Watching any boxing or mixed martial arts match will show you that in order to land the strikes you want to land, you have to get your opponent to shift their defenses to the wrong area. How can you do this effectively and efficiently? By changing the levels of your punches often. Some of the best ways to do so are by using creative combinations and feinting to one level, then attacking another level.
But what about the boxing technique behind changing levels? Are there things you should avoid doing? These are some of the questions I had when I first started my boxing training and wanted to mix up my punches (I was a headhunter when I started). Here’s what I learned…
Tips For Changing Levels Fast In Boxing
Bend your knees, not your back
One of the worst habits I developed early in my fighting career was bending my back rather than crouching and bending at my waist when I needed to punch low. As a result, I would often end up off-balance and unable to deliver meaningful power shots. The proper way to change your level is by bending your knees and flexing at your waist so that your center of gravity remains stable, allowing you to twist your body into any punches you deliver.
Gravity is your friend
One of the masters of changing levels, Mike Tyson, often employed a technique commonly referred to as the ‘Dempsey Step’ or ‘Dempsey Roll’ (also known as the ‘drop step’). This is basically the practice of allowing your natural forward momentum to pull you down, loading your lead leg for a powerful punch. This puts you at the low level for ideal body punches and gives you the ability to rapidly switch between both left and right punches, as well as shift between highs and lows.
Gravity is not always your friend
While techniques like the drop step are extremely useful for quickly changing levels, it's important to remember that you still need to fight gravity even when using it to your advantage. One tip that I found that hasn’t ever led me astray is to never ever let your chin get over your knee when crouching down. This is a great guideline to help you keep your center of gravity at a manageable distance from the strong muscles of your hips and legs. If you extend your chin any further, you will start to lose your balance and fall over yourself too much to be able to change levels quickly.
Practice Makes Perfect
Changing levels is an incredibly vital aspect of any fighter’s game, and it’s important to drill combinations that allow you to trick your opponent and open up their defenses. For some awesome combinations, you can use to practice, check out FightCamp Co-Founder & Trainer Tommy Duquette’s video for combos that change levels, and remember to always answer the bell and come out swinging.
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