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Old 05-12-2008, 01:06 PM   #1
SuzieQ49
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Default The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

The art of Boxing with a high gaurd is essential. Boxing in the old times used to be with your hands low and out, and since then it has modernized to hands up and elbows in. Such changes has been done for a reason. The first signs of switched from low gaurd to high gaurd occured in the 1940s consistently. Brilliant trainers such as Whitey Bimstein, Charlie Goldman,Jack Blackburn, Cus Damato, Ray Arcel, helped bring forth the art of the high gaurd. They realized that their fighters by keeping them with low hands were putting themselves at risk of getting caught flush every second of the fight. Even though they would be sacrificing feinting ability by highering their gaurd, they would be protecting themselves from getting hit flush unexpectadly. Also offensivley, when you look at punching. When your hands are low you have to punch all the way up at an arc of an angle, and if your hands are already up protecting your face...you can simply throw the punch straight....enabling your punch to execute faster because less distance traveled.

Pre 1940 Modern style


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Leaving himself vunerable with low gaurd


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Jeffries and Corbett both leave themsevles vulnerable



Long accurate jabs which developed in the more modern eras would be the kryponite for holding your hands low.




Evolution: Switch to High Gaurd post 1940

Boxing Style changed. We learn from our historical mistakes. Trainers leanred from their historical boxing mistakes and used that to change boxing styles. By the 1940s, Fighters started to carry their hands up high and tuck their elbows in. The high gaurd protects the vital areas of the head(temple) and the elbows protect the liver punches. This basic technique still sticks in the gym today.

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Dick Tiger having trouble with his opponents high gaurd



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Machen's high gaurd spoils one of Folley's Great Jab.


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Louis high gaurd enables him avoid a fast straight charles punch



Here are two youtube Clips: Watch for specificully the high gaurd on these heavyweights...

Study Roland Lastarza's high gaurd
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Now Study Eddie Machens high gaurd
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Ropes


Keeping your gaurd high when you get driven into the ropes is the most important aspect of basic defense. why? because the rope stops you from being able to move elusivley for the most part,in essence in a small way your trapped. You need to keep that guard up high when he chases you into the ropes, to protect the swarm of punches that will be coming your way. Unless your pernell whitaker and willie pep which 99% of fighters are not, you better keep a high gaurd laying back onto the ropes to prevent from getting pounded. Here is an example of what happens when you keep your hands low being driven into the ropes


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watch 1:30-1:35 If Gene when being driven back had simply kept his hands high, he would have blocked that first dempsey left hook and been able to weather the storm.




Now heres a look at the correct art of keeping a high gaurd to prevent up top from happening......

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Ali keeping a high gaurd ready to block one of foremans bombs







Modern Day basic Boxing fundamentals:


High Gaurd


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Last edited by SuzieQ49; 05-12-2008 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:14 PM   #2
Bokaj
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

I've always wondered why the low guard stayed around so long. It seems pretty natural to have your hands where you can protect your face, while being able to be offensive at the same time. It actually helps the offense as well, as the distance for straight punches get shorter (chin to chin).

But as common sense as it seems with a high guard, a low guard is still utilised in both karate and kung-fu, isn't it? Funny, really.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

You have to be a special fighter to work with a low or half guard these days: Hamed/Roy Jones/Ali
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokaj
I've always wondered why the low guard stayed around so long. It seems pretty natural to have your hands where you can protect your face, while being able to be offensive at the same time. It actually helps the offense as well, as the distance for straight punches get shorter (chin to chin).

