Boxing: Feet vs Hands: Which is most important?

Most non-experts would probably say hands, after all it is boxing is it not? Your hands are your weapons of choice!

img_20161231_190457During my 35 years as a boxing coach I hadn’t realised until recent years how so many underestimate the importance and relevance of footwork. I have promoted a number of “Wannabe” boxing shows which are, as the name suggests, a show “for want to be” boxers. I’ve been lucky enough to work with many wonderful boxing enthusiasts through these events and raise some much-needed funds supporting youth in the process.

All, not most, have testified as to how much they had underestimated the technical intricacies of this great sport, not least the synergy required between punching with your hands and moving your feet!

Boxing is not just a question of fitness, although of course fitness is hugely relevant. Boxing is called the “sweet science” for a reason. It is very much a thinking man’s or thinking woman’s sport.

As with Einstein’s theory of evolution, with every punch thrown there is a corresponding foot action. The power in the punch comes from pushing from your feet through your hips and via your shoulder through the fist. To maximise power, you maximise rotation. To maximise rotation, you maximise the range through which the hips and shoulder rotate, to do this requires a corresponding foot movement.

Of course, before you get to punch you must first find your range to hit the target. Ability to find range is dependent on a boxer’s ability to move their feet into distance. Observing the gap between boxers in the ring is tell-tale indicator of boxer’s experience. If you observe two novice fighters in the ring you will often see a backward movement after an exchange as great as the parting of the red sea. Subsequently at least three or four steps are needed to find range again.

Experienced boxers with good footwork will flow seamlessly between offence and defence with one subtle movement of feet.

For anyone still in doubt as to the importance of feet for a boxer ask one who has ever been knocked down, what gave way your hands or your legs?

To use an analogy possibly only my Irish and UK friends will get,

it’s a bit like fig roll biscuits (which is more important the fig or the roll?)

You can’t have one without the other!


balance, Boxing Technique, CounterPunch, mental fitness, Tactics

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