Youíll notice when training with Virtual Boxer's drills and fights that there's a trainer in the background ordering you around, telling you to keep your hands up and your chin down, to keep moving your head, to throw more feints and 40+ more of the most important rules of boxing that will make a much better and safer boxer out of anyone who applies them to his fighting game.
The audible trainer exists in order to systematically develop and shape your fighting style, so with time, after practicing a lot and obeying its orders, you'll become the most impenetrable and deadly fighter possible.
This is just one of the advantages of this boxing training program and unless youíre a professional fighter itís highly recommended that you use this feature and not ignore it or mute it. If you donít like it or need it anymore, you can always lower the volume or click the mute button at the bottom-right of each video to shut it up and train peacefully with or without your favorite training music.
So without further ado, here are all of the trainer's orders, with clear explanations:
- "Keep your hands up and your chin down!"
Putting the groin area aside for now, the no.1 target on a manís body in a fight is usually the head; and the no.1 target on the head is usually the chin. If your opponent hits your chin strong enough and/or "right on the button", it will cause your brain to bang against your skull (or whatever happens in there) and you will be knocked out.
Your no.1 priority of defense should always be defending your head, especially the chin. Thatís why your hands should always be up in both sides of your head, near the chin, ready to deflect or block any strike aimed at this direction that you've failed to avoid. You should also keep your chin down, close to your chest - hard to reach.
Having your defenses up like this will make your opponent shoot LESS punches towards your face because it's protected. Having your hands down will for sure invite strikes to your face, so keep 'em up!
- "Don't only protect your chin with your hands, protect your temples and your face too":
Your opponent can also knock you out or really rock your brain with a good strike to your temples/ear area and he can also severely damage your nose and your eye area with punches, which may later result in you losing the fight. So while your hands are up, use them to also protect those areas, not just the chin.
- "Protect your head with your other hand when you punch!"
Itís very important when you strike with one hand, to protect your chin and/or your temple on the other side of the head with your other hand. He might see your punch coming, move aside and (sometimes simultaneously) shoot at your head from the other side. Getting used to protecting the head with your other hand while striking gives you extra protection.
- "Keep your shoulders high in order to protect the chin!"
The higher and closer your shoulders are to your chin - the harder it is for your opponent to catch you there with a clean shot from the side. Tucking your chin down close to your chest while raising your shoulders will enhance the defensive effect and will keep you safer and harder to hit. Don't lift your shoulders up all the time though because it will make you stiff and it will deplete your energy. Try doing it mostly when you're close to your opponent.
- "Keep your elbows close to your body!"
If your elbows are too high or way out to the sides, away from your ribs, you expose the sides of your body to strikes and you donít want that. Find a good balance with how high you lift your hands so your chin AND your ribs are both covered. Having your hands too high or too low will invite strikes to where itís open.
Generally lifting your shoulders and lowering your chin while having your hands lifted to the sides of your chin but not too high so your ribs are also covered by your elbows means great upper body posture in a fight. Try that in front of the mirror and see.
- "Always close your mouth tight when you're in your opponent's striking range!"
When youíre close enough to punch him it usually also means that heís close enough to punch YOU. Fighting with an open mouth (usually because youíre tired and need more oxygen or because he broke your nose and now you canít breathe from it anymore) will make you more susceptible to a broken chin, broken teeth (if it's on the street where you don't have a mouthguard) and/or to a knockout by a strike to the (loose) chin. A tightly closed mouth = stronger chin = less chances for a knockout/broken chin or teeth. Try to not always close your mouth tight though (only when you're far enough from your opponent), because it also means wasting energy.
- "Shoot faster and more explosive!"
The faster you shoot and the more explosive your strikes are, the more chances you have to actually hit and hurt your opponent.
There are 3 disadvantages to having highly explosive strikes though:
1. You will get tired a lot sooner
2. You have more chances of breaking your own hand when impacting anything hard (especially your opponentís TOP of the head), especially on the streets when you don't wear boxing gloves or anything, and
3. By NOT hitting anything (i.e. when you shadow box in the air) you may stretch your hand a little too much while being too explosive and hurt your elbow. That's why you shouldn't really go that hard with your strikes in the air unless you're experienced enough and you know what you're doing.
