Somebody asked me a great question the other day. He said:
Johnny, how do you not get hit?
…to which I laughed and said, “FEAR!”
You have to be afraid of getting hit. It’s not enough to be “defensively-minded” (whatever that means) and watching Floyd Mayweather videos. You have to be genuinely afraid of your opponent’s punch. You’ve got to respect his power and respect what he can do.
Now I can think of 2 reasons why most fighters don’t respect their opponent’s power…
1) You’ve never been hit.
Yeah, I said it. You might have been punched or touched a few times, but you’ve never met a guy who could really crack you. If you aren’t defensively minded, you’ve never been tested buddy. I dare you to go out there and find someone who can crack. I’m talking about someone who can hit you so hard you consider quitting boxing. Trust, he’s out there somewhere…maybe at a local tournament or even just working on the heavy bag right next to you. Take one punch, JUST ONE PUNCH from somebody who can bang. I promise, it’ll change the way you prioritize defense FOREVER.
(It’s like getting your first speeding ticket. Right after the cop pulls away, you swear to yourself, “NEVER AGAIN!”)
Every boxer, even pro’s, even the greats..(Ali, Mayweather, Tyson)… all of them can recall the hardest they’ve ever been hit in their life. Everybody remembers that one time they really got shook. They all have that one sparring partner that scared them. If you haven’t met yours yet, I can understand why you never took defense seriously.
2) You can’t hit for beans.
Maybe the reason you don’t respect anybody else’s power is because yours isn’t that good anyway. The day I learned how to really throw a punch, I was like HOLY F**K, I never want to get hit again. I’ll put it this way, I was actually afraid of hitting my sparring partners, because I didn’t want to take what I was able to dish out. Yes…the human body is SO capable of delivering crippling power. I would say most boxers are hitting at less than half of their full potential.
The day you learn how to really punch, you will immediately see the need to improve your defense for harder punches. You start respecting your opponents. You start treating everyone like they’re hard punchers because you know what you’re capable of.
ARE YOU SCARED YET?
Fear is your opportunity to grow.
Good. The moment you sense fear is the moment you have an opportunity to grow and improve yourself. I promise that you will face fear in every important moment of your life. Fear is the fork in the road where you can take the easier option and quit…or you can face fear, and use it to make you a better fighter, a better person, better everything.
I saw fighters that trained for 2-3 years, finally got hit for the first time in their lives and just quit boxing. No excuses, nothing. They just never came back. When I finally caught up with them, they said, “Oh, I got tired of training. I’m too busy doing something else. I don’t think fighting’s for me after all.”
But then I also saw fighters that said, “F**K THAT! I’m never taking those shots again. I’m gonna work on my defense because I never want to get hit like that again.” They went to the gym and trained 50 times harder on defense because they were genuinely scared of getting hurt. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever quit boxing. I’m saying you shouldn’t stop doing something you love because it scared you.
I remember a dozen times when I told people I was a boxer, and they immediately said, “I could never do that. I don’t like getting hit.” And I always thought to myself, “What a damn shame, you could have been a great boxer.”
The moment a fighter admits to me he’s afraid of something, I literally jump off my chair and yell, “GREAT! THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MAJOR IMPROVEMENT!” I wish we all had the power of fear, but unfortunately some people prefer to be robots. Ignoring their emotions and refusing to be afraid. Some fighters are even too strong or too macho for their own good. So next time you step into that gym, be afraid…be VERY AFRAID!
(Happy Halloween, everyone.)
yesterday i was doing defensive drills and an uppercut got through my defense. I am a new boxer with no fights so when that shot hit me i felt like crying. All I wanted to do was to go sit in the corner. I am scared of getting hit now before i was down playing it in my mind. So i want to do defensive drill everyday 5x’s a day to avoid be hit like that again
Awesome! Your defensive drills…not the getting hit with the uppercut part.
