Chapter 7: WHAT IS A PUNCH?
"NATURE has given you, a normal beginner, the three requisites for a knockout punch. They are:
1. WEIGHT - THE WEIGHT OF YOUR ENTIRE BODY
2. POWERFUL MUSCLES IN YOUR FEET, LEGS, AND BACK - THE MEANS OF HELPING YOU TO "PUT YOUR BODYWEIGHT INTO MOTION
3. ARMS AND FIST - THE MEANS OF "EXPLODING" YOUR MOVING WEIGHT AGAINST AN OPPONENT.
For practical purpose, I divide a punch into two parts: a) setting the weight in motion and b) relaying the moving weight to a desired point on an opponent with a stepped-up impact or explosion.
All full fledge punches must have that (a) and (b) combination. It is only what might be called "partial" punches that the body-weight does not play a stellar role. Partial punches are those delivered with only the weight of arms and fist - short backhands to the head, chops to the kidney or to the back of the neck, or mere cuffs to the head when in a tight clinch.
Since we're concerned primarily with the stunning, full-fledged knockout punch, let's move on to it. Let's examine the first fundamental. How do we set the body-weight in motion?
"There are FOUR ways of setting the body weight in motion for punching:
1. Falling Foward.
2. Sprining forward.
3. Whirling the shoulders by means of the powerful back muscle, assisted by shifting weight from one leg to the other.
4. Surging upwards, as in delivering uppercuts.
Every punch combines at least two of those motion-methods.
Best of all the punches is the "stepping straight jolt" delivered with either fist from the "falling step." It has fall, spring, and whirl. That stepping jolt must not be confused with the "ordinary straight punch" that is delivered at medium range without moving the feet, and depends almost entirely on the shoulder whirl. The stepping jolt is a much more explosive blow.
"Hooks and uppercut are short-range blows that can be just as explosive as stepping jolts. However, the hooks and uppercuts are less desireable for fist-fighting, in which one tries to keep at long range as much as possible in order to avoid clinching and wrestling.
"How does a fighter set his weight in motion by a fall? The falling procedure is simple. Remember the baby and the truck driver? (note Dempsey is refering to a diagram of a baby free falling about to land directly on top of a standing man. The baby fell straight down from the fourth floor window. It was yanked straight toward the earth by gravity. It encountered nothing to change the direction of its moving body-weight until it struck the truckman's head. However, the direction of a falling object can be changed. Let's take an example of a boy sitting on a sled and sliding down a snowny hill (note: this is also illustrated in the book). In a sense the boy and his sled are falinng objects, like the baby. But the slope of the hill prevents them from falling straight down.
"Their fall is deflected to the angle of the hill. The direction of their "weight-in-motion" is on a slant. And when they reach the level plain at the bottom of the hill, they will continue to slide for a while. Howeve, the direction of their slide on the plain - the direction of their "weight-in-motion" - will be "STRAIGHT OUT", at a right angle to the straight-down pull of gravity.
"Those examples of the falling baby and the sledding boy illustrate two basic principles of the stepping jolt:
(1) Gravity can give motion to weight by causing a fall.
(2) The direction of that "weight-in-motion" can be deflected away from the perpendicular - on a slant, or straight forward.
"But, you ask, 'what's the connection between all that falling stuff and the straight jolt?"
"I'll answer that question by letting you take your first step as a puncher, and I do mean s-t-e-p.
End of chapter 7.
Chapter 8: THE FALLING STEP
"Stand in the middle of the floor. Point your left foot at any distant object in the room. Place your right foot to the rear and slightly to the right of your left foot (the book provides illustrations, this description is illustrated in figure 3). For the cahp about 5'10", the heel of his right foot should be about 18" back (and slightly to the right) of the heel of his left foot."
"let your arms dangle loosely at your sides; you won't need to use them in the step."
