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Thread: Hit them where it Counts [Unfinished]

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    Default Hit them where it Counts [Unfinished]

    Hit them where it Counts

    Look at many of the fighters from years ago, Joe Louis, Archie Moore, and any boxer that was worth their weight in salt, all had to learn about where to hit. Nowadays there seems to be a fool's notion that's leaning toward quantity over quality. There are a lot of things that guys these days will say in order to make them sound like they know what theyíre talking about. Have you heard of the saying, Throw punches in bunches? You also may have heard some guys shout things like, Throw more jabs!, Go for the body!, or they maybe yelling out numbers, or throwing in some next-to-worthless advice like, Watch his right hand.Ě Its turned into the blind leading the blind as many incompetent trainers palm off what theyíve heard as their own and mislead many a hopeful fighter whom doesnít know any better into a botched and ruined career.

    It doesnít have to be that way. You donít have to become dependant on what someone else will teach you because you can find much of the answers on your own. With all the information available the only limiting factors is your ability and how far that youíre willing to go. With that being said I think it would be a great benefit to any aspiring boxer to understand the vulnerable spots of the body and how to use that information to their advantage. This post is going to be like an Anatomy 101 guide of where to place your punches; however well also examine the effects of punches to the weak spots, while how to avoid getting hit there, and also going over some useful training methods as well.


    Now if youve ever had the wind knocked out of you then you can probably thank your solar-plexus for that. The solar-plexus is a small spot located directly below your sternum or breast-bone right where your ribs meet. In boxing phraseology the solar-plexus area has been given quite a few names; the markĚ, is what the old-timers called it, the pit-of-the-stomachĚ, which lies right behind it, and the bread basketĚ, which refers to the general area around your stomach. The solar-plexus has also been referred to as the abdominal brainĚ by medical experts. It is a network of nerves that contains the same white and grey matter that makes up your brain. Getting hit there isnít too much different to what happens when you hit your funny-bone. A strong blow to the solar-plexus would send a shockwave up through the phrenic nerve causing temporary paralysis to your diaphragm which would prevent you from drawing your next breath. Usually the harder the blow, the longer itíll take for you to get your wind back. A hard punch or series of punches onto the solar-plexus can also have a draining effect on an opponent, while a well placed uppercut to the solar-plexus can also bring an opponents head forward. In Kelly Pavlikís Pro Debut he threw a hard straight right to his opponentís solar plexus that brought his opponent down for the full 10 count. Needless to say that this is one spot you donít want to get hit at yourself.

    You might then ask, ďHow would I protect my solar-plexus?Ē Well there are a few things that you can do. The first step is to not stand square to your opponent, instead if you were turn your body sideways with your left shoulder in front while also keeping an angle to your opponent then your body becomes a smaller target and keeps your vulnerable spots out of harms way. With this stance letís just say that they somehow manage to penetrate your guard, their blow will not be able land cleanly. Next you would position your left arm against your side, with your elbow bent with your hand kept up in front usually at about shoulder level so that it can be easily deployed effectively for either defense or offense. For defensive purposes you can use your left to parry/stop punches, or you can bring it back close to your body to block punches aimed at your kidneys and solar-plexus. Your right arm should be carried across your body with your forearm slightly raised upwards with the thick part of your forearm across your solar-plexus. This way any of your opponents jabs to your midsection will simply glance off of your forearm.

    Some examples of stances that can better protect the vital spots.

    You cant depend on when it comes to protecting your midsection is the commonly seen hands up high, squared approach for reasons that Ill explain later in this article. One thing that I would avoid doing is leaving my left arm hanging low at my side like a wet noodle; this limits you offensively and leaves your body wide open for attack. When your left arm isnít busy it should be held in front of you in a state of readiness.

    The next blow on our list is the Liver Shot. It can look deceptive to the casual observer due to its abruptness and that it is usually a short quick blow thrown on the inside. These days it is often landed onto the liver unintentionally. The Liver is the largest gland in our body and when hit with a well placed blow the effect can be extremely sickening, and it can also take the wind out of the sails of even the strongest of fighters.

    As you can see in the above picture the liver is protected by the ribs. To get there your hook or uppercut will have to be driven underneath your opponents short-ribs on the right side of their body which is right below their right shoulder. Now this can be really tricky since good fighter will keep their liver well protected with their right arm and will not stand square on in front of you.

