Deciding Between Orthodox or Southpaw

December 23, 2009 December 23, 2009 by Johnny N Boxing Basics, How to Box 201 Comments

Orthodox VS Southpaw Boxing Stance

A guide to help beginner boxers decide between standing orthodox (left foot first) or southpaw (right foot first). Breaks down the reasoning and why.

 

 

Orthodox VS Southpaw Stance

 

Strong Hand in Front or Back?

To have an orthodox stance means to stand with your left foot in the front and right foot in the back. To have a southpaw stance means to stand with your right foot in the front and left foot in the back. In general, you would always have your strongest hand in the back. The reason is because the back hand has more room and distance to throw a harder punch whereas the front hand is for throw fast jabs to setup your bigger punches. From a technical standpoint, having your weak hand in front would make it more likely for it to connect with punches than to have the weak hand all the way in the back.

I’ve seen many streetfighters or people who come from martial arts that love to stand with their strong hand in front. I don’t recommend this because they usually put the strong hand in front because it is more likely to connect with punches. At the same time, their weak hand is too far back and they never get a chance to really land it. As time goes on, they become just a one-armed fighter. If you’re going to be a one-armed fighter, you might as well have your strong hand in the back so that the strongest punch thrown is thrown by the strongest hand, and your jabs can be thrown by the weaker hand in the front. To use your strong arm to jab would be a waste of energy.

 

Professional Boxers with Strong Hand in Front

There are some professional boxers that stand with their strong arm in front. These are boxers that have had their stances converted for some reason. Usually, it is because their trainer is unable to train from the opposite stance and the fighters themselves don’t really know which hand is stronger. Some recent examples are Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and Victor Ortiz. These are professional boxers who have developed their weak hand to be just as deadly as their strong hand, therefore they can have their less dominant hand in the back and still be very effective. A great advantage to having your strong hand in front is that you can throw very powerful left hooks (or right hooks if you’re southpaw). Having a powerful left hook is such a huge advantage because it is a power punch in the front hand so it’s more likely to connect and it’s also blinding side punch so it’s more likely to turn your opponent’s head and knock him out.

 

Finding Your Dominant Hand

It is uncommon but there are people out there that write with their right hand but the left hand is stronger (like myself). In this case, you simply have to choose what works best for you. Another way to go about it is find your dominant eye and to stand so that your dominant eye is looking down your rear arm when your punch (if right eye is dominant, put the right hand in the back; and vice versa). The easiest way to find your dominant eye is to quickly hold your finger up into the air and cover an object (a lightbulb, a spot on the wall, a faraway tree) with that finger. Next, you take turns closing one eye and leaving the other open. The eye that has the finger lined up perfectly with that object is your dominant eye.

 

Switch Stance While Fighting

I’ve seen this done a million times and have done it myself numerous times. If you’re a very new beginner level boxer, you shouldn’t be doing this. You should be working on your form and perfecting your offense and defense from one stance first. When you’re ready to do advance stuff, then move up. Until then, leave the fancy stance-switching to the experts. I will however support you switching stances if you find that it’s easier for you defensively and you’re losing the fight badly.

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, I’m advocating two things: 1) Don’t stand with your strong hand in front unless you’re absolutely dedicating yourself to developing the weaker hand. 2) Don’t switch stances while you train because you should be practicing your number stance to make it better.

 

See my other guides on boxing stance:

boxing ebook Advanced Boxing Techniques 30 Day Fighter's Diet Advanced Boxing Footwork Drills
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201 Comments

Col April 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Right-handed with southpaw instinct.
I’m right handed but though I start in the orthodox stance I keep switching to southpaw, Why?

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Nasz March 22, 2013 at 6:52 am

If you devellop your weaker hand and put it in the back. Then I prefer the southpaw stance.
Southpaw are difficult to fight and they punch from crazy angles.
The strong hand is not only more accurate but also for defence and counter its quicker.

People should know the history of why in the first place the strong hand was put in the back.
Cuz in the beginning of boxing and the big glove fighting there was no jab combinations.
Only going for ko punches..so they put their strong hand in the back for that one KO hit.
Cuz of big gloves its rare that you see somebody get knocked out with a jab.

After boxing was evolved with the gloves, stance ect…people didnt change their idea of putting the strong hand in the back. For boxing I can understand, but for other martial arts their are many many plusses to put the strong hand in front. Famous martial artists that put their power and most coordinated side in front are Anderson Silva, Machida, Jon Jones (left handed), Chael Sonnen, Belfort ect.

Also remember Mike Tyson who was a lefty..with his strong hand in front he has the fastest KO.

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Keegan April 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I did boxing for 2 months and i know for a fact i could do way better then any of my friends but when i box them they always charge at me and it’s like there’s no way i can win when they do that any suggestions?

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Johnny N May 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

If you’re not winning, you’re not doing better than them. You’ll have to start with some good footwork to out move them, a good defense to block their shots. A fast jab to keep them at a distance, and a hard cross/hook when they come inside.

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jonx October 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

hi johny. iam a lightweight that is 67 or 68 kg but i really want to compete as a heavy weight boxer. so iam hitting the gym doing weights and eating alot to gain weight. i read that weight lifting is bad for punching power and technique which i also personally believe in but i dont know any other ways to gain that much weight rather than lifting . what do you recommend , i really want to compete in heavy weight but iam an ectomorph or a mesomorph but i really want to gain weight not fat so i can join heavy weight boxing. since you seem to make some sense i expect some sort of sensible suggestion
thank you,

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Johnny N October 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I guess you’ll have to start bodybuilding. There aren’t too many ways to gain weight because it simply isn’t natural for a healthy person to gain weight beyond what his body was genetically built to handle.

Johnny N April 20, 2010 at 6:14 am

orthodox switching to southpaw
It’s most likely because you’re not trained as a boxer and so you don’t know how or don’t have confidence hitting with your left jab. So what you’ll do is put your dominant arm in front so that it’s more likely to score (common for street fighters and other martial arts practitioners sometimes).

You can’t call it “southpaw instinct” unless your left hand hits harder from the back than your right hand from the back. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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Col April 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Ok, will try.

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Steve Toms May 29, 2010 at 4:04 am

Southpaw or Orthodox
I agree with you on most points with regard to the reason why right-handed people should not fight southpaw. But you forgot to mention one very important point, the legs. If your right hand is stronger, then so is your right leg, and you will need that strong leg to support you when you move in an out. It’s no good to have you strong leg in front. When you jab, you temporarily move your weight forward, move into range, bang, and just as quickly move out of range, unless your going inside. A lot of people who have trained on the bag but not sparred or boxed, ancy themselves being “southpaws” because they like the way it feels hitting the back with a powerful hook. In sparring, though, they find out that they are unable to move out of range quickly enough as their rear leg is not powerful enough to support the dramatic transference of weight. And they WILL get nailed.

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Col June 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Sticking with orthodox but….
Hey. I’ve tried sticking to the orthodox stance and managed to blot out the urge to switch. I now see great improvement in my boxing and can really hold my end when sparring. now I box in the orthodox stance and it seems logical since i’m right-handed but the funny thing is that my left eye seems to be my strong eye. what would that imply?

