If you’re a grapplers that wants to learn boxing or kickboxing then there are several very common mistakes that you’re probably going to make. This is because each style of fighting (grappling vs striking) trains you to use your body slightly differently which can set you up for failure in the other art
Here’s a video showing 5 common mistakes for grapplers when they start striking and how to fix them. If you prefer to read your information rather than watch a video then scroll on down below…
Striking Mistake 1, Upright Stance,
In grappling we often want to have a relatively straight spine to prevent and attack takedowns.
Imagine you’re practicing some of your Judo techniques or some Greco-Roman throws. Your back would be nice and straight, and your posture would be upright, right? Or if you were trying to posture up in someone’s guard you’d also be straight and upight.
However when you’re boxing being too upright can open up too many targets for your opponent. Instead you need to slouch down a bit so that your elbows can cover your ribs more to keep you safe from body shots.
Also being too upright will hinder your ability to generate force for your punches.
When you’re punching imagine a straight long of force between your fist and your foot when you’re punching.
If you’re too upright, you won’t be able to support the power of your punches with your feet.
Think of how you would push a car. You need to lean into the car in order to push it. You wouldn’t be able to effectively push the car if your back was upright.
So, if you slouch and make your torso more compact, you’ll be able to punch much harder.
Striking Mistake 2, Chin Up.
When you’re boxing or kickboxing it’s critical to keep your chin down to protect yourself against possible strikes to your jaw.
As grapplers we want to have strong head position. For example we’re often driving our heads into our partner’s neck and jawline.
However having strong head position as a grappler means having poor chin position as a striker.
By keeping your chin down, you’ll be much safer from punches and counter attacks, and this has to be relearned if you’re coming from a grappling base.
Striking Mistake 3, Too Square
As grapplers, we often have our shoulders square to our opponent. By having your shoulders more square it allows you to more effectively sprawl and defend takedown attempts by your partner.
However when it comes to striking square create a much bigger target for our opponents. Your torso becomes a giant target for people to hit. By turning your shoulders, your profile becomes thinner and reduces the places your opponent can hit you.
In addition, your reach is shortened by having your shoulders too square. By turning your shoulders and by having (say) your left shoulder forward, you significantly increase the reach of your lead punch.
Striking Mistake 4, Arms Too Short.
As grapplers, we’re taught to keep our arms short. “An extended arm is a broken arm”.
Of course there are moments in grappling when you do extend your arms briefly – for example when you’re trying to stop a guard pass, but for the most part, you’ll be keeping your arms short when you’re grappling.
However, keeping your arms short conflicts with being an effective puncher. In boxing you want to extend your arms for your straight left punch and for your straight right punch. You want to reach out with your punches so you can maximize your reach and your punching power.
Striking Mistake 5, Long Contraction With The Muscles.
Grapplers spend a huge amount of time grabbing and holding; they’re contracting their muscles for a long time. This is called an isometric contraction.
Unfortunately, these long contractions don’t translate well to striking. With long contractions, your punches will be slow and ineffective. You’ll be pushing your punches instead of snapping them out.
For striking, you want a short, brief contractions, like you would when you do a clapping pushup.
For striking you want your punches to snap out like a whip and you want your muscles to be loose and relaxed. Practice snapping out your punches when you’re boxing and you’ll immediately be hitting harder.
About the Author: Ritchie Yip is both a BJJ black belt grappler and a highly experienced kickboxing coach. He is the author of The Precision Kickboxing Masterclass and teaches BJJ in Vancouver, BC, Canada at Infighting.ca