Guide to being a Cornerman

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by SideofKO, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    So with the budding interest in MMA, many people are venturing out to fight and are at a loss when it comes to having knowledgeable guys in their corner. This guide will serve those of you who wish to do right by your fighter and give him the best opportunity to not only succeed, but to also minimize the risk of damage while maximizing his ability to perform without having to worry for his safety.

    Materials:

    For every good cornerman, there are tools of the trade by which to hone your craft. This is a simple list that people can add to but will serve as a basic list of materials that will ensure your fighters safety and peak performance. They are not in any particular order. There will be more discussion of application of these tools further on in the thread. I will post links to Title Boxing as you can purchase most if not all of the materials you may need there.

    The main exception is Coagulants. These will require a prescription from a doctor unless you can squeeze some out of an EMT or a ringside physician. The good news is that you don't necessarily need them and most cuts (unless they are gruesome) can heal with adequate knowledge of how to stop the blood from flowing.

    1. Corner Tote. Invaluable piece of equipment that will carry many if not all of your materials. Pro Style Corner Tote from Title Boxing

    2. Water/Ice. If you do not have water, your fighter will dehydrate. You can use a water bottle if you'd like, or a simple bottle of water. Ice is essential to treat swelling and to cool your fighters body temperature.

    3. Icepack. Very simple, icepacks can be filled with ice. They are used to treat swelling, and most of the time are placed on the back of the neck to cool down the fighter as their body temperature gets relatively high, especially in that area. It also sometimes prevents strains and pulls.

    3. Spit bucket. This can be a simple 5 gallon bucket used to spit in or store ice. Never at the same time. LOL.

    4. Enswell/Endswell/No-swell. Different names for the same type of tool. This in its most basic form is a piece of steel that you set on ice that can be used to treat swelling in the face. Some Enswells actually have a compartment inside in which to freeze water to keep it ice cold. No Swells from Title Boxing

    5. White Towel. It's a good idea to have a few towels on hand. They take care of sweat, blood, etc. And can also be used to save your fighter from further damage by throwing it in the cage/ring.

    6. Gauze. Rolled gauze for hand wrapping (which I will cover later on in this thread) and gauze pads for blood and cuts. This is essential. You need gauze. Fighters get cut. They need their hands wrapped. Period. Boxing Gauze from Title Boxing

    7. Tape. 1 inch tape will serve you just fine. Again, this is for wrapping hands and can also be used to tape your fighters gloves. Most of the time they will provide you with colored duct tape to tape the gloves but sometimes they do not. TITLE Boxing Tape from Title Boxing

    8. Cotton Swabs. These are used for cuts and nose bleeds. I don't recommend the ones you find at the store. They do not usually have enough cotton. I will go into making your own cotton swabs further in the thread. If I do not someone remind me. Do not stick these in your mouth!! It's unsanitary. And unnecessary.

    9. Vaseline. Your fighter will get scrapes and cuts much easier if they are not greased up. Store bought vaseline is perfect. It is applied to the cheeks, and eye ridges, forehead and bridge of the nose to prevent cuts. It can also be used to seal coagulants or vessel constrictors into cuts to speed up the healing process and staving off the severity of the wound.

    10. Scissors. Scissors are invaluable and a necessary thing to have. You must use the scissors with the safety feature on the front so that you do not injure your fighter by cutting him/her. I have two pairs of scissors just in case. Everlast Trainer's Scissors from Title Boxing

    11. Latex gloves. To prevent infection and transfer of blood, latex gloves are used by corner men to minimize this risk. A trick I use is to have three globs of Vaseline on the back of one of my hands on the gloves so that it's right there for me to use. Do not use the gloves with talcum powder!!

    12. Corner Sponge. This is really optional, but it's good to clean the sweat off of your fighter as well as cooling him/her down. It also can wash away blood from your fighter.

    13. Stop Watch. This is optional as well, but it gives you a good sense of timing and that is crucial because you only have 60 seconds in between rounds. I like to be right at the door when it's opened because you lose about 10 seconds in that time. A stop watch can help to reduce that time.

    14. Stool. No not feces. A stool. Usually, they will provide you with one. However, I've been to three shows that have not. A simple stool will suffice. Sometimes, it's a good idea to cut open tennis balls and put them at the bottom of each leg so that it doesn't ruin the material in the cage.

    15. Coagulants/Vessel Constrictors.
    A.) Adrenaline 1:1000 (Commonly known as epinephrine). This is really the least of your concerns right now but they are necessary to treating cuts. Epinephrine is a vessel constrictor and is used by dipping a cotton swab or gauze pad into it and applying it straight to a cut. It works to stop the bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. Crucial.
    B.) Avitene is a coagulant that it applied to the cut in order to help facilitate and speed up the coagulation process. There are other coagulants but this is the only one you'll probably ever need.