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Johnny N June 10, 2010 at 8:16 am

left eye is dominant
Hi Col,

Here’s how you can see if you’re truly left eye dominant. Hold a pencil in either hand and quickly stick it straight up into the air and make it cover an object in the room like a lightbulb or light switch. From here you take turns closing one eye and opening the other. The eye that has the pencil lined up perfectly with the object is your dominant eye.

Usually the dominant eye is the stronger side and maybe even more accurate side. What hand do you write with?

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Col June 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

The left eye alines them perfectly.
I tried it and the left eye alines them perfectly. I write with my right hand but I can write fairly well with my left (once injured my right hand and atempted to write an assignment with my left, my class mates were impressed but the teacher was not)

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Johnny N June 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

you may be left-handed
Or at the very least, more ambidextrous than others. If you use to skateboard, it also helps to stand in that manner as well. Only time will tell which stance is best for you.

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Paul November 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

He’s ambidextrous or has a tendency for it.

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Col June 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Thanks
I’m sticking with the orthodox stance for now, but my left seems to carry some very good power.
So I’ll see how it goes as i go along. Like you say, ‘time will tell’.

Thanks.

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ryan compton September 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm

my friend calum
my firend calum thinks he can beet me in a boxing match? but i box, why does he think this (he doesnt box :L)

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Mark Down Under October 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Mix it up.
Yin and Yang. Hard and soft. To be a complete fighter you have to be able to mix it up. You need to be just as confident with your strong hand/foot forward as you are with your weaker one. You want to have your angles open, which means you won’t always step left to close every right that is thrown at you. You need to be able to step into a southpaw stance and move right too, and be confident that you can defend and do damage from the southpaw stance. It’s not a matter of choice. You need to be able to fight both right and left handed. I broke my right arm in a MMA fight, and managed to win it by being able to finish with the left.

One armed fighter? BS!!!! Practice both solidly. A COMPLETE fighter has two hands. This is a new era of fighting, move on. Forget the past. Balance up and mix it up. If only I was young again!

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Girty October 12, 2010 at 12:57 am

Mixed Dominance!
This an interesting aspect about sport in general. I did the dominant eye test, and it appears that the pencil is always lined up closer to the target with my left eye….. so I’m left eye dominant??

I’m a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to sides, left eye domainant, right handed and can comfortably use either of my feet. My left leg is probably the stronger, with my right leg being more accurate. I’m not as co-ordinated with my left arm but is just as strong as my right.

I use the orthodox stance simply because it feels more comfortable, I like jabbing with my left and having my right hand slightly behind. Being both-footed is such a huge advanatge because it means my balance is excellent, I can move equally as well when I switch to southpaw. Balance is key.

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Larry November 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Tough decision
I have a hard time finding out which stance to take. I’m left-handed and left-footed. I read about the advantages and disadvantages that come with beeing a southpaw.
Only one thing is clear: My right cross seems to be better than my right jab. When I sparred the first time, I switched to the orthodox, becuse the southpaw thing wasn’t working at all.
And one more problem: I’m into kickboxing not boxing, so my left leg is stronger also. But I’m willing to dedicate myself to improve the right cross and right kick rather than having my weak hand as my rear hand.

By the way: The thing with the pencil tells me that my right is stronger. Didn’t know that. Before I tried the test with the broom that told me that I’m a southpaw.

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Johnny N November 20, 2010 at 5:19 am

ambidextrous fighters
Hi Larry,

You sound a lot like myself. I spend 2 years figuring out which stance was best because my left leg was more dominant, left arm stronger, right arm faster, left eye more dominant. All the muscles on my left side were bigger but my right side had more endurance.

In my opinion, you should stick to southpaw. If you have a very weak hand (your right), throwing the cross with it is always going to seem much easier than jabbing with it. That jab is supposed to be hard for your weak hand. So stick to southpaw and keep working on that jab.

The other obvious answer is that you’re left handed. So it’s better to put that stronger more accurate left hand in the back.

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Larry November 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Thank you
Thanks a lot for the quick answer.

I agree that I need to improve the right side anyway, no matter which stance I’ll take. But the two reasons I became a sceptic of my own stance (southpaw) is because the disadvantages seem to bigger than the advantages.
1) My footwork seems to be better in the orthodox.
2) It’s harder to learn the SP stance. Southpaws fight outside and they’re weak under pressure (that’s what I read).

How many great southpaw boxers do we have? Hagler, Wright, Whitaker, Pacquiao, Martinez, Dawson.

Some of them are right-handed. And one of the right-handed is Hagler, who has the best jab out of them.
And Chad Dawson: He takes his stronger hand as the lead hand because he says you’re using it 80% of the time.

Then you have the left-handed orthodox fighters – De La Hoya, Tyson, possibly Frazier, Kessler, Cotto. They have a very stiff left jab like myself and a wicked left hook.

Thanks for your reply anyway. I guess I’ll struggle with this problem for a while.

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Johnny N November 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm

southpaw stance
Larry,

1) Your footwork may seem to be better in orthodox because you may be improperly putting too much weight on front leg (which means orthodox movement would feel better). Try standing in southpaw again and this time when you move around… make sure you have more weight on the back leg (your left) and see if that made a difference in smoothness.

2) “Southpaws weak under pressure”. I really don’t get that one. Every fighter’s style and attitude is different. If anything, southpaws create pressure on orthodox fighters just because orthodox guys are usually antsy around southpaws.

3) Southpaw stance is harder to learn because not many can teach it… however, there are tons of southpaws in all of history that have been avoided and ducked because nobody will fight them! Being southpaw is such a high advantage that it can overcome better skilled opponents, stronger opponents, faster opponents, etc. I can name tons of amazing southpaws!

Pernell Whitaker, Prince Naseem Hamed, Paul Williams, Sergio Martinez, Hector Camacho. Marvin Hagler, Zab Judah, Joel Casamayor, Winky Wright, … there’s alot. You should definitely watch Whitaker and Hamed, though.

First time the young undefeated Wladimir Klitschko got knocked out and lost a fight… was due to a southpaw Corrie Sanders. First time the invincible Roy Jones lost a fight was due to a shocking knockout by southpaw Antonio Tarver. Look at Floyd Mayweather’s first 5 rounds against Zab Judah. Eventually, even he had to change his defense style.

In the pro ranks, fighters can duck southpaw opponents. In the amateur ranks, you can’t southpaws… if you watch olympic boxing, it’s almost 50/50 distribution between orthodox and southpaws at times. No joke, man. Southpaw is a huge advantage no matter how you look at it.

About DLH, Cotto being converted southpaws… you also have converted orthodox guys like Victor Ortiz (right-handed southpaw). In De La Hoya’s case, you have to understand that he used to be a fencer, where the strong hand is in front to hold the sword and so he was probably very use to that stance.

You’re more than welcome to enjoy boxing from any stance you like. Just know that you have a lot of options and role models to look up to regardless of which direction you choose to go.

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Larry November 21, 2010 at 1:27 am

L
^ So I won’t make a big mistake no matter which stance I take?

