s Mayweather, only time will tell.  However, watch what Pacquiao does and watch his fights, he throws a fury of punches after faking and setting up angles, he resets or steps back or creates an angle, and then goes in for a second helping of beat down on his opponent.

I picked this stuff up initially from watching tons of Tyson fights, he was a master at setting up second and third attacks, and he had to because every time he launched his opponent was on the run.  A good example of this is to watch him against Tyrell Biggs or Mitch Green, it took Tyson a couple of rounds to get close and start landing.  I learned a lot from watching Tyson and you probably can too, you can also learn a lot from watching Tyson lose to Douglas and Holyfield in their first fight.   It’s always good to see different strategies from both sides.

Ok, back to compound attacks.  The key is to set up your opponent for an attack down the road.  The biggest obstacle you will face is the conditioning to back it up, when you are not in shape you’ll be lucky to consistently get off strong single attacks, so you have to train for compound attacks.  Watch my video for some ideas on how to incorporate that in your training,  Slipping Punches – The Remix

You fake, move your head, and then go in with your attack, at the higher level of boxing most initial attacks will be neutralized or countered by your opponent.  If your boxing is tight then you will be able to neutralize your opponents counter or stay close enough to him on his retreat.  And so here lies the second attack and the compound attack; once your opponent has retreated or countered and you have successfully neutralized the counter, you then launch your second attack, it’s all about the footwork to create angles and stay close along with the constant head movement to avoid attacks.   You have to work out the specifics, but you get the idea.  The general pattern goes like this:

You: faking, moving side to side, in and out, moving your head

Opponent: doing the same as you

You: move in for your combination

Opponent: retreats or throws counter, or throws while retreating

You: stay within punching range as you move forward and moving head as soon as you finish punching, or move head in between punches while moving

Opponent: moves to safety or launches fresh attack against you

You:  pouncing on opponent as he moves to safety (since you are close enough), or countering his attack since you are ready for it and were about to launch again.

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Real Boxing Combinations

I have a quick motto that I tell myself when I’m training, it goes like this, ‘head hands feet’.  I repeat this to myself during my workouts every now and then to remind myself that I should be moving at least one of these three things at all times, ideally you should have two or three moving.  You’d be surprised how many good boxers don’t adhere to this and have limited their potential.

For example, ‘head’ and ‘feet’ means you are slipping punches and moving to create angles.  ‘Hands’ and ‘head’ means you are slipping while throwing shots.  ‘Head, hands feet’ means you are punching while moving in with your feet and slipping your opponent’s shots.  Either way, the specific grouping is not important, what’s important is that your training and your boxing is dynamic!  Constant motion, ‘head hands feet’.  This is how to fight to be superior, and this is how to train to win.

When you look at your boxing combinations there is a lot at play: ryhthm, footwork, head movement, angles, fakes, set ups, punches, counterattacks, speed, conditioning and situation; there’s much more involved than just punching.  Punching is the fun part, it’s easy. Getting to your opponent safely, striking, and then moving out of danger is the hard part, he’s not going to take it lightly that you are coming in to knock him out.

Below are the stages of a real boxing combination, all your combinations in the gym and in the ring should have elements of each part, train with these components in mind and don’t stray from them.

1) Opening rhythm.  There is rhythm in boxing, it’s not a dance beat, it’s a serious of broken sections of beats that are fast, medium and slow.   Your footwork, head movement and speed all set the pace for each attack.  When you are in front of your opponent you are expressing your rhythm, you are faking, stepping in and out quickly (pendulum steps), rocking your head back and forth, posing, circling your hands or keeping them tight to your chin.  Before your throw any punches you want to eliminate the chance that your opponent can time you coming in.  Before you throw, fake with your head, fake the jab, step in and out and then back in, circle your opponent to the left and to the right etc.  The last thing you want to do is stand still and come straight in, even advanced boxers tend to revert to this.

2)  Jab.  Most combinations start with the jab and I advise it 80% of the time, the trick is not to throw the same jab over and over again in the same way.  Slip your head left then jab, slip right then jab, jab to the lower chest then to the head, jab to your opponents jab hand and then jab to the chin, throw a backhanded jab and then come through with the right hand.  Mix up your jab’s power from a snap to a thrust.  Read your opponent and mix it up.

3)  Throw your combination.  Most boxer’s rely on a set of combinations that work for them and I advise this, you need to have ‘go to’ combos that your mind will think of in the heat of battle.  Believe it or not, the simplest combinations can work on the toughest of fighters.  In all my boxing I have had more success with this combination than any other – jab, jab, straight right, left hook.  Not to fancy, but it works.  This combo alone is not good enough though, you need a lot more.

You have to understand that combinations are not just a string of punches, there can be quick breaks before you restart your attack.  For example, jab, straight right, slip your head right, straight right, left hook.  In this combo I applied the pressure, I then took a quick break by slipping my head to the right, in this break I am able to take an extra step forward and avoid any counters from my opponent, I then resume my attack.  It’s all about rhythm again, you need to learn to throw a quick combo, move your head or step to a new angle and then restart the assualt.  The biggest problem beginner and intermediate boxers have is that they only throw one set of punches at a time.  Once you learn to throw a combo, move your head and feet, and restart all in one flurry your boxing will see new heights.

4)  Step back and move to an angle or step out to the side.  Once you are finished your combination it’s essential that you don’t just lay there, you need to step out of danger and this has to be a part of all your combos in the gym.  If you don’t practice this way then you’ll be a sitting duck come fight time.  The only reason to stay put after your combo is if you know you are a better inside fighter and intend to stay there.  After spending energy on your combination you will need a brief recovery period of a second or two, this is your opponent’s best time to attack you and the time where you need to let him know that you won’t be easily caught.  Once your combo is done, step out.  If you step back make sure to immediately step to the side, don’t step straight back and stand there.

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