But as common sense as it seems with a high guard, a low guard is still utilised in both karate and kung-fu, isn't it? Funny, really.
All about glove size. You try blocking a fist that only has a 4oz mitten wrapped around it, you'll soon find out why it used to be more preferable to lean straight back from the punch altogether.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
All about glove size. You try blocking a fist that only has a 4oz mitten wrapped around it, you'll soon find out why it used to be more preferable to lean straight back from the punch altogether.
No it isn't about glove size really. Just watch UFC. They are even more careful with their guard than boxers. They can't afford not to be. They block hooks/swings by bringing up the arm and bending it at the elbow and thus creating a triangle that protects just about the whole side of the head. This can also be used in boxing. Straight punches are blocked in the usual manner. There gloves doesn't make much difference.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
All about glove size. You try blocking a fist that only has a 4oz mitten wrapped around it, you'll soon find out why it used to be more preferable to lean straight back from the punch altogether.
Isn't leaning straight back seen as a major flaw today? Vitaly Klitschko gets criticized for his ugly style all the time, and he fights almost exectly like some of those pictures.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
All about glove size. You try blocking a fist that only has a 4oz mitten wrapped around it, you'll soon find out why it used to be more preferable to lean straight back from the punch altogether.
Ofcourse you can block and parry with small gloves, leaning straight back is a recipe for disaster, even Ali got dumped from doing that
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokaj
No it isn't about glove size really. Just watch UFC. They are even more careful with their guard than boxers. They can't afford not to be. They block hooks/swings by bringing up the arm and bending it at the elbow and thus creating a triangle that protects just about the whole side of the head. This can also be used in boxing. Straight punches are blocked in the usual manner. There gloves doesn't make much difference.
The padding on their gloves is far more sophisticated than back in the late 19th century. They can afford to risk being hit.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

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Originally Posted by Manassa
The padding on their gloves is far more sophisticated than back in the late 19th century. They can afford to risk being hit.
Maybe, maybe not. Either way we're not talking about only the late 19th century here, but up until the 1940's.

Anyway, the padding of the gloves isn't really relevant. As I said, hooks and swings are blocked by the forearm, elbow and bicep in a triangle, and for blocking straight punches gloves doesn't matter really.

And if you've seen UFC you know they can't afford to take any risks. One clean, hard hit and it's usually lights out.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

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Originally Posted by Bokaj
Maybe, maybe not. Either way we're not talking about only the late 19th century here, but up until the 1940's.
Adaption doesn't happen overnight, you know. It takes years for new techniques to catch on. To illustrate my point best I went back to the roots.

Quote:
Anyway, the padding of the gloves isn't really relevant. As I said, hooks and swings are blocked by the forearm, elbow and bicep in a triangle, and for blocking straight punches gloves doesn't matter really.
This doesn't hold up. Yep, it's definitely possible to block or slip or parry punches with small gloves, but what if you miss and cop one on the nose? It's going to hurt much less with one of those padded UFC gloves than a bare fist or those old horse hair mitts.

That's all I'm saying, it was the risk factor, that's why the old fighters opted to lean away from punches. It was more like fencing.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Great thread and first post Suzie. For all the advantages the high guard has, it can be nice to watch the art which fighters of the earlier eras used, as if they were fencing , each trying to feint and land off the other's mistakes
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #12
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

It is all about glove size. Back then it was viable to keep the hands a bit lower because covering up meant getting beat up. Feinting, body movement, parrying and intercepting punches were defensive methods. Not that many combinations were used, so the above techniques were quite effective. Plus, you have to realize that since there was a general lack of combinations, being in position to throw a good counter punch was pretty important as well.


As others pointed out, there are still plenty of modern boxers who don't use the high guard that religiously.

I do agree with most of the initial post. However, i do find it ironic that a picture of Ali is used. He couldn't block a left hook to save his life: just ask Frazier about that.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
It is all about glove size. Back then it was viable to keep the hands a bit lower because covering up meant getting beat up. Feinting, body movement, parrying and intercepting punches were defensive methods. Not that many combinations were used, so the above techniques were quite effective. Plus, you have to realize that since there was a general lack of combinations, being in position to throw a good counter punch was pretty important as well.


As others pointed out, there are still plenty of modern boxers who don't use the high guard that religiously.

I do agree with most of the initial post. However, i do find it ironic that a picture of Ali is used. He couldn't block a left hook to save his life: just ask Frazier about that.
Wouldn't it be easier to parry punches with your hands held high?
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

I repeat: If it was all about glove size UFC fighters wouldn't use such a high guard. But they do, more diligently even than modern boxers.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Evolution from Low Gaurd to High Gaurd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
This doesn't hold up. Yep, it's definitely possible to block or slip or parry punches with small gloves, but what if you miss and cop one on the nose? It's going to hurt much less with one of those padded UFC gloves than a bare fist or those old horse hair mitts.
It does hold up. Being hit by those UFC gloves is probably very close to being hit with a bare fist. I think they protect the hands much more than the opponents face. A high guard is also a more effecient way of protection than merely leaning back, which is very perilious. Furthermore, you can still lean back even with a high guard. It just makes more sense all around using one.
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