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Old 11-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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I think a lot of it is mental. If you love a scrap and go into it welcoming a bit of punishment, embracing the pain, then you are far less likely to go down than if you are in constant fear of how you will react to a solid shot.
"He'd rather fight than eat."-Ray Arcel, about the young Duran. In contrast to many boxers, Roberto seemed to actually enjoy getting hit, and psyching out his opponents by coming on even stronger in response. Over time, this unflinching reaction enhanced his ability to see punches coming and evade accordingly.

In direct contrast to this was Jimmy "I don't like to get hit!" Young. Despite his mentality, Jimmy took a hard shot well when he was hit, both to the body and the head. Cooney's hooks downstairs had no effect on him, and he withstood head shots from Shavers (in the rematch), Lyle and Foreman. Gene Tunney didn't share Young's aversion to getting hit. In contrast to Young's negative orientation, Gene enjoyed making an opponent miss, like Corbett. He got his kicks by frustrating his attackers.

Tex Cobb would be an interesting study. He was one of several boxing pros who submitted to a brain scan, and remarkably was the only one who showed no signs of neurological damage. (This was after Holmes-Cobb.) Tex expected to get hit, and was mentally prepared for this certainty. His nervous responses and ability to feel pain were normal.
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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It can be argued that intracranial pressure and proper hydration integrate significantly. Griffith, Robinson and Armstrong frequently came in so far under the limits of the weight divisions they were competing in that they had to swill gallons of fluid to make themselves heavier. This held them in very good stead when having to go the distance, or withstand and recover from punishment. In 492 combined fights, they only sustained a total of three attrition induced stoppages. (One apiece - Robby to Maxim, Hank to Zivic, and Griff to Monzon.)
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Old 11-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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It can be argued that intracranial pressure and proper hydration integrate significantly. Griffith, Robinson and Armstrong frequently came in so far under the limits of the weight divisions they were competing in that they had to swill gallons of fluid to make themselves heavier. This held them in very good stead when having to go the distance, or withstand and recover from punishment. In 492 combined fights, they only sustained a total of three attrition induced stoppages. (One apiece - Robby to Maxim, Hank to Zivic, and Griff to Monzon.)
And this was an exhaustion stoppage rather than anything else.

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Originally Posted by Duodenum
Tex Cobb would be an interesting study. He was one of several boxing pros who submitted to a brain scan, and remarkably was the only one who showed no signs of neurological damage. (This was after Holmes-Cobb.) Tex expected to get hit, and was mentally prepared for this certainty. His nervous responses and ability to feel pain were normal.
Yes, that was a very interesting study; I remember reading a paper about Tex's brain in particular. They expected to find considerable neurological damage, but in fact, after an intensive examination of his head with a whole battery of tests, they failed to find any neural tissue at all.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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Yes, that was a very interesting study; I remember reading a paper about Tex's brain in particular. They expected to find considerable neurological damage, but in fact, after an intensive examination of his head with a whole battery of tests,
they failed to find any neural tissue at all.
Isn't he supposed to be a college graduate and more educated than your average boxer?
I'm totally speculating here,but mayber leading a mentally active live may have shielded him from the effects of neurological damage(a case of use it or lose it)

BTW decent write up MexicanJew.
I thing the changeable factor is definitely lacking though. I need to think about that a but more,though.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:39 PM   #20
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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And this was an exhaustion stoppage rather than anything else.
Of course Robby failed to pace himself in the heat. If he came in at 157-1/2 for Maxim, managed to lose over seven pounds of body fluid during the course of those 13 completed rounds as reported, yet somehow was able to remain on his feet for six more minutes (just propped up in a corner, covering up), think about it. Ray might have had his hand raised as LHW Champion while weighing under the WW limit! (Bizarre realization, isn't it?) Even though Robinson boxed at a faster pace than necessary to win, it still surprises me a little that dehydration would catch up to him before Maxim. Joey was comfortably under the limit, but he had competed weighing as much as 190, while Robby had never been more than 162.
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Yes, that was a very interesting study; I remember reading a paper about Tex's brain in particular. They expected to find considerable neurological damage, but in fact, after an intensive examination of his head with a whole battery of tests, they failed to find any neural tissue at all.
Thanks for corroborating that. What I read suggested that his oriental martial arts background and training might somehow be connected with this lack of damage, as he is supposed to have been conditioned to take punishment of this sort in a way western boxers generally aren't.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:00 PM   #21
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