    Well, that is the basic materials list. The rest of the thread will operate under the assumption that you've reviewed this list and are familiar with the terms.

    Your fighter should also have a back up mouthpiece as well as a cup on hand. Make sure that you bring some mitts to warm up with and a back up pair of gloves in case they do not provide you with any.

    The next section will discuss warming your fighter up.
     
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  2. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    After the hands are wrapped (which will be discussed at length in another section) your fighter needs to build up a sweat.

    Here are some things to keep in mind.

    K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    Don't try to explain some complicated move that your fighter's never heard of before the fight. Stick to fundamentals. This means basic combinations/footwork and defense. And sticking to fundamental things. Let your fighter pummel with you or a partner to get his juices flowing. Get him on the mitts and have him warm for about 5-10 minutes. No more than that.

    Do not allow your fighter to overdo it. Which means, when warming him up don't let him blow his cardio on the pads or by grappling for too long. Let him work up a sweat about 20-30 minutes prior to fighting to keep his muscles warm and loose. Fighting cold will kill your fighter.

    The adrenaline dump is a major factor, especially in newer fighters. It affects everyone differently. Some guys are hyped up, some are mellow and some don't want to fight. You need to be assertive and responsive to your individual fighters reaction to the adrenaline dump. If he's really hyped up, calm him down a bit. If he is super mellow, hype him up. If he's not wanting to fight, give and instill confidence in him by looking him in the eyes and telling him how confident you are in him. This is key to preparing your guy.

    Gameplan. Everyone needs a gameplan. Most will not follow it but you need to have a strategy by which the fighter can maximize his chance of success. If you cannot get a hold of tapes of your guys opponent, then you should look for your fighter to impose his strengths in the fight. This should be worked on weeks before the fight as well. So that when you drill this in the locker room, it isn't anything unfamiliar to him.

    When you wrap your fighters hands, you should be talking to him and giving him confidence. It's a fight. He will need you mentally just as much as he will need your hand in the corner. Let him know how good he is and go over the gameplan along with simple guidelines, ie. keeping the hands up, using the jab to find his range, lowering his levels and setting up his takedowns, etc.

    All of these tips will allow your fighter to be confident and hopefully be able to cope and handle the massive adrenaline dump that will be ravaging his nerves.

    Remember. K.I.S.S.
     
    #2
  3. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    Finally in the Corner:

    Now your fighter is ready to fight. Wait. No he isn't. He needs to be greased up. Before you get in the ring/cage, take some vaseline and apply it to the brow, forehead, cheeks and the nose of your fighter. I sometimes actually put some on the lips as well. You can be liberal, depending on who is there. Just be sure that there are no globs of vaseline on your fighters face.

    Now, he's in the cage/ring and they shut the door and the fight begins. Call out instructions to your fighter. You'll have to use your big boy voice an project from your diaphragm to compete with the rednecks yelling from the stands.

    Watch for any signs of weakness from the other fighter to exploit in the next round.

    When the round is about to end (this is where the stop watch comes in really handy) creep next to the door and be ready to go to work.

    Before I go onto the next part I want to emphasis one thing. There are two cornermen in the corner. You and someone else. You need to assume roles. One guy speaks. The other guy shuts up and goes to work. It's much more concise in this manner.

    If you have anything to add and you are working cuts, tell the other guy so that he can tell the fighter.

    Now I will split this up into two parts. One for the main corner man, and the other for the second.

    1. The Main Corner Man.

    Your job is simple. Have the fighter sit on the stool. Ask him to take some deep breaths. Have his legs out a little to bring blood flow to them. You can reach down and pull open his shorts a bit to take pressure off of his stomach and facilitate breathing. Have him sit up straight as well to help his lungs expand. Take his mouth piece out or have him take it out and wash it off. Administer water and ask him to spit the first few swigs. This gets impurities out of his mouth. Then have him drink a small bit.

    What is good about MMA is that you can allow him to hold the water because of the gloves and you are free to do something else.

    Look your fighter in the eye. Tell him what he needs to hear. If he's doing well, commend him. If he's not doing too well, then tell him that he could do better Don't belittle him or else it can backfire, though some people respond better to yelling I am one of them. This goes back to know your fighter.

    Give him simple instructions, keep the hands up, throw a right cross when he attempts that leg kick, etc. Simple strategy that he can remember. Nothing complicated.