Yesterday i got hit with a left hook to the chin and it almost dropped me….it was not pleasant…..the fear of that shot again makes me bring my jab back fast now (i am southpaw)
Man, I remember the first time I actually sparred with someone. And I mean ACTUALLY sparred. I sparred with this seasoned cage fighter (Boxing Sparring) and the coach said to just go 30-40% in punch power, but this guy was going 80-90% and he beat the crap out of me and was the first guy to rock me and make me bleed from my nose. I was scared stiff to the point where I wanted to cry and just give up. But after that I started working my defense and I got somewhat good and my confidence actually went up. 🙂 Then I boxed my friend(Which before I would never do) and I got my ass kicked again. But I then realized I could actually take a punch cuz I mean my face took a punishment! And I also realized what kind of strength I had cuz he said I was the first guy to ever make him bleed. So I keep working my defense and hopefully I get a rematch and even if I still get my ass kicked, atleast I wont go down as easy as I did before. 🙂 So keep training everybody, and dont give up! Peace.
Fear and your defensive reflex go hand in hand. That is something that I have learnt. I have gotten hit a few times and cut a few times with headbutts. I have seen onlookers cringe for me. And to be honest; I have been very scared to face those guys again. Some of them whom I still have on my list but haven’t faced yet. But as I started loading more sparring and defensive drill work;
I now have a few basic tips like
1) biting the mouthpiece and always having my hands up.
One other thing,
2) is to never be a target for a haymaker or a semi wound up punch. Even if its technically bad; it can still hurt when connected. Reflexively we can at least defend it or slip/weave the onslaught. Cas when it connects; it hurts like a MF.
These days I take boxers who can hit and move/defend/counter during their onslaught. A heavy jab/pivot work-rate keeps them big hitters from landing their punches and also gets them tired for you to feed them some of their own.
Remember keep those two hands up all the time (common sense rest position); unless you are a prime Roy-Jones Jr; which I assume, u are not.
Excellent advice, TJ.
After training for several years, I introduce a friend of mine to boxing,a big guy, very heavy and southpaw.
One year later, his liver blows have sent me to de canvas twice. Its not revenge what I look after when I fight him, the only thing I think is:
1.- Move so fast, that he never touches you.
2.- Use your legs like the way you should have move when he KO you.
3.- Never use the right hand unless your life is on it.
4.- Boxing is about hit and never get hit, specially with a big hammer
5.- Please God, make the time go faster this round.
6.- He is bigger, he is suposed to be powerfull, dont enter his fight, make your own one, KOs isnt the only way to win a match.
Sorry for my english, hope someone can use this.
Jerome, #5 made me laugh. I remember constantly looking at the clock to see how much time was left. Very solid advice. Experience is the best teacher isn’t it?
I don’t mind so much being punched, but I hate getting hit, especially in the face. The first time I got hit was by a cop. Boy, did she packed a punch. I learnt after that never to spar at training without a helmet and never to underestimate anyone regardless of who they are or what they look like. You don’t know an opponent until you’ve properly spared with them. Being hit teaches you to dump your ego at the door and treat your opponents with respect or ‘there’s nothing more humbling than having your ass handed over to you’.
OH CRAP! Yes, NEVER spar without headgear!
Johnny N, you are a breathe of fresh air for a combat sport practitioner such as myself. I have read many of your articles and saved your site in my favorites list. The difference between you and many of the combat sports coaches out there is that your are humble enough to be brutally honest about how we all really feel when we fight, like being scared of getting hit sometimes and sometimes not coming with the utmost of confidence to a fight. Most men are really cowards in the sense that they aren’t man enough to admit that they are afraid. They like to act tough and belittle others when they see signs of fear or quitting in them. Case in point, a couple of months ago I started at a new MMA gym after attending a martial arts school that had light sparring only (although I did spar full-contact with a Navy boxer a few times). I came in the fourth week to a day designated for full-contact after unknowingly fracturing my rib a couple of weeks prior while performing a throw. After a while, I quit sparring because a guy hit me in that same rib three times. Then guys started whispering about me and one guy even made a derogatory remark to me about it. Little did they know about how bad my rib was hurt even though I had already told them that it was inured. The lesson is DON’T LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR BODY. I hear guys call professoinal fighters cowards when they get a ruptured liver from a punch. Sometimes fear is necessary to prevent lifelong sorrow.
In your site you also teach the real secrets of boxing such as feints, and other techniques that many other people won’t teach because THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO BE AS GOOD AS THEM. So hats off to you Johnny N, I praise you and thank you. You are a true teacher.
THANK YOU, Stanton. You’re right about many guys being too proud to admit fear. I’m proud of you for taking responsibility for your body. You’re right about fear being necessary to lifelong health.
