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The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey
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    Default The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    The Jimmy Wilde and Barney Ross books I summarized recently were both useful and insightful. But Jack Dempsey's "Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense" is on another level entirely. It is far longer and absolutely full of insights, thoughtful approaches, sketches and explanations. It is a boxing tour de force. I was very surprised by two things. First, I think of Dempsey as a kind of raw offensive machine. It simply ain't true. The knowledge he imparts here is comprehensive. Secondly, Dempsey and his editor Jack Cuddy make it sounds like Dempsey is actually teaching the reader. Concise declarative sentences. Written in 1950.

    Dempsey spends a great deal of time on the Trigger Step (also called the Falling Step) as a source of power among other things, but I found the most interesting sections were on Defensive Technique. The thoughts below are all Dempsey's except for those in parenthesis which are kine.

    Dempsey begins with his definition of defense : How to prevent a starting punch from landing on its target, and how to counter with a punch. (the bold is mine. How often do we see fighters today avoid getting hit and not doing anything else? I found it fascinating that Dempsey was utterly dismissive of jumping away or moving out of punching range as legitimate, championship level defense. Why? Because it only does half the job. Jumping away or moving out of range isn't Aggressive Defense because one cannot counterpunch while doing those things.)

    Dempsey provides a cascade of defense.

    Blocking-This is the least preferable. Why? A solid block can affect one's balance, because repeated shots on say the left deltoid can affect punching power as the fight goes on and because one cannot punch while blocking. Blocking can be done with the hands, shoulders, combined with a body pivot, forearms and elbows and can be used against all punches. Dempsey goes punch by punch with the best options. He emphasizes the eyes must be kept open because for each block there is a best immediate counter. This is the first kind of defense to be taught. (Fighters like Mr. Ronald Wright and Arthur Abraham never moved beyond it. Fighters like James Toney and BHOP and Floyd Mayweather rely on the shoulder portion of this technique).


    Deflection-This is parrying and "brushing off." Brushing off is also called "glancing-off." This is a violent chopping movement. Deflection is superior to Blocking because one's balance remains unaffected, one is not taking punches that can wear over time and because it is done with one hand at a time so the other is free to punch. One limitation of this technique is it should be avoided against hooks. The parry is used against straight punches (think Mr. Miyagi's "side-side.") Dempsey notes that cross-Parries, i.e. blocking a left jab with one's left hand, are a bad idea as you are open to a counter right hand with nothing to stop it. Dempsey also warns against parrying "inside-out" against fast handed foes. The "Glance-off" is a more solid deflection. This move is why fighters use the backhand on the speedbag. This is training the deflection. (Think "wax-on, wax-off" and "paint the fence" taught by Mr. Miyagi. Joe Louis, Alexis Arguello and again BHOP, Toney and Floyd rely on this as does Juan Manuel Marquez).

    Evasion-The King of defensive techniques. Evasion is forcing the foe to miss a punch without any physical contact, while remaining in position to land a counter. Why is it the king? No punishment taken and both hands free to counterpunch. Dempsey outlines four ways to evade; Slipping, bobbing, footwork and pulling away. A slip is simply rolling the shoulders that allows a straight punch to go over a shoulder. (Willie Pep, Joe Gans, Salvador Sanchez, Tony Canzoneri, Sweet Pea are wonderful practitioners of this.) Dempsey outlines the best counter against each punch and whether that punch has been slipped to the right or left. Bobbing is simply artful bowing from the waist and is especially effective against hooks to the head and in closing on the foe. No foot movement is used for either the slip or the bob. As a result the feet are ready to punch. Now when bobbing one must always be ready to simultaneously slip (the "bob and weave"). By slipping while bobbing one makes the head hard to hit and adds uncertainty as to where you are moving or punching next. (Think Joe Frazier, Nicolino Locche, a young Mike Tyson and of course Dempsey himself). Footwork can be the defensive sidestep, a single step and a pivot with the other foot. If stepping right the right foot steps and the left pivots. One punches as the stepping foot lands, not while it is stepping. Another useful piece of footwork is stepping inside a hook toward the foe. A variety of punches are available in each case. But in general when stepping inside one throws the opposite hand of the one being evaded. For example a left hook is best countered by stepping inside and throwing the right hand. (Joe Gans, Floyd Mayweather, Barney Ross, Willie Pep, Benny Leonard all did lots of this). The worst kind of evasion is "pulling away." This is basically swaying from the waist and shifting one's weight to the back foot with or without a step. This is a last resort against straight punches but should never be used against hooks to the head. (Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali anyone?). The problem is once someone gets used to pulling away from straight punches they often instinctively try to do so against hooks.

