why do elite level fighters drop their hands.

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,359
Reaction score
5,301

And swing wild. And all the other things we get told we cant do.

I mean above is maywether who is the best striker going at the moment and doesn't have his guard up very often at all.

So how is he getting away with it?
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
5,882
Reaction score
4,445
Location
Lexington, KY
There are really two questions in one here:

1) How can they get away with it? (i.e. why isn't it a bad thing)
2) Why would they choose to do it? (i.e. why could it be a good thing?)

Regarding the first question:

These fighters primarily rely on elite level head movement and footwork rather than blocking or parrying to protect their head. In addition, they have the ring experience to know exactly when they can and can't get away with dropping their hands. (You'll notice that elite strikers don't leave their hands down all the time - they choose when to do so.)

Regarding the second question:

Having the hands down conserves energy and allows the arms to stay more relaxed. It allows the fighter to throw punches from angles that wouldn't be available from a tight, high guard. Sometimes it may allow for a more powerful punch from certain positions. Dropping the guard may be a deliberate ploy to induce the opponent to attack along a certain line. In MMA, the low hands can give a big advantage to stopping takedowns.

There are also less good reasons why non-elite strikers may drop their hands, i.e. fatigue or adrenaline.

One of the guys at my gym is a two-time world champion boxer. He teaches a variation of the Philly Shell structure, which involves leaving the lead hand low and relying on the rear hand and the lead shoulder for blocking head shots. I've gotten to the point where I actually feel more comfortable with this as my default sparring structure.
 

Drose427

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
927
Reaction score
251
Location
USA
Tony hit the point pretty well, one reason that experienced strikers at any level lower their guard is they know theyre far enough out of range to not get hit. If you notice, most of the time the hands go right back up and tight the second ones opponent starts to move in.

If you know you have to go X amount of rounds, you need to conserve energy wherever you safely can, and loosening up the guard when you're not in immediate danger is a good way of doing that
 

Jaysonrd

White Belt
Joined
May 11, 2015
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
There are really two questions in one here:

1) How can they get away with it? (i.e. why isn't it a bad thing)
2) Why would they choose to do it? (i.e. why could it be a good thing?)

Regarding the first question:

These fighters primarily rely on elite level head movement and footwork rather than blocking or parrying to protect their head. In addition, they have the ring experience to know exactly when they can and can't get away with dropping their hands. (You'll notice that elite strikers don't leave their hands down all the time - they choose when to do so.)

Regarding the second question:

Having the hands down conserves energy and allows the arms to stay more relaxed. It allows the fighter to throw punches from angles that wouldn't be available from a tight, high guard. Sometimes it may allow for a more powerful punch from certain positions. Dropping the guard may be a deliberate ploy to induce the opponent to attack along a certain line. In MMA, the low hands can give a big advantage to stopping takedowns.

There are also less good reasons why non-elite strikers may drop their hands, i.e. fatigue or adrenaline.

One of the guys at my gym is a two-time world champion boxer. He teaches a variation of the Philly Shell structure, which involves leaving the lead hand low and relying on the rear hand and the lead shoulder for blocking head shots. I've gotten to the point where I actually feel more comfortable with this as my default sparring structure.

I feel it is used on purpose to bait their opponent into getting off balance, getting desperate or thinking they have a knockout punch available. Then they counter with head movement and footwork. We have a fighter at the gym I train at that does the Philly shell you describe and he does it very well. Drives me crazy. :)
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
10,234
Reaction score
2,544
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
leaving the lead hand low and relying on the rear hand and the lead shoulder for blocking head shots.
I like this approach too. To hide your head under and next to your shoulder is a good strategy. You can also see better when you are not blocking your view with your head guard.

IMO, the boxing head guard may be too conservative. You keep your arms so close to your own head. This will give your opponent all the distance and space that's needed to generate his fast and powerful punches.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,506
Reaction score
2,938
Location
San Francisco

And swing wild. And all the other things we get told we cant do.

I mean above is maywether who is the best striker going at the moment and doesn't have his guard up very often at all.

So how is he getting away with it?
Rather than pretending this whole thing is a surprise to you and you don't have thoughts of your own on this, why don't you start off by sharing them?
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
427
Location
Cromwell,CT

And swing wild. And all the other things we get told we cant do.

I mean above is maywether who is the best striker going at the moment and doesn't have his guard up very often at all.

So how is he getting away with it?

Well, fortunately, I didn't pay to see that joke of a fight. LOL! Frankly, I'm not impressed with Mayweather. IIRC, Tank Abbot fought with that 1 hand low, 1 hand high, and was successful. But showboating like FM....well, hey, if you can pull if off, great. Personally, I'd rather not make it a habit of doing that. You never know when you might face someone who's a bit quicker, will land a good shot, and you'll land on your ***. Of course, when you spend half your fight running away, well, sure, maybe you can get away with that.
 
OP
drop bear

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,359
Reaction score
5,301
Well, fortunately, I didn't pay to see that joke of a fight. LOL! Frankly, I'm not impressed with Mayweather. IIRC, Tank Abbot fought with that 1 hand low, 1 hand high, and was successful. But showboating like FM....well, hey, if you can pull if off, great. Personally, I'd rather not make it a habit of doing that. You never know when you might face someone who's a bit quicker, will land a good shot, and you'll land on your ***. Of course, when you spend half your fight running away, well, sure, maybe you can get away with that.