Good article Coach Johnny!
The goal is to try and train harder and smarter to achieve the confidence that only knowledge of a particular thing can give someone, because knowledge is better than belief.
Fear is a survival instinct that we are born with in order to be aware of any imminent danger. The ‘fight or flight’ theory is very real.
Aggression and adrenaline is what will get us thru a fight and hopefully bring us the victory. Regardless of winning or losing, the objective is to make a battle of it, so your enemy or opponent knows that he was – in a FIGHT!
The fighting spirit driven from (for lack of a better word) ‘fear’ is a very powerful force, as evidenced by the nazarite Samson (of the biblical Book of Judges) slaying a young lion with his bare hands after the lion startled him and then the spirit of Jah came upon Samson and he manifested incredible strength.
Speaking from my own experiences in street fights and as a door man at an afterhours night club when I was younger – Fear is your friend and motivator and acting upon it in an aggressive manner will lead to your confidence and survival.
If you snooze, you lose!.
Mike Tyson’s views on fear and motivation.
Great video! Powerful words from a powerful figure.
Good article. I’m very new to sparring, and it has definitely taught me to respect my opponent. It has also shifted my focus and practice from attack to defence; I’m not a banger, so I gotta up on my toes. My problem was that I wasn’t scared enough — that won’t happen again. Slowly getting used to being punched in the face, I know that’s not the aim, but until my defence improves, it’s a matter of fact.
I’m glad to have made a difference, Frank. One day sooner or later, we will meet the one guy that’s able to hurt us and hopefully we’ll be prepared by then.
I just started boxing…never been hit too hard yet, so I’m not sure if I’m going to quit once I take a hard hit, but I’m a big guy whose been punched the f*** out plenty of times by naked knuckles all through high school, so I’m kinda not worried.
I sparred once and got hit in head with shots as I ducked and did that primal, “defenseless”
routine where you cower in fear while getting hit…the guy (who was considerably better than me) rocked me with about six, short compact hooks. No headgear, but it didn’t hurt because of the 16oz gloves (and my head is the size of one of those Easter Island statutes) but it awakened me…I wanted revenge..so when I gained my stance back, I ANGRILY threw my favorite and strongest punch that I’ve developed thus far: left jab. I threw about nine in a row, MISSED EVERY SHOT, got tired again, and then he rocked me with hooks all over again. Amazing merry-go-round, but it was fun. You should do an article about how fat, bald, old guys should spar young, fast guys with nice hair.
Odolla, good story but I’m not sure I’m gonna write that article. HAHAHA. Although I seriously think some people might read it if I was to write a serious one.
Odolla, nine consecutive jabs!?! You’ve got to diversify, man!
Speaking as a 50 yr. old who works out with younger guys, I’ll tell you what I do – give it my best and my all – no holding back. It is a fact that everyone’s muscles will fatigue after about 60 seconds of continuous exertion. Young or old, we all fatigue at close to the same rate. So use your sixty seconds wisely, by either going all out for 30 seconds and using good defensive techniques for the remainder, or unleash offensively for 15 seconds at a time and force your opponent to cover-up while you attack.
Here’s what I do….Follow that first hard jab with a straight right and then a left hook. Remember to keep moving side to side and with the next volley led by your left jab, follow up the jab immediately with a left hook and then the right hand. Your third volley leading with the left jab should be followed by two left hooks and then a right hand. Fourth volley you should lead with the left jab, then a left uppercut and then go for his head with the right hand. Finally finish strong with a left jab, left uppercut, left hook and then the straight right. Total time about 15 seconds!
I also watch my sparring partner and mirror his moves for my counters. Works great for me and backs them up nicely.
KING LION – The nine jabs were strictly inexperience and anger, ZERO technique. I still haven’t figured out how to conserve energy and relax in a fight yet. When I get in the ring, or get hit, I go back to that “6th grade playground” instinct and make really bad, stupid decisions that leave me open. I have a very, VERY strong jab, that is getting quicker, but I rarely land it. But the more I train (in between studying for the LSAT) the more I learn how to control myself. But, thanks buddy, good advice! I’ll practice that…I have another sparring session this saturday with a big dude.
Odolla – remember this is a sweet ‘science’ and the thing that distinguishes a fighter from a boxer, is that the boxer ‘thinks’!
