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Dead Hand Boxing
Training, Sparring and Applications: 10/13/2022
© 2022 James LaFond
I am in better shape, from this high altitude living and hard working than when last I fought or sparred or trained. A week from now I will be dissipating in the arms of SaySay, while she sits on my lap, drinks from a bottle and then kisses me, pouring all of that booze down my throat. She is my very own Bond Girl and it would be so cool if she killed me.
A week after that, I will be in Portland, just in time for Halloween, where there are between 3 and 7 younger men who I have trained with or am set to train with. With deteriorating timing, no speed and lagging reactions, I will be charged with boxing with these fellows while making sure none of us get hurt.
Defending myself is tough enough, but defending them too, 30 years past my prime, that is even tougher. However, I was able to do this at the Brick Mouse House, in the basement gym. Those guys were in their 20s. So, as I start shadow boxing in Deb’s basement pantry by night, how do I prepare?
A basic mechanic of punching, is to keep the hand curled into an open fist, the hand whippy on the loosey goosey arm, then tightening the fist as the punch lands. This takes some tactile sensitivity. It is also helped by the fact that your open fist will begin to compress as it meats resistance. It is further helped with curled boxing gloves.
I once looked at the video of Baltimore Ravens football player, Ray Rice, supposedly punching his savage wife. As the fuzzy elevator security video showed his hand striking her from left to right and then emerging open on the other side of her head, it was clear that this was a slap, as a clenched fist cannot open as it is impacting a hard target, and that lovely wench’s wide venom spitting head qualified as a such a target.
I took this lesson and used it for multiple purposes.
Spear Hand
When sparring with gloves on, against a man who has a longer reach, with a need for him to train against shorter reaches and reaches nearer or surpassing his own, I will keep my hand open in the glove and when I hit, point my fingers at him. This results in him just getting touched and me practicing spearing enemy yes with open hand. Even if I cannot mage to open the hand on off timing contact, I am at least not tightening it and minimizing impact.
In order to simulate a hook thrown from a tall fighter, I will use sweeping karate ridge hand style motion to touch him across his face so he can train against the hook of a long armed fighter. This is very much how we use the punching mitts to train defense. Not only does this not hurt him, it trains me on raking the eyes of a foe on the street.
Dead Hand
Novice boxers will often walk into punches which could hurt or discourage them [especially with teens]. So, I practice breaking my punch in progress on contact by opening the fist. This trains me to keep from crushing my hand in a survival situation, for instance if I thought a mugger was walking right in and targeted his nose, but he then ducked for a take down. By training the dead hand fist, this enables me to break the punch and not my hand on contact with his skull and either keep opening the hand and slide it down to a shoulder for a check [which I do in sparring] or even break my elbow extension back and measure off and check with the actual loose fist.
After Pivot
While trowing hooks, shovel hooks and even straight punches, boxers train roboticaly to pivot into that blow as contact is made in order to apply rotational force to the brain or body, to punch through. I reverse this and turn these opportunities into safety pivots. A safety pivot is used by cagey boxers who find themselves in a position to hit a tougher, harder punching boxer at full power. If, for instance, Roy Jones Junior had done this with Mike Tyson, he would have gotten KO’d. But, when Roy had such an opportunity, he did an after pivot instead, a rotational check that stick and knife fighters train all the time.
Not only does this after pivot help keep from hurting my training partner, it helps keep him from escalating contact and hitting me back harder. In a survival situation, the foe might have friends or a knife, or be a meth head tweeker that you can’t KO, so you are best off using the angle you get with your punch to get to the next advantageous angle.
By the time this article posts, I should already be heading east to the beast, and will hopefully do so unhurt and having helped those Portland men in applying hurt with dead hand boxing.
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