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Shadowboxing Aversion
A Note on Selecting a Boxing Gym

A reader recently wrote in that he was taking my advice in a large city with many boxing gyms, asking the operators what they started new boxers out on and looking for the correct answer, which is shadow boxing or line drilling. He has asked more than one gym and not gotten the right answer.

There is a big problem right now with boxing and MMA gyms trying to stay alive by catering to “white collar,” “recreational,” “fitness” boxers. Such people have money to spend where men interested in competing rarely have such money. The gym will not make money from competition fighters unless they sell tickets to the shows they fight on or end up turning pro and pulling in management and cornering cuts from the purse, which in boxing is still almost nothing. Recreational boxers do not have the discipline to shadow box and line drill and therefore never get any good. Also, in most kickboxing and MMA gyms, shadowboxing as concept barely exists. In looking for a pure boxing gym, you might run into a kicker who decided to sell himself as a boxing coach. Worse still, you might be getting slotted as a recreational white-collar type—meaning a cow to milk and keep happy so you keep lactating money—and therefore be presented with a program that is designed for non-fighters.

This is a maze of duplicity, idiocy and delusion which one must sort through to find the truth in boxing.

The biggest red flag for a poor boxing program is any stress on mitt work. If it turns out that the boxing scene is so degraded in your city that no one shadow boxes other than pros, then select for gyms that start you out hitting a bag first, rather than the mitts. Any gym that has you hit mitts first must be avoided by the serious boxer.

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Add Comment
BobJuly 25, 2017 9:25 PM UTC

The bout seemed generic kickboxing, though Pennacchio is a Savate guy. Thanks, I saw the Génération Identitaire post and have appended comments.

Savate these days seems all about high kicks, but in the old, street version this was considered dangerous. Too much telegraphing and risk of loss of balance. The element of surprise and preemption was paramount.
ShepJuly 24, 2017 8:29 PM UTC

Bob, I submitted a post about a Gen. Identitaire gym in Lyon. Are those guys practicing Savate or some more generic kind of kickboxing?

Not much info out there on Savate—it's kind of a forgotten art.
BobJuly 24, 2017 3:19 AM UTC

Here's a brilliant fight between a Muay Thai fighter (Dekker, blue shorts) and Savate (Pennacchio, red shorts). Pennacchio wins on points.
BobJuly 24, 2017 2:49 AM UTC

I mean, the Old School, street-fighting Savate concentrated non-telegraphed kicks directed no higher than groin. The modern style is the sporting version, with high, but impractical kicks.
BobJuly 24, 2017 2:43 AM UTC

Any thoughts on Old School Savate?