''Old School'' Boxing Stances

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by BlackMambaUFC, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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    I've been wondering, which stance to use for boxing/mma/muay thai. One stance in particular is the one most commonly used in the 1900s or late 1800s. Famous examples include Jack Johnson, James Corbett, Joe Gans and George Dixon.[​IMG]
    ''As a result of the rear-weighted stance, with the head over your back foot, opponents must cover more distance with their attacks to strike your head. More distance traveled means more time to see the strike and react accordingly.In addition, you can initiate offense more safely by maintaining his stance as he enters range. The first thing to enter range is your lead foot, followed by your hips, followed your his head. By testing the water with his lower body first, you are able to maintain the critical distance between his opponent's hands and his face even while entering range.'' Credits to Connor Ruebusch from bloody elbow for this quote which can be found here http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2013/8/1...machida-gif-ko-ufc-163-mma-technique-analysis

    However, I've read that these stances are not as applicable to modern day boxing as unlike last time, there's a lot more emphasis placed on combination punching and volume these days. Those old school guards/stances were designed to operate best against an opponent throwing single punches and working inside the clinch.

    Another stance I've been looking into is the stance employed by Ray Robinson , Charles Burley, Joe louis, Bernard Hopkins, etc.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    As you can see their head is off centre making it harder to land against them. Also, I've read many posts that they have their weight on the back foot, however, I've also noticed that Joe Louis tends to be front foot heavy as seen in the photo below.
    [​IMG]
    With that front foot heavy stance how did he get power from his jab? He also is in a semi-crouch position with his back not straight as usually advocated.

    What are the differences between these 2 types of stances and which one would be applicable and effective in modern day boxing where gloves are bigger, rounds are lesser? Does the boxers in the first stance centre have their head off centre? Besides Bernard Hopkins, I've not seen current boxers employ the 2nd stance mentioned, most of them basically have their hands up high with their head dead center like how oscar is standing in comparison to Bernard Hopkins in the picture below.
    [​IMG]
    Also which would be applicable in muay thai and mma?
    Thanks
     
  2. hell wall

    hell wall Blue Belt

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    In front foot heavy stance Joe Louis gets power into the jab by stepping with it and landing the fist before the lead foot...thus utilizing gravity to add more badda bing to the jab
     
  3. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Joe shifted back and forth between the front and back foot.
     
  4. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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    Hey sinister, which stance would you recommend and what are the main differences?
     
  5. Cross_Trainer

    Cross_Trainer Yellow Belt

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    I wouldn't recommend the 19th century stance, since you won't find any coaches around who know how to train you in it. (Outside of a couple part-time hobbyists trying to reconstruct Edwardian "Bartitsu"). The bareknuckle stuff was arranged with very different assumptions in mind than modern boxing.

    19th century boxing was designed to be used in a similar context to modern MMA. You could grab and throw the other guy (or put him in a headlock), and the nonexistent gloves made the stakes higher for entering the opponent's punching zone. Those two factors made engagement ranges longer, which dictated everything else: the lack of combination punching, the fencing lunges, the way they blocked, etc.

    If you really want to include something like 19th century boxing into your arsenal, somebody wrote a book on Lulu that describes its infighting and grappling methods pretty well -- http://www.lulu.com/shop/kirk-lawso...m-2nd-edition/paperback/product-18632709.html. You can also find all of the old manuals on Google Books and Archive.org. But really, that's a lot of effort.

    You mentioned that you're training Muay Thai at the moment, which is another reason to avoid the 19th century stuff. Muay Thai trainers spent the last 50-ish years integrating Western boxing into their curricula. With 19th century boxing, you'd have to do all the work yourself. The stance, assumptions about range, and a bunch of other factors are different. You'd need to figure them out.

    The only late 19th century fighter who used a Muay Thai (...ish) stance was a middleweight named Bob Fitzsimmons. Or at least, he stood on the ball of the front foot like the Thais, and his front foot wasn't turned inward. Fitz was a pretty good role model as fighters go: he was a monstrous puncher who excelled in setting traps, which won him the heavyweight championship weighing in the mid-160's.

    His entire manual is online. I suppose you could integrate some of the techniques into your conventional Muay Thai if you have the patience to figure out how to best adapt it. It probably would work best if you're tall and lanky:

    http://archive.org/details/physicalculture00fitzgoog
     
  6. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I wouldn't recommend much without seeing your build, how you move, etc.

    As for the post above mine, I wouldn't say Fitz was the ONLY decent example from his time period. Boxing had heavier wrestling influences back then, considering they trained with wrestlers both for their strength, and their clinch work. Also, the goals of a bare knuckle fighter in-terms of landing blows and not taking them are closer to what you'd want to accomplish in MMA than they are to modern boxing, so I wouldn't use modern boxing as a disqualifier.
     
  7. Cross_Trainer

    Cross_Trainer Yellow Belt

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    I was thinking in terms of integrating the striking stance-wise, since Fitzsimmons seemed to diverge from every other ca.1860-1900 boxing manual by putting his weight on the rear foot.

    (And on a tangential note, the point karate guys might learn a thing or two by watching Tommy Burns as well...).

    I agree that a lot of the general grappling stuff would probably translate extremely well to MT or MMA. Chanceries, throws, etc.

    I've always thought that 19th century boxing would make a great striking base for MMA. My only concern was training infrastructure. You don't have many coaches to help you with training and integrating it, since it's essentially dead.
     
