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Old 12-23-2009, 07:21 PM   #31
GPater11093
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by Gesta View Post
You make alot of sense Greg.
thanks, i think people are abit too quick to dismiss old timers syaing there hands are down.....

If pulled off it can be very effective
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:44 PM   #32
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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In what way do top MMA fighters use 'high guards'? They don't stand with their hands behind their back, but they certainly don't use what in boxing would be called a high guard; it simply doesn't work with 4oz gloves.
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Because you're used to watching boxing and are applying the same standards to a completely different sport. You can't block punches with gloves, you can't stand sideways because it compromises your balance so much, the jab often becomes useless unless you have a 16" height and reach advantage because kicks have a much longer range, you can't throw a punch and clinch and expect the referee to restart the fight on the outside. I know you said you don't know much about MMA, but I suspect you're doing the same thing with the old timers; applying rules and standards from modern boxing that are completely irrelevant.

Good to see you posting here. All sense.
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #33
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

i want to make some points as a person who has boxed for half his life....


a. the high guard works with smaller gloves, this is why in mma guys bring their arms up even higher then boxing to block punches.

b. you block body punches with a high guard by using your elbows and smaller guys the guy throwing the body has a bigger chance of hurting his hand.


c. body punches are harder with smaller gloves. but head shots are also much harder with smaller guys or no gloves.
case and point look at all those ko's in mma by guys who are often not even good with their hands.

and since i grew up in a bad area and worked as a bouncer for a long while, i have been in a lot of fights and seen a lot of fights....
trust me there are a lot more ko's and broken faces when there are no gloves involved instead of 754 punches you see a guy throwing in a boxing match and winning a decison.



the bigger the glove the more impact it absorbs, this is why when you spar with 16 oz gloves, the shots dont feel like they do with 10 oz gloves.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:34 PM   #34
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

The fact is that some fighters used a high guard, some a low guard, and some a little of both. THis is true today as it has been throughout history. Perhaps some of the footage of the greats lead one to believe more fighters used a low guard back in the day, and perhaps this is true to a degree. Fighters back then had to fight more rounds, hence they couldn't keep their hands up the entire fight, lest they wear themselves out. Someone mentioned the much smaller gloves as well. Ultimately though, it is a matter of preference, as well as a matter of timing and talent. If you keep your hands down, but can lift them up at the right moment to block, or lift them to clinch, then you can get away with keeping your hands down. A lot of fast fighters throughout history did this, today included. Also, fighters who have great senses of distance and timing know how to use step backs, head ducks, head lean backs, or punching at the right moment such that their own blows create defense (or a combination of all of these), so that their low hands don't cost them. Some alternate hand lifts with head movements and clinches. You can see this with guys like Toney or Floyd Mayweather, even Ray Leonard.

Ali was a perfect example of someone who knew how to fight with his hands down. At long range, he generally kept his hands by his sides, but he could get away with it. When you had him on the inside, he would raise his hands more. Corbett was the same way. Fitz knew how to lift his hands, or move his head, or time you with a shot. Jeffries kept his right hand up, left down but out - ready to fire at the right moment, or ready to slide back or to dip down to the right to evade your blow.

Bottom line is if what you are doing works for you, and is good enough to make a guy miss, then do it. There is no definitive right answer. It depends on the individual. When I teach boxers, I tell them to hold their hands up. That said, I tell them that this is like basic script vs. handwriting. You need to learn one, then advance to the other, but you want the first to fall back on and to use in conjunction with more advanced techniques as you develop greater ring generalship and suit your own style and techniques to your body type and talent level. If you aren't super fast or don't have a read on your opponent, it is best to keep your hands up, but as you develop greater ring sense and can see what your opponent is doing, you develop the ability to utilize multiple skills to make opponents miss - head movements, guard, lift ups, step backs, smothering, clinching, punches at the right distance, etc.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:01 PM   #35
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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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!

Good question...and i have seen very young guys look at old timers footage and point to that and say "well see, those guys didnt even know to keep their hands up" but then they see Mayweather, who keeps his hands in the exact same position as Dempsey did (I know he has a different style) and they point to him as the greatest....and of course Ali, the true greatest, kept his hands down..as does Klitscko...it can be useful to protect the body and for the perry as mentioned...it also is harder for your oppoent to see your shots when you throw them from down low, and you can often get more power on your punches...I help train some young guys at a gym..and i always recommend a high guard when you first learn..but as your reflexes get better...you learn to roll...some guys can do well with hands lower..their are positives and negatives to everything of course. I think real pressure fighters should mostly keep their hands up...but even then..their are some advantages to having your hands low and coming up from no where, as frazier showed aganst many..of course ith as disadvantages, and hatton showed aganst Manny (see, many, manny...) anyhow, sorry that wasnt short and sweet.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:02 PM   #36
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by apollack View Post
The fact is that some fighters used a high guard, some a low guard, and some a little of both. THis is true today as it has been throughout history. Perhaps some of the footage of the greats lead one to believe more fighters used a low guard back in the day, and perhaps this is true to a degree. Fighters back then had to fight more rounds, hence they couldn't keep their hands up the entire fight, lest they wear themselves out. Someone mentioned the much smaller gloves as well. Ultimately though, it is a matter of preference, as well as a matter of timing and talent. If you keep your hands down, but can lift them up at the right moment to block, or lift them to clinch, then you can get away with keeping your hands down. A lot of fast fighters throughout history did this, today included. Also, fighters who have great senses of distance and timing know how to use step backs, head ducks, head lean backs, or punching at the right moment such that their own blows create defense (or a combination of all of these), so that their low hands don't cost them. Some alternate hand lifts with head movements and clinches. You can see this with guys like Toney or Floyd Mayweather, even Ray Leonard.