If you can make the time, study these videos of Roger Mayweather and I’m certain it will help you in sparring theory and practice.
KING LION Yea, never understood the “science” part of boxing until I saw a UFC fight. Then it all came together, lol. I actually heard Joe Rogan, a comedian and fight commentator for the UFC say that boxing was a “punching contest,” eluding to the fact that a mixed martial arts fight was more exciting because of it’s limitless use of the human body. But what makes boxing exciting (and scientific) to me is the fact that you CAN’T kick, knee, elbow or dry-hump a guy in the fight. Ironically, I can’t seem to harness any of that “science,” and my instinct and anger wins over cognition everytime….and until head butting, fishhooking and groin punches are allowed in MMA, it sucks..heh heh..
Boxing may be limited, but it is extremely effective. Just look at the number of single, or combination punches that lead to KOs in MMA! With proper boxing training and technique, a ‘fight’ can be over very quickly because boxing skill consists of multiple powerful punches that all seem to flow from one to the other. Example: jab, cross, uppercut, overhand, hook to head and/or body etc…..all that in less time than it takes to say – ‘he was talkin’ tuff a minute ago, then he got knocked tha f*ck out!’
I actually like boxing because you CAN’T do all that other stuff. Making it hands-only, allows both of you to get into range and fight at a continuous fast combination pace. The ground-game slows it down and the kicking makes it too much of a distance game.
MMA is awesome and I actually did grappling before I went over to boxing. I never went back.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to the time when I finally get clocked. But until then, I’m too dumb to be afraid.
(BTW, good story, odolla.)
I got cought with a very hard uppecut, becouse I was not prepared at the pace he suddently choose to get at.
I diden’t whine about it, but i did enter in survival mode.
I thought to my self, that was a very hard hit, but I’v also train with far more technical guys them him, so no, I do not fear him.
I was very relaxed and whent for the livershot. Fear is good, but I’m also the kinde of guy who will fight you to death and once you accept that, there is also nothing to fear. Attacking is also a good defence.
He isnt talking about that type of fear. Floyd Mayweather fights with fear even tho he fears nothing
“Once you accept that, there is nothing to fear.” True words, my friend.
0i used to hear guys saying theyre scared and yet they had a guard that went to hell by the 2nd round. ure not afraid enough if ure putting ur guard down, or letting someone get u on the ropes, or throwing loopy punches or take ur eyes off the other guy. or u think u can allow a range finding jab to land without any fear. they can talk about all the fear they want, but as a boxer thats not exhibiting fear its thats being a punk with way too much confidence. someone whos truly afraid of what could happen in a ring wont let his guard drop no matter what and come on theres NO reason anyone should. someones whos truly afraid wont stop rolling with punches even if they are just range finders or really long or arm punches. someone whos that scared shouldnt have the guts to stand and TAKE shots and not try to wear out the opponent with at the least throwing quick and effective jabs or counters to stop someone punching over and over and hitting the opponents body to take away ther stamina and slow them down. its weird boxers say they have fear sometimes yet theyre not afraid of having a guy in the ring for whatever rounds, and theyre not thinking i gotta take him out before he gets something in. that was my biggest fear when i started boxing and sparring specially getting hit is scary enough but to me getting hit when i was tired or just unable to protect myself late in a fight. that scared the hell out of me and i think a boxer with real fear would be trying to take away his opponents ability to keep punching actively. its sort of like seeing another guy with a guy when you have one if ur scared u dont just hide if ur within 3 or 4 feet of them. if u got a gun i think ud shoot him to avoid being shot which is what i mean by trying to put the other guy to sleep due to fear. i believe foreman did that. and i think ud try to get that gun away from the guy, knocking it away, not just standing there 3 or 4 feet away and just ducking.
good topic coach
Long time Saber Khan…..You really expressed my sentiment when you spoke about getting hit or being unable to protect yourself when tired being a scary position to be in.
That’s why I love this sport and have the utmost admiration for the participants, because I really don’t know HOW I personally would handle it, but I am fully aware that I would HAVE to handle it!
My defense is more like, “Holy F*ck! F*CK! F*CK! F*CK! F*CK!! F**********K!!! F**************CK!”