- "Commit to your strikes!"
When you strike, donít hold it back or abort in mid strike. Throw the hand deep into his face or body with full force and with a lot of heap. Keep in mind that by being overly committed to every strike that you throw you may finish your ďgas tankĒ very fast; (i.e. youíll get tired fast.)
While training with Virtual Boxer pay attention to how deep you go with your strikes, especially with combinations because you can hit the screen or things around it. Keep a safe distance from the screen!
Going deep with your punches is especially advantageous to people with short hands (usually shorter people) who need to compensate for their short reach in comparison to their longer handed opponents (usually taller people).
- "Keep your wrist straight and close your fist tight when you punch":
In order to minimize the odds of an injury, your fist should be closed tight and both your index fingerís knuckle and the middle fingerís knuckle should be together in a straight line with your arm. If theyíre not in a straight line with your arm, you might hurt your wrist on impact.
As a striker you should know that those two knuckles are the ones you should hit your opponent with, not with the other smaller ones, which may also break more easily.
- "Use your heap and push from the ground when you punch":
A good devastating punch does not get its power from just the extention of the hand; as a matter of fact MOST of its power comes from the turn of the heap and the way the back leg pushes the body forward into the punch from the ground. (Thatís why boxers have such muscular legs. They throw their leg power into the punch using the ground.) Adding those 3 sources of power together will result in a devastating punch with serious knockout power.
- "Exhale when you punch!"
Exhaling while punching has 2 advantages that inhaling hasn't: 1 is that when you aggressively push air out of your lungs when you punch, your upper body muscles tighten up and become harder and stronger; a thing that actually protects you in case of a simultaneous counter strike to your body by your opponent (Inhaling has the opposite effect!) and 2, it makes your punch even stronger. (Again, inhaling has the opposite effect!) Try it for yourself and see.
- "Don't get sloppy with your strikes, watch your form and do it right":
Look at all the top pro fighters in boxing and kickboxing and see how beautiful and sharp their strikes are; especially in the beginning of the fight when they're fresh and full of energy. If youíre a beginner, your strikes wonít even be close to that and you need to practice over and over again until you perform your strikes as perfect as possible like they do. Try to pay close attention to how you strike WHILE you practice your boxing with Virtual Boxer. Learn how to throw punches correctly in the free boxing lessons page and practice a lot. Practice makes perfect. A perfect punch is fast, explosive, non-telegraphed, keeps you protected (with your other hand) and precise.
- "Try not to telegraph your strikes":
It's a matter of performing a correct technique, speed, explosiveness, positioning, foot work, using combinations (in oppose to using 1-punch attacks), using feints and having awareness to the subject at all time. It's not so easy explaining HOW to not telegraph your strikes; just keep on practicing so with time you'll become a much better striker that NEVER throws slow and sloppy strikes that are easy to spot. Also, when throwing Jabs and Crosses, try not to lift your elbow on the side when you extend your arm because your opponent can see it.
- "Get your hands back faster after you punch!"
Your opponent can notice that you don't pull your hands back quick enough after you strike and he may exploit it in many different ways in order to hurt you. Don't give him that! Your hands should always get back as soon as possible to protect your head. Also, don't Jab (for example) and then lower your hand while you're pulling it back. Once the hand is done punching it should get back straight to protecting your chin as quick as possible in a straight line!
- "For more accuracy try to look at where you shoot!"
- "Hit his body more! Don't underestimate the body strikes!"
Although we have more chances of finishing our opponent with a knockout blow to the chin or to the temples, we can always hurt him really bad by striking his solar plexus, his liver (bottom right side of his ribs - our left) or the bottom of his ribs where the floating rib is placed on both sides. Also, by mixing our punches to the head AND to the body, weíll confuse him more, so by doing that we have more chances of landing more strikes.
Another strategy is hurting his body really bad so he'll lower his elbows in order to protect the body, a thing that will expose his head to more strikes.
By the way, a strong enough strike to his liver or to his solar plexus CAN in fact stop the fight due to severe pain, so don't underestimate the body strikes!