Fanastic work MJ. Enjoyed the read and it was very informative.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:17 PM   #22
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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Isn't he supposed to be a college graduate and more educated than your average boxer?
I'm totally speculating here,but maybe leading a mentally active life may have shielded him from the effects of neurological damage(a case of use it or lose it)
It's a valid question. Studies have indicated that academically accomplished college graduates enjoy lower incidences of dementia than physically active athletes who are less credentialed scholastically. LaMotta has been a writer and comedian. Archie Moore easily had the linguistic skills to be a college professor. Gene Tunney famously did become an Ivy League lecturer and successful businessman. Foreman and Holmes have made millions in retirement. Dempsey lost everything in the 1929 Crash, and recovered without having to return to competition. He also proved to be an excellent and explicit instructional author. Chuvalo is obviously articulate and intelligent, as anybody who's met him knows. Several excellent boxers have also been superb musicians.
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BTW decent write up MexicanJew.
I think the changeable factor is definitely lacking though. I need to think about that a but more,though.
What he wrote up is very well worth considering and expanding on, if we can add anything of value to it. MJ obviously put an awful lot of time and careful thought into it, and I have tremendous respect for his effort and willingness to share it with us. There's information there that young boxers might be able to use to enhance their own punch resistance.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:20 PM   #23
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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Thanks for corroborating that. What I read suggested that his oriental martial arts background and training might somehow be connected with this lack of damage, as he is supposed to have been conditioned to take punishment of this sort in a way western boxers generally aren't.
How exactly would doing martial arts protect him? He trained as a kickboxer-but I could give you the examples of Pele Reid or Ray Sefo who achieved success in kickboxing,but could not take a good punch in the boxing ring.
Of course,Cobb seemed to have a heavy bone stricture and a very thick and large skull,which would have helped in taking a punch or a kick.

Also,if as the kurgan stated the doctor failed to 'find any neural tissue in his skull' this meant they failed to find a brain in his skull.
I thought he was joking.
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:40 PM   #24
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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How exactly would doing martial arts protect him?
There are exercises consisting of simply absorbing gradually harder impacts as one is able to absorb them without distress. Supposedly, this results in the thickening of bone and muscle, as well as an efficacious psychological resilience. (Recently, a program on one of the Discovery channels showed a martial artist getting kicked between the legs so hard that the impact lifted him off his feet, but without effect. Progressive training had inured him to this.)
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Also,if as the kurgan stated the doctor failed to 'find any neural tissue in his skull' this meant they failed to find a brain in his skull.
I thought it was a joke.
Maybe he meant it as a joke, but I interpreted it to mean placqued tissue. A brainless man would hardly have been able to generate the sort of acting career he has.

By the way, Tex graduated magna cum laude from Temple University last year, at age 57, with a bachelor's degree in sport and recreation management. Interesting, that he continues to function at such a high level all these years later.
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:08 PM   #25
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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Also,if as the kurgan stated the doctor failed to 'find any neural tissue in his skull' this meant they failed to find a brain in his skull.
I thought he was joking.
Yes, that was the joke.

Tex was indeed a smart guy (and a pretty fine actor too for someone from a non-thespian background) but he rarely seemed to think in the ring. They say Ken Norton sometimes fought in a trance, but I'd say that would be a better description of Tex Cobb, who fought with all the mindless relentlessness of a deadly virus.

Tex, of course, was one of the wittiest boxers of all time. "Larry Holmes's fists couldn't take another 15 rounds of punishment..."
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:26 PM   #26
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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Yes, that was the joke.

Tex was indeed a smart guy (and a pretty fine actor too for someone from a non-thespian background) but he rarely seemed to think in the ring. They say Ken Norton sometimes fought in a trance, but I'd say that would be a better description of Tex Cobb, who fought with all the mindless relentlessness of a deadly virus.

Tex, of course, was one of the wittiest boxers of all time. "Larry Holmes's fists couldn't take another 15 rounds of punishment..."
Cobb actually had a good strategy for Holmes.

Reporter: "Tex, will you try to fight him on the inside?"

Cobb: "No, I'm going to stand on the outside and throw rocks!"

