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Boxing Techniques For Self Defense

Despite seeming poorness of its technical arsenal (in comparison with karate, kickboxing, tae kwon do, etc), boxing provides perfect system of self defense techniques. Unlike many sport-oriented martial arts styles, boxing techniques well correspond to real street combat conditions. Boxing arsenal involves three general types of strikes - straight punch, hook (side punch or side-winder), and uppercut (punch to the jaw from below). In this article we're going to take up few basic boxing techniques which are best-suited for self defense.

1. Left jab to a head

Straight left jab to a head is a classic and the most-used boxing technique; usually it is executed at long distances. Standing in a left stance (your left hand is closer to your opponent�s body than the right hand) you can deliver this jab precisely and quickly (fig. 1).

boxing techniques for self defense: left jab to a head
Fig. 1 - Left jab to a head

Using this jab, you can start any combat and keep distance between yourself and your opponent (don�t let him to come closer). We recommend you to keep your weight distribution unchangeable performing this jab. Thus, your initial body weight distribution remains constant in a course of a jab execution (50% of your body weight on your left leg and 50% on the right, or 60% / 40%). This doesn�t allow you to apply the maximal muscle force performing the jab, but your balance remains unchanged and you have sufficient mobility and maneuverability.

boxing techniques for self defense: left jab to a head, front view
Fig. 2

It is recommended to use a mirror while practicing boxing techniques, left jab particularly. Draw attention to your left fist.
You should cover your chin and partially mouth with the left fist, being able to see your nose at the same time (fig. 2). Left jab to a head is executed by straightening of the left hand, when the left elbow rises according to the onward movement of the left fist. The final moment of this action is achieved when the left hand is completely straightened. Practicing this jab, watch the movement of your left hand in a mirror and never let your left fist to uncover your chin. The same rule is applied to the reverse movement of the left fist. The reverse movement of the left fist begins immediately after the strike, and its path is absolutely identical to the path of a forward movement (fig. 3).
Remember that physical strength is not the primary factor that determines a power of punches in boxing: the quickness of moves, boxer's concentration and the correct use of body weight are crucial elements.

boxing techniques self-defense: left jab to a head - the path of the fist illustration
Fig. 3

2. Straight left jab to a stomach

Straight jab to a stomach (or solar plexus) with a left hand is widely used boxing technique. In order to perform this jab, keep your body bent in a waist (at the same time also keep your knees bent), take a step (medium or long) with the front foot, remembering that, at a time of contact with the target, your extended arm will have to be parallel to the floor (fig. 4). Deliver your jab to attacker's stomach or solar plexus applying maximal muscle force. This jab is a universal tool for self defense: either when applied, this jab will likely force your opponent to lower his hands, opening his head to your subsequent attack, or having certain experience, you can knock your opponent down with this jab without need for further combat actions.

self defence boxing techniques: straight left jab to a stomach
Fig. 4: Left jab to a stomach

3. Right jab to a head

boxing techniques for self defence: right jab to a head
Fig. 5: Right jab to a head

Right jab to a head is not an extensively used boxing technique in comparison with a straight left jab, but it is regarded as one of the most powerful punches in boxing, because this jab is executed with the use of a stronger right hand, and boxers usually tend to involve the greater part of their weight in the strike. Generally, right jab to a head is attended by a total weight transfer from a right leg to a left one. This jab begins with a quick tearing of a right fist off an initial position (usually around an elbow). The movement of a fist is simultaneously accompanied with a jerk of a right leg and an onward motion of a body from right to the left. Left leg turns to the direction of a strike, leans completely on a foot and receives the total body weight that provides jab with a great power. At a moment of a right jab execution you should cover your chin with the left fist from the left side together with the right shoulder from right, respectively.

Practice this jab using a mirror. Watch the movement of your right fist in a mirror and achieve the total cover (protection) of your chin. The power of a jab greatly depends on the footwork and the correct body turning.

self-defense boxing techniques: right jab technique techniques of boxing: right jab technique, illustration of the path of a fist

When attacked, we don�t recommend you to start fight with this jab � you risk getting into dangerous condition not only failing the first attack, but then uncovering yourself for counter-punches. But it is quite reasonable to use the right jab as a final point of a combination of several strikes (that begins with a previously described left straight jab to a head).

4. Right uppercut to a head or a body

boxing techniques self defence: right uppercut
Right uppercut

The right uppercut is extremely powerful boxing technique that is used at short distances, very effective and useful punch in self defense conditions. To strike a right uppercut, stand in a classic boxing stance holding the back (right) knee bent. Lower the right shoulder to turn the right side of the trunk to a semi-crouch position; consequently, body weight transfers to the left leg. Pay attention to the head protection - keep the left fist up by the chin to cover your head. Now as you turn the hips forward, push the ball of the back foot, and punch the right fist up towards your target. The right leg�s heel keeps to be separated from the floor. The right shoulder with the right side of the back will follow through with the rotation of the hips. The right arm always stays close to the body and turns up in a semicircle. Bear in mind that this punch is effective only at short distances - stay close to your opponent. If the uppercut is delivered from the outside, the enemy will be able to find out easily that the strike is coming and counterattack with an efficient straight jab. An uppercut from the outside also loses some of its energy and becomes less powerful because the arm is no longer bent at the elbow and can�t efficiently transfer the total body�s force in the upward motion.
Develop all the single punches (jab, uppercut, and so forth) perfection, and then use them in combinations. Watch good boxers in action. Study their moves. You will pick up some good tips that way and your self defense arsenal will be enriched.