    Again, praise his good points but be realistic at the same time. If he isn't pressuring when he should be, let him know. If he's going too wild, tell him to be more composed.

    Instill confidence, reiterate the strategy, exploit the opponents mistakes and weaknesses.

    When it's time for the next round, stand your fighter up (and if he's in super good condition do it before the ref calls you out, this is psychological warfare) and have him breathe again. Constantly remind him to breathe. It's easy to forget. Tell him to kick ass and exit the cage/ring.

    2. The Second.

    Your job is just as hard if not harder in some cases. You will deal with the physical aspect of the fighter for the most part.

    First thing. Take your corner tote and spit bucket/ice bucket inside with you.

    Icepack on the back of the neck. It will cool him down very quickly. You can place it on the top of his head as well.

    Wipe the sweat from his body with a towel and if need be pour some water or use the sponge to clease the impurities.

    Reapply the vaseline where it needs to be. I like to keep globs of it on my hand to keep from having to reach inside of the container the whole time.

    Look for swelling of any kind. If there is swelling you can use the Enswell or the Icepack. Place the Enswell on the area and press firmly (but don't force it, this can do more damage) while holding the back of the head for support, or using your free hand to do something else. When using the Enswell there are two things I like to remember.
    1. Vaseline on the Enswell makes for a happy fighter. If there's not a small amount on the Enswell, it can stick to your fighters skin.
    2. Do not force. Less is more in this case. Don't try to move a mouse away from the eye by brutalizing it and pushing it away. It will only further damage the small vessels in the eye and it will certainly not improve your situation. Good firm pressure, but don't go bludgeoning your fighters face.


    Look for cuts or nose bleeds. When dealing with these things you need to remember a few rules.

    1. Pressure is the best coagulant. Constant pressure on a cut with the full time you are there should be your top priority. If you do not have any adrenaline or avitene. Wipe the blood away with a gauze pad or a cool towel. And then press firmly on the cut to close it and keep the pressure. An Enswell can be used in the area to decrease blood flow.

    2. Have your gloves on. This is just being sanitary.

    3. Vaseline is your friend and your enemy. It can be useful to seal the cut after you've used pressure to close it. But it's hell for the doctor to get out when they go to clean it. LOL.

    4. Adrenaline chloride. Dip your Cotton Swab in the little brown container to soak it in the epinephrine (remember these terms are the same substance) and place it into the wound to allow the vessels to constrict. Then keep pressure on it to help the miracle stuff work. You can seal it in with some vaseline. DO NOT POUR WATER INTO THE CUT AFTER USING EPINEPHRINE! This just washes it out of the wound, negating any work that was done.

    Nosebleeds are treated similarly. I like to use rolled up gauze pads. I soak the top of the roll in epinephrine and place it inside the nose (NOT TOO HIGH UP!!) and apply pressure on the side of the nose so the blood can coagulate. I like gauze or a really big cotton swab for this job.

    After the ref yells SECONDS OUT or OUT OF THE CAGE, etc., then finish up, squeezing as much precious time as you can while gathering your corner tote and spit bucket and perhaps the stool.

    Second round: Rinse and Repeat.
     
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  4. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    Thank you for posting such a thorough guide to cornering fighters. You really did an awesome job.

    I cornered a professional fighter named Marcus Ajian a few months ago in Long Beach, Ca. He won by guillotine in the first round. Your guide would have been very helpful to me prior to that fight. But I will definitely print your posts out so I can save them as an excellent reference.

    Marcus later tried out for the upcoming season of TUF and made it but some things happened at the last minute and he was unable to continue on. Look out for him though, he's really talented.

    Edit: Btw, I respect what you said about not explaining complicated new moves right before the fight. Prior to Marcus's fight, we lightly drilled the basics. I had a buddy of mine work on the ground with him because my back was bad; I worked the pads.

    Marcus has an excellent squeeze and he favors the guillotine so we practived some set-ups for that move and also some defenses. He also told me to watch the fight closely and to shout out instructions if necessary. He said he would listen.

    Well, he went out there, and when the fight hit the ground he ended up using one of the guillotine defenses that we covered before the fight and he sunk a guillotine of his own and squeezed hard when I told him it was working. So we had a really good fight that night. Marcus of course deserves all of the credit but as a team we worked well. I felt privileged to corner him.
     
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  5. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    I will be honest and say that Mr. Sinister really suggested that we do this. I'm sure he will offer some good advice, but I thought I'd start a useful guide that has the basics built in. That way it can be ever expanding and a magnet for pertinent information.
     
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  6. Jack Cough Brown Belt

    Jack Cough
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    Wow thanks for the thread. I wish I would have read this 5 years ago before I got drafted to watch a guy that I work with get his ass beat while I stood there looking like an idiot.
     