    So the question that you might ask right now is, How do I set up my opponent so I can land a punch on their liver?Ě Now when you think about it there are a lot of ways to achieve this, and in some cases your opponent can do a lot of the work for you. You many to make sure that their right arm is away which would expose their liver, you can do this by making them lead with their right, or by causing them to overreact, there are different ways to go about this, and it is up to you find what you know will work best against your opponent. Now by using your stance and your defense to create offensive opportunities youíll have idea what will work and conditions that leads up to those situations. Besides that, things usually will be changing. Youíll have to adjust your punches, your footwork or what ever you have to do to get past their guard to land a punch according to your opponent and vice-versa from their perspective.

    Lets say for instance for the sake of simplicity that when you are fighting your opponent that you notice that when they roll with your punches that they are exposing the back of their ribs. Knowing this instead of hitting them in the arms, you take a quick sidestep to their left giving you the chance to hit their exposed liver. Now if you notice that your opponents feet isnít maintaining the proper angle that would keep his weak spots safe then you should keep them preoccupied long enough that you can get to the side of him to land a liver-shot.

    If your opponent is the typical rusher, they may expose their back to you whenever they punch. This in turn gives you an opening on that side of their body. Jose Luis Castillo is one of those kind of fighters, and a lot of guys make this same mistake too. Also if your opponent has been brought up in the rigid and squared up defense of today your job has just became a lot easier. Now at first glance a lot of people might think that this amounts to a solid defense, in which the hands can get caught in a constant state of blocking, moving the elbows to defend body shots. What this really adds up to is a defense with more holes in it than a box of Tim Hortonís Donuts! Whenever they try to defend one weak spot, they expose another very important weak-spot. Could you imagine what it wouldíve been like that night in Zaire if they swapped in a skilled punch placer like Joe Louis to test out Aliís defense? With the average guy in the ring with their body always square it would be no feat in footwork or tactics to get around their lead and capitalizing on their exposed liver, kidneys or whatever the butcher is serving that day.

    To protect your liver Iíd advise you to assume a defense like the one mentioned earlier. If you would like to read a very good deeply thought out explanation about this stance Id recommend reading some of Thomas Tabinís posts on this subject. It might also be of help to spend some time to understand the reasons behind why a lot of the clever fighters from years ago adopted the boxing stance that they used.

    A good piece of old advice that still holds true today is to never expose your back to your opponent. I should also add that your elbows should usually be kept at your sides mainly to defend against body shots. According to Scrap having the elbows situated at the sides of your body is biomechanically sound since the body is in a natural position to jab and you would also benefit from the body feel and for the same safety reasons that were just mentioned. Having your hands up past your chin weakens your defense and puts you in an awkward position to attack. Also if you notice that your opponent for whatever reason raises their right elbow you can exploit it in your set-ups and you can capitalize on those openings when you feel that it is best to do so. I should also point out that a Southpaw has a bigger job protecting their liver.

    For recent examples of the effectiveness of the liver-shot watch Delahoya/Hopkins, Hatton/Castillo, and Penilosaís fight from last August.


    Right in that neighborhood of the liver you have the kidneys to aim at. Theyíre situated on both sides of your spine. Not quite as painful to get hit right on the liver but can be feel sickening to get hit there. The kidney-shot is illegal in this day and age, the reasons why it is I canít tell you. In Joe Louisís time this was one of the weak spots that he would punch at. Regardless of its legality it still gets hit accidentally and intentionally. My advice in protecting your kidneys is what I said earlier; do not show your back to your opponent.


    I think the Kidneys have on occasion stolen the credit of one unsung organ-- the Spleen. Back in the fighting days of Joe Gans, it wasnít unheard of to hurt your man with a blow to the spleen. Nowadays in boxing it is all but forgotten. The Spleen is the second largest gland in your body, and just like a blow to the liver it can be very painful getting hit there. The Spleen is located in the left side of your body, and is well protected by your ribs. I might be mistaken but I think since most boxers fight in the orthodox stance, that perhaps itís possible to land a digging right uppercut into an opponents spleen after slipping their jab.


    An important punch to add to any fighterís arsenal is the punch to the heart. Back in the day, a hard punch to the heart was recognized as a legitimate knockout blow, and in some cases it caused death. A well timed blow to the heart can leave you doubling over with a deep sinking sensation, and youíll find that you are practically paralyzed as you may not be able to move your legs, let alone stand up. Upon receiving the heart blow you also may have trouble breathing. Youíd still be conscious after receiving such a blow, but youíd be helpless to do anything, even if youíre hearing the count of ten. A fit man usually recovers from the heart punch but will have to cope with the pain that lasts for hours afterward. Thereís always the possibility of death as with attacking all the vital points, but the heart is probably among the most dangerous of the bunch to get hit at.

