“Coach Mike, how do you train fighters to get ready for their events? Are there just a whole bunch of “basics” that must be done regardless of who you’re fighting? Or do you try to really coordinate your training time to match the opponent’s certain weaknesses and habits? Do you spend 50% of the time on basics and 50% of time on fight “specifics”, or how does this work exactly? What if you don’t have much information on the opponent? Or conversely, maybe you simply know your strengths and you try to capitalize on them, and you know your weaknesses, and you try to work on them?”
“Training Fighters to get ready for their events?
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.
Question for Coach Mike:
“A lot of gyms have more than one coach and each may teach techniques differently. How should both coaches, and fighters, handle this? What should a fighter do when he receives conflicting information from one or more coaches? For example, in my last gym, one coach would teach the left hook by turning on the front foot. The Muay Thai coach didn’t like it because he said you’re setting yourself up for a kick to the back of the leg. Then of course there were different opinions on whether the fist should be “palm down” or “palm facing you”. And this was just on ONE punch! What are your thoughts and guidelines on this?”
“First of all I’m going to confine my answers and comments regarding having more than on boxing coach in the same gym because I have experienced this first hand and seeing myself as a head boxing coach I can speak on what I have seen and what I know to be true on this subject. First let me tell you what the experts say and think about this subject of having more than one boxing coach in the same gym and these experts are guys who have been in business and have operated gyms for a long time. Having more than one boxing coach in the gym is a bad idea and is not recommended by the guys who really know the business. A boxing coach coming from another program may have a very different approach to the sport than you do. This can lead to confusion in your boxers and may add a great deal of stress to you as the head coach and to others in the gym. By having only one boxing coach in the gym this way your boxers learn only one system-yours. I want my guys doing the things I want them to do and I don’t want other coaches, parents or fighters trying to correct my guys when I’m working with them.
“Coach Mike, a lot of people think there is a difference between straight boxing/Western Style boxing, and “Boxing for MMA”. Is there much, if any, difference? And if so, in what way? Does boxing need to be modified at all for MMA, like modifying the stance (because of takedowns), modifying the guard (because of kicks), or modifying the strikes themselves?”
This question and argument comes up a lot between people in MMA and people in boxing including MMA and Boxing trainers and coaches. Keep in mind this is only my opinion based on my coaching, my experience and what I have seen and continue to see in the sport. Boxing is boxing and the fundamentals are the fundamentals which haven’t changed for 120 years or since boxing was invented. I beg to differ with those that say boxing for MMA is completely different from regular boxing. Bull Shit. If you have solid fundamentals and are fundamentally sound and technically correct in your boxing skills it doesn’t matter if you are competing in MMA or regular boxing. I don’t think there needs to be much if any modifications for regular boxing and boxing for MMA. One of the biggest problems I have seen in a great deal of MMA gyms is sometimes one coach who is trying to teach everything, Boxing, grappling, wrestling, muay Thai and one person cannot teach everything. Then you have MMA gyms that have Striking coaches that are usually either Kickboxing or Muay Thai guys who are trying to also Coach and teach boxing and that doesn’t work either because of a difference in basic stance which has a big effect on punching style and technique.
My question for Coach Mike:
“Good question, my little 12 point check list is not limited to those points that I mentioned because there are more if I want to take time to list them but the ones I listed are just a few important basic ones. Re:Short punches, what I meant by that was keeping your punches short and mainly straight as apposed to throwing loose, wide and sloppy punches. Punches that leave you very open and susceptible to being countered. But really any time you throw a punch you run the risk of getting countered by something. Also long loopy punches that take you off balance when you throw them. I call these punches “NO,NO Punches because these types of punches get you hurt. “Remember this ” YOU ALWAYS PUNCH THROUGH THE TARGET AND NOT JUST TO THE TARGET” By punching through the target you get extension and follow through which also helps you get maximum power and maximum leverage. Like on the jab this is where you get the snap from and the snap doesn’t come from the elbow, never, ever throw your jab from the elbow because you can damage your elbow. The jab “comes from the shoulder”