—————————–

Paul Williams is a perfect example of what I mean – The guy has a long, LONG reach, but isn’t able to use it because his right jab is terrible. Watch the early rounds Williams vs. Cintron.
Williams might have more success switching to orthodox and developing a better left jab and deadly left hook. Yesterday he suffered a brutal KO.

I agree with you about Judah – Mayweather though. Floyd lost the first three rounds and it remains the toughest fight of his career. Thanks to his skill he was able to make adjustments and turn the fight around.

It’s an advantage to fight southpaw if you know how, true. But it’s also an advantage to fight as a converted orthodox.
Plus southpaw’s are sometimes awkward to watch. Prince Naseem, Judah, Whitaker… Those boxers are exceptions in my opinion.

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Johnny N November 21, 2010 at 4:41 am

fighting southpaw
You can pick any stance as long as you do it for the right reason.

You want to do it because you feel a mechanical advantage or technical advantage in one way over the other.

Don’t just pick one side because it’s a cop-out between you having to learn basic stuff like mastering the jab or because one leg is stronger than the other (you can easily fix this!). In 99% of scenarios, every trainer will tell you leave the strong hand in the back. Putting the strong hand in the front makes you a one-armed fighter. That’s a very very big disadvantage. Regardless of how well you make that one-arm work, you will be a one-armed fighter.

Putting the strong hand in the back allows you to become two handed. The reason is because your jab doesn’t need to be strong. It just needs to be fast and accurate which is definitely something that you can train into your weak arm. Which saves the strong arm for the truly heavy punches from the rear. In simpler words, why not save the weak arm for the weak punches (jabs) and the strong arm for the strong punches? (cross)

As for Williams, he’s a kick ass fighter. Martinez just has a really weird style that broke through it. Previously, Williams steamrolled numerous certified boxers (Wright) with his style. I would never dare say that Williams does anything bad… he just needs to make sure he changes up his gameplan a bit more for different opponents.

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Larry November 21, 2010 at 5:47 am

fighting southpaw
You’re dead on, it’s the jab and the legs that are bothering me. I hope that I can fix the leg issue, because the footwork is very important to me. It provides me an overview of what’s happening in there.

The jab – I haven’t see a really good left-handed southpaw jabber (Hagler and Dawson are right-handed).

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Larry November 21, 2010 at 5:56 am

Frazier disagrees though
Here’s an interesting quote from a book by Frazier:

“When left-handed fighters come into my gym, if I’m going to train them, I turn them right around. That means I make them fight as righthanders. That gives them a couple of advantages: it makes their lead hand, the left, the stronger one. That gives them a real good, strong jab, and a hard left hook. The right hand will come with work. It also means they won’t have any unusual problems getting fights, since a lot of fighters don’t like fighting lefties. So that’s what I do. In the game, they’re called “converted southpaws.” My son Marvis and I disagree about southpaws. He figures that’s the way God made them, so he lets them fight as southpaws.”

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Johnny N November 21, 2010 at 7:43 am

2 final notes for southpaw VS orthodox
1) You also have to see how uneven your body mechanics are. It’s ok to switch around if your power distribution between the hands is like 60/40. But if you’re 70/30, then you better leave that strong hand in the back.

2) You should just ask a trainer to feel you out on the mitts and watch you move. He will give you a much better assessment as to which stance to pick and be able to guide you into properly utilizing that stance.

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Larry November 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm

^^
Ok, thanks for all comments.
I’ll probably stick to the southpaw. Your comment earlier about beeing a one-armed-fighter convinced me. I wanted to have as many weapons as possible and a deadly overhand. The power is definetely in my left side.

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Larry November 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Martinez – Williams II
Sergio’s overhand left against Williams was a beauty by the way. He tried to land it a couple of times earlier, and then suddenly: BOOM! It connecred.

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Larry November 22, 2010 at 12:02 am

heavyweight division
Hopefully there will be some more skilled southpaws in the heavyweight division in the future. Byrd, Sanders, Ibragimiov… they were good, not great though.

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berto November 22, 2010 at 5:10 am

nice dicussion
nice discussion here…but then explain to me why it works in mixed martial arts?
fighters like rich franklin and anderson silva and lyoto machida let their stronger hand lead…they’re very successful with it.

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Johnny N November 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

lead hand in MMA
The reason why some MMA fighters let the stronger side is so that they can throw the weak leg kick (from the rear) which then whips the strong leg into position to whip a harder kick. In other cases, it is so that they can shoot for a stronger takedown. It varies. In MMA, they shift stance a bit more often. Each fighter has his own agenda whether it be punching, kicking, takedown, or defense.

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Larry November 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Improvement
Had some success with my right jab in the last training lesson. Really, the more you throw it, the better it gets.
But anyone know what to do against wrist pain? I’m using 14oz gloves and hand wraps. The left cross is killing my wrist though.

As far as the question about MMA goes: I think part of that is because MMA fighters are light on their feet. They lean back. Boxers / kickboxers are always going forward. Stance is completely different.

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Johnny N November 24, 2010 at 7:33 am

wrist pain
If you’re getting wrist pain, maybe your bone structure (at the wrist) is not as solid or your gloves are too light. Personally, I recommend you to move up to 16oz especially if you’re a very hard hitter. Protect your hands! You will need them for life after boxing.

I do agree that MMA fighters can be much lighter on their feet. Especially if they’re kicking. Boxers always have to slip and stay within range.

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Larry November 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

wrist pain
Alright, I noticed it got a little better after two more sessions. I tried to focus more when throwing the punches – one thing is for sure: Light quick hitting is nothing for me. I like to hit full force.

**Focus** on a point, clench my fists as much as possible and throw it.

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Liam_Southpaw93 February 10, 2011 at 4:59 am

southpaw and orthadox stance
im like you tbh i just learn’t southpaw stance and figured out my right hand which is my new jabbing hand is actually stronger then my old jabbing hand so do what i did walk three steps and what ever foot it is get your feet in to a ten to 2 position thats how i learnd my stance yeah it feels abit stiff at first but keep shadow boxing and ask your trainer to help you out abit that’s what there their for!

GOOD LUCK IN YOUR CAREER!:-)

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Jacobi February 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

Im orthodox and i tried to study southpaw a long time ago and yes its very possible to develope that left hand so you’ll be strong both hands..Here in the philippines, you can see lots of orthodox who switched to southpaws ..haha i dont know i think it’s because of Pac :D ! But me ill stay with Orthodox stance!

You were born an original, dont die a copy!

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Righty Southpaw February 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Great article. I’m a lifelong boxing fan but had not put the gloves on until 2 weeks ago. I’m righthanded, but my combos and smoother and footwork is better while boxing southpaw. My power is about 60/40 right to left. The only thing that seems to be lacking is my left uppercut. Any tips on how to throw it harder?

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Johnny N February 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Awesome quote, Jacobi! I’m gonna save that!

@Righty Southpaw – just to confirm, are you throwing that left uppercut as a righty or a southpaw? Also, have you read my guide on how to throw uppercuts?