    If you can get your hands on this book it really is a treat!
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    greynotsoold is offline Forum Greatest Of All Time greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class greynotsoold Don't mess with User or you will get KTFO... To powerful and full of class
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    I read that book many years ago...Good luck in finding a fighter willing to take the time to learn, or be taught, those types of things.

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    yeah. I think Holyfield employs some of this. Marciano was good at it too.

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Interesting read. But sorry to say that I doubt this is Dempsey's wisdom. Rather the wisdom of his trainer using Jack's name for some kinda popularity.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold View Post
    I read that book many years ago...Good luck in finding a fighter willing to take the time to learn, or be taught, those types of things.
    No modern fighter has been able to replicate these skills? Boxing was so advanced in Jack Dempsey's day that fighters now don't have the brain capacity or physical ability to imitate these methods?

    I guess people today are constantly regressing

    (interesting post marblehead)
    2-Time REIGNING and DEFENDING SADDO PREDICTION COMP CHAMPION. First Ballot Hall of Famer. Fact.

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    My father was a boxing fan, but what really got me hooked on boxing was when I started reading bios about Jack Dempsey back in my early teens. Dempsey had a fascinating life, and the bios were great fun to read. Anyway, a lot of folks might not know it, but Jack had an older brother named Bernie, an aspiring boxer himself, who helped train Jack when he first turned professional. Bernie was also the reason Jack got into boxing in the first place, and his training was the basis for what he was able to accomplish as a pro. Anyway, a little known bit of trivia for you.

    Good OP Marb, I hadn't read that before.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    A ghost writer heaven forbid.

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    marbleheadmaui is offline Laugh and Learn marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class marbleheadmaui Has been entered into the boxing hall of fame.... Great Power and Class
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by GOAT View Post
    Interesting read. But sorry to say that I doubt this is Dempsey's wisdom. Rather the wisdom of his trainer using Jack's name for some kinda popularity.
    Your thought was initially mine as well. But as I read it I became convinced it was Demspey's voice. I'm petty sure Tddy Hayes was long dead anyway.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold View Post
    I read that book many years ago...Good luck in finding a fighter willing to take the time to learn, or be taught, those types of things.
    No modern fighter has been able to replicate these skills? Boxing was so advanced in Jack Dempsey's day that fighters now don't have the brain capacity or physical ability to imitate these methods?

    I guess people today are constantly regressing

    (interesting post marblehead)
    I think the modern fighters I've noted replicated these skills. But I find it distressing how old those fighters are. I cannot think of young fighters toay who do these things.

    Mankind often regresses in specific areas.

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by Master View Post
    A ghost writer heaven forbid.
    I don't think so beyond Jack Cuddy's "editing."

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    "If a teen girl is still a virgin and one wants to test how sexual she can be with men, substitute her anus as a penetrating orifice. For this not only will keep the hymen intact for future clients that are willing to pay a premium for their virginity."

    -Jack Dempsey (professional rapist at your service)

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by generalbulldog View Post
    "If a teen girl is still a virgin and one wants to test how sexual she can be with men, substitute her anus as a penetrating orifice. For this not only will keep the hymen intact for future clients that are willing to pay a premium for their virginity."

    -Jack Dempsey (professional rapist at your service)

    What a textbook capitalist. Hurray!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold View Post
    I read that book many years ago...Good luck in finding a fighter willing to take the time to learn, or be taught, those types of things.
    To be fair I'm not sure any more than a handful of men have ever been capabale of doing all those things effectively against top flight competition.

    I think anyone who is proficient at even half the elements of deflection and evasion against world class competition is likely a tremendous defensive fighter.

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    wtf?

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    Default Re: The Wisdom of Jack Dempsey

    Thank you marbleheadmaui!

    I hope you don't mind, I reposted to my blog/site
    Last edited by BIG H; 08-29-2012 at 08:56 AM.
    "A good stickgrappler has good stick skills, good grappling, & good stickgrappling & can keep track of all 3 simultaneously. This is a good trick & can be quite effective." - Marc 'Crafty Dog' Denny

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