Later, when he had a fast paced PKA kickboxing match with Big John Jackson, it was Jackson who ironically prevailed on the strength of his punching technique, and this was a competitor noted for his ability to knock out heavyweights with his kicks. If kicking alone decided Jackson-Cobb though, Tex would have won. He looked far better as a kickboxer against Jackson than he did against Holmes, and was able to generate tremendous force with those 30" thighs. A mixed boxer versus kickboxer rematch with Holmes would have sold some tickets after Jackson-Cobb.

Jackson nailed Cobb coming in flush with some of his kicks, and even these didn't seem to faze Tex. If a kick like that couldn't even buckle him, what kind of punch would have been required to do it? (I also wonder about the legitimacy of the knockdowns he took against Gregg and Collier. I saw him go down against Gregg, and thought it looked staged at the time. His match with Sonny Barch was alleged to have been fixed.)
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:45 PM   #27
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

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First off, a fighter is either born with a great chin or he is not. Due to specific physiological factors, which I will discuss in a moment, some boxers are simply able to absorb head shots better than others

Firstly, these are the Genetic factors-these things cannot be changed, a fighter either has them or he doesnt

Genetic Factors

1. Skull density-A fighter with more thickly built skull, of greater bone thickness and density, will be better able to absorb head punches, as the bone will absorb more of the impact.

2. Ability to maintain Intracranial Pressure-This is the pressure inside the skull. Surrounding the brain is fluid, this fluid acts a protective barrier to the brain. The volume of this fluid is generally fixed. However, sudden trauma can cause this fluid to change in pressure temporarily. These pressure changes can result in the brain being stunned, and lead to bleeding on the brain or gray tissue damage.

- The mechanisms that lead to maintaining intracranial pressure are not well understood, but it can be postulated that a fighter who possess the unique physiological traits to better maintain intracranial pressure would be better able to absorb sudden impact to the skull.

3. Skull shape- fighters with great chins most often have squarely built skulls, often with particularly thick bone density behind the ears and back of the head. This squarer shape benefits the fighter. When absorbing the punch, the punch energy will be most absorbed through the area of impact before reverberating throughout the skull.
-This is advantageous in an ironic way. Firstly, although the area of impact will absorb more damage, it actually protects the brain from some of force. On the downside, it also can lead to bone microfracturing, and is a less efficient form of energy absorption.
-It is a disadvantage though long term. Fighters that can take punch after punch will in the long run suffer great neural damage than a fighter that is simply KOed.

4. Neck length and musculature-It is often noted that long necked fighters are more susceptible to being KOed. This is true. A fighter with a longer, and often thinner neck is at a structural disadvantage when it comes to head punches. Their naturally longer neck will not be able to absorb as much impact energy as a shorter thicker neck, and punches such as uppercuts or crosses to the chin will snap the head sideways.
-Compare this to a weight attached to a very thick and short rubber cord. If you push the weight, it will not swing much, simply because the cord is too short and thick for their to be much range of motion
-However, if you attach the weight to a longer, thinner rubber cord, its range of motion will be much greater, simply because the cord is longer and not as thick
=Why is this rubber cord analogy relevent? Because when the head is struck and snapped sideways, the brain moves inside the skull. If the head moves quickly, so does the brain, and it will collide with the skull, resulting in a fighter being stunned or KOed

5. Actual Chin thickness and Jaw Structure- A Fighter with thicker and denser Mandible, thats the bone that makes the chin, will be better able to absorb punches, due to the mandible absorbing more of the impact before it travels to the skull. Additionally, a thicker jaw structure with more densely muscled temporomandibular joint (the joint of jaw bone and skull) will asborb larger amounts of impact fact, lessening the impact energy that the skull must absorb.

-A fighter with a lighter and leaner bone structure will have a structural disadvantage to taking punches specifically to the chin than a fighter with a thicker and denser mandible structure and temporomandibular joint.


Changeable factors-

1. Learning how to absorb a punch-Every has heard "the worst punches are the ones you dont see coming". This is true. When a fighter can predict or prepare to be hit, their punch resistance is dramatically increased, due to the increased tension in the neck and head muscles, as well the mental readiness
-Fighters that have never been hurt before can sometimes panic in the ring. Not used to getting hit flushed, they do not know how to react
-The flight or Fight response can be conditioned so that when a fighter is hit in the head, they "fight" back, either by immediately returning fire, or knowing how to tie up and not allow themselves to be hit again
-Fighters that do not have this conditioned response will make mistakes such as leaving themselves open to be hit again, and will act on instinct, backing up in a straight line and not tying up.