Saber, that’s so true. An old pro once told me that 90% of the knockouts he saw were not because boxers had poor defense or because the opponent had too much power or technique. Most of the knockouts he said, were really just fatigue ko’s. They guy just stops trying to put his hands up, either after executing his combos or during transitions. He said that if you just keep your hands up, you’ll block most of the punches coming your way. Don’t know if that’s true, but that really comforts me when sparring. I’ll know that when I’m dead tired and about to puke from fatigue, then I won’t need to roll or slip or do any of those hard things, just put my hands in position and get a few seconds rest. What do you think, Johnny?
You’re definitely right. Most of the knockouts I see at the amateur level are pure fatigue KO’s. Putting your hands up will buy you a few seconds break when you’re first starting out, but when you’re a competing-level fighter, there is no such thing as a rest.
We have a thing called, “ACTIVE REST”. Every coach yells it all the time. “ACTIVE REST! ACTIVE REST!” Usually means you have to fight while you rest. Putting the hands up probably means you’ll eat a left-uppercut, left hook, 1-2 combo. It’s a very common default combo used when somebody throws up the high guard. The left uppercuts knocks their gloves into their face and it’s all over from there.
Hi, thanks for all the great advise.
The cornerstone of the stand up element in mma training is boxing. The only problem is that boxers train with 16oz gloves while mma gloves are only 6oz. This means that in boxing training after a boxer is backed up (usually after they fail to slip and eat a punch) they usually cover up with their gloves (even professionals). With mma gloves this doesn’t work as the punches can get through the raised arms (high defense). In the mma school were I used to train they used a movement called the crazy monkey defense. This was a series of small movements across the forward with your gloves to ensure that the punches don’t get though, as can be seen in the attached video: http://m.youtube.com/results?gl=GB&client=mv-rim&hl=en&en&q=crazy+monkey+defense&submit=Search. We even used to incorporate this movement into our boxing days (with the larger gloves) as it almost gave a 100% cover even when we were in trouble (backed up). The question is do you think this method will work in a top professional boxing match?
I watched these two videos:
…and from what I saw, the techniques they taught would be terribly ineffective in a boxing match. I actually call this, the “panic defense”. It’s what some guys do when they don’t know what to do. It will save your face some abuse but your body is wide open and you’re still square in front of the shot. Anybody can punch you right through that guard.
An experienced boxer can easily trap you in your shell. When you have both hands up like that, neither hand will be ready to counter back and you’ll be stuck in that shell eating shots until you go down. I could see it being effective against kicks but definitely not in a boxing situation.
Great article -In the past I have sparred with Samoan guys at 140 kgs plus -some quite quick for big boys and i would get rocked occasionally on my toes and running ,recently I sparred an Iranian boxing champ every punch this guy thru rocked me ,his wieght 115 kg and 8 inches taller and a 5 inch reach(im 90kgs) and he moved like a light weight .
Your right most guys cant handle that kind of punishment -that situation forced me to evalated my defensive and offensive strategy -sorry I realised i was only effective when I fought rough and brawled ,it was ugly -sometimes your just outclassed,what matters most is your attitude and what challenges me is finding ways of getting your opponet to play your game .
Always enjoy your articles and I have helped a lot of young guys with my knowledge and most of the real good stuff I acquired from your web site -keep up the good work.
I totally get what you mean about brawling when you get outclassed. It’s better than letting a guy jab you to death, at least you get some shots in. Thanks, Seve.
awesome point coach, getting a rest in the ring. i think it deserves an article, this is the practical stuff no one talks about today. i was trained by a coach who was a puncher himself so luckily i did receive some wonderful advice on this. and i did find it weird that some opponents of mine got so winded within a round but just kept arm punching trying to bluff instead of stepping back for some rest. it’ll be yet another boxing first on the internet.
