Head movement is a significant component of both offence and defence in boxing. Being able to constantly move your head in a fight offers your opponents a hard-to-hit moving target. It’s a great way to keep yourself from getting hit clean while defending, and at the same time, incorporate a bit of unpredictability to your attacks when on offence.
A huge part of head movement is bobbing and weaving. Changing levels makes it difficult for your opponents to time your rhythm when bobbing, while weaving gives you the ability to duck under punches and resurface with a counter. They are two of the oldest techniques in the book. But they are also two of the most effective.
Adding bobbing and weaving to your head movement will instantly make you a better fighter.
If you’re looking to take your game to the next level; learn to move your head constantly, improve your reaction times, and become able to dodge punches and combinations as they come at you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Today, Evolve Daily shares how to add bobbing and weaving to your boxing game.
1) Use Your Knees
Knee strength is very important in this game, especially where movement is concerned. Use your knees to perform the bobbing motion. Bobbing is essentially lowering your torso and head, being heavy on the hips, and lowering your centre of gravity. At the same time, you will want to shift your weight slightly forward and tuck your chin.
When executed correctly, you should be able to change levels low enough for an opponent’s punch to pass clear over your head. After you bob, you should reset to your normal fighting stance.
Doing this constantly will build a flowing rhythm that will keep your opponent guessing which plane you’ll assume at any given moment.
Remember to bend at the knees while trying to keep your hips sturdy. Maintain eye contact with your opponent at all times so you don’t get countered with something you don’t see. At the same time, watch out for counter uppercuts and hooks your opponent can throw low to try and catch you.
2) Learn to Weave Back and Forth
The other half of the equation is weaving. An alternative to slipping punches, weaving is essentially rolling under a punch while moving to the left or right side. Try to string together multiple weaves to create a rocking motion.
As an opponent’s straight punches come toward you, weave under with a smooth controlled motion of the waist. Keep your elbows tight to your body, shoulders hunched slightly forward, chin tucked in, and glove guard close to the cheekbones.
After weaving to the left, weave back to the right, making use of your momentum. Alternatively, you can come up and throw a hook behind the weave. The natural motion and momentum adds power to the punch, making it more impactful.
One thing you don’t want to do is to overextend yourself and lean too far when you weave. A proper weave is a conservative movement. All you really need is an inch of space to evade a punch. The moment you overextend yourself, you become vulnerable to attacks.
3) Combine Bobbing and Weaving
The next step is to combine both bobbing and weaving motions. Put them together seamlessly and you have yourself erratic head movement that is very hard to read.
As you start bobbing, you can lean forward and back. You can transition from a bob straight into a weave, or vice versa. You can bend at the waist and bring your entire upper body toward or away from your opponent. Sink into your centre of gravity and use your knees to spring back into the upright position.
As you move, don’t forget to throw punches, either by initiating or countering, or both. Always keep your opponent on the edge and don’t let him or her get comfortable. Remember that the best kind of movement in the ring is always paired with offence.
At the same time, an opponent’s punches can also be unpredictable. They can come from many different heights and angles, so it’s important that you keep your movement unreadable.
4) Keep Your Head Moving
Keep moving your head constantly and never stagnate, especially against a live opponent who is aggressive and coming forward. The main concept is to never station your head in the same place for too long, or allow your opponent to get a read on you. Once you start noticing your opponent time your head, you need to change it up.
In moments when you’re trapped along the ropes or find yourself cornered, that’s when you revert to your bobbing and weaving motions. It’s really effective in getting you out of a bind.
However, take note that constant movement burns up a lot of energy, so you want to keep yourself in great condition for your fights. Never neglect the work you put in at the gym. Hard work pays off in the long run.
5) Practice Makes Perfect
The work you put in at the gym will reflect in your performance in the ring. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘practice makes perfect.’ But it can’t be more true than in the sport of boxing.
Incorporate your bobbing and weaving drills into your shadowboxing sessions. Practice in front of a mirror so you can really nail the technique. Concentrate on making head movement both a deliberate motion and a learned habit. Keep the technique tight and the movement crisp.
When you’re first starting out, bobbing and weaving should be trained as separate motions. But the more adept you become, the more you can start combining them.
Practice bobbing and weaving with your instructors during padwork. It’s the best way to learn how to anticipate an opponent’s punches. Take it to the next level and practice them during sparring.
As with every workout, you want to perform light stretching to keep the muscles loose. Other exercise that could help you with head movement include neck strengthening exercises, squats for increased leg strength, sprints for stamina, and the always-reliable jump rope.
This article, "How To Add Bobbing And Weaving To Your Boxing Game", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.