Ali was a perfect example of someone who knew how to fight with his hands down. At long range, he generally kept his hands by his sides, but he could get away with it. When you had him on the inside, he would raise his hands more. Corbett was the same way. Fitz knew how to lift his hands, or move his head, or time you with a shot. Jeffries kept his right hand up, left down but out - ready to fire at the right moment, or ready to slide back or to dip down to the right to evade your blow.

Bottom line is if what you are doing works for you, and is good enough to make a guy miss, then do it. There is no definitive right answer. It depends on the individual. When I teach boxers, I tell them to hold their hands up. That said, I tell them that this is like basic script vs. handwriting. You need to learn one, then advance to the other, but you want the first to fall back on and to use in conjunction with more advanced techniques as you develop greater ring generalship and suit your own style and techniques to your body type and talent level. If you aren't super fast or don't have a read on your opponent, it is best to keep your hands up, but as you develop greater ring sense and can see what your opponent is doing, you develop the ability to utilize multiple skills to make opponents miss - head movements, guard, lift ups, step backs, smothering, clinching, punches at the right distance, etc.

damn it..i wrote my post, without reading yours, then i read your post, and realized you said basically everything i siad..only better...oh well.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #37
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As for older timers focusing on evasive movement. SO why don't they have good lateral movement? They go back and forwards in straight lines, which is another big no no. Where is the evasive movement on par with the likes of Whitaker, Ray Leonard, ALi, Pep? Also why is the footwork so straight up with a lack of shift of bodyweight from 1 side to the other?

watch the first round of Dempsey Willard..watch it from the begining..before the knockdown...dempsey fights very tight..doesnt throw wild (until he knocks his man down) and uses very good laterial movement in and out...also keeps that left down, using it as a bate to draw willard in.

Round one starts at 44 seconds [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOcrCTzMI_M[/ame]

Last edited by GregDempsey; 12-23-2009 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:15 PM   #38
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

It has something to do with the fact that today's gloves are larger and provide more of a shield than the smaller gloves of yesteryear. However I think this is only a small part of the reason we see more high gaurd now than we see on the films of past boxers. Most of the film we have are of the A level boxers. If you watch today's top boxers you will see their hands go low as well. While blocking and parring are basics that every boxer should know how to do. The most effective defense is to slip, duck and otherwise dodge punches. This better allows for more effective counter punches. For this it does not matter where your hands are. Sometimes you will notice that while their lead hand is low their back hand is acatuly up protecting their face. A low gaurd can bait an opoent to atack when it is unwise to do so. A low gaurd also produces more power than a high gaurd due to the fact that the punch travels farther.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:01 PM   #39
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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Originally Posted by dabox View Post

a. the high guard works with smaller gloves, this is why in mma guys bring their arms up even higher then boxing to block punches.
have to disagree, I dont think a high guard is better with small gloves..really you can use a high guard easier with big gloves..because then you can really less on fine movments and more on big gloves just being "their" or maybe needing a bit of movment of the gloves. And actually, back in the old days, guys had smaller gloves then today, so using your logic, their should have been more high guard back then. Basically, I think MMA guys do a high guard because its more basic, and with all due respect to mma guys (i know they are tough, and in a street brawl would be great) the best of them is usually not a very good boxer, so they fight more like everyone should when starting out. But some guys do fight with hands low in mma as well....sometimes they do it well.
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Old 12-24-2009, 12:22 AM   #40
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

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have to disagree, I dont think a high guard is better with small gloves..really you can use a high guard easier with big gloves..because then you can really less on fine movments and more on big gloves just being "their" or maybe needing a bit of movment of the gloves. And actually, back in the old days, guys had smaller gloves then today, so using your logic, their should have been more high guard back then. Basically, I think MMA guys do a high guard because its more basic, and with all due respect to mma guys (i know they are tough, and in a street brawl would be great) the best of them is usually not a very good boxer, so they fight more like everyone should when starting out. But some guys do fight with hands low in mma as well....sometimes they do it well.

i think maybe there is a misunderstanding,
what i meant to say is that in mma where the gloves are smaller
guys bring their hands up even higher to defend punches, because the glove is smaller you need bring up the arm higher to defend the punch so it does not sneak in


and yes guys do well with hands down in mma too, i agree


this is a tricky topic, besides the hands down thing, because you see a lot of old timers with their chins high up and falling into clinch after clinch

this is is not as easy to explain as the low guard vs high guard thing....
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Old 12-24-2009, 12:40 AM   #41
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

This thread is an excellent read, I must say.
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:34 AM   #42
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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
Doesn't Ali and Mayweather also carry their hands low? It depends on the boxer's style. I say if you have good head movement, good footwork, a height advantage, and good punch anticipation, you can get away with low hands.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:45 PM   #43
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

i do agree that many new school fighters keep their hands down often too,


but they dont keep the chin up and fall into clinch after clinch
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:17 PM   #44
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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.
I once compared a boxing manual pubished in 1902 to one published a couple of years ago, nominaly by Joe Frazier.

The only significant difference was in the recomended hand position.

The 1902 manual recomended a low guard to protect against body shots. Apart from that it could have been the text book for any modern gym.
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:52 PM   #45
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Default Re: Why did the old timers have their hands so low?

It is also easier to be relaxed with a low guard than it is with a high gaurd. A low gaurd is more natural, makes things more fluid. While a high gaurd is more rididiged. Being relaxed helps in avoiding punches and makes it easier to throw them as well.
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