Page 1 of 6 12345 ... Last
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Canberra, Australia
    Muay Thai, Judo

    Kung Fu practitioner's critique on the boxing guard

    The following is an article written presumably by the head of a Kung Fu school in Australia, entitled "Taking the Gloves Off".

    The basic argument they make is that pre-1900 boxers could teach us a thing or two about proper boxing, as the introduction of compulsory gloves allows a boxer to:
    * Take punches to his hands and forearm; something that would deaden the muscles and break the carpal bones if done without gloves
    * Keep his fists in close to his chin and cheeks, to use the gloves as an invincible shield; something that would cause the user of this tight guard to effectively punch themselves in the face if done without gloves

    Who agrees?

  2. #2
    M1K3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Southern NJ
    submission grappling
    Mods, this should be move to the WMA forum.

    OP, interesting article, wrong location. Check out the Western Martial Arts forum in the TMA group.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Canberra, Australia
    Muay Thai, Judo
    Oops, sorry about that. I thought I remembered my way around here better than I did.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I dont think this guy understands how a tight guard works. If you follow the link to beating a tight guard it shows a guy "blocking" a punch to the face with his hands still on his face (see the closeup). Nobody blocks that way. A tight guard is so your face isnt wide open and so your hands are near your face when you need to block. Besides, MMA has much smaller gloves and they use the tight guard effectively.

  5. #5
    It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said. supporting member
    JP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu
    I'll take a stab at this one.

    The biggest problem here, and it is the one that continually trips up martial arts "experts" when they try to critique another style's principles is the same one that trips up the United States in it's foreign relations.

    They keep looking at everybody else's **** through the lens of their own. And, as you'd expect when you look through somebody else's reading glasses, what you see it often distorted.

    Now, that doesn't take into account effective systems vs ineffective ones.

    "Every boxing or kickboxing trainer worth their salt will tell you to ‘keep a tight guard’, and they’re right of course—in the ring. With your fists tucked tight against your cheeks, the heavy padding of the gloves works like a head guard, and the exposed flesh of the forearm is invulnerable to attack from a gloved competitor. But that’s in the ring, with gloves and rules. On the streets a tight guard might not be what you want. In fact, a tight guard in a bare-knuckle fight might just end up being one giant headache, or worse."

    In point of fact, a "tight" guard is not always what a competent boxing instructor will tell you to do. Keeping your hands up against your face is dangerous and you just end up eating most of the force of the punches. The idea that boxers cover to deflect every single incoming shot is a falacy.

    My instructor's taught a variety of defensive options, the first of which was head movement and slipping.

    "We’ve all seen those old portraits of the bare-knuckle hardmen with their close-cropped hair and wide-open guards. This cigarette card from the late 1800s shows the great John L. Sullivan in a typical stance. But that guard served a purpose. The rear hand is well away from the face, with the ulnar presented to protect the lower ribs and sternum, while the lead hand is straight out in front establishing a distant perimeter. Any portraits of the same era will show a similar stance, a stance that has as much in common with traditional kung fu or karate as it does with modern boxing."

    You can tell as much about a boxer from their photo pose as you can about anything other kind of still shot. It's meant to show him off, while many bare knuckle boxers fought with their hands held low it doesn't mean they always stayed low. You can't make very accurate deductions by looking at promotional pictures. They're meant to look good, not convey truth. Likewise, portraits or paintings of boxing matches. It's very hard to capture movement or something as moment-to-moment as a fight with a still image. Take a look at some still images of kung-fu sparring. They look just as odd.

    "Some might like to argue that a staged portrait is one thing, a real bare-knuckle brawl another, but you can see from the photo below that a similar stance was adopted during fights as well. In 1889, Sullivan took on Jake Kilrain at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Sullivan can be seen here on the left. The fight lasted a staggering 75 rounds and you can see clearly both Sullivan, the eventual victor, and Kilrain with guards very similar to something you’d see in any of their portraits."

    Again, he's not really sure what 75 rounds meant back then. We've discussed that here a bunch already.

    As for the other argument in that graf, see my point above.

    "Today, bare-knuckle boxers from the back-roads of Ireland to the stadiums of Burkina Faso shape up pretty much the same way. So why do they do it?"

    No they don't. Many of them keep their hands up and many of them rely on their natural toughness to see them through. They're not all the same.

    "Gloves were introduced into European boxing matches during the second half of the nineteenth century and had become compulsory by 1900. The gloves, of course, reduced the shocking impact of the boxer’s fists, but it was not long before fighters realised that they could use the ‘mufflers’ as shields. Arms and elbows were no longer vulnerable to attack, so they could be used to protect the body, and the heavy gloves could be tucked into the cheeks to protect the head, thus shortening the guard. The result was a new era of ‘close-fighting’ techniques—clinches, hooks and uppercuts came into their own. Exciting stuff to be sure, but for those of us who train for fighting outside the ring, some of the old bare-knuckle wisdom needs to be revisited."