Depends what you are good at. I think the structure is a bit better for punching but the risk of getting face punched is higher. Now if you know what you are doing then you can judge when to put your hands up to a finer scale.

Tony made some good points as well. And I agree with a counter puncher baiting with hands down.

Otherwise a wild swing is going to hit harder. You see that when people go for the huge overhand rights. In that eating a punch may even be a reasonable trade off.

As far as going backwards and striking. I think it has self defence applications outside of boxing for those who don't have the chin to stand and trade or those trying to escape an altercation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJS

Transk53

The Dark Often Prevails
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
835
Location
England 43 Anno Domini
As far as going backwards and striking. I think it has self defence applications outside of boxing for those who don't have the chin to stand and trade or those trying to escape an altercation.

Seen this sort of thing before, but I doubt that it was intentional though, plus one incident I recollect as being quite funny, the bloke backed into a street bin. The ones that are square metal and affixed to the pavement. I reckon you are right though, but the person would have to be trained and quite tuned to the area around. assuming of course the incident is over quite quickly though I would think. Otherwise it would be inevitable that the person would either have to knock them out or just leg it. IMHO.
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
427
Location
Cromwell,CT
Depends what you are good at. I think the structure is a bit better for punching but the risk of getting face punched is higher. Now if you know what you are doing then you can judge when to put your hands up to a finer scale.

Tony made some good points as well. And I agree with a counter puncher baiting with hands down.

Otherwise a wild swing is going to hit harder. You see that when people go for the huge overhand rights. In that eating a punch may even be a reasonable trade off.

As far as going backwards and striking. I think it has self defence applications outside of boxing for those who don't have the chin to stand and trade or those trying to escape an altercation.

Sure. I won't disagree with that. JKD is known for it's various methods of attack, ie: Attack By Drawing, Attack By Combination, etc., so I can see how that applies. Like anything, each individual will need to find what works for them. If you're capable of pulling that off, great.

Going back and striking....sure, nothing wrong with that. It's a hell of a lot better than just turning and running..lol
 
OP
drop bear

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,359
Reaction score
5,301
Sure. I won't disagree with that. JKD is known for it's various methods of attack, ie: Attack By Drawing, Attack By Combination, etc., so I can see how that applies. Like anything, each individual will need to find what works for them. If you're capable of pulling that off, great.

Going back and striking....sure, nothing wrong with that. It's a hell of a lot better than just turning and running..lol

Personally I think it is better than diving into the pocket with some guy that you have not gauged yet as well. All this street fighting is for super close range nonsense. I mean there must be a bunch of rock solid chins out there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJS

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,209
Reaction score
7,512
Location
Maui
Mark Twain said "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."

I think that applies to fighting with your hands down, too.
 

Zero

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
297
Damn! That was impressive!! Never saw him fight before, and if I did, I honestly don't recall.
Yeah, don't know how I never seen him fight either, the man has a lot going on!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJS

marques

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
1,187
Reaction score
380
Location
Essex, UK
Because they can. They have speed or "safe" distance (see Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali...).
Or, at least, one the two fighters are tired. Yes, elite fighters also get tired.
Or it's just strategy...
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,209
Reaction score
7,512
Location
Maui
There's a seperation between early training and advanced fighting, especially in boxing. I've never met a trainer who would allow a beginning boxer to keep his hands down. You just can't. Once a boxer knows how to fight/box and has developed his skill, it's fine if that's what he wants. There's an immediate feedback if it's done poorly.

It's one of the contradictions of the fight game. As is stance. Neophyte boxers sometimes have this wide stance - because it's easier to swing. But you have to learn to have your base under you, not just for proper technique of punching, but for footwork and endurance (wide stances are slower and tire you). Sometimes, with youngsters, you lightly tie their feet with a rope so they can't seperate into a wide stance. (everyone hates it) But if you look at the best boxers and freeze frame the action, you'll see some wide *** stances. But they've mastered the basics and use their own skills to do what they do. (again, immediate feedback in boxing if it's not working).

Back to the hands down thing. Lower hands stabilizes your center of gravity because your arms are closer to your middle. It lets you move easier. And when you're moving really fast or really quick/light with footwork, lower hands counter balance (or stabilize) your head movement and the quick movements of your feet. It's kind of like how big cats use their tail when chasing prey, sort of like an air rudder. It's the same thing in arts that have kicking as well as punching. IMO, anyway.

Ali was notorious for having his hands down. Except when he fought Foreman, although not up in the classic sense, they were higher than usual for him. We all know why that was.

I usually have my front hand low, my rear hand almost married to my chin. I block everything with my back hand, and only when a strike is near me. I don't "go fishing". (reaching out to block something.)
But, If I were to sparr any of you for the first time, my hands would be locked up high so I could feel-out what I just got myself into. Once I was used to you, I'd go back to what I like. Unless you were that much better than me, in which case I'd run away.

Hands down is okay - if you've paid your dues in training and know what you're doing. But I'll never admit I said that. Keep your hands up!
 

Latest Discussions

Top