i came across this article couple of years ago.
hope this helps.
Boxing like a Wrestler Learning how to box has been the undoing of many great fighters. The best example was Matt Linland deciding boxing was his thing and broke out those skills on David Terrell. 30 seconds later he woke up to see the arena lights. The problem was not Lindland wanting to add striking to his game; the problem was he wanted to box in a fight. The biggest evolution of the game is the understanding it is not a combination of boxing and grappling; but an entirely different sport. While grappling and boxing as certainly building blocks that provide useable skills sets in Mixed Martial Arts; the sport demands more; a unique approach to employing those skill sets.
by Mike Reilly
Lets look at some fundamental difference between boxing and wrestling. For a right handed person the traditional stance in boxing it left foot leading. Weight is evenly distributed to move the body in and arcing motion. Boxers have pursuit stances. They use them to keep a retreating opponent with in striking distance. This is very different then a wrestlers penetration stance that is designed to drive trough an opponent. If we draw a line from a boxer’s ankle to his hip we will see that most of the time his weight is behind that line. A boxer pretty much only transitions his weight in front of that line when he connects a power punch and has properly “sat” on the punch. Otherwise the weight is behind to promote the boxers ability to circle, retreat and absorb punches.
Wrestling stances tend to be right foot forward. Weight is pronouncedly shifted forward. This promotes a wrestlers offense as well as defense. Weight forward is necessary to a powerful penetration step. Weight forward is also necessary to sprawl. Shoot & Sprawl are the two most commonly used techniques in the wrestlers skill set. There really are no retreating techniques in wrestling. Even sacrifice throws call for forward movement on the part of the wrestler. Instead of circling, wrestlers “turn the corner” driving forward as they do so. Footwork is key to both sports but it is extremely different.
These difference have led to a generation of fighters who employee skills from both arts without ever really blending the arts. A lot of people lose the “Mixed” in Mixed Martial Arts. The highest levels call for a true Amalgamation of arts. Those who fail to meld arts and fight with skills from separate boxes eventually find themselves caught in between. The transition from one set of skills to another is where a lot of fighter’s vulnerabilities show.
A great example of this is the wrestler in a boxing stance who has to switch his feet to shoot. To fix this many take up being a South Paw. Great idea; now you’re a weak boxer who is boxing off handed. The other method is learning to shoot left leading. I think this is a better strategy, but fixing foot placement is just part of the problem. Remember we talked about the differences between wrestlers and boxers carry their weight in their stances. So you can learn to shoot left leading; but how do you shoot with your weight behind your hips? Simple your don’t. So again we see wrestlers trying to box and then having to make fundamental difference in their stance in order to shoot. In short they become poor boxers at the cost of their wrestling ability.
There is another approach to take that makes use of a wrestler’s natural ability, power and transitions easier into wrestling skills. Learning to box like a wrestler is no easy task but allows a fighter to stay true to his base. Few Leopards can change their spots and some are wired to wrestle and some to strike. If your wired to wrestle that doesn’t mean you can’t box like a boxer but it is not terribly productive. When thinking about striking; before you worry about sticking, moving and other boxing fundamentals; think of your reasons for adding striking to your game.
For most wrestlers a fight is a matter of controlling space and position. Your striking should serve the same goals. That is not to say striking is not meant to do damage, of course they should; as should your take downs, and throws. But first and foremost striking is about controlling space and position. If someone is able to use strikes to keep you at a distance and on the outside; they are controlling space and position. Lets look at the best striker in the game, Chuck Liddell. Chuck is widely regarded as MMA’s best striker; but very few people I think believe Chuck could seriously compete anywhere near the top ranks of Boxing. I think few would even suggest Chucks striking game would play well in K-1. That is because Chuck is not a great boxer; lucky he does not play boxing. He is the top MMA striker and that is what the worlds great wrestlers have been unable to over come in 2 years.
