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Old 12-23-2009, 01:35 PM   #1
CharlieGarbs
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Default Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

Watching footage of fighters from the past, Jack Dempsey/Joe Louis era, they just seem to have their hands so low. Was this just the technique back then? You'd think that a simple high guard would help so much better. Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

To protect the body and to facilitate the parry.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
To protect the body and to facilitate the parry.
Short and sweet. Was this just how boxing was taught back then? If it was that effective surely it would be used in this age of boxing?
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

Because boxing skills were undeveloped and would generally get better as generations passed
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by CharlieGarbs View Post
Short and sweet. Was this just how boxing was taught back then? If it was that effective surely it would be used in this age of boxing?

What promted the change was the glove sizes.

The very small gloves used by the pioneers meant that creating a "shield" with your modern technical guard wasn't an option. As the gloves got bigger, it became more viable (though some fighters still prefer the low, loose guard). Additioanlly, the smaller gloves made bodyshots more lethal. Whatever the debate about headshots, fist to rib is just a non-debate. It became possible to leave the body exposed in preference of protecting the head as gloves got bigger.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
Because boxing skills were undeveloped and would generally get better as generations passed

Boxing skills were perfectly developed. If Joe Gans had worn the modern guard more he would have been stopped more. He would have been using retro-grade skills for his era. Skills that would have cost him.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
What promted the change was the glove sizes.

The very small gloves used by the pioneers meant that creating a "shield" with your modern technical guard wasn't an option. As the gloves got bigger, it became more viable (though some fighters still prefer the low, loose guard). Additioanlly, the smaller gloves made bodyshots more lethal. Whatever the debate about headshots, fist to rib is just a non-debate. It became possible to leave the body exposed in preference of protecting the head.
You can still keep your hands up with small gloves, and its still allot easier to parry with high hands than low hands, you can keep a high guard and still elbow block to the body, your elbows should be straight so they cover as much of the body as possible
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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You can still keep your hands up with small gloves, and its still allot easier to parry with high hands than low hands, you can keep a high guard and still elbow block to the body, your elbows should be straight so they cover as much of the body as possible

Parrying with high hands is horrible.

You can't block your body with your elbows any more than you can cover your head with the old-school gloves.

Or, your quite right and inspite of the fact that these men were boxing for a living they didn't work out that using the high guard was better than using the low guard for 50 years. But I know which way i'm leaning.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
Boxing skills were perfectly developed. If Joe Gans had worn the modern guard more he would have been stopped more. He would have been using retro-grade skills for his era. Skills that would have cost him.
A proper guard has the fist on the chin with the forearm and elbow covering the body, why would he get stopped if he has his elbow there to block bodyshots? If bodyshots were such a big issue then, why not use a side on half guard thus only exposing 1 half of the body, which in turn is covered by the low hand, with the back hand their to block head shots? Why do MMA fighters use high guards?
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Parrying with high hands is horrible.

You can't block your body with your elbows any more than you can cover your head with the old-school gloves.

Or, your quite right and inspite of the fact that these men were boxing for a living they didn't work out that using the high guard was better than using the low guard for 50 years. But I know which way i'm leaning.
I'm beggining to think you havent boxed/sparred? Parrying with high hands is far easier than parrying with low hands, think about the physics of it, move the hand 3inches to block or 24inches, which is easier? And ofcourse blocking with elbows is a great technique, its the best way to block bodyshots because its the easiest, most effective, and also damages your opponents fist, your elbows dont completely cover your ribs unless you have long limbs, but you simply bring the elbow down to block and throw a counter shot in 1 motion

YEs these men did box for a living, so did Auturo Gatti and I'm not taking defensive tips of him either.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
I'm beggining to think you havent boxed/sparred? Parrying with high hands is far easier than parrying with low hands, think about the physics of it, move the hand 3inches to block or 24inches, which is easier? And ofcourse blocking with elbows is a great technique, its the best way to block bodyshots because its the easiest, most effective, and also damages your opponents fist

YEs these men did box for a living, so did Auturo Gatti and I'm not taking defensive tips of him either.

I have to say, "I'm beggining to think you haven't boxed/sparred" is fast becoming my least favourite phrase around here.

A straight shot to the head, a "guard-peircing" shot is basically impossible to stop by moving the fist across, certainly with any consistantly and it leaves you WIDE open to feints. Even if you position the glove in exactly the right spot it doesn't "take off" the entire shot, although it certrainly doesn't do any harm. Allowing for "round the corner" shots, the target area for such a punch is huge, and where a serious speed difference exists even modern gloves using the modern guard can be split.


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Keeping in mind the size of the old gloves and the position of the guard, it seems natural enough that these men would find a different way to solve the problem. The solution was a combination of evasive manueveres and parrying, still utilised by the most athletic of boxers (although it's different). "Dynamic parrying" isn't something you can do with gloves in a near stationary position. Yeah, man, in fact i'm beggining to wonder if you've ever boxed if you think that literal parrying is possible from a stationary guard.

As the gloves got bigger a natural change occured.

OR

As the gloves got bigger there was a co-incidental shift towards a style that would have been better all along. This is not impossible. However, the existance of Arturo Gatti has absolutley no impact on this argument.


None of these terms are meant to be taken entirely literally and a lot of them are my own.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
A proper guard has the fist on the chin with the forearm and elbow covering the body, why would he get stopped if he has his elbow there to block bodyshots?

So now you've got a static guard for body and face from which you are going to parry dynamically?

Any footage?
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onb-p3YsQk8[/ame]
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
I'm beggining to think you havent boxed/sparred? Parrying with high hands is far easier than parrying with low hands, think about the physics of it, move the hand 3inches to block or 24inches, which is easier? And ofcourse blocking with elbows is a great technique, its the best way to block bodyshots because its the easiest, most effective, and also damages your opponents fist, your elbows dont completely cover your ribs unless you have long limbs, but you simply bring the elbow down to block and throw a counter shot in 1 motion

YEs these men did box for a living, so did Auturo Gatti and I'm not taking defensive tips of him either.
I can't help but think that there's some odd logic here. You argue that McGrain doesn't know what he's talking about because he hasn't boxed...yet you're also arguing that five generations of fighters from across the world who DID box at the highest levels of the sport were too stupid to raise their hands a little.



On the bright side, you're right: a high guard DID work with small or no gloves. The manuals I've seen from the 1790-1840 period show a high guard:


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by cross_trainer View Post
I can't help but think that there's some odd logic here. You argue that McGrain doesn't know what he's talking about because he hasn't boxed...yet you're also arguing that five generations of fighters from across the world who DID box at the highest levels of the sport were too stupid to raise their hands a little.



On the bright side, you're right: a high guard DID work with small or no gloves. The manuals I've seen from the 1790-1840 period show a high guard:


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

You can also see footage of men wearing the higher guard, elbows tucked in and all, from before Dempsey and Louis, though they favour the lower guard:

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax3gG2CbzdA[/ame]

My answer was directed at reasoning behind the boxers that didn't use the higher guard, the boys the opening poster was asking about.
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