NB. A combination is two or more punches in rapid succession.
In the beginning, it’s best to keep it simple. And that means no more than three punches in your combinations. And no defensive maneuvers such as rolling or slipping or pivoting. We all need to crawl before we can walk. Adopt the same philosophy for footwork — just forwards and backwards.
The most basic (and arguably one of the most effective) of beginner boxing combinations is the jab immediately followed with the cross — two straight arm punches working together. The jab-cross is also known as the one two. The jab should be quick and the cross thrown right after. Be aware, the punches can both target the head or body or can be a mix — body and head. Another simple but super effective combination is the double jab. Two rapid-fire jabs working back to back, potentially forcing your opponent on the back foot and encouraging him / her to keep their guard high and potentially leave openings for body shots.
Now, a three punch combination, once again just utilising the straight arm strikes, is double jabs in quick succession then cross. The jab-jab-cross is a versatile combination that can be used both offensively and defensively. It can be used moving forward to bridge the gap between yourself and opponent. And if you need to retreat quickly, this triple punch combo can stop him/her from getting too close. It’s versatile and simple and very effective.
Finally, another combination which is great for beginners is the three punch jab-cross-jab — the last jab can be a real surprise punch. It can be a rapid fire bang bang bang or you can mix it up and delay with a slight pause after the cross before snapping opponent’s head back with another jab. Keeping your opponent guessing can give you a competitive edge and this is an important principle to learn early on.
The key to executing a boxing combination is fluidity, speed and accuracy. Don’t seek maximum power. Ideally, you want a smooth transition that connects punches. Over-complicating (in the beginning) with lengthy and challenging combinations and trying to punch too hard can stifle the flow and “connection” of your strikes — potentially individualising the punches rather than connecting them.
Newbies commonly over-think everything from footwork to relaxed shoulders and hands to low chin to exhaling as you strike and so on. “Dumbing” the combinations down (in the early days of training) will help facilitate the transition from one punch to the next. And that will help develop crucial co-ordination.
All sports rely on confidence; boxing especially so. Whether you’re fighting for a world title or putting the gloves on for the first time, you’re going to be nervous. Do not throw a beginner in the deep end and expect him/her to execute five punch combinations with rolls and slips. This will overwhelm the newbie. Nurturing breeds growth. Don’t over complicate the training. Keeping the combinations straight-arm simple will help build beginner confidence.
Repeatedly train beginner boxing combinations. Over and over. Until they become second nature. The practice must be extensive but basic and simple — as the newbie grows in confidence and improves in speed, accuracy and the transitional flow from one punch to another.
Yours in Boxing,