By Jim Graden
I wrote this blog the “The Four Mistakes Even Pro Fighters Make” for two reasons. One because I hope it can help someone get better, and two, to continue to expose the great teaching of the late Joe Lewis.
What I have really come to appreciate over the years is how few trainers and instructors teach good defense. Like Joe did for me.
I see video after video of fighters blasting a heavy bag or mitts with all the focus on the offense. No head movement, no side step, or slide step to change angles. Just blasting kicks and punches. That’s not how I trained.
Joe would have me spar rounds where I could only use defense, no offense. No punches or kicks of any kind, against a sparring partner that has no restriction. We worked defense! So here is number three of the four mistakes even pro fighters make.
3.) Being a stationary target: Joe Lewis use to say, “You are ether moving, firing or standing waiting to get hit!” I see it all the time in combat sports. Guys just standing on each other’s firing line, not firing, not moving there heads or making position changes, just waiting to get hit.
You may think, “you can’t move all the time, you will run out of gas!
But if you look at a guy like Bernard Hopkins, one of the smartest fighters I have ever seen, Hopkins won his last World Boxing Title at age 49! You can’t do that if you’re taking a lot of shots to the head.
If you watch Hopkins’ fight you will see a man that is never standing still. Not up on his toes dancing around, but very subtle angle changes, side steps and head movement that never stops. Making it very difficult to hit him with a clean shot.
Joe Lewis taught me how to use movement to create a strategy against different fighting styles. The basic theory is if you are fighting a pressure fighter, you want to “get off first!” and than move. If you’re fighting a counter puncher, you move first, side to side, to make him move his feet and then attack.
This is broad of course; rarely do you find a pure pressure fighter or someone that only counters. But it’s a great way to start breaking down a fighter and figuring out how to approach a fight. The point is that movement itself, also known as footwork, is one of the ways to implement strategy. You should never be just standing in front of someone waiting to get hit!