"Bend your knees slightly. Ben your body forward slightly as you shift your "weight forward on to your left foot", so that your "right foot" is resting only on the ball of the foot. Remember that the knees are still slightly bent. Teeter up and down easily (half bouncing without leaving the floor) to make certain you're in a comfortable, ballanced position. If your position doesn't feel balanced and comfortable, move your right foot about slightly - but not much - to get a better balance as you teeter. You are resting only lightly on the balls of your "right foot", remember. Stop teetering, but keep the knees slightly bent and your arms at your side.
"NOW - WITHOUT ANY PREMLIMINARY MOVEMENTS - take a long, quick step forward with your "left" foot, toward the object at which your left toe had been pointing (this is illustrated in figure 4). I emphasive: "no preliminary movement befor the step. You unquestionably will be tempted to shift some of the weight from the "left" foot to the "right" foot, which is resting lightly on its ball. NO PRELIMINARY MOVEMENT! Just lift the "left" foot and LET THE BODY FALL FORWARD IN A LONG, QUICK STEP."
"The "left" foot should land flat and solid on the floor at the end of the step."
"It is a quick, convulsive and extremely awkward step. Yet, it's one of the most important steps of your fistic life; for that falling step lurch is the rough diamond out of which will be ground the beautiful, straight knockout jolt. It's the gem-movement of straight punching. Try that falling-step many times. Make certain, each time, that you start from a comfortably ballanced position, that the body-weight is resting largely on the "left" leg, that the knees are slightly bent, that the arms are at your side, and that you make no preliminary movement with your "right" foot."
"I call that forward lurch a "falling step." Actually, every step in walking involves a small "fall." Walking is a series of "falls." But in this particular step, the fall is exaggerated for two reasons:
(1) your weight is well forward when you step off.
(2) the step is so long that it gives gravity a chance to impart unusual momentum to your body-weight.
The solidity with which your "left" foot landed upon the floor was caused by your momentum. The late Joe Gans rarely missed with a long, straight punch; but, when he did you could hear for half a block the smack of his left sole on the canvas."
"Although the weight of your body was resting largely upon your "left" foot when you stepped off, you didin't fall to the floor. Why? Because the alert ball of your "right" foot came to the rescue frantically and gave your body a forward "spring" in a desperate attempt to keep your body balanced upright - to maintain its equilibrium. Your rescuing "right" foot acted not only as did the slope of the hill for the sledding boy, but also as a "springboard" in the side of the hill might have functioned had the sledding boy whizzed onto a springboard on the side of the hill. The "left" foot serves as a "trigger" to the spring the "right" foot. So, the falling step sometimes is called the "Trigger step"
"I warned: DON'T MAKE A PRELIMINARY MOVEMENT before stepping off. Had you followed yur natural inclination and shifted your weight to the right foot before stepping, that action would have started your body-weight "moving backward" - "away" from the direction in which you intend to step. Then you would have had to lose a split-second while your "right" was stopping the back motion and shifting your weight forward again before the punching step could be taken"
"Learn now and remember always in fighting you cannot afford to give your body the luxury of a useless preliminary or prepartory movment before shooting a punch. In the first place, your target may be open for only a split-second, and you must take advantage of that opening like a bolt of lightning. Secondly, preliminary movements are "give-aways" - "tell-tales" -"telegraphs" - that treacherously betray to your opponent your next action. Joe Louis was knocked out in his first fight with Max Schmeling principally because of the tell-tale movements of Joe's left jab. Schmeling timed Joe's telegraphs and smashed him again and agin with straight rights to the head. Herr Maxie smashed him every time that careless left hand beckoned."
"You now know how to set your weight into motion for a straight jolt - by means of the FALLING STEP. Next we must consider the second part of the jolt: CONVEYING THE MOVING BODY-WEIGHT AND EXPLODING IT AGAINST THE OPPONENT."
"However, before studying the "movements" in conveyance and explosion, it will be neccesary for you to understand clearly the LINE OF POWER that all successful conveyance and explosion must follow."
End of chapter 8.