    To keep the heart protected a fighter may stand nearly sideways with the upper body slightly slanted to the side as to not give their opponent a flush target to land on. Right handed blows can be easily warded off with a simple roll of the shoulder. You might have to deal with your opponentís straight left lead but in this stance you will have no problem defending against it or countering it as you see fit. Now unless you are the kind of fighter that likes getting in exchanges you otherwise might not get so many opportunities to land a blow to their heart. This being said it would require a clever set-up just to get the opportunity to land such a punch.

    Anyways here are a few very good set-ups that you can practice:
    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold
    Here is a very simple way to shorten the arms of an opponent with long arms and a busy jab; the funny thing is that it is THE natural counter in boxing and very difficult for him to counter.
    Here is the premise: the motion you make to slip his jab so that it passes over your right shoulder- slipping it to the "inside" position- is the exact same motion as you make to throw a straight hand. He jabs, you step slightly forward and left with your left foot shifting the wt to your left leg, etc...Your step far enough to drop your body low enough so that you are able to drive a straight to his heart; in the early days of boxing this was a legitimate ko punch and still would be were the average "modern" fighter schooled well enough to throw it. Throw this punch and come back with a left uppercut or weave outside with a hook to the body or chin. However you do it this punch will discourage his jab in short order.
    Quote Originally Posted by greynotsoold
    On a straight left lead, parry to the inside position with the right hand, and then drive a right hand to his chin. As he jabs, lean to the left, slightly, raising the right forearm inside his left and forcing it outside. Step forward and to the left with the left foot, shifting weight to left leg while raising right elbow to line with his chin, keeping left hand up to guard and drop a right hook on his chin. Start slow as you coordinate the moves; I never got it right but its possible. I read that Ezzard Charles used the move.
    On a straight left lead, cross-parry with left glove and drive right hand to the heart. This move seem risky but remember that you know what's coming and he doesn't so, if done properly , you open up a whole platter full of opportunity.
    Let me add here a couple right hand counters after slipping that I forgot above. FIRST as he leads a jab quickly turn the body to the left bringing the right shoulder to the center line. From here drive the right hand into full extension; a short step to the left, then shifting the weight over a straight left leg will add power. SECOND as he jabs step forward and sideways with the left foot. Shift your weight to the left foot, turning the right hip and shoulder through to the center line. This will allow his left to slip over your right shoulder as you drive your right arm to complete extension and to the heart.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hit them where it Counts [Unfinished]

    Weíve covered blows to the left side the ribs toward the heart can affect a man, and how digging blows driven upwards under the short ribs can reach the vital organs, but it should also be noted that the short ribs can be a target itself. The short ribs, also known as the ėfloating ribs are not directly connected to the sternum and therefore can be easily broken. Perhaps the best punch to break the short ribs is a quick short left hook because of the sudden snap at the point of impact. At the very least repeated blows to their ribs in conjunction with precise blows to the targets along their midsection can be very tiring to your opponents, while it also would be a sure way to bring their guard down. The pain from taking hard shots to the ribs can linger on for days, while a couple of broken ribs will stay with you for months.

    To keep your protect your ribs you can stand nearly sideways to your opponent using your thick part of your forearm to block punches. Now if youíre standing sideways like so you can easily bring your left shoulder into play when you need it. Also if you notice that your opponent throws their hooks wide you can roll/shift inside of them; although you ought to be sure not to expose your liver and back while doing so and keep your arms in close to your body and shorten up your punches. The last thing on earth that youíd want to do is square up in front of your opponent, giving them more targets to choose from.

    The last body blow that Iíd like to go over before moving onto the head is a punch to the bladder. It took an epiphany one day during a training session to get me to consider it as a secret weapon so to speak. Anyways what took place that day was that a friend and I were tossing a medicine ball back and forth at our stomachs until the unthinkable happened... I threw the ball a little low hitting him right on the belt line and just like that my friend drops the medicine ball and runs like hell straight to the bathroom! Oddly enough as it so happened, the ball hit him right on the bladder. As you may imagine thereís potential for this punch, say for instance if you notice that your opponent sitting across the ring is drinking a little too much water youíll have an answer for that.