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not sure March 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Can’t Decide
I am convinced that i should fight as a southpaw but I am not sure my self, I am left footed , left eye dominant and my left hand is stronger than my right but not as coordinated. I have been a fencer all my life so the southpaw stance feels natural competition wise. However, when i first went to the gym they forced me as orthodox, my defense is horrible because I cant see shots coming and I am wondering if my accuracy is affected because my stance is affecting my vision. The left handed shots from behind definitely have power but they feel weird and they have a ton more speed than if i was fighting orthodox. Your advice?

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Johnny N March 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Your stance feels weird because you are use to standing with the right foot forward. I too am a right-hander with a stronger left leg and stronger left arm and also left-eye dominant. After consulting numerous coaches who have watched my form, they all came to the same conclusion –stay orthodox because my right hand is more coordinated. This is boxing, so I would suggest following conventional boxing wisdom before you revert back to a stance trained through years of fencing.

PS: De La Hoya was a fencer too and ended up using a converted stance (right-handed orthodox) with great success.

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Blue April 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

first of all your site has alot of helpful information been reading for hours.

i just starting out boxing (22)
i cant figure out if i should concentrate on orthodox or south paw stance
my left punch is quicker and more powerful. i write/shoot a rifle a kick footy right handed/footed. and left eye dominant. orthodox feels more natural. but when i switch it seems to work alot more effectively.
my right is a little sluggish and less powerful due to a shoulder reconstruction a few years back (all healed) but right is more accurate.

when i spar my right leg (using orthodox stance) becomes very tired and builds up with alot of lactic acid.

in a bit of a pickle. do you have any tips/suggestions

cheers if you can help

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Johnny N April 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

@Blue – I choose orthodox stance for you. Accuracy trumps all. Accuracy does the most damage, so place it on the back hand. If you have a great left arm, excellent, use it to jab. About the right leg, getting tired…..it’s natural because the back leg is slightly cocked in the natural boxing stance whereas the front leg is resting.

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Kevin April 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

lefty or right-handed??
Hello i want to know something and i need help please i write with the right hand and i shoot with the left foot in soccer how can i box in southpaw??

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Johnny N April 19, 2011 at 8:17 am

@Kevin – that’s a very tough question. I would suggest that you try the one that feels the most comfortable. Don’t be biased try to pick for yourself, use what feels better. It’s not just about power, it’s about accuracy, efficiency of movement, balance, equality of effectiveness with both hands, whichever one it is…use that one.

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Kevin April 21, 2011 at 10:39 am

I will do that! thanks sir i appreciate your advice

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Alex April 27, 2011 at 5:15 am

Footwork?
@ Johnny J – You say that the lead leg is resting.
But my coach told me to lead with my lead leg – he told me that all I need to do is pivot. Then he showed me what he means by pivot…he’s a southpaw and what he did is bascially stepping with his lead leg left and right all the time and turning around while doing it… looked a little weird though.

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Johnny N April 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

Alex, I’m sorry but I’m not sure what you’re asking. The lead leg is resting when you stand still but it’s going to have to exert force when you move around.

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Alex April 29, 2011 at 1:03 am

So once again, here is what my former trainer showed me: He told us that all we need to do is pivot, create angles… then he typed with his front leg on the floor… non-stop… type left, type right… I really can’t explain how it looked.N

Now the issue is: The box trainer that showed me that little thing isn’t there anymore, so I don’t know who to ask nobody to tell me exactly what that was.

When he showed that pivot the first thing I thought was: I never saw pro boxers doing that type of pivot and moving their front leg like that. When I watch pro fighters they seem to be very basic in their footwork.
The second thing I thought was: Maybe I don’t see on TV how much and how fast pro boxers work with their feet.

If you don’t know what I mean, that’s fine. All I want is to improve my footwork and the feeling for the right distance to my opponent.

Thanks anyway.

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Alex April 29, 2011 at 1:04 am

I think Manny Pacquiao is doing it sometimes. His footwork is the best I’ve ever seen.

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Mikey April 29, 2011 at 8:18 am

Weak jab
Hi, advice. I have a White collar event comming up in a month and in training my jab dosnt seem to be hitting the target and is soo much weaker than my right. My right hand is powerful, quick and accurate and i think I could do well leading with my right as opposed to what I have been doing and leading with my left??? What du think?

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Johnny N May 2, 2011 at 5:53 am

@Alex – I understand you now. Your boxing trainer told you to keep stepping left and right and pivoting to create angles. Usually, you just pivot with your front to get some angles but your trainer probably suggested that you step in first and THEN pivot in whatever direction you like.

@Mikey – You can lead with the right here and there when it’s unexpected. The problem with the leading right is that it can be easily countered. Very very easy to counter if you see it coming. It’s such a big punch and leaves you open to counter straights, hooks, and uppercuts when you throw it.

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Alex May 9, 2011 at 4:00 am

Thaks a lot. That makes sense.
I thought it’s about circle the opponent, but you’re probably right.

Still funny that I never see pro boxers doing it like that… even Muhammad Ali, the master of angle creating, I don’t know if he ever did it like that. But as I mentioned before: Maybe they’re so fast that I can’t see it on TV.

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Alex May 9, 2011 at 4:03 am

Orginally I bumped into this site because I had a problem with my stance – the southpaw stance. I’m a lefty, but it feels more natural to me to throw the straight cross with my right.

I trained for quite some time now, but if I got into a street fight, I’d probably go with the orthodox. Does that mean that I have control over my legs/feet?

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Johnny N May 12, 2011 at 10:28 am

@Alex – I would have to see footage of you moving around in both stances before I could tell you which one you look better in. Either way, training would make you better.

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8-0 June 16, 2011 at 6:52 am

confused
i am left handed but right footed and box in an orthodox stance which im not keen on how could i make myself comfortable boxing southpaw

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Johnny N June 17, 2011 at 9:29 pm

@8-0 – just more practice. Practice, practice, practice!

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Ryan July 9, 2011 at 7:00 am

Confused
Okay I have been boxing for around a year now as an orthodox fighter but I have the tendency to switch to southpaw a lot. I have a stronger right then left but I feel more in control when in southpaw stance because I blind my opponent with my fast hard jabs and come in for the kill with my left. My left is pretty strong I guess since I knocked someone down with it. I have left eye dominance and, am wondering what you think I should do. I am not a one armed fighter because I use my left a lot in southpaw stance. Btw I play soccer too and tend to shoot with my left since people won’t expect it and, I actually write decently with my left but just slower. I forgot to mention my hands hit around the same speed.

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Johnny N July 11, 2011 at 7:04 am

@Ryan – sounds to me like you’re only confused because you are more symmetrically gifted than most people. Have a trainer analyze your form from both stances and he will be able to tell which one is better for you. Keep switching if you feel comfortable and get away with it. Many fighters do this.

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Steve July 12, 2011 at 11:11 pm

On which leg to put weight?
At which leg do I have to put weight when I throw the straighr left? Right now I pivot my left pivot while I put weight on my right leg while thorwing it.

Also what about the hooks? On which leg do I put weight when throwing the left / right hook?

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Johnny N July 13, 2011 at 6:23 am

@Steve – Generally, if you’re throwing a left handed punch, more of your weight should be on the left foot. Vice versa for the right foot.

