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Thread: The Art of Feinting

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    Lightbulb The Art of Feinting

    The Art of Feinting

    Feinting is body movement or an incomplete attack used primarily to create reactions. The idea is to create an opening or to draw the opponent into responding so you may anticipate and counter. For this purpose, feints play an integral role in relation to counterpunching. In order for feints to be successful they must make the opponent believe that a real punch is coming.


    The most frequent feints revolve around the jab. Like feints, jabs are often thrown with the intention of creating reactions. You see, you may jab not solely for the purpose of landing it, but rather to see how your opponent responds. It’s important to note their tendencies, and how they avoid the jab (e.g. do they flinch, retreat, parry, catch, block, or slip). Also note where their head moves after you jab. Feinting may also be used to ascertain an opponent’s reactions. This information will serve you for when you begin to set up your punches.

    “A good boxer knows what openings will result before he feints and makes use of this knowledge and initiates his follow-up action almost before the opening results." -Edwin Haislett.

    To feint the jab is simple. Jerk your left shoulder forward as if you’re about to jab, but do not extend your arm. Feint the right in the same manner. This is commonly referred to as a shoulder feint and it is one of the safest ways to feint. To make your feints more believable you may want to grunt a little, use facial expression to indicate a real punch and have your eyes move correspondingly to where the feint is aimed. Sometimes adding a quick step or slightly dipping your body can make a feint appear all the more real.


    If you land a good shot on your opponent, it can be especially useful to feint that punch later on. For instance, step forward and jab at your opponent’s solar-plexus. It's a relatively safe punch, whether you score or not it’ll draw your opponent’s attention. It isn't devastating to your opponent but it gives them a sinking feeling that they don't like! Now to feint your opponent, you would suddenly step forward and look down to the stomach area, perhaps moving your left shoulder forward while simultaneously shifting your weight preparing you to throw a straight right at their head. Feinting a left to the pit of the stomach is a ploy to get them to commit to protecting their midsection allowing you to land a punch on their unprotected head. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book to be used sparingly, and when it works, it’s a thing of beauty.

    Floyd Patterson writes:

    “Jose Torres, my former stable-mate and the light heavyweight champion of the world . . . gives the best definition of a feint that I’ve ever heard: ‘A feint is an outright lie. You make believe you’re going to hit your opponent in one place, he covers the spot and your punch lands on the other side. A left hook off the jab is a classy lie. You’re converting a I into an L. Making openings is starting a conversation with a guy, so another guy (your other hand) can come and hit him with a baseball bat."

    Patterson continues:


    “Remember, the hand is quicker than the eye. Being able to get your opponent to look for one thing and then doing another is feinting. Feinting is using your head to draw an opponent into committing himself and then taking advantage of that commitment to counter him. Feinting is pretending to go to the body so your opponent drops his guard, and then going to his head, or vice versa. It is looking one place and punching another, or moving your feet as if to throw a left, when you’re really going to throw a right.


    All of these methods of feinting can be perfected, but only through long, had hours of practice. Again, a mirror is the place to start; then progress into sparring sessions. Don’t be disgusted with yourself if you fail at first—just keep practicing. The ability to out-think your opponent is essential to being a top-flight or championship-caliber boxer.”
    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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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    I've said before and I'll say it again: the punches you don't throw are as important as the one you do.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Other methods of feinting…
    There are many methods of feinting; many require a unique combination that coordinates any of the eyes, hands, body and the legs together in order to deceive an opponent. The learning boxer should familiarize him or herself with many of the different feints until they become natural movements. The following is from an excerpt from the US Navy Boxing manual (1943):

    The Arm Swing
    Advance slowly, allowing the left arm to swing free. If the arm is held loose and relaxed, on each foreword movement of the left foot, the left arm will swing slightly to the rear and then forward. This action is produced entirely by the movement of the body, but gives the impression that the left hand is being extended.

    The Knee Feint
    While advancing slowly, quickly bend the left knee. This gives the impression that the arms are moving as well as the legs. In reality, the arms are entirely relaxed and ready.

    The Body Drop
    Make a quick forward bend of the upper body, at the same time bending the left knee and moving the left hand slightly forward.

    The Side Bend
    While advancing slowly, drop the body to the right and forward, creating the impression that a right hand lead is about to be executed.

    ARM FEINTS
    These feints are more specific than those described as body feints, and can be used to obtain a specific result.