i definitely respect floyd for the fear he has of losing or getting hit by a big puncher. yeah i hate it when he does his antics on the ropes but despite being the best defensive fighter of this generation, he gives fighters respect in the ring. a person should fear someone’s physical pressure pinning them to the ropes. they should fear getting timed by being too predictable. they should fear being defenseless when they get the wind knocked out of them, or being hit with too many body shots. i think almost no amateurs specially big punchers are the least bit afraid of getting timed. people seem less scared of body shots without realising what it does. in the gym where i train, youngsters do a lot more than bag or mitt work. and once they take each other’s shots on 16 ounce pillows they come forward as if they have hagler’s chin. i really worry about people learning these bad habits, some hide from every punch and become a heavy bag in the ring and some are asking to get their face pushed in. the key is to do things to prevent the opponent from hitting you with a hard punch, AND to prevent them from throwing punches that hurt. the way to avoid being hit hard is to work on defense, see the punches coming, be aware of defense and use good footwork. the only way to prevent someone from throwing over and over is to attack, to hit them. not necessary to knock someone out. but at least to make them realise they will be hit if they come forward. counterpunchers do it by countering the opponent’s shots, using the puncher’s momentum against him. harder punchers do it by working the body on bigger fighters to take some of the sting out of their bombs. and sluggers with huge chins do it by trading shots and clinching or shoving them physically away trapping them on the ropes. as amateurs, or having to wear larger gloves u may not be able to knock someone out at will but u can counterpunch, go for their body, feint a punch and counterpunch their attempt to counter you.
newbies seem to believe if they train defense for ever, some day they will manage to slip duck and deflect nearly every punch or if they put that guard up a fly wont get through. maybe some guys are that good. but it takes one lucky shot while youre going the wrong way to shake up that awesome defensive stance. and an opponent who isnt getting punched at, will be MUCH fresher than a guy whos constantly slipping and ducking and running. and over rounds, the guy who is punching will get more confident while someone hiding will feel more and more resigned. as johny said amateurs go down from not from one shot but being tired, making a mistake, not taking even weak punches well when tired. so fear should make a fighter want to avoid being hit, and also make a fighter want to stop the opponent from throwing hard punches. counterpunch and pepper with jaws as they come in, get first blood with sharp crisp straight blows, throw body blows. and if the opportunity opens up, and you have some power, do not be afraid of taking a shot and throwing a combo looking to do damage. it is way better to be hit once or twice when missing, than to not hit hard and being tired from running in later rounds barely able to keep the guard up much less slipping. fear of losing the fight is exactly the same as fear of getting hit, because a boxing match is lost by the person who gets hit harder and cleaner.
I agree with you, Saber. Defense is part being defensive (by avoiding punches), and part being preemptively defensive (by keeping your opponent from punching).
So…..My latest sparring session went (marginally) HORRIBLE. I still do the “fear” panic thing, I still fight like a pissed off Honey Badger, no technique, no stance, so im off balance most of the time, my right is almost always over-extended leaving me to get countered… BUT…I did slip outside punches better, my hooks are getting shorter, heavier and snappier, landing more often, and my jab is FROM HELL..my jab looks like that Pantera album cover. BUT THEN AGAIN…I don’t land it very much, I think i neglect my right by depending on it too much..BUT AGAIN…I’m becoming a better body puncher. Anybody got any Hatton fight dvds?
Slow down the sparring sessions, Odolla.
“Vulgar Display of Power” What an Album
also “Far Beyond Driven” is great album. If i dont remember wrong Phil Anselmo is also trained in boxing.
Like..literally? Or do you mean stop and learn more? Sparring is fun!
I meant for you to spar at a slower speed. Keep sparring, but slow down the pace.
Ein großartiges Video zum Thema Mentaltraining auf eine ganz besondere Art dargestellt – Danke!
I have a question about my boxing. Last night, I sparred for the first time in 2 weeks, and I went with someone with a lot less experience than me. The wierd thing is though, it felt like my defense actually got better than before, even though I haven’t sparred in two weeks. Im glad about that, but my offense just felt horrible. Everytime I went in to attack, he would throw some wild punch and land it while taking my shot, so I just ended up defending pretty much the whole fight. Even though I landed more shots than him, and he barely hit me, it was just difficult to land many combos on him so I had to pot-shot him. I just wanted to know how I can throw my combos without taking his random and wild punch.
Mac, learn his movements. If you’re sparring someone less skilled, just know that he’s going to be jumpy and panicky when he fights you. See if you can get him to tire out. Don’t try to chase him with combinations if you know you can’t hit him. See if you can throw a faster chain of weaker punches as opposed to loading up on big punches that have too much time in between.