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Steve July 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Alright, thanks. I thought to experiment a little wouldn’t be wrong. Because I have anyway problems to put weight on my left foot when I twist it. Should get better with time though.

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Anonymous July 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

@Johnny J – wait isn’t it the opposite? when u throw a left hook for example, don’t you shift your weight to your right leg?

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Johnny N July 14, 2011 at 3:33 am

@Steve – you have more weight on the left leg so that you can shift it over to your right, during the left hook. So yes, you’re correct.

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RCFighter September 9, 2012 at 3:04 am

could you determine what’s most appropriate stance for me like you have with the others?
Right eye dominant, hit hardest with my right hand, hit faster and more accurateley with my left hand, I’m capable of throwing better upper-cuts with my left, but for some reason I CANNOT seem to land left hooks..

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Johnny N September 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

You’re orthodox.

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Anonymous July 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

@Johnny J – oh sorry, u meant more weight on the left leg to START with for a left punch

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James August 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Question
Hi, I’m a right-handed person, so techniquely I should feel better with my left arm/leg in front. BUT, I feel better jabbing with my right arm, because I used to do fencing, and in fencing it’s always my right arm/leg in front. Because of my past fencing training, I can move VERY fast when my right arm/legs are in front, but not so fast when my lefts are in front. Does this make me a southpaw? I’m just starting boxing recently. Should I train with my right arm/leg in front or left? OR should I switch it around? Thanks.

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Johnny N August 6, 2011 at 4:04 am

@James – the debate will go on forever about what strong hand goes in front. Just know that in fencing, you have only 1 weapon whereas in boxing you have 2. Using the traditional logic I’ve been taught, the right hand goes in the back. You’re able to move faster with your right arm in front because that’s how you’ve been training for fencing. I would still recommend you have your right foot in back and give yourself some time to adjust to boxing.

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Ben W August 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Someone please tell me whether im southpaw or orthodox loll
okay so i just started boxing a couple of months ago and im desperate for advice hahaha. My problem is that i know that the stronger arm is supposed to be in the back. In work outs, i’ve discovered that my left arm can do more reps than my right; a lot more lol. But i feel more confident with my right arm in terms of punching (im right handed by the way). Also my dominant eye is my right one. So basically should i have the arm that is physically stronger in the back or the one that has more control.

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Johnny N August 15, 2011 at 4:35 am

@Ben W – sounds like right arm in back. (control > strength )

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Jarrod August 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

SP or Orthodox
Hi,
I have been debating whether to change stances for a long time now. When I first learned to box, I practiced my punches from both stances. However, when I first started sparring for some reason I just naturally wanted to stay in a southpaw stance. As I got more comfortable sparring as a southpaw I switched completely, training everything as a southpaw.
I am, however, right handed and I suffer from that unique quality of having a stronger left hand. For some reason in the southpaw stance my footwork tends to be smoother as well as head movement. Although I have noticed that some punches can feel somewhat awkward when I spar with someone of equal or greater reach, probably due to the fact that southpaws usually have to commit more because of the foot placement of both fighters. I have a strong and accurate straight left and right hook.
I recently started trying to convert myself after criticism from sparring partners and other boxers. I tend to do fairly well as an orthodox while sparring, however, I have a tendency to want to switch stances.
I have heard all the negativity about southpaws and I am wondering if I should completely convert myself or further develop my southpaw stance.

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Johnny N August 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm

@Jarrod – I can’t see how you box so I don’t really know. If you’re sparring with only beginners, just being southpaw is going to help you win matches. The important thing is to stand in a way where you have the best power with both hands and move well going forwards and backwards. For sure if your right hand is more accurate, then it belongs in the back.

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samuel c November 11, 2011 at 4:03 am

hi, Im samuel, Im 22, Im from england, I’m 9stone 11 and feel very light on my legs but feel top heavy, I have been training to be a boxer now for a little over 3 months now, so I am just a beginner and hopefully next year I will be fighting competitively, I’m struggling to find which stance is best for me I have been training the southpaw stance because I’m left handed, (I write with my left) but my trainer has had me sparring and he said my footwork is terrible, when I throw the back hand my back foot lifts off the floor when I’m trying to punch hard and both of my feet twist like when I twist my hips into the punch my front foot moves aswell as my back foot and he said its bad because i will lose power and balance, and sometimes when I am on the heavy bags I switch to orthodox, I’m not sure if I’m fully comfortable with southpaw, as a kid I used to throw baseballs and tennis balls with my right hand and play soccer with my right foot, would that make me a better stronger orthodox fighter than southpaw?? I did the dominent eye test and my right eye lines up perfectly. what should I do? any tips or advice would be much appreciated. I love the sport and I watch amatuer bouts all the time and the pro’s on t.v as much as i can, one day I would love to be a pro, but I feel like I’m falling behind with the other guys in the gym as Im confused. thanks

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Johnny N November 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Do some jump rope work. Learn how to shadowbox and move around in a balanced stance. When you punch, worry more about your balance than your power. From what you’re explaining, it makes more sense that you fight as orthodox. The problem is not so much your stance but your attitude, try to keep both feet on the ground when you fight. Instead of shifting weight from one leg to the other, keep it more towards the middle. Let me know if this helps, Samuel.

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samuel c November 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

Ok, I do some jump rope work everytime I train to warm up but I will do extra work, and then shadow boxing and I look alright in the mirrors its when im in the ring that i just seem to forget, but i will try orthodox stance and so how that works and let you know how I get on. many thanks johnny!

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samuel c November 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Just want to say thanks for the tips man. Its been a big help! I’m no longer training southpaw as I am most effective training the orthodox stance, my trainer its handy to have the southpaw instinct aswell though I will learn to switch and confuse opponents. thanks a lot pal! I have been looking through this website and its very helpful! great site! cheers johnny

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Johnny N November 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

YES! Good job and keep it up. I’m happy for you, Samuel.

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fara December 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Im right handed and i trained as a southpow for two years, freind of mine convinsed Me to switch to orthodox so i did that stalk to it for two and halv years but sticking to orthodox gave Me a lot of pain in my lower back resantly however i switched back to southpow and my back pain just disapired . The problem is what Do i Do wrong? Im awared of advantages of orthodox but cant stick to it because of the pain that its causes Me after training

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Johnny N December 28, 2011 at 6:06 am

Fara, I have to see a video of you before I can guess what’s wrong. Most boxers I know with back pain comes from bending over a lot when they try to duck under punches. Anyway, I would try figuring out if the pain comes from standing orthodox or from punching orthodox.

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Fara December 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Shifting the weight over makes actually scense but how can i avoid it, the main problem is also that i use to compeet in olympic lifting for a quite some time and on the side of that got intrested in boxing, so one side effekt that i got from there was when i was doing over head jerks after clean i put my right leg in front so my right side became sort of pistol to generate power. So as i sad basicilly what happens to me is that my body adaps to stance but then all the habits that i ve got from southpow stance translate to my orthodox stance so i become one handed fighter whith a strong left jab and hook but weak right cross just as i was in southpow stance. and when i switch back my body regains those habbits back but to a southpow stance. Im awared of that i should be an orthodox but i having it diffucullt to make my body mechanics work well for me. So any advise you have on how i can divelop that?? Thanks a lot i am really apritiating your help the trainers that i had couldnt help me whith that. Since they just blame it to olympic lifting but the thing is that i didnt had any type of back problems unless as i say before during this switch to ortodox stance.
Thanks again man !!