  8. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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    hey sinister, do you agree that the stance that corbett, johnson in the 1900s used are not as applicable to modern day boxing as unlike last time, there's a lot more emphasis placed on combination punching and volume these days. Those old school guards/stances were designed to operate best against an opponent throwing single punches and working inside the clinch.
    Secondly, What are the differences between the classic stance and the stance that hopkins, robinson used, and which is more ''efficient''? Why are there no boxers currently standing the classical way or even the way ray robinson stands(with the exception of bernard hopkins)?
    In this article, http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/cbzf...y-Wills-assessment-of-Joe-Louis-in-early-1936 , Jack Johnson said that Louis stance was wrong and that he would be off balance each time he punches, where in the classical stance he employed, he would be in perfect balance, so boxers should stand in the way he currently stands, is this true?
     
  9. Tony Wolf

    Tony Wolf White Belt

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    I teach the basics of old-school fisticuffs as part of the Bartitsu curriculum. I couldn't recommend the classic stance "as is" for modern MMA because although bare-knuckle rules allowed standing grappling and throwing, they didn't allow any seizing below the belt, so the stance is very vulnerable to double-legs, etc.

    I've sparred recreationally using the 19th century stance and extended, rotating ("milling") guard against modern boxers - worked OK, probably mostly because it's so unorthodox. Never tried it against Muay Thai, but it really isn't optimised against kicks, either.
     
  10. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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  11. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I don't agree that it's not applicable, just that the goals of the Sport across the board seem to be different. But at the end of the day who cares about combination punching if you can knock the guy out? If you look at actual footage from days where guys fought with classical stances, they do throw combinations and can either endure or avoid blows just fine. There's reasons for that.

    Over time most boxers stances brought the head closer to the center line, and the weight closer to the front foot. Also the L-stance fell out of favor, unless you are just so duck-footed you can't avoid it. Nowadays most guys try to stand exaggeratedly sideways. Efficiency is relative, however I do favor rear-foot oriented stances, facing the center line, head off-center, hands in threatening positions.

    Johnson disliked Jack Blackburn. So he'd take most opportunities to discredit things about Louis being that Louis turned him down to be trainer. Considering that Louis has the best KO record of any Heavyweight in the History of the Sport, Johnson doesn't have much room to criticize.
     
  12. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    BlackMambaUFC, are you Jonah on Twitter?
     
  13. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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    haha connor got that right
     
  14. limejuicepowder

    limejuicepowder White Belt

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    I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to comment on your question as a whole, but I will lend some anecdotal support to the weight-on-the-rear-leg stance in muay thai: it can work pretty well, and I've used it before. I think it makes for an excellent defensive stance (body turned sideways or more straight on). With the weight on the rear leg, the front leg is free for very fast checks, front kicks, sidekicks, or non-switch kick front leg roundhouses. It's more defensive in nature because the more upright stance doesn't lend itself to forward movement (you would have to switch your weight to the front leg to move), but it can create a very strong barrier.
     
  15. BlackMambaUFC

    BlackMambaUFC White Belt

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    i meant the differences between the classical stance and the stance louis used. The stance louis used seemed to be not as upright as the classical stance and did corbett had his head offline?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  16. Cross_Trainer

    Cross_Trainer Yellow Belt

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    This might be somewhat relevant to the issue at hand.

    If you want to see what the old 19th century style looked like, you can observe Corbett and Billy Edwards (an American lightweight champion about a generation before Corbett) on the early film. It's not 100% spot on, but Corbett's technique is almost textbook when you look at the manuals from the 1890s.


    Corbett and McCoy exhibiting a few techniques

    [YT]dTbHplYRhYA[/YT]


    Corbett demonstrating some of his tricks with Gene Tunney

    [YT]vMdot7QW9Mo[/YT]


    Corbett toying with Courtney before Edison's kinetograph

    [YT]gpDhbpmtpvo[/YT]


    Billy Edwards, former American bareknuckle lightweight champion

    [YT]LXstpXxkWqE[/YT]



    There's also Corbett's match with Fitzsimmons, but the Youtube footage is pretty grainy.
     
  17. NAKMUAY18

    NAKMUAY18 Brown Belt

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    I know your not supposed to say this because everything old school is amazing and everything modern sucks, but Corbett looked awful! (Can you get dubs for fighter bashing a fighter that's been dead 100years?)

    Tunney looked great, but if I had and fight and Corbett rocked up as my opponent I think I'd be rubbing my hands.

    I could very well be missing something if anybody wishes to enlighten me?
     
  18. Tony Wolf

    Tony Wolf White Belt

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    During the very early 20th century it was common for champion boxers to tour major cities performing play-fight "re-enactments" of their most famous fights; extra money, and a chance for fans to see what they would otherwise only be able to read about in the days before radio, TV or even widespread cinemas. Some of the champs had better instincts for that sort of showmanship than others.

    Edison's kinetograph studio filmed several of these re-enacted fights, as seen above; it's also worth noting that the kinetograph footage was mostly to test the technology of recording fast action on film, rather than to actually show off the boxers' techniques.

    In combination, you're definitely not seeing Jim Corbett at his best in any of those clips.
     
  19. Goat Meal

    Goat Meal Shhh Belt

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  20. Jukai

    Jukai Silver Belt

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    I was thinking the same thing. If you saw two guys doing that stuff nowadays, you'd call it slap happy McDojo stuff.
     

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