Twice Randy has tried to box with Chuck and lost. Tito tried to Box with Chuck and also lost. But chuck didn’t box with them. He didn’t use ranging jabs, slips and circle. Other boxers who have tried that with Randy, Tito and Jeremy quickly found themselves on the ground. Chuck utilizes a penetrating punching style the pushes his weight forward. Defensively he is hard to shoot because he can sprawl and in a clinch has the ability to pummel and fight for hip control. Chuck drives people back with his punches and when they lock up he is strong enough and has good enough position to drive people away with his hips. He punches like a wrestler; not odd when you remember that is exactly what he is.
The Wrestler’s Striking Stance.
There can be some debate over left and right lead; but for now lets start with left lead. This is similar to a boxing stance, but with some modifications. First square up your feet more, lower your elevation slightly. Unlike a tall boxing stance with your feet in a separated T, here your feet are more pointing forward like a wrestling stance. Unlike a boxing stance your weight is pushing forward.
For some old timers out there this will look like a boxing stance, or what is sometimes called a slugger’s stance. This is just what we want. Remember MMA, there are no points and scoring light shots does little to win the fight. The goal is to hit hard and this stance promotes explosive, hard, penetrating strikes. Look there are 3 likely outcomes to throwing punches like this. The Punch lands. Since it was thrown hard it will do damage and maybe a lot of it. Count that as a win. Your opponent backs up. While backing up their power is diminished. Plus if your pursue you will be much faster going forward then they are going backwards. Count this as a win. They come forward. This may mean your punch misses or is jammed, but because of your stance and way you move into the punch you are in a very strong shooting position or to pummel for a clinch. Count this as a win. Danger comes from an opponent getting off line and getting an angle on you. But again since your moving like a wrestler you should continue to penetrate though and have your defenses up. This will make you hard to hit and even harder to hit on target.
The limitations of this stance is it is difficult to string together complicated combinations or use jabs in the more traditional fashion. The biggest upside however is that you can transition from striking to wrestling seamlessly. So instead of thinking jab, jab cross, hook, over hand, uppercut; you think more jab, cross, shoot. This does not mean you can not use a wide combination of strikes; just the opposite. However you tend to use shorter combinations, power combinations.
Some may look at this and think it would promote a sloppy style or lunging. Nothing could be further from the truth. This style demands a lot of technique control and precision in execution. You have to maintain fundamental principles of both wrestling and boxing to make this style work for you. That means proper elevation control, tucking your chin, keeping your eyes up, strong hand placement, penetration steps, sitting on the punch, crisp footwork, head movement and so on. Not much room for slop here at all.
The advantages this gives the grappler are many. First and foremost it gives the grappler an ability to initiate action on the feet. Striking in this matter allows you to cover a lot of range and overcome distance. So a striker whose intent is to hold the wrestler off at a distance will quickly find their range penetrated and forced to either retreat or clinch.
Striking adds to your offensive capability and forces your opponent to be worried. By giving your opponent more then one thing to think about, more then one type of attack to defend against will aid all your offensive weapons. When Randleman KO’d Crocop he caught Crocop looking for the shot and not defending against the punch. The reverse is also true that having more offense helps your defense. The best way to avoid a punch is to knock out the person trying to hit you. Beyond this obvious truth is another; if your are throwing punches correctly, your hands are up, shoulders are rolled, chin is tucked, head is moving, you will be better defended. This keeps wrestlers from falling into familiar patterns of not defending their faces.
I hope this brief introduction can help expand wrestlers skill set without sacrificing their base. If you’re a wrestler; don’t try to change your spots. Wrestling principles of movement and power fit perfectly with the principles of power punching. This also gives you seamless transition between striking and grappling, offense and defense. Off your punch you should be able to shoot, chase, sprawl or throw another strike ; all with equal ease. When your techniques can chain without pause or repositioning your over all style becomes faster, stronger, less predictable and exponentially more dangerous.