Im new at boxing, honestly I taught it was easy, well it was at first (I taught lol) , when it was my first time in the gym everyone was ohhhh, (I look really muscular for my size)? So I trained hard, do the mitts, jog, heavy bag and my first spar was with my coach ( yeah my coach!!), I got owned big time technically, but his punches were like ant bites to me and every time I hit him (all blocked btw) he gets flown over the canvas , well I am 15kg heavier, and he told me after the fight that I got some huge power in me so pride grew in my head a little bit, it took over when I knock down the gyms best fighter ( he was 5 inches shorter and 20kg lighter).Then it happened ,it was when I spar with a dude 10 years older 20kg heavier and 2 inches taller than me, he caught me with a jab, and I never felt anything like that my whole life. Fear stroked me when I realized I will get Knocked the F&* out when he hits me with something bigger, but my huge pride won’t let me cower in front of many people, so fought back brawler vs brawler and trust me he beat me so bad that it punch the pride out of my head, I manage to hit him with a left hook though, it dazed him. After the fight I was so humbled and humiliated that I was never the same, I took defense seriously like you said, but he did say that I was the only fighter to dazed him ever! But I wont let my pride fool me again. Looking forward for my rematch. Very good article too, very true 🙂
Karl, you’re just the brand of crazy our sport needs. 😉 Train hard and go pro, you’ll have a lot more fans under the lights than you will in sparring.
Does fear make you close your eyes because I have a bad problem with closing my eyes and blinking any advice?
Fear definitely has a part in this. So you have to spar slower to be able to at least see the punches.
just a suggestion but for your next artical why dont you write something about developing the heart of a true fighter, insperational stuff in nature to raise moral and the fighting spirit?
Could this video explain what you mean?
he explains “hicks law” which doesnt explain it in full but an idea of hicks law, im not to sure of what “hicks law” is exactly but ill be sure to research it, but could this technique coincide with fear as a defense?
That video is talking about making a defensive motion whenever you sense danger. My “fear as defense” theory is really about using your fear of pain as motivation to be more defensive.
with the utmost respects johnny but isnt a incoming right cross or uppercut or any punch such as those be a possible sense of danger?
my motive for defense comes from those boxers that have one eye, have brain damage, or have life long injuries, “hicks law” compares to martial arts in general especially boxing, due to the fact it stipulates how much time your mind has to react to an incoming reaction motion, for example, if someone throws a basketball at your head right in front of you the natural reaction is to move, thats when “hick’s law” comes into play, its the theory of the reaction time and the number of choices one has to react in that small amount of time, (Hick–Hyman Law) is the proper term for such, i came to realize that almost 100% of any martial art is science. your opinion if possible? your opinion wilkl help dearly due to the fact it will help me improve as an athlete and person
I agree that you should react to movement. Over time, these reactions can be trained to give you a more favorable outcome.
Is the fear supposed to be as if you’re scared, and you are in retreat mode as if you keep on evading, and you land lesser shots, or does the fear mean like being careful and having a better defensive reflex?
Because I talked to my coach about my fear in sparring and fighting. He told me that I can’t spar properly before because I was afraid of getting hit, so what I did was go Wolverine on my sparring partners. It was tough because I kept on moving forward with punches and kicks even if I eat jabs and some hooks (although the hooks don’t knock me out or ring my head because my hands are naturally and automatically raised high in a fight). I still evade some attacks, but since I forward too much, I rely more on blocking and hitting, blocking and hitting.
Is this dumb courage? I mean… I felt like there was a 50% increase in the possibilities of me eating shots when I dont’ go forward, but then if I had that “fear” you are talking about, I would be ensured of evasion and protection from solid and hard shots, but I wouldn’t be able to land as much towards my opponent because of my FEAR of getting hit or countered. What is your advice, Sir Johnny?
I definitely meant the second one: letting your fear keep you cautious and motivating you to work on your defensive skills.
The article is to explain a concept of having respect for your opponent’s punches and to work on your defense because of that. When it comes to actual fighting, you need to be confident no matter what you do. Have respect for your opponent’s punches, but go hit him! Fight!
good article, its just made me realise I’ve never rocked someone in sparring nor have I been hurt. I’ll tell my coach that I don’t want to spar until I’ve developed some real power/technique.
“Fear is a REASON for not doing something you don’t want to do”
I can remember when I sparred against a really stocky person about 10lbs heavier than me, He just battered me with body shots for 2 rounds, I could barely get out of ring. Great article Johny!