- "Use more combinations!"
A fighter that only throws one punch at a time is not a dangerous fighter. Feinting with one hand and then immediately starting a 2 or 3-punch combination for example will be a 100 times more effective and hurtful than just one punch at a time. Your opponent will see the first one (the feint) coming and may try to defend against it (or not), but then thereís the second one and the third one to where heís open, and they're super fast and explosive... I assure you that after you throw a few of those combos at him like a pro he will be somewhat confused, more scared and eventually hurt. Also, if you already hurt him and heís rocked or in pain, donít stop! Start throwing more punches in bunches to where he's open until heís down.
So this is the power of combinations in comparison to easily defendable and avoidable one punch attacks.
- "When his hands are too low - go for the head and vice versa":
Since your opponent doesn't want you to hit his head and body, he will defend both with his hands. When his hands are too high his head will be protected but his body will be exposed and when his hands are too low (because he's tired or because you blasted his body and he doesn't want you to punch him there anymore) - his body will be protected and his head will be exposed. Your objective is to achieve clear shots to his head and to his body without contacting his defenses. That's why you have techniques like feints and mixed combinations etc. to use in order to hit him where he's open. Of course openings in his guard are very dynamic and change all the time, and you have to pay attention where they're at and blast them before he blasts you!
- "Try to catch him coming in":
When you become a better fighter and you can follow your opponent's movement like a pro and recognize when he jumps at you with a punch, you can quickly position yourself out of the way of his punch, while at the same time catch him literally flying with his face or body into your own punch, a thing that causes an even stronger impact.
The impact is stronger because the energy of HIS movement towards you is being added to the force of YOUR punch. Just like two cars that are driving towards one another will create a bigger impact than one car driving towards a parked car.
- "Try to evade his strikes while at the same time throw your own strikes":
Once you're good enough and able to recognize your opponent's strikes, you can use the fact that when his hand (any hand) is extended towards you, there is usually a way to simultaneously hit him while avoiding the strike. When he shoots strikes to your body it's a little trickier, but when he shoots to your head, there are many ways of avoiding his strikes while at the same time striking him where he's open. For example, when he throws a Cross, you can slip with your head to the outside (to the left) while at the same time throw a straight body punch or a right hook into his body, preferably followed by a left liver shot or a big left hook to his head. (Don't forget to protect your head with your right hand while throwing your second shot with your left hand because there's a good chance that he'll throw his left hook to your head after he missed your head with the Cross.)
- "Use your jab a little more!" / "Double on that jab!"
The jab may not be as deadly as the cross, the hook or the uppercut for example, but it can definitely make damage and it definitely helps setting up your combinations.
If you actually hit your opponent letís say at the beginning of the fight with a couple of nice solid jabs (it's called "establishing the jab early"), he will respect your jab and respond to it every time that you throw it - a thing that will help you continue with more punches to where heís open.
Also, the jab can make some nice damage to your opponentís nose, mouth and eyes (orbital bones around his eyes Ė see Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck 2 fight at UFC 124 for a beautiful example of pro-jabbing and the damage jabs can inflict).
Also, if youíre lucky and you ďhit the buttonĒ on his weak chin, you can actually drop your opponent or even knock him out. (See the Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin fight at UFC 101.)
The jab is also closer to your opponent than the other hand and you can quickly catch him coming in with a fast one to his face.
Throwing double-jabs or even triple-jabs (with or without the other hand afterwards) will confuse, distract and annoy your opponent and is sometimes very useful in a fight just to diverse your striking while forcing him to stay in a defensive mode and lift his hands up to protect his face. It interrupts with his field of vision and while he's busy dealing with it you can throw a good punch to his body and hurt him there...
Being hard to hit:
- "Move your head randomly so you'll become harder to hit!"
Head movement is very important if you want to minimize your opponentís chances of ever hitting you in the head. By constantly being a moving target and moving your head from side to side and away from his punches, youíre not just minimizing his chances of hitting you, you're also making him shoot less punches at you and miss more. With time he'll become more frustrated and tired, a thing that will make it easier for you to finish him.
A moving head is confusing, and shooting successful punches at it is almost as hard as shooting with a gun at a moving target. Once the target stops moving it can be easily hit.