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Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:37 am

Start training…hours and hours and hours…shadowboxing in front of the mirror. There is no easy way to break the habits you developed through training in another sport! Don’t fight or put any stress on yourself. Keep shadowboxing under relaxed conditions to build new muscle memory and coordination.

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Fara December 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

i allso get tendensy to put to much weight forward when i jab when i work on speed (move forward as i jab whit my left foot first but then my rigt gets dragged behind it allmost gets pulled after i dont loose any balance but it feels like i unload full body weight power on jab and have nothing to push from when i strike whith my right.

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Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:39 am

Fara, stop leaning forward with your jab. Reach with your fist, not with your head. Keep your weight towards the center (or even the back foot), and don’t let your head past your front knee.

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Fara December 29, 2011 at 4:49 am

ok i ll try thanks man !!

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Will May 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Hey, I’m right eye dominant but left handed. I do everything mostly with my right hand except write and cook lol. Im comfortable using a southpaw stance and orthodox so its hard for me to tell which one i am. I feel im better defensively southpaw. Right jab is good my left is also good thanks to watch sonny liston my issue is throwing the left hook from southpaw and right hook from orthdox. From orthodox its like i tend to end up in a southpaw stance and southpaw i kinda lose my footing

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Eric B. December 29, 2011 at 5:18 am

Johnny,
I recently started boxing (2 weeks) and I am having difficulty deciding which style to use.

My issues:
1. Shoulder bursitis in left arm.
I am currently seeing a chiropractor for it and have been cleared for boxing as long as I take the necessary precautions. However, after fighting orthodox and shooting my left jab for a whole workout, I find that I have to constantly ice my left shoulder and ingest anti-inflammatorys.

2. It feels natural fighting in southpaw.
Perhaps this is due to my previous training in Wing Chun?

3. According to your tests, I am left-eye dominant.

I have read your explanation and understand the negative consequences for fighting strong-hand forward for southpaw stance (rear hand weak). However, keeping my shoulder bursitis in mind, I think it would prolong my life as a boxer if I began training as a southpaw fighter. If necessary, I’ll train my left hand until I’m confident that it is strong enough for a decent left cross.

I appreciate any advice that you can provide and hope to hear from you soon.

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Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 5:28 am

Hi Eric,

I must say that I was perfectly healthy when I started boxing and STILL had to ice my left shoulder after having jabbed for an entire day. Everyone starts off with a tired front arm because they’re not use to jabbing and defending.

And yes…if you’ve been trained elsewhere to stand the other way, then it’s definitely going to conflict with what you’re learning now. If it were me, I would still fight with the weak hand in front but I guess you have no choice but to stand in whatever stance your physical condition permits.

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Dennis January 7, 2012 at 5:12 am

Hi,

first of all, great article and great website overall Johnny! I really appreciate your work here..

Well, to me and my Problem : I’m 21 years, from Germany and starting boxing in October in a basic boxing course at my university. It’s really fun and got me into the sport itself and now I’m thinking of going to a “real” boxing gym here in my city. I’m left-handed but our trainer at the university forced everyone to learn in orthodox stance and I’ve been doing it since then and it feels quite comfortable now but after reading your article and the comments I’m not sure and conviced anymore that this is the right way…

My strong arm is definately my left, but my right foot is the strong one: e.g I kick a ball with it and when i skate i do it regular stance…I’m very confused now what’s best to do now, stay orthodox or switch to southpaw?!
Well, when I shadow box in southpaw stance now it doesnt feel very comfortable and I don’t think I have a good balance in it, but i think I could work on that. Also my right jab feels weak and not really coordinated..

I’d like to hear your thoughts on that :)

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Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

If you write with your left hand, I would bet on you being a southpaw. Give it a try, Dennis.

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Dennis January 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

alright thanks!

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Seany C January 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

This is really interesting. At 37, I am just starting to get “back into” martial arts after a break of over 10 years. I did a little kickboxing, but tended to do more Aikido (only got to the middling belts), Judo and Ju Jitsu with a bit of Karate, so I have never done any classical boxing. I have just started Tai Jitsu, hoping for it to be a nice all round MA with less scope for getting sacked for turning up to work with a black eye :).

They generally fight from an orthodox stance, but the years of Aikido (who fight in what is essentially a Southpaw stance) has made the orthodox stance uncomfortable (I tended to do my other MA southpaw so I could switch between techniques easier). After reading your article, I am now wondering if I find Southpaw better because I have a pretty bad squint in my right eye.

So basically, strong right arm, but (very) weak right eye. What should I do? Will training orthodox eventually make it feel more natural, or should I just fight southpaw? Orthodox feels horrible right now?

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Johnny N January 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Seany,

Any stance, position, technique, etc will always be difficult if you spent years doing things differently. With that being said, I have a simple test to see which hand is your true dominant hand. Go up to a speed bag and hit it 10 times with one hand and then 10 times with the other and keep switching back and forth non-stop. After a minute (or 30mins if you’re really well conditioned), you will notice one arm more supremely dominant than the other. Stand with that one in back! ;)

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J January 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

whats the best thing to do to an opponent that likes to constantly switch between southpaw and orthodox? throughout the rounds

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Laura January 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm

If you know basic defensive techniques; blocking and parrying, and intermediate defensive techniques; bobbing and slipping and how to look for openings, then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem regardless of what stance your opponent chooses to fight in. Whatever you do, don’t look down at your opponents feet. You can usually tell when they’ve switched stance based on which shoulder is leading and which hand is in front.

You would have to be a pretty silly Boxer to switch stances, especially when Boxers half of the time are looking for openings regarding the back hand (the hand that throws the cross). If you bring that forward then you’ve just given your opponent an advantage, chances are if you fight in southpaw and you’re natrually orthodox, your defense or reactions are not going to be as fast, even if you train both sides equally. Reality is that our brains favor one side other the other, the proof in our daily activity. Which side do you rely on the most to get the job done the most? The boxer, especially the new boxer, should always stick with the stance they are most comfortable with, as chances are, thats the side they will preform the most efficiently in. There are rare exceptions, but most of the time boxers naturally favor one stance or the other, including those that think they can be clever by switching stance in an attempt to throw their opponent off course.

Johnny covers this in further detail here: http://www.expertboxing.com/boxing-basics/why-dont-boxers-train-equally-in-both-stances

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Johnny N January 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Use the tactics you learned for whatever stance he uses. If he goes orthodox, fight him like he’s an orthodox. If he goes southpaw, fight him like he’s southpaw.

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Kyle February 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Its hard to fight orthodox so i fight southpaw and im right handed . I wanna learn how to fight orthodox any ideas ? Thanks

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Johnny N February 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Switch your stance and do everything from that stance. Give it some time, Kyle.