    The Up-Down Feint
    Means feinting a left to the chin, and then to the body, or feinting a blow to the body or the chin with the right hand, without follow-up action. Such feints are used to ascertain how the opponent reacts, and to establish plans to the further use of the feint.

    The Draw-Back Feint
    This is a right hand feint using the same principle as in frightening an animal. (Think of raising a club above your head, or drawing a rolled up newspaper back.) This is done by drawing the arm back as if to strike, rather than in a striking movement itself. To execute, drop the weight back to the right foot, and draw the right hand back, as if to deliver a hard right hand blow. (Side Note: Following this idea, alternatively one may draw their left hand back as to convey that one is preparing to throw a left hook.)

    The Shift Feint
    This too is a right hand feint to the chin, using a striking motion to “fake out” the opponent. Shift the weight forward over the left foot, raising the right elbow slightly. Turn the right hip to the center line as if to strike with the right hand. A hard hook to the chin can be delivered off of this feint.

    SPECIFIC ARM FEINTS
    -Feint a left jab to the chin and then drive a straight left to the solar plexus.
    -Feint a left jab to the solar plexus and then step in with a left jab to the chin.
    -Feint a left jab to the chin, shift the weight to the right foot, and feint a right to the chin. Then step forward with a left jab to the chin.
    -Feint a straight right to the jaw, and throw a left hook to the body.
    -Feint a jab to the chin and deliver a right uppercut to the body.
    -Feint a jab to the chin and deliver a hard right uppercut to the body.
    -Step forward with the left foot, as in the quick advance, and jab without hitting the opponent. From this close position, pull the left arm back to position, and jab to the chin.

    Coaching Hints
    1.Always “build-up” an opening before making use of it.
    2.Feints must be precise of action, rapid and decisive.
    3.Each feint will bring a characteristic reaction, which should be known before the feint is made. This means practice.
    4.Never use the same feint more than twice in a row. Change is all important.
    There is also feinting in footwork. It is excellent practice to quickly advance forward pretending to attack, and then quickly step backwards as to entice your opponent into lunging at you. This works well in combination with circling an opponent. When you circle your opponent you’re able to maintain distance so that your opponent has to lunge in order to get close enough to hit you. I recommend reading Tabin’s post on circling for a good explanation. It’s frustrating for an opponent to constantly work at closing the distance, so your quick steps forward and then backwards draws their attack. Your base strategy (i.e. what punches you’ve allowed your opponent to throw) however determines what punch that your opponent will lead with.

    To land certain punches you will also have to adjust your position in relation to your opponent. For instance you may have to step a little to the left to land a left-hook, and towards your right to land your right hand. Considering this and that you’re opponent will have to turn to meet you, it is possible to feint via side-stepping. Step a little to your right so that they will turn to face you, and before they can get set you quickly side step to the left assuming your base of attack and hitting them while they are still out of position. Practice is important, and quick footwork is needed in order to carry out these attacks effectively. Work on as many variations as you can.

    Feinting will be a great advantage to any style of fighter. If you are a pressure fighter for instance, feints will help conserve energy, as well creating countering opportunities as your opponent is vulnerable in the act of counterpunching. On the other hand if you’re a boxer who likes to control the fight with jabs, feinting will further disconcert your opponent as they’ll be more apt to react to your feints (a shoulder feint will do the trick as it looks identical to how a jab begins).

    This post should help introduce you to the art of feinting, yet there is much more to be learned elsewhere. Experience will be the best teacher in developing your feints. Spar with as much fighters as you can. Try to get a good sense of distance as you feint, box and try to outmaneuver your opponent. Watch as much good fighters as you can and try practice and develop some of their “moves” that impress you. Be aware some moves might not be for you. Some moves you’ll have to practice thousands of times to be used for a single moment, and it might not work on everybody but when it does work then all of your effort was well worth it.
    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 01-19-2009 at 07:16 PM.
    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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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Probably not the response you want,alot of it is instinct and feel. Your trying to sell a lie in a split second,some guys can do it,some just cant. Im good at it,but even then,its because Im lazy. Rather then throw a four shot combination, I can fake and hit. Its mainly the shoulder dip and the eyes that sell it.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Any responses are welcome TM. There's a lot to it. One thing that I can think of that reminds me of how feinting works is when you're stopped at red light, and the car next to you rolls backwards a little. You might get the impression that you're moving forward so you might push a little harder on the breaks because of it. Feinting in a lot of ways works off of perceptions and our reactions. I think that's why it's important to have a "feeling out process" to start out with so you get feel for what kind of knee-jerk responses you can get out of your opponent.
    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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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Jose Torres in his book on Ali, makes a big mention on Lying. I agree He said, Great Fighters are the biggest Liars on Earth. He was spot on
    Pain lasts a only a minute, but the memory will last forever....

