Stance & Guard

Before we introduce the basic punches it is imperative that we learn how to stand in a balanced way to optimise offensive and defensive actions (Stance) as well as how to hold our arms to enable us to fend off incoming punches (Guard).

Please Note: I’m a southpaw (left handed) so if you write or throw a ball with your right hand stand with your dominant hand (right) to the rear and left foot forwards

A nicely balanced stance will enable you to throw a variety of punches with maximum effectiveness whilst enabling you to return to your defensive guard swiftly, minimising the chances of getting caught by your opponent’s punches. Your guard and stance should act as a “base” that you should return to immediately after executing every offensive or defensive action. Stances and guards might be subtly different from boxer to boxer depending on a variety of factors including height, reach, strengths and preferences but the end goal is the same, create a position by which you can be given the best chance to throw punches in the correct way and defend yourself as efficiently as possible against incoming ones. So how do we get into this position?

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width, or slightly wider, apart.
  • Take a step directly backwards with your foot on your dominant side (right foot if you write/throw etc with your right hand).
  • Turn your body 45 degrees towards your dominant side.
  • Come up on the balls of your rear foot.
  • Sit ever so slightly to centralise your balance and avoid leaning too far over your front leg.
  • Imagine there are two hooks on your cheek bones and “attach” your gloves, palms inwards there.
  • Let your forearms drop to a vertical position resting on and guarding your ribcage.
  • Tuck your chin down.

It is important that your head remains within the confines of the perimeter that your feet have set. If you imagine riding a skateboard, if your head leans too far in front (or behind) of both of your feet the chances are that the imaginary skateboard will shoot out from underneath you causing you to fall. In boxing terms doing this normally means that you have overcommitted to a particular punch and the location that you’ve found your head in makes it very difficult for you to throw any other punches and puts you in a defensively vulnerable position. Remember get yourself back to “base” as soon as you can.