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Kyle February 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thanks

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James February 25, 2012 at 1:25 am

I’ve always felt better, faster, and stronger with my right hand and right leg forward and my left hand is not that bad. I don’t understand why I shouldn’t fight southpaw with my stronger limbs forward. Other people agree that I should continue fighting with my right, stronger hand forward and my left, slightly weaker hand in the back, waiting for a cross. Bruce Lee wanted to emphasize having your stronger limbs forward because it’s closer to your opponent, making it more lethal. I think that you’re strong belief of having your stronger and more accurate hand in the back is understandable, but don’t you think that having the strong hand in the front will make your jabs and front hooks more deadly (jabs and front hooks are closer to your opponent and the distance from point A-B is a lot closer). Right handed southpaws will confuse and usually beat the average opponent if you train your left hand enough right?

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James February 25, 2012 at 1:31 am

Almost forgot, the primary topic is boxing and I forgot to mention that I also kick [TKD]. Maybe kicks add a difference to the best stance for me?

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Johnny N February 27, 2012 at 3:05 am

Kicks definitely add a difference because some kicks have a wind-up where the stance is momentarily changed. Also kickers are commonly switching stances to create openings on one side or the other. It’s a whole different game and I know nothing about it.

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Johnny N February 27, 2012 at 3:04 am

I’m not a student of Bruce Lee so I don’t know the full reason behind his reasons. The general belief in boxing is that the strong hand belongs in the back. I wrote several articles explaining the reasons why. Having a strong hand in the front doesn’t make the jab more deadly because the jab’s main attribute is not power. And right-handed southpaws are more known for beating very new beginners and not seasoned fighters. There are endless guides out there and you’ll never know for sure until you train extensively under both stances. Of course I try to save everyone time by sharing the common advice but ultimately you have to see what works best for you.

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kenley March 14, 2012 at 3:06 am

Hi Johnny which stance should i choose Southpaw or Orthodox.
I have better balance with Orthodox Stance,but my Left hand is stronger.Which stance should i stick to.

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Johnny N March 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

The dominant hand is the one that should be in back. Read my guide to figure out which one is your dominant hand. It’s not necessarily always the stronger one.

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Galactus March 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I have always felt comfortable with my dominant right hand up front, like you said, because it feels like it’s faster than the left or weaker hand. Also i feel like i can move my right hand to defend myself more accurately. However, I independently worked on my left arm for power shots and hooks, and spent a lot of time shadow boxing and hitting a heavy bag and reflex bag with my left hand, now I am trapped in the southpaw stance, since my left cross is very strong, and my right jab is very fast.

In conclusion, I really like your advice. I think it is spot on.

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Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

My advice remains the same. Keep the dominant hand in the back. Until you try it for at least as long as the time you spent training southpaw, you’ll never know which one is better.

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Eric March 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Marvin Hagler was equally dangerous from either side. Marvelous might have been boxing’s all-time switch hitter.

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Lara March 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

I just started taking boxing classes. My teacher said she only teaches our class orthodox stance and I figured I wouldn’t have a problem because I’m right handed and right eye dominant. When we learned orthodox stance yesterday though nothing about it felt right. Even as she and the other coaches were helping us get the right feet and hip positions. I don’t feel stable at all though maybe that will come with practice. I continued to work on orthodox stance after class but no matter what it felt like nothing was lining up like it should. My boyfriend was helping me and said I just looked awkward and to try switching to southpaw stance. I tried it and everything lined up perfectly. I felt completely balanced and like I could easily move around. Should I continue to work on orthodox stance? I know that the first time people learn orthodox it feels awkward but I don’t think I should feel unbalanced and like I can’t move around.

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Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Some people do move better when standing in the switch position. I would still argue to keep the dominant hand in the back. Sometimes boxing contorts your body in weird ways that you’re not used to and so one way feels better than the other. It might also be that you’re being taught a stance that is too front heavy. In which case, putting the dominant foot in front will feel better.

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Lara March 30, 2012 at 10:12 am

We worked on stance again yesterday and I had my teacher help me but it still feels like there is something off. Maybe it is too front heavy like you said. Is there any way to change that?

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Johnny N April 2, 2012 at 11:14 am

Keep your head in between your feet. If your head is leaning towards once place you will be off-balanced in that direction. Take some time and keep practicing. Most things will be difficult for beginners.

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em truth 28 April 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm

How do.u suggest fighting s taller southpaw that jabs and continiouly fights backin up . thn jabs backs up then when u engage clinches sort of like the klitschos .do u throw a double jab right hand or whats the best strategy for this type of fighter

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Johnny N April 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I have several guides on fighting southpaws. Please check them out. I do like the double right hand tactic.

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Alexander Borschel April 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

If the individual has a defense which proves impenetrable, I choose to focus on the arms to provoke an attack, and will back up kicking or striking based on what opportunities present themselves as they follow. While they can move faster, their focus is on hitting you, and not the air behind you, and so they miss, and miss, and grow weary, and then stop. That’s what you want to do against this person.

For me, I have spent 20 years learning a multitude of sports; Chung Do Kwan, essentially the Korean version of JKD (to put it way too simply). Most do not employ a tactic of backing up. They may as a technique, or a trap (giving space, to force them to then give up the space they just sacrificed believing they had seized yours) but a person who truly is committed to backing up is not common. Martial artists are known as confrontationalist, but we are also very much strategists. Every time he moves back, and you follow and strike, you give him control, and while it might seem like you’re in charge cause you’re pressing, and they are giving (any fighter who is willing to give ground, and can back it up with skill, is someone to reckon with) which is a traditionally held view, as most arts, especially Karate recognize that ground and space, without, the body has no base.

As such they seek to control it, but this will always backfire against the kicker who can retreat. If you ever try running and kicking, it takes a lot of practice, and so most follow, especially me since I am 5’4″, and if you ever try running while punching the air, you will realize quite quickly how much the pursuer exhausts himself. The more you chase, the more control, and thus likelihood of victory you give him. He wants you to move forward,; never, ever do what your enemy wants.

When he starts backing up, let him. If anything, in a realistic situation, the threat is neutralized (having been mugged twice, this is not how these situations go, and are limited to continuous sparring, or the 1980s version of point.).

As a kicker I have no problem giving ground because my kendo ground allows me to quickly retreat it. Combined with Bagua this produces powerful push which can easily bowl a person over. I push if they clinch, first letting them (when they begin to advance) to strike there where I was, either moving backward, or to the side turning away and outside of the person and punch. You are not asking about pushes.

Anytime someone advances, I stick my leg out to halt them, looking at their groin, blatantly while striking elsewhere. I use tricks and feints. Because I am essentially blind while fighting (legally) I pull my vision back by expanding the iris to allow more light in and sink my vision back, allowing what you are focusing to fall into equal place with everything else. There are a lot of names for this, the only one which comes to mind is ‘eagle vision’ as it is referred to in Bagua, because though you can no longer focus, it gives you the ability to track multiple moving objects at once. The dull stare you see in the eyes of a master is actually the intensity of a person tracking multiple sets of limbs simultaneously. They’re living scanners, and computers, able to know where they will be hit, what to do not to be, and to annihalate the enemy.