    Now letís move onward to blows the head. The target that is probably the most sought out has to be the chin. It goes without saying that a well timed punch onto the chin can knock a guy out. Now I wonít go into any of the different explanations of what happens after being struck on the chin, but Iíll go over some of the defensive aspects to prevent it. To avoid getting hit on the chin you want to keep it slightly tucked in; however it should not be pressed down against your collarbone. Your chin should be just be about as tucked in as if you were holding a ball or a small orange in between your chin and collarbone. As said before itís important that you stand almost sideways to your opponent. On the other hand standing square, or square shouldered you wont be able to use you shoulder to defend against punches to the chin and there fore would have to designate one of your hands to do a job that would otherwise be setting up your attack. All the other defensive moves need to be practiced as well. Your footwork and moving in a circle is just as much a part of your defense as it is putting you into a position to attack.

    Now with a severe body blow a fighter will usually double over, but with a hard punch to the head thereís always a chance that the fighter may fall over backwards and bang their head hard against the canvas. Sometimes itís the fall that makes a difference on whether or not a knock out occurs. This was the case when Glen Johnson knocked out Roy Jones Jr. Before the safety of using a stretched canvas, it was not unheard of to find out about a fighter that died as a result of a head injury caused by landing onto the back of their head. This may also be brought into effect by also hitting an opponent while they are in the act of falling.

    Anyways there are other targets such as behind the ear, and the temples which are also weak spots. These days hitting behind the ear fall under the category of rabbit punching which is a foul. Getting hit hard behind the ear can stagger you and can also affect your eyesight. The ear itself can be looked at as a vulnerable spot because if a blow lands just right on the ear it can rupture the ear drum which would end any fighters boxing career. I remember one time I when was sparring with a friend, we werent wearing headgear and he caught me with a left hook right on the ear. It was painful, and I could hear a sharp ring in my ear. After a couple of those I became pretty sharp when it came to avoiding his hooks. Itís also well known that repeated blows to the ears can cause blood clots that can become the scarring known as cauliflower ears.

    Although the nose might not be as significant as the other vulnerable spots along the body and head, it shouldnít be disregarded. Who wants to live with a busted up looking nose anyway. I like my nose the way it is without any distinguishing characteristics. I suppose that breaking your opponents nose in some instances can amount to a psychological edge, in other instances caused by a foul it had become infuriating to the opponent. Anyways our noses are very delicate consisting of a roadmap of nerves and blood vessels. Now I suppose that with some people it doesnít matter so much, but with most getting a good hard bump on the nose is all it takes to feel it go numb with pain, and/or to start bleeding like a faucet. Iíve been told that when you have a bloody nose that you are not supposed to blow through your nose as that would lead to swelling. If a bloody or flattened nose comes along all we can do is let our corner men do their job and not get a bloody nose get in the way of the task at hand. Iíve heard that thereís even a medical operation to remove the cartilage in your nose.

    Bloody noses are probably one of those inevitable lessons that every boxer has to go through, but hopefully most of us should gets the message and thinks to ourselves that we donít want to get hit there. I remember in one post talking about broken noses Thomas Tabin mentioned the extraordinary fighter Benny Leonard. Ive seen the pictures and videos myself but I liked Thomasís description, lotís of people are scared to break a nose and to that I say, Benny Leonard had 212 bouts and a nose that stuck out like a sun dial, but one look at the man and you see not one bend or twist on that sucker. In 212 bouts not one man could hammer that monument of a nose on his face. The moral of the story is: defense, defense, Defense! Now this isnít to say that you should become over protective about it, but if everyone were able to slip, roll and counter with impunity I think it would be safe to say that their noses would be a lot harder to hit. The Keep-your-hands-up-high defense of fighting out of a squared up semi-crouch stance and going straight at an opponent is they way to end up getting hurt. I bet you that Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesnít have trouble breathing through his nose after a hard day of work.

    The last targets that well go over are the shoulders, clavicle (collarbone), throat/neck, and the front biceps. Although these targets are not vital, the advantages gained from attacking them should be worth your consideration. Thereís always a time and a places when it comes to using any technique or tactic in the ring.

    In regards to the shoulders I remember as boys me and my friends had a couple games that wed play, some you mightíve heard of, such as Two for Flinching and ėHit for Hit. In the game ėTwo for Flinching, one of us would feint a punch to the other guy when they expected it and if they flinched theyíd get a two hard hits on their shoulder. The other game was just a black and blue game of trading hit for hit on the shoulder or biceps to see whoís going to quit first. Our shoulders would get so numb from the punching that it was painful and difficult to bring our hands up.