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  7. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    Handwrapping Part 1:

    To begin, you should know that most states have certain laws (some more stringent than others) regarding the maximum amount of length of gauze and tape you can use on a fighters hand as well as where on the hand the tape can go.

    For most states, 15 yards of 2" gauze and 3' of athletic tape. The tape has to be applied one inch behind the knuckles and cannot be bricked up on the knuckles.

    In addition, there are many ways to wrap hands and little subtle nuances that you will undoubtedly learn with regard to wrapping hands. This is just a basic framework so that you can expand your knowledge around this base.

    With that said we can begin.

    Preparation:

    Make sure you have lots of gauze and tape with you. You can never have enough. At least twp rolls of gauze per person and a roll of tape per person.

    Gauze pads:

    Gauze pads should be made before hand just to save time. I like to make them the night before and tuck them away into my bag so that I don't have to worry about them. It's kind of hard to explain in writing exactly how to make these which is why I wanted to make a video but I'll attempt to here.

    Essentially a gauze pad is gauze that is folded over itself to make a pad. In boxing the pad is huge, and you will use most if not the whole roll of gauze, in MMA the gloves are smaller, so you have to shorten it quite a bit. The way I like to make them is to open my fingers ridiculously wide and start to roll the gauze over them so that you can control how wide the pad is and also if you do it this way, it won't mess up or come unraveled in your bag.

    You might want to experiment with your fighter beforehand to determine the thickness. Depending on a.) the size of the gloves and/or b.) the size of your fighters hands you might need a smaller pad to fit.

    I generally roll the gauze over my fingers about 10 to fifteen times. You'll want to have two per person.

    Warming Up:

    Warming up? How do you warm up hands? Well, seeing as how your fighter will have a mound of gauze and tape on his hands you want them as loose and warm as possible.

    I like to begin by warming up my hands Miyagi style and then pulling gently on the fingers and rubbing on the top of the hand to massage the ligaments. I ask the fighter to spread his fingers a few times and to make a fist as well as roll his wrist. I may also massage the forearms right above the wrist if there is a great deal of tension.

    After the hand is good and limber you can move on to actually wrapping the hand.
     
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  8. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    I look forward to studying your guys' guide. It seems invaluable.
     
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  9. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    Yeah, this rings true for a lot of fighters. At least it should. There are certain things that are sure to happen in the fight so you have to be ready for it. If you know your guy has a great guard but take a lot of punishment sometimes, drill tying up the opponent with a high guard, rubber guard, over hooks and under hooks, and controlling the guys posture. Things like this can mean the difference between a win or a loss sometimes. And they are basic things to drill.

    I seriously watched one guy try to show his fighter how to do a tornado kick right before a fight. Which is fine I suppose, but the fighter looked confused as hell. And it's just something that he probably wouldn't have needed. He was going over a tornado kick when I would have focused on him keeping the right hand up when he jabbed so he wouldn't get countered with a left hook... which he did and it didn't end the fight but it was one of those things that happened all night long.
     
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  10. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    I am still a novice when it comes to cornering--I've only done it one time. I've also never fought at an event--just gym stuff. But I have a pretty good fight IQ and I study a lot and train as often as possible.

    What you said makes a lot of sense. At the fight in Long Beach, I noticed other teams literally teaching their fighter a book's-worth of detailed techniques before the fight, and I was thinking, "what the hell are you doing... your fighter is losing focus."

    I've seen similar episodes play out at grappling tournaments.

    I imagine keeping it simple like you advised is the way to go. The basics seem to be what reall serves a fighter's best interests.

    Tonight for instance, Joe Lauzon was using excellent fundamentals on his way to victory. When in the bottom in his guard, he constantly worked to break posture and on top, he kept is hips real low. He used his punches to close the distance so he could clinch. Things like that are often overlooked. And right before a fight, those are the things to stress to your fighter.

    Also, like you said, always keep your hands up. When you punch, promptly return your hands to their protective position. Keep your chin down. Little things, but the most important.
     
    #10
  11. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    On Handwrapping.

    Ah yes. This is truly an artform. And everyone believes that their art is the one true way. However, there are certain guidelines to remember when wrapping hands that really illustrate what the function the handwrap fulfills.

    1. Protect. Protect. Protect the hands. These are your fighters weapons and defense. His sword and shield. You need to make sure that the handwrap protects the knuckles, the thumb, the wrist, and the small bones in the hand.