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Nagel View Post
    Any responses are welcome TM. There's a lot to it. One thing that I can think of that reminds me of how feinting works is when you're stopped at red light, and the car next to you rolls backwards a little. You might get the impression that you're moving forward so you might push a little harder on the breaks because of it. Feinting in a lot of ways works off of perceptions and our reactions. I think that's why it's important to have a "feeling out process" to start out with so you get feel for what kind of knee-jerk responses you can get out of your opponent.
    If I was fighting me in my prime,I would NEVER bite on the first thing I made you think I was throwing,because 99.9% of the time that was total bs,I just wanted your hands to move so I could hit you easier.
    Like I said,I feint because its easier then setting up a four shot combo. So if I dont have to throw it to get my result,I wont,its more work.Im very lazy at any martial style,I want to outhink not outwork.
    I have no problem teaching high output fighters,but I know Im not one,and have never been one. Of course that did cost me the difference between a silver medal and a gold one on at least one occaision(martial arts,the guy kept biting on a leg fake so Id throw a hand strike,the freaking judges kept calling it a clash even though I was drilling the guy,even my sensei said after he watched the tape said I got screwed)

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Great post, I really need to start focusing on practicing feinting

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Good topic! Feinting is one of the important moves in boxing.
    The real damage is when you attempt to counter a feint,you are likely being suckered into walking into a heavy counterpunch.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky Balboa View Post
    Great post, I really need to start focusing on practicing feinting
    Really you do,its all kind of little twitches. But when you have no time to react, you bite on the meat your being fed.
    Its a little shoulder roll,purposely looking at where you have no intention of throwing to,a quick step when your not trying to engage.
    But if you do it well enough you can either get the hands to move or get them to freeze and turtle,your letting them do your work for you.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    do you think feints should only be used when you know you can land the follow up shot? it seems like the only time they are most useful is right in beginnings of the round or when you have your opponent respecting the punch you're going to feint. i always heard and read that you have to work off the feints, or its just kinda wasted i guess. or perhaps the opponent would time it if he caught on.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawed View Post
    do you think feints should only be used when you know you can land the follow up shot? it seems like the only time they are most useful is right in beginnings of the round or when you have your opponent respecting the punch you're going to feint. i always heard and read that you have to work off the feints, or its just kinda wasted i guess. or perhaps the opponent would time it if he caught on.
    I think that there may also be more to it than simply feinting to find an opening, it can also have a part in affecting how your opponent fights you. I believe that the most frequently used feints are tied to the jab. If you mix in stiff jabs, or hard jabs you can make your opponent react to the rest of your jabs, including jab-feints. In this case it, you can then feint the jab even if it's not for the sake of a follow up shot, because your opponent is eventually going to react to it since your harder jabs have their attention.

    I also think that it's important to get into a 'feeling out' mode to begin with so that you can get a feel for your opponent's reactions. Scrap and Thomas mentioned shadow boxing with a partner, I think that this would would be an excellent way to get into the feeling out process as well as becoming more aware of what's happening. I've tried it a couple of times and found that it was good way of getting a feel of where to move and even working on feints. I'll write something up on it sometime soon.
    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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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    I guess I use the "shift feint" damn if it don't work everytime! If you set the right hand up it will work like a charm.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8x14b9az1M

    That's the guy to follow if you like feinting
    "Drown in a vat of whiskey.....death where is thy sting?" - W.C. Fields.

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    I remember Willie Pep, after watching me Spar come up and say, He who fights and runs away Lives to fight 270 times. I remeber thinking at the time, what the F**k is He talking about
    Pain lasts a only a minute, but the memory will last forever....

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    Default Re: The Art of Feinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    I guess I use the "shift feint" damn if it don't work everytime! If you set the right hand up it will work like a charm.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8x14b9az1M

    That's the guy to follow if you like feinting
    What a character. That's great Lyle.

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