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The Stout Frank and Crimson Bard
Sparring Notes from a Fellow Fighter
7/29/20
[LaFond’s comments are in brackets.]
This weekend I had a rematch spar with the gentleman that I had tooled up pretty bad a few weeks before. We did two three minute rounds witnessed by two mutual friends. Here's what I recall from the first round.
First Round: I immediately slipped into boxing southpaw and began parrying with my lead hand against his jabs, learning his timing all over again. It was a good thing, too; his punches were much more crisp and had some pep in here. Despite his earlier loss, dude came to box! I kept my movements swift and kept pace with him, sneaking in lead hooks after he would commit down the pipe with a right straight. I kept my right tucked in and used it primarily like a catching mitt—blocking his rights and then stepping around with a hook immediately afterward. He caught me with a couple of clipping shots and one that woke me up—a lead hook of his own! If he had done that more, he would have done so much better. My ring generalship was less than perfect, as I wasn't able to hold the center of the ring and definitely had him chasing me around. I would have scored the round 10-9 for me, but it easily could have been called the other way around.
[Experiment with posting the jab every once and a while by feinting the lead hand parry. Once you have done that you might want to experiment with feinting that posted jab and going to a straight rear hand to the body while stepping around to set up a double hook, high-low or low-high. Any time something works for either of you build one more step of exploitation. A great place to end up as a southpaw is under and outside his thrown right hand digging the shovel hook and ready to land the your rear left over or under his rear right. Think like a knife fighter here.]
Second Round: A slower pace going into the first minute of this round, as I continued to parry and shift and move and keep him at the edge of his measure until he committed with a combination—and then threw some hooks and peeled off to the outside oblique angle. I got him with what I thought was a good body hook with my lead southpaw hand, but it did absolutely nothing to this guy. Maybe I didn't put my body behind it?
[Putting leverage on hooks is a lot harder than bag work would make it seem. Because as soon as you start trying to avoid getting hit and also throwing combinations, then your window for levering into a hook is narrowed to a micro pivot. Work on half and quarter pivot hooks while on the bag. Also work on landing a poor leverage hook—keeping it tight, not wide—and digging in with an after pivot.]
Once I got his tempo down, I would let him throw a punch or two and then pass forward with a big step into an Orthodox stance and throw a 4 or 5 hit combo, then bail out after he got over being stunned by the flurry. He again got a couple of good shots on me, including a right straight that I failed to slip properly, but by the end of the round I was just leaning back to slip his shots and countering at will, I had his pace down pat. 10-8 round for me for sure.
[This is really under-used in modern boxing. You do have to be careful with it.]
Again, I can't stress enough how proud I am of this guy. Nothing I did to him, not the parrying, the evasive footwork, or the flurries of punches in the second round really did anything to break his fighting spirit. He reminded me a lot of Duz in that he would just plod forward and keep on coming, undeterred by any perceived deficiencies or losses. If he had been a mentally weaker fighter, I would have broken him with my tactics. Had I been a mentally weaker fighter, I would have withered under his implacable nature. It was a fantastic spar and I have learned a lot.
[I would suggest using this or another such sparring session as a template source for building drills. Video it and find out what worked for each of you and optimize that in planned, light contact drills.]
[Then work on the counters to what worked.]
[Then isolate the stuff that did not work, figure out why and work on correcting that.]
[All of your corrections will need be trained solo too, in shadow work and on the bag. Don’t get discouraged when things you drilled do not pop up in future sparring. They will, but usually take some time. This is why it is really important to do sparring and solo drills to support your sparring.]
Thank you once again for showing me this world, where I can express myself with absolute authenticity, striving forevermore against the darkness of spiritual ennui with every punch.
Take care of yourself, and safe travels,
Adam Swinder
[Adam, thank you. ]
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