    Recently I started thinking why not attack the shoulder or the biceps itself? Although this wont add to my score, it might give me advantages by the way that my opponent reacts, and make them think twice.

    What if my opponent is apt to use his shoulder to block punches instead of rolling with them? Why not then hit their shoulders with some hard shots and see how they keep it up. Maybe after several hard punches on their shoulders they might be thinking more about their hurt shoulder than they would be about protecting their chin. Even without a hard punch say a quick noncommittal punch on the shoulder may be enough to get your opponent thinking, its tactics like that Benny Leonard would employ to break his opponents focus. Alternatively looking at the way that a lot of guys holds their hands up high you can achieve the same thing much easier with a quick jab to their right glove, this can break their concentration which can make it little harder for them to see whatís coming next, and can also mess with their biomechanics of how they throw their right hand and jab.

    You can also attack their bicep if youíre having trouble getting around their jab, and by following their jab back as it retracts you can attack it while it gets back to guard, or go for the more important openings. When hitting the bicep its best to punch at the underside of the bicep of where it connects to the arm. Unless you can achieve the desired effect within a short period of time I donít see hitting the arms/shoulders as an effective tactic in the amateurs which on top of that would not add any points to your score. Attacking the shoulders and arms would probably be better suited for the pros due to the longer time.

    The clavicle or collarbone is vulnerable to breaking and can be crippling to an opponent putting them out of commission for a long time. It might be broken with a punch, but it is more likely to be cracked with a hard downward chopping blow using the part of the glove with less padding.

    One fighter that comes to mind when thinking about hitting on the arms, shoulders, neck, etc. is Rocky Marciano. Just look at the punishment that he dished out to Lastarza to the point where Lastarza couldnít raise his arms. I think it was Ezzard Charles or Archie Moore that stated it was like getting hit with a blackjack all over their body. I remember watching Marciano turn his hands over while he threw his punches, this caused his punches to land with the side of his glove where thereís less padding. I can imagine how that added to the punishment his opponents received.

    The neck and throat can be targets too. For one itís harder for most people to avoid, and it can accomplish either of a number of things. Your opponents biomechanics would be affected if in effect that they bring their chin down. At the least you caused them to react and gave them something to think about other than looking for the punch that you have planned. They might even take a step back which can be good for you if you were having trouble keeping them off of you. Besides hurting your opponent, Ive heard in other martial arts that a chopping blow coming down on the side of the neck can disrupt blood flow. I imagine that this would be difficult to pull off, and under most conditions unnecessary when there are better targets to pursue. There is one sneaky way to bring in a punch to their neck and this is what can do while youre clinching. I seen Sam Soliman use this move... (unfinished)

    By having precise targets to place your punches you can improve the effectiveness of your punches, but to make the best of it you need to punch hard at the openings that youve created.

    Now if you have spent a lot of time intently studying fights and from drawing from your own first hand experiences looking for things that will tell you what theyre trying to do, what their intentions are, etc, then from these insights you can begin to make infer what to do or not to do when youre fighting them. Of course when you are fighting them youre actually putting yourself right into the equation. To an extent there should be a need to desensitize oneself of the emotions of getting into a fight, or in other words as Thomas Tabin put it, dehumanize boxingĚ. Dont look at boxing as two guys out to do each other in, but rather two skilled players who are opponents to one another and who are working off each others responses the to effect of determining who is going to win.


    Note:

    I know that this is far from finished and unedited but seeing as I might not be around this forum I thought that I would share some a few pages of what I have written. I regret not going over countering, punching power, and training but I would feel most guilty if I didn't post anything at all. I'll be in the Philippines soon and busy with my own matters.

    Although I won't be around to cover everything I'll tell you that most of the information is out there, in the books, in the words of wisdom of fighters/trainers, on fight footage and many difference sources. It's all up to a smart hungry fighter to find and figure out most of it on their own. In regards to some of the training methods I recommend greynotsoold and Thomas Tabin's posts that said to tape targets onto a mirror or punching bag. This way a boxer can practice hitting hard at the vital targets when going over any counter or set up. The various techniques can be found in many of greynotsoold's posts that can be found in the 'Useful Posts' section, and in Edwin L. Haislett's book. More counters and set-ups can be found in many fight footage by clever fighters, or by your own encounters with professionals. I hope that some of my notes here can be entertaining and/or helpful to those who read this.

    Good Luck
    Chris N.

    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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