2. Conditioning neck muscles-Whether a fighter has a long or short neck, the muscles of the upper back and neck can be conditioned and thickened. Compare this to the rubber band being thicker. A thicker rubber band will not swing as much.
-This will be advantageous, as the neck will be better able to absorb the channeling impact of the skull.
-Additionally, when a fighter prepares to get hit, the neck will be better stabilizer than before.

3. Mental preparation-Studies have demonstrated that when athletes spend a minimum of 15 minutes each visualizing themselves performing at optimum levels, they can increase their actual athletic performance by 10-20%. For a boxer, mentally affirming that they "cannot be KOed/Cannot be Hurt/Can come back from anything" could have a dramatic affect on their punch resistance. By increasing their cognitive ability to take a punch, they synergize with their natural physiological advantages. A fighter could take this even further. By cognitively conditioning themselves to believing they cannot be hurt, they can create a conditioned mental instinctual response when they are actually caught flush. "He caught me, but I'll HURT him" for example.

- This would explain why some fighters when hurt will actually fight back with more aggression than they were prior. By priming their conditioned response with a natural adrenaline rush, the brain will recover faster due to the increased oxygen availability and blood flow. Additionally, the neurotransmitters of the brain fire faster and more efficiently. This facilitates a rapid recovery. Combined with the short term increase in strength and enhanced reflex response time, a fighter can attack their opponent harder than they were before


4. Hydration-(MOST IMPORTANT)-Hydration plays a greater part in punch resistance than any other factor.

To illustrate this, here is a comprehensive list of the effects dehydration can have on the bodies functions

*Most damaging are the changes in blood volume and blood pressure. The decreased amount of blood and lower blood pressure and viscosity leads to the following changes in body function:

-Athletes can experience a 10-30% drop in response time, muscular strength, speed, and overall athletic performance

-The brain is more susceptible to being damaged due to decreased fluid density within the intracranial cavity.

-Muscles become susceptible to cramping, and bruising is more immediate and more painful

-Nausea can result, headaches are more likely to happen, especially if head trauma should occur

-Balance can be severely affected, because of changes in intracranial and inner ear pressure.

-Dehydrated individuals can have clouded vision, may suddenly have blind spots in their sight, and may have difficulty focusing visually and maintaining spacial awareness. Head trauma/punches can all exacerbate this

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN=A figher MUST be properly hydrated to perform at optimal levels. Being dehydrated SEVERELY affects performance and puts a fighters health at risk
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Solid work. I can add a bit or two. Good chins or the ability to take head shots in boxing comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I think heart and will power can add to a fighter's chin.

When I took martial arts, I noticed it was much easier to break or crack long thin cement block or wood. If the cement or wood was much more compact, and the same weight, breaking through was more difficult.

This leads me when taking a blow, compact is better than long and thin.

The fighters with big heads, big necks, and a study base who don't shy away usually take the best shots.

As a side note the human bone is 18X harder then cement.
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:04 AM   #28
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

Some really excellent posts here guys, particularly MJ & Duo.

JC Chavez is another fighter who seems to have a thicker bone structure and hence was able to absorb punisment more readily.

I definitely think strengthening the neck is a considerable factor but the notes on hydration are particularly revealing.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:23 AM   #29
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If you got a bomb straight on the temple you could suffer from aneurism and die. Even if you got the best chin on earth.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:11 PM   #30
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Default Re: What makes an IRON CHIN?-A Physiological analysis

When taking a straight punch to the head:

1) The jaw muscles,neck muscles and the erector spinae muscles have to tensed so that the entire upper body becomes a single unit. The kinetic energy from a punch is then distributed through the entire upper body-rather than being channeled to the brain.
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2) Being heavily muscled in the thighs and hip also helps.From a balanced stance a relaxed, heavily heavily muscled hip-thigh structure can acts as a damper or shock absorber to dissipate the energy in the upper body,delivered from a punch.

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3) A fighter can also increase the amount of bone between the opponents fist and his brain,by tilting his skull at the point of impact,so that the punch is not 'dead on'.

The same principle is used in tanks-where sloping armour was developed to deflect the shells of enemy tanks.
(notice the increased effective thickness of the sloping armour)

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