    2. Know thine Commission. Ask the Commissioner or representative if there are any guidelines in which to follow. Most States allow 15 yards of gauze and 6 yards of tape. Most states will tell you that the tape has to be 2 inches behind the knuckles. There are also issues about tape on the palm of the hand, but that's bad anyway because it makes it difficult for a fighter to close his hand into a fist.

    3. Massage your fighters hands. This isn't a date, it is required to increase blood flow to the fingers and warm his hands up.

    4. Bring lots of gauze and tape. I'd say at least four rolls of guaze per person to be wrapped and three rolls of tape. Here's why I am so liberal. Firstly, sometimes people ask for gauze. If you wish to be polite, you can comply but you can keep your stuff too. After all, it's expensive.
    You may have to re-wrap your fighters hands. If the commission finds something wrong (which is rare) with the wraps, they may ask you to re-wrap them. I generally use a roll of gauze per hand, and then use one half of a roll to make my pads for each hand.

    4. Everything happens across the back of the hand. Away from the thumb. As I said, everyone has a different way to wrap hands. My intention is to give you a basic wrap that you can use and not have to question too much. This being said, I like to start wrapping with gauze across the back of the hand.

    5. Keep the fingers spread. There's nothing worse than having your fighters hand be all scrunched together and have poor circulation. Especially in MMA. Keep reminding your fighter that he or she needs to keep their fingers spread nice and wide.

    5. With tape, think plywood. All directions make for a strong wrap. Also think no bubbles. You can use the scissors to smooth out any bubbles in the tape as they will lead to a weakened wrap.

    I'm going to find a video to post that will illustrate a basic wrap, so I will edit this in order to link to it.
     
    #11
  12. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    Damn computer.
     
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  13. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    This is all you need. If you study and put into practice what you've studied, then things will be much easier on you. It is a common misconception that you need to fight to be able to be a good corner man and that is a blatant lie. Some guys are good fighters but know nothing about cornering and it takes a good communicator and a diligent worker with a knack for strategy to be a good coach/cornerman. Being a cutman is a skill that is learned while in the trenches. But the basics are learned by studying, and practicing your craft.
     
    #13
  14. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    Thank you for the positive feedback. It's nice to hear from someone as experienced as yourself.
     
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  15. SideofKO Brown Belt

    SideofKO
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    Oh, I don't wish to feign experience, at least I don't want to portray myself as someone who has cornered a gazillion fights. I've just studied my ass off, asked a lot of questions, and worked around 6 fights I suppose its been now. Everything I've learned seems to be working for me.
     
    #15
  16. noizer Red Belt

    noizer
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    a good and facinating read. these posts show that not only the fighters themselves are responsible for their victories but that theri corners have alot of input.
     
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  17. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    I know what you're saying. I wasn't insinuating that you were trying to come across like you were Delegrotte, but you compiled an excellent resource and clearly you are experienced. Thanks again for this thread. It really is a big help.
     
    #17
  18. Centaur Black Belt

    Centaur
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    He asked me to throw my 2 cents in as well, as I've done a bit of cornering and fighting. So far though, I have to say you've done an excellent job.
    I quoted and bolded that because I feel it's very important. I only had to be treated for swelling in one of my fights, but something like that is the difference between your fighter seeing what's coming at him, and what is not.

    This is exactly what my coach would do with me or his other fighters. Very Simple, Very Basic.

    We'd do a few mini rounds. Brief, fairly intense (mostly because of the pre-fight nerves) and VERY SIMPLE.

    "JAB- Cross. Move. Cross, Hook Kick. Breathe. Relax".

    If you get a chance, watch Shawn Thompkins warming up Junie before his last fight on Spike. This is exactly what you should be doing.

    Even as I (or whoever was fighting) we're on the way to the walk down, he (my coach) would talk to us, keep us focused, even do light "mitt" work with his hands.

    Re-iterate the basics, keep everything simple, relaxed and focused.


    Also, this is a great, inexpensive guide:
    DVD - How to Properly Work a Fighter's Corner from Title Boxing
     
    #18
  19. Centaur Black Belt

    Centaur
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    I'd also like to suggest the corner man having a spare mouth piece for his fighter. There has been instances when the original is knocked out and been kicked into the crowd and the fight couldn't continue.

    Ideally, it's probably a good idea to have spares and extra of most things:

    Scissors, mouth piece, ice, buckets (one can be stacked into the other), tape, gauze.

    If you don't need it, great, you can save it for the next time, or perhaps there is someone else that WILL need it and you can save their ass.

    And if you DO need it, you'll be very, very happy to have it.
     
    #19
  20. SonnyakaPig Brown Belt

    SonnyakaPig
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    Great points. Thanks for posting.
     
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