Hey Johnny, i have been reading your stuff on here and i think its a great website, i am very new to the sport and yesterday i took a full on beating in the ring, it made me feel selfless, worthless and not good enough for the sport. However i am not one to give up and i will go back to spar until i get used to being hit in the face, and also working on my defensive skills.
I loved your story> it made me realize you don’t have to compete in order to learn how to box, at the moment i have no intentions on fighting, i just want to learn the skill and provide myself with a challenge that will give me confidence, motivation and discipline, as well as a great workout that will keep me in shape.
I have one question regarding this ‘fear of defense’ you have written about. I totally agree with you on this subject, but one thing you forgot to mention, is to not be too worried about getting hit when you enter the ring, its a part of the sport, my trainer told me, “yes you will be afraid of getting hit and your sparring opponent it going to smack you left, right and center until you learn how to defend, but you should not step into the ring ‘fully afraid’ you should step in with some fear, but more confidence” this makes sense don’t you think? because if you step in the ring with a lot of fear , like you are saying in this article, then you will not be focused on what you should really do, and that’s hitting your opponent. If you step in the ring ‘VERY AFRAID’, like you mentioned, then you are constantly thinking, “man i dont wana get hit, i dont wana get hit, oh SH*T here is comes”, then bang, bang, bang, your going to be running around the whole ring afraid to even fight back. That is not the way to be, you need to step in with some fear, but more confidence and self-realization that this is boxing and you are going to get hit, none of us beginners have the defensive skills of Mayweather obviously, and probably never will, so its good to keep in mind that you will be hit and to not worry about to so much, how is one supposed to learn the skills of boxing and fight back if he is constantly afraid of being hit when he enters the ring.
You obviously know a whole lot more with the sport then i do, but what i just said makes sense right? my very experienced trainer taught me this yesterday.
Please comment and tell me your opinion.
Thanks a lot dude, i love this website!
William Fitzpatrick, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Makes a ton of sense and has definitely been something I’ve thought to myself in the past. Thanks for sharing, William!
Could you give some examples of defensive drills? Also I’m a tall fighter and often wonder, is bobbing and weaving the way to defend if I’m merely bringing my head down to the shorter guys level? As far as defence goes all I really do is cover up, or try to keep distance with the opponent sometimes by moving sometimes just by sticking the jab out, what would you suggest?
Thank you so much for this, it may seem dumb but yesterday after reading this article I went up to my friend who did MMA and said, “Hit me, everything you got, right in my chin,” and I just realised that I was alway stronger then I thought I was.
I think i have a big problem with boxing; i’m not scared enough. A small dose of fear is healthy, it makes us focus on defense and evasion. But what i get instead is annoyance, anger then rage (fortunately, i cool off quickly). I’m a really sturdy guy, i can take hits and recover from them really quickly, it’s very rare i’m still sore going home (i’m one of the rare lucky dude who don’t bruise). I have no illusion that i can get seriously hurt, i know quite a few fighters in my gym that can deliver that kind of blows, but so far getting hit hard has the opposite effect on me than it should. I once fought with a talented beginner who could not hold back, i was the more experienced of the 2 but he was far more skilled than me (i’m good at feinting and countering, i could keep up somehow); despite being hit hard a few times, once i almost fell down from his jab at my head, i did not experience real fear, just cautiousness. A few times into that fight i got angry, and everyone watching could tell when i was snapping; it’s not good because i start ignoring my opponent punches to deliver my own, that’s just a recipe to get seriously injured.
I have enough self control to not remain “berserk”, i cool off quickly, but it would be far better if it wasn’t happening at all and got defensive instead. Not sure if i can do anything about it though. If anyone knows what i can do, please say so.
Great article! I’m boxing for 5 months now and a month ago I got my ass beat real bad . The first round was good I was aggressive and throwing alot of combos . But in the 2nd round my sparring partner started pressuring me with many hard punches, I was all covered up but still his hard right cross landed and he made another set of combinations that dropped me into my knees . my coach stopped the match in 2nd round . I lost my confidence that day but I’m thankful for that experience . It just made me better . By the way, I love your articles its very helpful I learned a lot of stuff about boxing please keep ’em coming 🙂