Check out Mike Tyson, the king of head movement doing his thing and try to imitate him when practicing your boxing in front of Virtual Boxer's simulations. Also see Floyd Mayweather's defensive game and learn a thing or two from him too!
- "Be hard to hit!"
This order is here to remind you to make sure you do everything to not get hit. Sometimes fighters forget about it and just stand there out of focus just to receive some more unnecessary damage that could have easily been avoided had they remembered and tried a little bit harder to not get hitÖ Just move out of the way and use head movement; even if you're hurt, try harder! Forgetting about that simple rule will sometimes cost you the fight. On the streets it can even cost you your life, so get used to trying harder to not get hit. Donít say "I can take it, I just need a few more seconds of restĒ, because this is being stupid, it's only gonna get worse when he charges at you with more devastating blows!
Youíre still human and youíre still vulnerable! Adopting the ďI can take itĒ attitude is as stupid as getting a bullet-proof vest and taking more chances in a real battle because of it. Your game should be not taking damage AT ALL while inflicting as much damage as possible on your opponent/attacker.
Outside of combat sports and outside of Virtual Boxer thereís a real world and your attacker wants to hurt you Ė for real - and you need to be ready for that. If youíve never been hurt, trust me, you donít want that! So remember: be hard to hit! Lift your hands up, use head movement and if necessary and you ARE getting hit, block the punches with your hands and elbows and try harder to get out of the way!
- "If you don't recognize a strike you better stay away from it":
If you see a strike coming at you and from some reason you can't recognize it, it would be best to quickly move out of its way (to the back of to the side) and after that attack him where heís open. Simple and safe. If you can't move or you don't have time for it - block the punch(es) however you can.
- "Concentrate on the fight! Don't let noises or thoughts distract you!"
I donít need to explain to you why you need to concentrate while youíre fighting, but you should know that if from some reason you hear something from outside of the fight, letís say your friend (or the guy in your corner if itís a ring) trying to say something to you and you looked to the side, your opponent will exploit it and try to knock you out while youíre not looking at him. Keep your eyes and concentration on your opponent! And if HE is distracted by something, attack him immediately! Ė Hey, itís WAR and he's trying to hurt you bad and make you mom cry! This is not time to demonstrate peace and fairnessÖ (Itís also not against the rules in combat sports). AND, heíll probably do the same thing to you!
Also, your thoughts may start wondering to places that are not relevant to the fight. Learn to catch yourself getting out of "the zone" or the "flow" state, and get your focus back to the fight because the guy in front of you wants to punch your face repeatedly until you're severely wounded and/or unconscious and maybe even beyond that!
- "Donít let his hands touch you. Ever!"
I like to think of stand up fighting like itís a game and you have two objectives: hit and donít get hit. Thatís it. :) Remembering this little rule can help you focus when youíre a little confused in the ring, on the streets (or in front of the simulator) so donít let his hands touch you. Ever! Well, unless you really have to BLOCK his strike/s because you don't have any other choices.
Now, It may seem like I'm against blocking strikes and it's true, and for a 3 reasons: 1. it hurts and it lowers your "power", (especially if you're blocking KICKS with your hands), which means you're now weaker and in pain and he's stronger and encouraged. Also, when you block huge strikes to your head with your hands, the power of the strike may pass through your hands to your brain and hurt you anyway. 2. When you're blocking, you're in defensive mode and he's in offensive mode, a thing that allows him to keep on attacking for as long as you're not attacking him. 3. On the streets your opponent WON'T wear boxing gloves, nor MMA/grappling gloves, which means his smaller fists will pass through your blocking hands with more ease and the pain will be even sharper; so block strikes only as a last resort and always try to avoid the strikes and reposition yourself in a way that he can't strike you more. (And then of course try your best to put HIM in defensive mode again...)
- "Try to always see what his hands are doing":
If you won't follow his hands with your eyes WHILE you're doing your thing, don't be surprised when you get hit (or knocked out) with a strike that you didn't see coming. When you know what he's doing, you know what YOU should do and to what position you should move yourself into in order to not get hit and hit him back.
