The Best Training Tool Pt. 2

The previous article was me talking about how great Shadowboxing is and how useful it can be. This one will be a bit more specific.

The beauty of shadowboxing is that there literally are no limits to what you can work. Unlike methods that rely on particular equipment, or the need for a number of training partners, with shadowboxing, whatever you can imagine, then you can do it.

However, that is also where it can become useless as well. If we don’t treat whatever scenario/situation in our head as real as possible, then it can be nothing more than a poor and mindless dance, and an utter waste of time. It is extremely important to use your imagination the way we used to as kids when we played cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. That is, we have to live in it in the moment. For example, if my scenario is two attackers coming at me from different angles, then all my actions must stay true to that vision. I can’t “drop out of it” until I am done for that round, whether it is 30 seconds or 5 minutes. If I do that, then the better I visualize and the more I commit, the closer I come to actually experiencing it, and getting the full benefit of doing so.

A key component is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the best body mechanics as possible. There can be no slacking here. Each movement, whether footwork, offensive attacks, or defensive actions, needs to be conducted with absolute fidelity to the idea that every motion should be perfect. Remember the cliché: Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice does.

Another critical detail is moving through space. A huge flaw I see too often is that people shadowboxing tend to stay in a very small area. If the space I have to work in is small (like a hotel room), then so be it. But if I am in my empty three car garage, why should I stay in tiny area? I should at various times move everywhere, because in a fight there is now way to know where you should or could go, and you better have the ability to move when needed. So, MOVE! Have the idea that if you start in a certain spot, you should end up as far away as possible.

Fourth, you need to vary the speed. There is a time and place to go slow and relaxed, but there is also a time to go with the energy and intensity of a real fight. Feel free to mix them, but the better you get at full power and speed, the more likely it will translate directly to an actual fight.

Next time I will talk about how to make shadowboxing even more productive. Meanwhile, here is an excellent video showing everything we just covered:

8 thoughts on “The Best Training Tool Pt. 2”

    1. I am working on it. I want it to be as complete as I can make it, with vid clips and all, and I just have not had the time to complete it. I will get to it as soon as I can though!

      Thanks for asking!

      1. Thanks Mr. Burch. I’ll be sure to check back on the blog.

        Was hoping you could offer some expertise on a conundrum I have with focusing when hitting the pads and when sparring or in self defense situations.

        When practicing hitting focus mitts, when the mitts are shown to you, should you always have your eyes on the the mitt holder’s sternum? Utilizing peripheral vision to hit the mitts in this context?

        For sparring and general self defense situations, are you checking the person’s sternum the entire time to make sure you can read their movements? During defensive situations it makes sense to me to check someone’s sternum to read their actions, but when I’m on the offense I’m not sure if I should still have my eyes looking in that area.

        My boxing coach told me to keep my eyes on the sternum at all times, but I wanted to see a second opinion on this.

        1. I don’t have a specific spot. I generally have a soft focus on the area between their shoulders and down to the belly button. That’s general. But if I am hitting, I usually need to snap my eyes to the target. Hitting requires precision, to increase effect and to minimize damage, so we need to make sure we hit correctly and properly.

  1. Mr. Burch,

    Is there a way you can write a blog post on the “fighting platform” you advocate?

    From my understanding you used to teach the CMD program and I’ve seen a video where you advocate the “Hunchback stance.” Are you still a proponent of this posture?

    Also regarding the rear foot in the “fighting platform,” what is a general recommendation for it’s placement? Should it be pointed straight at the adversary at 12 or around 1-2? I find pointing it at 12 helps me keep my hips square, but at the expense of lateral movement.

    When I point it between 1 and 2, I can move laterally better, but my hips aren’t dead on square, just slightly square.

    1. I will add that idea to my the list of topics I need to cover.

      I dislike the term “hunchback stance” because I think it makes people think of the wrong signals, but in essence, that posture/structure is fairly similar to my platform. I prefer to teach it as a turtled up structure because I think that helps prevent people from artificially crunching the back and having the hips roll under, both of which weakens the platform and makes it difficult to handle incoming energy.

      As for the rear foot, it generally is a matter of your own hip mobility. As you found, pointing it forward is better for position, but it may be necessary to angle it a bit. I don’t think it is that big a deal one way or the other. I think the best approach is to do what gives you the best general results now, and slowly work on fixing it if needed.

      1. I’ll think about it as “turtled” position” from now on and see if there’s any differences.

        Thank you for answering my questions.

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