Author Topic: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook  (Read 1601 times)

Offline David in MN

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In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« on: April 09, 2019, 05:49:13 PM »
For those who have never boxed the left hook is the punch that requires mastery. My favorite boxer Joe Frazier almost didn't have a right hand in terms of power. Miguel Cotto redefined the left hook as an almost uppercut body shot. I'm Ok with arguing Tyson, Frazier, and Morrison (but Cotto deserves a mention).

Here's a fun video that unfortunately neglects Cotto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDaNLBssI58

What every boxer knows is that your straight right only works moving forward. The left hook can be mastered moving forward or back or most frighteningly slipping or rolling. Once my trainer saw I had a good hook he would throw a medicine ball at my head which I would slip to my left foot and use that torsion power to come back up and hook the heavy bag.

It's not for everyone. But you train and it becomes the most violent part of some of our boxing arsenal. Do a little search and realize you could drill to get Cotto's masterful scooping hook and then follow with a Frazier over the top hook. Same punch. Same out of position.

It's the punch that gets no respect but wins fights.

Offline CarbideAndIron

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 06:13:13 AM »
I spent years in martial arts, did some MMA, and also got in a lot of fights before I grew up. I knew, that I could throw a punch...well then when I was like 26, I started to learn some boxing. Boy was I wrong. I don't know how I went all those years without proper technique. My coaches picked my form apart.
I still remember the day I learned to really turn my hips and throw that left hook. I wasn't even trying to throw it hard, but the power that you can produce, it's amazing. Definitely my favorite punch. After my next comp, I am going to focus a couple days a week to getting back to either some boxing, or grappling. I miss it, and my oldest boy is 3 1/2 now, so I want to get him started early.

Offline David in MN

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 07:46:19 AM »
I spent years studying the 2 big left hooks. You either went straight and hard to the body which was the George Foreman masterpiece or went full hip rotation and sung to the head a la Smikin Joe Frazier. When you get Frazier's punch all the power comes from the body. It really is something.

Then comes this Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto and he does it totally different...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9gI4W581Bc

He drops the shoulder and does kind of a half hook half corkscrew half uppercut that looks so wrong but lands so good. I spent days just drilling that punch. And it can work even if it just feels wrong.

That's the amazing thing about the hook. We all do it different. Freddie Roach used to coach that it should be so tight if you missed with the fist you should hit with the elbow. Frazier used to scoff that he knocked out Ali with a long looping punch because Ali had a bad habit of retreating straight back.

As the old saying goes, we go to the heavy bag not to work out but to think.

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 11:23:11 AM »

Offline David in MN

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 12:24:06 PM »


Haha. It's actually an apt joke on more ways than one. Boxing was an ancient Greek sport (so much so that we who practice it are slangly called sons of Apollo because he was the God of boxers). Then the sport fell off until it found its revival with British navymen who were eager to prove their ship boasted the strongest men. It was routine to limit the fight to 40 rounds and the men literally beat each other to a bloody pulp.

In fact I believe it was bareknuckle champ John Sullivan who fist adopted Queensbury Rules and the use of gloves and the modern glove wasn't even made until Cleto Reyes got pumelled and realized he needed a glove to protect the wrist.

That's why we call it the "sweet science". Ever evolving. But perhaps I've explained why Sylvester Stallone writing the opponent "Apollo Creed" was the best name anyone could come up with for a boxer.

Offline The Professor

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 04:35:38 PM »
I, too, have been a student of the martial arts since 1976.  I've studies many different styles in the past 40+ years including two hard Japanese Karate disciplines, Judo, TaeKwonDo, BJJ, Hakko-Ryu Jujitsu, Aiki-Jutsu and FMA.  Boxers scare the crap out of me, especially experienced ones.

In the real world (i.e., not in the ring) a fight with a boxer has to be fast and dirty.  They know how to take a punch, how to move and how to strategically strike.  The oft-mumbled advice of "kick a puncher/punch a kicker" doesn't necessarily apply to boxers, unless you're going to kick below the belt.

