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Combinations

“You can combine punches with kicks in boxing”. 

This is what I had one person tell me when I was starting out in the boxing game. Still don’t know till this day if they were serious or just wanted a quick laugh.

If you are new and still wondering, the answer is sometimes. Haha.

No. Never, it is not allowed. But what I am here to share with you is some of the best combinations. 

You will be surprised at why we use them and how to use these combinations.

Follow along, young grasshopper.

What is a boxing combination?

A combination is a number of punches put together rather than just one. 

For example, you will hear your coach call out for a 1-1-2. 

Oh, and they will probably be using boxing numbers. What are these numbers? Here’s a list below and why they are used.

Boxing combo numbers

  1. Jab
  2. Cross
  3. Lead hook
  4. Rear hook
  5. Lead uppercut
  6. Rear uppercut

So why are we using numbers if our punches already have names?

Why the confusion? Why the extra work? Why not keep it simple?

Let me tell you why this is so important!

Thank you for asking all these questions, they are good ones and I use to think the same thing early on when I first started boxing before a southpaw walked through our doors.

I was working on the bag one day and I was partnered with the southpaw on the same bag.

Coach started yelling out all these crazy combos, and into the 2nd round, I noticed that the southpaw had no special attention or directions with the punches being yelled out at us.

That’s when it clicked, numbers are not specific to either stance, they mean the same punch to everybody.

For example, if my coach yelled out left hook, for me as an orthodox fighter I would be using my lead hand.

For a southpaw fighter, they would use their rear hand. 

Lead hands and rear hands have different strengths, weaknesses, and power. Therefore by calling out for a 3, that would mean we both use our lead hand and not left or right.

Hope this makes sense!

Thank you for coming to my ted talk.

Why do we use Combinations?

  1. Help open up an opponent's defense
  2. Scores points with the judges
  3. Help with the flow of your offense
  4. A good defense is a good offense
  5. You look cool doing it

Your opponent has a tight guard and you can’t seem to land anything solid.

Your punches are hitting mostly gloves or elbows, you may not even be hitting your target at all. One punch will not change this fight, you need multiple punches in a sequence.

More punches mean more trouble, they might be good at defending one, or two, maybe even 3 punches, but I guarantee right after that it gets very hard to keep dodging or blocking continuously. 

Do you ever wonder one of the key things that judges are looking for in a fight?

I’ll tell you, they are looking for active fighters, meaning they throw a lot of punches. This looks good because you seem to be in control of the fight. You are willing to take risks and you become an exciting fighter.

The crowd starts to cheer for you and they start to influence the judges you are the better fighter.

Motion creates momentum, momentum creates a flow. Think of a wave at the beach, the sea is in control with constant motion in the water creating a momentum of waves leading to the shore crashing down on anything in its way. It flows back into the sea to start all over again and never stops moving.

In the ring, you are this wave. Constant pressure and your competitor will either have to sink or swim with you.

In sports, they say a good offense is a good defense and vice versa. This is true if you are so good at offense you will be overwhelming your opponents they will have only have time to think about their defense.

Just remember you need breaks in between unless you come installed with batteries.

Imagine working that bag and your favorite fighter is walking in the gym for some sparring, you want to look good right? 

Yeah, you do, so do I.

I would come up with the sickest combination in my head and tear that bag apart. It definitely helped me get some sparring matches against a couple of champs!

How do we use combinations?

Start with the jab

Successful boxers use a jab to set up combinations. A jab is your longest punch, it’s also the closest hand to the target. 

Variation

Speed kills but thinks of baseball for a moment. A pitcher who throws a fastball every time is going to get hit. Why, because you see the same delivery every time.

 If they change the speed of the pitch from fast to slow it keeps the hitter guessing and off-balance.

The same goes for punching. Only use speed then they will know there is no switch coming. Slow down your punches once in a while and they will have to make adjustments. Add power and you become dangerous!

How do you use your punches?

Here’s a simple combination to start with.

1-1-2

1 regular speed, 1 fast, 2 power

Combine these 3 variables of regular speed, fast, and power, they will never see what’s coming next.

Doubling up

Like a double-double from McDonald’s, this comes packed with the label reading hurt all over it

Instead of alternating hands every time you throw punches try throwing two jabs, two hooks to the same side, or two uppercuts with the same hand. 

Same side punching is very effective because the pattern of left-right-left has been broken.

Now it looks more like left-left-right, this surprises opponents no matter how seasoned you are.

Ladder

Work your combinations with variations of speed and power, doubling up on the same side while adding in the ladder.

Two ways to use the ladder, work from the body to the head or vice versa. 

When a competitor has a high guard start with the head to trap their hands up there.

If they have a low guard, start by going to the body to keep their hands low.

Start at the top finish at the bottom, start at the bottom finish at the top. 

Feints

Remember that game if you could make your friend flinch you could sock them twice. And you would just keep making them flinch till you tall about 50 punches.

Similarly, you want to do the same here, but there ain’t no free b’s.

A deceptive or pretended throw towards your target. You get to see how your opponent reacts if you were to throw that punch.

Choose a punch you won’t see them react to. Most of the time it’s as simple as the jab.

Feint a jab by doing all the movements before actually releasing the punch. A quick thrusting movement with about half the energy and ¼ of the commitment towards the target.

You can combine working the ladder with this by feinting to the body or the head.

I don’t encourage throwing too many feints with other punches besides the jab, the reason is you have to really sell the feint and it can put you out of position. The jab is safe, but try new methods boxing is art be creative show the world something new!

Don’t flinch

How to learn combinations

Practice on a bag or with a coach on mitts. The more practice the better you get at hearing combos being called out and reacting to them.

Well, how many are there that I can learn? Hundreds, keep it simple and use the ones that work best for you.

Beginner boxing combos

1-2 (Jab-Cross) 

1-1-2 (Jab-Jab-Cross) 

1-2-3 (Jab-Cross-Hook) 

1-2-3-2 (Jab-Cross-Hook-Cross) 

1-2-5-2 (Jab-Cross-Left uppercut-Cross) 

1-6-3-2 (Jab-Uppercut-Hook-Cross) 

2-3-2 (Cross-Hook-Cross)

Best boxing combos

1-1-2 (Jab-Jab-Cross)

1-2 (Jab body-Cross head)

1-2-5-2 (Jab-Cross-Left uppercut-Cross) 

1-2-1-2 (Jab-Cross-Jab-Cross)

1-3-2 (Jab-Hook-Cross)

Conclusion

Combinations are for everyone they make boxing fun and enjoyable while adding new elements to your game at any level you decide to take on in boxing.

Remember the boxing punch numbers this will make your life a lot easier, not harder I promise.

Why we use these combinations: to help open up a tight annoying guard, help score points, and we look cool doing it, to say the least.

How we use them is where it gets fun, it’s all about creativity, make sure to explore inside the gym and not on fight night.

Learn these beast combos by starting with the basics and work your way up the ladder.

And lastly, don't forget to add a kick (jk.. 😉

Happy swinging champs!