Should We Step Into All Punches? What about the Right Cross?

I’ve been experimenting a lot with the right cross.  I was told by many teachers to pivot on the rear foot and more or less push off of that foot for the cross.  Then many other teachers say “Step with every punch!”, including the cross.  I’ve been experimenting stepping fwd on the cross and believe it or not, it actually feels more powerful that way.  Stepping fwd with a rear shovel hook also seems to make it more powerful, much to my surprise.
2 questions:  What is your opinion on “stepping with every punch”?  They say it puts you in position for the next punch, and the next, and so on.  But on left hooks, for example, it seems more awkward.
Also, how would you describe the basic technique for the right cross?  What mistakes do you do see people making with it?
Coach Mike at his new gym


1. Stepping with every punch is a really old school boxing technique taught by really old school boxing coaches, the primary reason for stepping with every punch is for weight transfer. Transferring weight from the back foot to the front foot like for stepping with the jab. To get power on the jab you must step to push out of your back foot getting your body weight behind your jab and get your body weight moving forward. Stepping on punches also helps you close the distance to deliver your punch so you are not reaching for your opponent. Use your footwork to close the distance and don’t reach to throw punches because by reaching you take your head out over your knees and feet and easily pull yourself off balance. This is especially dangerous in MMA fighting because you can get pulled into a deadly knee strike that could end the fight very quickly. Stepping while trying to throw a left hook is not really a great idea because you are already moving and not planted with your feet and don’t have the power needing to really turn and get your feet, body and hip into the punch, and more times than not you will end up swinging the punch and you don’t want to be a swinger with your punches becoming an arm puncher. In stepping with the hook I would only step to close the distance to be able to put myself in a position so that I could throw my left hook. Watch old school boxer Bernard Hopkins shadow boxing and watch him step almost on every punch. Great old school technique and old school fundamentals.

2. The right cross is called the right cross, not because you throw it across your body at your opponent but because when your opponents jabs your right hand crosses his or hers jab. You throw your right hand across your opponents jab to hit em. Bet you didn’t know this? According to old school boxing coaches the right hand is thrown off your right heel and right foot, weather you are stepping with it or not. The time to throw the right hand is not when your opponent is moving to your left or trying to throw it across your body, but throwing it when your opponent is moving to your right and when he or she is over your right foot. By throwing it this way off your right heel and right foot, your opponent will move right into the punch.. Again stepping with the right hand will close the distance and get your body weight moving forward making the punch much stronger and harder when it lands.
3. Every punch you throw should be setting up the next punch and if you can’t do this it means you may have bad fundamentals and bad footwork. Getting in position to always be in a position to punch requires good footwork and good body mechanics, meaning footwork, range and distance are all important. Being able to turn your heels out on all power punches and being able to turn your shoulders when you punch is the key to putting yourself in position for the next punch. And by turning your shoulders when you punch allows you also to punch with more power by shifting your body weight. By not turning your heels out for power punching you are just punching with your arms becoming an arm puncher and you will not get maximum leverage on your punches. The only punch in boxing that you don’t have to turn your heels out on is the jab, every other punch in boxing requires you to turn your heels out on the punch. That’s old school boxing and old school teaching.
4. Mistakes people make when throwing the right hand/right cross. People don’t turn on their back, turn their heel out as if they are putting a cigarette out or squashing a bug. This is old school boxing terminology and reference. People also drop, pull back and telegraph their right hand before they throw it, it’s almost like sending you an email letting you know here it comes. Too late. People throw it at the wrong time, wrong distance and throw it at the wrong angle trying to punch across their own body. You lose power trying to throw punches across your body and even more so if you are trying to punch standing straight up and have no bend in your knees. Don’t punch standing straight up and flat footed, if you get hit this way you will absorb all the energy of the punch and could get hurt and rocked very easily. Plus if you are punching down at a guy while you are standing straight up and the other guy is below you with his knees bent punching up at you, you will be losing leverage and he will be gaining leverage because he has his knees bent and the use of his legs. Old school boxing is new school and old school boxing means being fundamentally and technically correct. Learn to master the basics fundamentals of boxing and also you can never go wrong with old school boxing.
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