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'Running in Circles'
Bad Coaching or Self-Coaching? Samuel Finlay Wants to Know Which is the Lesser of two Boxing Evils

I've been trying to take on some extracurriculars and thought about returning to that MMA place for boxing lessons. (The one where the guy has students spend their time drilling these elaborate combos.) I got fed up with it and stopped going last summer, but I figured it's just so close to home, and a little training would be better than nothing.

I stopped by for a visit and it was the same thing. Half of a one hour class was devoted to warm up or cool down. Running in circles or stretching. The rest was about two dozen students or so from novice to competitors going at it with the pads or gloves with the one instructor making the rounds. Nothing really building on the previous lessons. I don't listen to contemporary music, so I'd forgotten how much I truly hated it as it blared the whole time. I've been thinking about incorporating a daily session of shadowboxing instead and was wondering if you could recommend any sources. (I'm going through your boxing book and your posts on boxing, but would welcome additional input such as stuff on youtube.) Maybe I'm being a snob about this, but it just feels like a tarted up calisthenics class.

Would you recommend that a guy should just go ahead and train in a class under those circumstances and try to get something out of it, or to cut out the middleman and devote time to fundamentals rather than pick up bad habits? Or both?


Sam, I have received quite a number of requests to do supplementary videos for the boxing and stick-fighting books and will.

First, the best boxer of the modern gloved era was arguably Jack Johnson and he trained himself.

The most improved man I have ever coached, is Sean [who you can see towering over me like Aryas in some of the stick videos] and he coaches himself.

Sam, you've been to War, so you don't need some meatheaded cheerleader to shepherd you through a routine.

You do need visual references.

I've actually gotten quite good at describing how to do something in writing. However, most people have a hard time absorbing such instruction and translating it into action. Hence, these descriptions are really for coaches.

Yes, you need a You Tube coach if you're going to progress alone and not build your own bad habits.

A few years ago I was looking up boxing videos on You Tube and saw this kid in a park looking into his smart phone talking about sparring pitfalls. I looked some more and was impressed enough to write A Fresh Old School Approach To Training.

A year or so later this man, Jason, asked me to contribute some advice to his ebook on boxing and I was glad to. His name is Jason Van Veldhuysen, the best online boxing coach and you should use his videos to help with your training.

Now, Jason coaches thousands of aspiring knuckleheads who want to be able to do it all now and a lot of these guys were down the road pretty far when they found him. His coaching at six levels at the same time. This means that he's not old school like me in that I insist on you doing nothing but jabbing for six months.

Overlook that.

Jason does a great job.

I'm proud to be associated with Jason.

Here are a list of his videos I think you should try.

Subscribe to Jason's video feed.

Note that the still image on the first video has Jason at the terminus of a "bind jab" an elevated jab, which does not make sense to MMA and martial arts folks, but is a defensive probe against a right cross counter or stop-hit. If you are defending yourself on the street you probably do this with a right lead, in case he has a knife or steel pipe.

The biggest difference between a boxer and an MMA boxer is in the footwork, with the traditional boxer developing much of that with the rope. So the hell with the gayrobics, skip rope.

Note the frequency of the terms "work" and "angle," which we do not find in other combat arts as common terms.

Books by James LaFond

Breakfast with the Dirt Cult Paperback – October 12, 2012

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Sam FinlayOctober 10, 2017 9:44 PM UTC

Outstanding! Thanks, James.