- "Try to move your head out of his center line when youíre coming in!"
Every time when you dive in closer to your (real professional) opponent in order to attack him with a punch or a combination, he will try to shoot a missile straight at where he thinks your head is going to be in a split of a second in the future in order to catch you coming in. In order to avoid being caught like that, try to move your head to the side as you dive in with a strike, so his counter punch misses your head when you're coming in. Don't forget to protect your head with your other hand to avoid being hurt by a punch or a kick from the other side.
ALSO, in general itís easier for him to hit you when youíre RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Move around, use your foot work and head movement to make it harder for him to catch you and try to catch HIM from weird angles. DON'T be an easy target!
- "When he strikes and youíre pulling your head back, don't pull back too much so you can easily strike back":
If he jabbed you for example and you took a big step backwards, now you need to move back forward before you can hit him back. Try not to do that, and get used to just moving the head a little back while bending down your back leg, maybe with just a little step backwards, so itís easier for you to immediately move forward after his hand is out of the way, and strike him back. Every strike has itís own reach and trajectory so adjust accordingly. With time youíll get it and become good at it.
Your Movement & Foot Work:
- "Pay more attention to your foot work!"
This order is here to make sure that you pay attention to the way you move around and to remind you to not just stand flat-footed in front of him, because then youíre an easy target. Having good footwork will make you a more ellusive, confusing, frustrating and in general a more dangerous and harder to hit fighter.
If youíre a beginner it might be a little hard for you to jump around, dive in and out, avoid his strikes and STILL perform awesomely with your hands; but with time you will dance around automatically and correctly without thinking about it much or at all. Just practice and it will come.
- "Don't pull back more than 2 steps":
When he runs straight at you with a barrage of straight strikes, try not to run backwards; and if you do, donít go more than 2 steps. If you started running backwards away from his punches you should immediately cut to the side and strike him back from there. If you run backwards he will eventually catch you and maybe even destroy you in just a few seconds. (Watch the Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva fight for the perfect example of what can happen when you run backwards away from him. Itís a very short fightÖ)
- "Break your rhythm and change your angles every now and then":
In order to be less predictable with your movement AND make him shoot LESS at you (and miss more), break your rhythm and change your angles when youíre jumping around in front of him. Don't just stand flat-footed in front of him because then youíre an easy target!
- "Don't just stand in front of him, be a MOVING target!"
Imagine you have a gun in your hand and your target is zigzagging in front of youÖ Wonít it be a lot easier for you to shoot AND HIT it if it was standing still? Same thing with you and your opponentís hands. If you plant yourself in front of him he will catch you; but if you use some nice footwork and jump around, move your head etc. he will shoot less at you and miss more. Being a moving target will help you win fights.
- "Stay out of his striking range when you want to rest!"
Be a Confusing Fighter:
- "Throw some feints in there!" / "You've got to use more feints!"
Throwing some feints here and there doesnít just confuse your opponent; it also makes him react to them, resulting in lowering his energy level and his focus. By using feints, (and there are many types of feints), you will become a lot more dangerous and confusing fighter. Donít overdo them though, because then heíll think youíre not as dangerous as he previously thought and may decide to jump all over you with strikes instead of you jumping all over him.
- "Use more feints BEFORE your attacks":
Just like you, your opponent can also see and recognize strikes coming at him, sometimes even before theyíre even launched; and much like you, he also knows how to defend against them and use different counter-attacks. Now, if you use a feint punch (usually the jab) before the real strike or combination, he will be a little confused and also wonít be able to very easily see whatís REALLY coming after the feint. Feinting before a combination will help you hit him more, so get used to doing that and become a more dangerous striker!
- "Sometimes look at one place and strike the other in order to confuse him!"
Like many fighters, your opponent may believe your eyes. What I mean is that we usually look at our target before we shoot at it, whether itís his face, his solar plexus, his leg etc. Try jabbing his face and while still looking at his face throw the other hand lower to the body instead of his face. He will probably think that the second strike will also go to his face (i.e. Jab+Cross), trying to defend against the Cross or block it, and by doing that he will leave his body open for a nice painful straight body punch or a hook. In many cases it will work.
