Tactical Principles of Boxing
Understand Tactics and Win
One of the reasons I love boxing as much as I do is that it directly relates to my profession. Being in the military, a lot of the strategy and tactics that are relevant at work are also relevant in the ring.
Once you step in the ring, the following tactical principles apply. They are not applied separately but combined to achieve maximum effect:
- Decisiveness. An essential quality – indecisiveness leads to inaction which leads to you reacting rather than controlling a fight. If you are reacting, you are defending and receiving damage rather than dishing it out. You must have a clear purpose and gameplan. You must enter the ring knowing you are going to destroy your opponent and not hesitate giving him openings to get inside your decision cycle (OODA loop).
- Speed. Instinctive, rapid movements that come from muscle memory and drills executed without thought will help you gain the initiative over your opponent. If you can act and react faster than they can, you have surprise on your side and they don’t stand a chance.
- Concentration of Force. To achieve maximum force and effect, all parts of your body must act simultaneously to generate power. An arm punch might sting, but a proper punch with all the force of the legs, hips, shoulders, arms, and momentum will knock buddy out. All of that power generated has to be released instantly at impact so you can prepare for the next action. This is done by remaining relaxed and “loose” only tensing at the moment of impact putting every ounce of power you generate into a pinpoint target.
- Flexibility. Nothing ever goes as planned. In the army we have a saying that every plan is perfect until first contact. Every situation is unique and can never be controlled with precision and certainty. As a result, you have to be ready to adapt quickly in order to maintain any advantage you have or can gain.
- Simplicity. You do boxing drills for a reason – so they are instinctive. Increasing the number of possible choices you have in your arsenal leads to an increase in reaction time. Even a half second delay could mean the difference between winning and losing, so you need to perfect a few perfect offences and discard any fluff. Don’t go into the fight with complex tactical plans where you are going to win an award for the longest technically perfect combination or most blocked shots before landing the perfect punch. KISS it – Keep it Simple Stupid.
Also known as seizing the initiative, you should be aiming to use your opponent’s movements to leverage your own advantage. For instance, you can generate far greater force punching someone moving towards you than you can as they move away.
You must use every weapon in your arsenal to exploit every advantage that presents itself to ensure a successful outcome. That may mean employing deceptive measures, feints, superior conditioning, superior skill, achieving surprise, stealth and ambiguity.
Anything you can do within the rules to gain an advantage and control the fight is in your best interest to do.
Boxers are a determined bunch. Nobody who properly prepares and puts themselves through the intensity of workouts and sparring sessions will get in the ring and give up after they get hit. Thus, one hit is never enough.
If you hit someone, you follow up with more hits. Even if it looks like they are going to fall, you don’t stop until they have actually fallen. If you give up the opportunity to finish an opponent, you give your opponent a second chance to finish you – is that really something you want to do?
Embrace these principles – they apply directly to boxing as they do to any combat situation in the military. They have been proven over and over again in far more dangerous situations than you’ll ever find in a boxing ring.