    If you think your arms and elbows are more vulnerable to damage than your fists your knowledge of anatomy could use a refresher.

    And "Those of us who train for fighting outside the ring"

    I hate statements like that. Many people who train martial arts aren't training to really fight at all. The ones who do, understand the benefit of protective equipment and
    so-called "sport" methods for training.

    Distance is kept more often with smaller or no gloves because of the easier knockout afforded by small gloves or no gloves. And anybody who believes that boxing has only just now developed an inside game doesn't know boxing. Street or otherwise. Close quarter fighting has been a part of a fighter's lexicon for as long as they have been close-quarters.

    "When confronted with a tight, boxing style guard, remember that the arms are still a useful target. The superficial muscles of your opponent’s forearm—the anconeus, the extensor digitorum, the extensor carpi ulnaris—can be struck with your knuckles, producing painful paralysis in their lower arm. If the attack penetrates through the muscles and into the radial nerve, this pain will become debilitating. More importantly, striking the muscles of the forearm also drives the fist of your opponent into their own face. "

    No. I can't even summon logic for this one. It's just wrong. Radial nerve? Are you kidding? You're gonna be worried about a nerve strike when some prick is trying to beat your ass? No.

    "Nor are the hands any sort of protection for the face once the gloves are off. The metacarpal bones of the hand require pressure of no more than 400 grams per square centimetre to break. If he decides to cover his head by putting his fists against his cheeks, aim your punches there. You’ll probably break his hands and the shock of your punch will still transfer into his cerebral cortex."

    No again. Anatomy. Reality. Logic. No. Stop it. Transfer into his cerebral cortex? You're going to argue science with pseudo-science? Stop it.

    "To illustrate the point, check out the entry sequence Beating A Tight Guard in the Free Lessons section."

    I'd skip that one if I was you guys.
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender,
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    -excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.

  6. #6
    DdlR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Interesting article, and he does make some valid points about the impact (!) of gloves on the techniques of pugilism.

    We had a mega-thread on this subject quite recently, but the salient points here are:

    Yes, pugilism has always included infighting techniques, but the MoQ rules had a significant effect on how much time was spent at the infighting range in a given round.

    Bare-knuckle fighters tended to stand out of distance (low guard) then raise and extend the guard as they came into distance before lunging with a left-lead off (basically a power version of the jab). Any infighting tended to be over quickly because that was the most dangerous phase of a bare-knuckle match; no-one wanted to be blinded or to lose more teeth than they had to. After a quick infighting exchange, the standard pattern was either to break out of distance again, or enter a standing grapple for a throw.

    The MoQ rules banned throwing techniques and mandated gloves, meaning that boxers could suddenly spend a lot more (comparatively safe) time at the infighting range, leading eventually to the more modern, mobile infighting strategy that does rely, to some extent, on the gloves themselves as shields.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Denver Co.
    Enshin Karate
    burmese boxers keep a close guard better some protection then non at all

  8. #8
    JohnnyCache's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    He thinks boxers put their hands on their faces

    He also strongly implies that the high guard is a product of gloves and not a distinct style of boxing, one of many that can be used with or without gloves.
    Also, gloves, even big 16 oz gloves, just aren't the huge shields that all these kung fu guys seem to think they are.

    I can't really respond to arguments that tree of that because the key early assumptions already have big flaws creeping into them.

    I've been around these circles before, but I really don't think

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    kenpo, Wrestling
    From the article: "Today, bare-knuckle boxers from the back-roads of Ireland to the stadiums of Burkina Faso shape up pretty much the same way. So why do they do it?"

    Can anyone verify this? Do modern bare knuckle guys fight like he describes?

  10. #10
    Torakaka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Kaka village
    Kitty Pow Pow!!!
    Like what's been said already, the critiques are based on false assumptions on how boxers defend punches. You don't just stick your big fat shield of a glove (8oz gloves on a ~200lb boxer is just a huge pillow right?) in front of your face and absorb the blow, punches are deflected/parried and slipped. Also like Johnny Cache mentioned, keeping your hands glued to your head Winky Wright style is only one of a bunch of different guards used by today's boxers, and even he doesn't just stand in place absorbing blows on his gloves.

    Have the people that make these "critiques" ever actually sat down and watched a boxing match?
    Ranked #9 internationally at 118lbs by WIKBA

Page 1 of 6 12345 ... Last


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in