Shadow Boxing Experiment
I was sent a video from a fellow female fighter out in New Jersey named Raquel Harris, who is gearing up for an 8 Woman tournament in the Bronx. The video showed her training and some clips from a fight she had, incidentally with another woman I know, Michelle Duff, who trains in the Hudson Valley of New York and was a sometime sparring partner for me. Both awesome women.
In the video Raquel can be seen doing some shadowboxing with her front foot in the center of a tire that is lying flat on the ground. I asked her about it and she explained that it serves many purposes, but that one of those is to keep the boxer from mindlessly jumping back, allowing her to “stay in the pocket” and pivot off of power shots instead of going backwards. It’s brilliant, really. I noticed about a month ago that I automatically take a tiny step backwards all the time in my shadowboxing and it was making me have to concentrate a great deal on my legs in order to try to correct it. So I gave the tire a whirl a day after watching Raquel’s video and sure enough it changes your balance quite a lot and really makes the pivot a primary movement. It’s a little short of perfect for Muay Thai, since you don’t want to be putting so much weight on your front foot at all times (leaving you open to leg kicks), but it is a great way to “check” your movements, train staying in and pivoting, and to align your balance for when you are punching so that you can move in and out of that position comfortably.
This video is shot just after I’d tried the technique for the first time. I do bring my front foot up for blocks, as well as blocking with the back leg (although it’s very different from my usual form) and have started kicking from this position with my foot inside the “doughnut” as well. In afternoon training yesterday my boxing instructor Neung saw me shadowing in the tire and looked a bit quizzical because he’s never seen it before but also very clearly understood its purpose and gave me a smile.
Much thanks to Raquel Harris for explaining this technique that I got so excited about in watching her video. If anyone out there wants to try and doesn’t have a tire, I suggest putting your foot on a Frisbee, inside any small looped object (make a circle with a towel, even); let me know if you come up with any good stand-ins.