And that is about the only way to quickly disable a boxer. . . groin shot, knee shot or solid kick to the outside of the thigh to demobilize them (the latter is the least destructive, but you do really have to know how and where to kick to be effective).

Even good BJJ fighters don't worry me as much as boxers. With my BJJ, Judo and JuJitsu skills, I can generally drag  out a ground fight until the guy gasses out.  The trick is to fight to a stalemate, make them work it.  This usually works on younger, less experienced guys.

But a good boxer?  Take away his mobility, preferably grounding him and strike him in places he's not used to getting hit.

And PRAY HARD that he doesn't get into your OODA Loop and make you react to his set-ups.

Another way is to try to attack his hands, but that often does not work as well as it does on others (by "attacking his hands," I mean strike at the two weaker fingers of his fist.  This is taught as a sub-style in some Chinese arts.  I picked it up from a practitioner in Germany many years ago and it has gotten me out of many protracted fights as a young man.  You do need the eye and reactions of experience to recognize the precursors to strikes and catch the fist/hand as it extends, but breaking the ring and pinky fingers often snuffs the blazing flame of a drunken aggressor's "bright idea").

Not fun facing even a mediocre, well-trained boxer.  Not fun at all.

The Professor

Offline David in MN

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 12:01:34 PM »
I appreciate it Professor. Along with the wrestlers we're the red-headed stepchildren of the martial arts community. I've had a wrestler put me on my butt, been choked by BJJ people, and dad does Judo he learned in Vietnam while serving with a Korean brigade. Something about a martial art that uses gravity as its weapon... My nephews do Tae Kwon Do and I have seen the knockouts at state tourneys. I respect all fighting styles.

I grew up in the 80s where mysticism made us think the Karate Kid would wipe the floor with Mike Tyson. Then you get in a ring and learn how tough these guys are. You're right to point out the OODA loop. You watch a Tommy Morrison or Joe Frazier and it's all set-ups to the crushing hook. Cotto too. My trainer made me go to the body. If you have a good left hook and can slip or roll a punch breaking ribs or doing liver damage is the preferred shot. It's a hurting game.

I don't understand why more martial arts haven't adopted this. The left hook is pure boxing and the guys who do it well tend to be tough opponents. When I briefly did Muay Thai it was clearly my best weapon. (Though I must admit going from leg kick to hook always felt awkward.) Also the best counter to a lazy fighter throwing a looping right. The second I see that shoulder drop I'm slipping left and loading the spring.

It will forever be a mystery to me. One punch that breaks jaws, ribs, and livers and it hasn't been widely adopted.

Offline JHarmon

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 11:49:55 AM »
Have watched a lot of footage of spontaneous fights, muggings, etc. in the real world.

#1 takeaway is that almost no one has any clue what they are doing and makes tons of mistakes.

Having a couple well-trained strikes, low leg/knee side kick (which is unlikely to be caught or throw you off balance and is so wicked that people have debated banning it from the UFC), and MAYBE a few other fundamental moves that you have trained repetitively will have you leaps and bounds ahead of most if you find yourself in a bad situation. Even if you have common sense and avoid bad areas/times/people there is still a fairly solid chance you will want to have something like that at your disposal at least once over the course of your life.

Only concern I have with the left hook is the risk of breaking the bones in your hand when punching in a no-gloves fight.

Offline CarbideAndIron

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Re: In Praise of the Majestic Left Hook
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 06:11:52 AM »
To be honest, as much as I love the feeling of landing a left hook, you don't need it for most real world situations. If you get good at proper stance, having your hands up to guard your face, elbows not flared-out to block your stomach, and get good at throwing a 1-2, you're miles ahead of anyone that would try to attack you. Trained fighters don't want to start fights 99% of the time.
But for anyone that hasn't learned the fundamentals of a punch, even just a few months of boxing training will help immensely. Learn the form, and STOP ARM PUNCHING. Everyone seems to use arm and chest strength, and not use their hips and lower body to initiate a punch. Once you learn that, even your light, quick punches have big pop in them.
Stick to the basics.