- "Diverse your counters to become less predictable": (Especially if youíre going to compete.)
If your opponent realizes that you defend the Cross for example, the same way - every time - he will know how to exploit it and prepare a surprise for you for the next time that he throws a Cross. Thatís why itís smart to know and practice at least two or three counters/defenses for every common punch.
Try to use this on himÖ see if HE uses the same defense for a particular strike each time, and exploit itÖ
- "Switch your stance to the opposite position and attack":
Assuming you're a right-handed fighter, (because most fighters are); southpaw fighters (lefties) are somewhat of a mystery to most fighters and randomly switching your stance to southpaw and attacking as one, can help you become more confusing and land more punches.
On the other hand, if you're a southpaw fighter, switch your stance every now and then to the opposite position to confuse your opponent that knows you're a lefty. Punch him a little bit as a righty and then switch back... This will mess with him a little bit and get you closer to victory.
Since fighting as a southpaw is not as easy to right handed fighters and they need to practice doing it, a lot; Virtual Boxer can help you with getting used to attacking (and of course to DEFENDING) as a southpaw, so you'll be ready when it's time to beat a real opponent without risking your face in practice fighting as a southpaw with a real sparring partner. Also, the southpaw boxing simulator can not only train you in dealing with a southpaw fighter, but you can also fight it AS A SOUTHPAW AGAINST A SOUTHPAW!
- "Don't show your opponent when you're tired or hurt":
Once your opponent realizes that you're now much weaker than before (i.e. when he smells blood), he will be encouraged and literally become stronger, and he may now decide that it's time to finish you with all he's got, because now you're probably not going to be able to hurt him as much or at all and he needs to finish you before you can. In order to prevent that, learn how to mask your pain and tiredness.
Be the aggressor:
- "Be the aggressor":
Aggressive fighters usually win more fights and they're usually the ones inflicting more damage on their opponents. Choosing to be ONLY a counter-striker is usually not the best idea unless you're REALLY REALLY good at it.
In fighting competitions the judjes tend to give more points to the ones who are more aggressive and it counts if no one has finished the fight.
- "Be First!"
Being the one who's attacking RIGHT NOW means NOT being the one who needs to handle incoming punches right now, which means being the winner at that moment in time.
If HE is the one being busy attacking you, then he is winning right now in the eyes of everybody, including yours and the judjes, so remember Ė be aggressive and be first - always! Donít even give him the time to think about how he should attack you next. It only takes one well positioned punch to finish you; that's why you should keep HIM under attack until HE'S the one going down!
- "Set the frame early! Show him he's made a big mistake picking a fight with you":
Fear is a major aspect of fighting and generally fearless fighters (usually less experienced but super talented fighters who have not gotten seriously hurt in the past) - do better than those who know how it feels being hurt and are being extra careful. Now, if you can hurt your opponent really quick in the beginning of the fight, he will feel the pain and start respecting your abilities (develop fear of you) and he will become more worried about himself because now, after you hurt him, he is less than 100% healthy and you are winning the fight!
- "Make him pay every time he hits you!"
As a rule, you donít want him to hit you more than you hit him. Thatís why if he manages to slip a punch in, make it a habit to immediately punish him and strike back, harder.
- "Man-up! You know you can do more!"
This order is more like a motivator and/or affirmation. You need to believe in yourself more and more and KNOW that youíre a durable, strong and dangerous animal who can always find more energy to shoot more strikes and who can destroy any opponent. With time youíll strengthen your cardio and you WILL become more durable and dangerous. When you hear this order ("Man-up! You know you can do more!") while training with Virtual Boxer you need to really man-up and push yourself more, even if youíre really tired. Thatís the way to really become better and really believe in your abilities. You need to be ready for a real fight where itís very dangerous to get tired when he is still able to destroy you, especially on the streets!
Thatís it! I hope youíve learned a lot!
If you need to refresh your memory (recommended once in a while) you can always come back and read this page again. (Add it to your favorites or click the link that's always under Virtual Boxer's simulation video - on the homepage and in the full program.)
Good luck, and have fun training with Virtual Boxer!
Creator of Virtual Boxer