Punching

There are a number of ways to punch. the fastest is that which limits surface area in relation to the rest of the body, and undoubtedly this would be the punch from wing chun, which while weakened by this allows for incredible speed. They strike with their wrists lined up. They strike with the bottom three knuckles, though you can also strike with the index and middle finger, or if you want to be really nasty, just the index finger knuckle which if target at ribs could easily separate or break them.

Personally, I began with, and thus probably prefer the horizontal strike hailing from Karate and TKD. Among many other martial arts around the world. You’d think this would be weaker because of its greater surface area, but I turn my hand into a pin by pivoting into the strike from the ground to me arm, channeling my whole body behind the strike, with the contact aiming to be met with ONLY my index finger knuckle. Because I am small, and fast, it means I can generate a surprising number of force. By exploding from a rooted position you will gain control. However, the use of that knuckle is my preference. I have seen it also utilized with the middle knuckles, and while devastating, I try to stick to the rule that the smaller the surface area, the greater the damage to that area directly, and internally. And if you consider it’s vitals I was telling you to go for, make sure you don’t go all out, until you can go out on something cement, or valuable, or both alternatively, and stop those techniques half an inch short of what was going to be hit… no matter how much force there was.

As someone who kicks, I also punch, and can break 3 one inch slabs, or at least 4 years ago when I last got to, I could. I am assuming I am now. But in punching, in all fighting speed is essential. Granted speed without force is nothing to worry about (often the case with wing chun boxers), but take a third of the force necessary to break those, and apply it to the head, and you are look at a coma, easily. This is not what you want, so use control.

Currently I have 7 punches in a second, when I am completely ready to go. I once had 8, but became ill and am just now recovering much of what I had lost. My goal before I go to basic is 10.

I use flurries of punches to overwhelm a person. If I cannot break through their surface, I’ll just keep going at the same speed. It is tired… if you do not practice the cardio necessary to keep that iknd of intensity going. Eventually you will overwhelm them with enough strikes, and you will see them visibly blank as their minds shut down, and they resort to desperate, often inefficient counters to ward you off.

I also rotate targets, as randomly as possible. I might strike with the right arm to the left temple, while with my right I’m already moving to credit card their groin, or jab their clavicle. For me, I fight for realistic situation. I avoid contact to the vitals with people who are not trying to kill me. Keep in mind while sparring these techniques take fractions of a second to execute if you have the snapping punch, as well, which will maximize your speed.

I would advise also torquing your hips behind the punch, and not have your hands positioned as many do in boxing with the palms outward. Because your arms are raised, and not positioned elsewhere which might generate torque, they are actually weaker by being raised. While giving some speed, it removes a lot of motion, and all of the torque, and will reduce the effectiveness of a punch down to nil, no matter how good your strategy would have been. Additionally, though it protects the face, take a good look at how many vitals are still open, and are actually now vulnerable in your fighting position. It is good for kicking styles, but boxing was a bit silly to include it, but this is boxing.

But, you cannot box with keeping your arms by your head and face, lest you want to turn out like beautiful George. If you used closed fist (highly recommended for boxing, as open hand can tend to get fingers broken when blocking, or if the person just aims at them.) keep the knuckles by your eyes on your cheeks held ready, on each side of the nose, but relaxed. Keep a tight fist, as loose ones are effectively cruder, more ineffective version of open hand. The fleshy part of your forearm should be oriented facing you, on both arms with your elbows pointed between 30-35 degrees apart toward the ground, or a fist over your legs. This is a fearsome stance when you see it. When they strike, you can easily block by either turning your hips (allowing for a windup for any back-punch if you see an appropriate opening to counter) or more preferable to me (I condition a LOT) block their strike with your forearm. Though the hands are gloved, their forearms aren’t. If you block there, while you can use that huge mass near your elbow, it is better to use your forearm to block the strike, turning it toward the side you have your back leg on.

What a lot of fighters don’t realize is that when striking in a striaght line, if pushed from the side, especially in a curving motion, it carries the force with it. However much angle you use to turn that forearm as you connect with their punch to move it is how much what was once in a straight line toward you will be going. Additionally, be efficient as you can. If you are going to block their strike like that, why not smash your forearm into theirs. Do not make it obviously a strike, it must llok and still be a block which reorients the strike elsewhere from you. There is never any reason to take a hit, when you know you can take the hit, and are fast enough not to. There comes a point where people often pass from being able to take a blow, to just being idiots. A lot of people stand there and choose to duke it out; I’d have a lot of fun with them now, and chances are, just as now, I will probably get hit only once out of the 5, or if they are really inexperienced, ten blows they throw. I say that as a rough average.

Counters specific to an advancing clinch.

A clinch is teh gay. It’s what people do when they are tired and try to regain their wind or delay a round while recovering. Knee them if it’s legal to the ribs, or to the crux of their elbow. Most, because they are relaxed, do not realize this also makes the arm loose and susceptible to being hyperextended, and even broken. If a knee is not legal, as they go in, match their stance with the same leg, and as they move forward hook the heel to whichever direction they are facing toward. Combined with a strike coming from the opposite direction from your hands simultaneously, this should neutralize that stupid advance they just attempted. If on the street and they advance, kick our the back leg with a heel kick to the cutaneous nerve, located just above the femur aboutright in the middle, rotated about 15 degrees from that location. Depending on your size, it should be there unless you’re an alien. Feel around for it, you’ll find it.

Alternatively, if you kick upward at an angle of 45 degree to the individual’s Ligamentum Patellae, the tissue is very soft, and as the knee is loose (and very spongy) this part of the area transmits the force easily to the nearest structure capable of receiving it. As this is the knee, they will never walk again.

If all of that fails, and you see them advance, practice learning how to read their body language, and figure out where their face will be. Aim your elbow at that location. Inexperienced, or people committed completely to the attack will drive themself onto the elbow, smashing themselves against a tiny point. As they stepping into it, and you technically could have been cocking for a strike, or well, anything to dodge their assault, it is on them for not having had the control to stop and not whack themselves on it. I get people with it who try to take space all the time. As I do muai thai and Krav Maga as well, my elbow and knee strikes I do not try to be friendly with. Masters can close their eyes and still hit through your hands. Move at the last possible second, as timing is crucial. While you could sit there, against very poor people, against the more skilled to pull it off you will need to practice the time natural to you, so you fluidly get that elbow where it needs to be, and you suddenly dont even need a guard. If everytime an opponent approached you, and knew they would hit you in the face with the point of their elbow, no one would approach, and you would have dominance.

Stay on the balls of your feet- there;s a reason the object can move so freely and easily; it only keep one point of contact on the ground. Be like it; limit your surface area. And most of all HAVE FUN.

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Al April 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

I can write with my right hand but i feel more comfortable doing south paw. I tried the finger and pencil idea but it splits in half when i lift it up to cover something why’s that?

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Johnny N April 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Maybe your eyes are more even than most either way. I recommend for you to read my guide on finding the dominant hand and then putting that hand in the back.

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joe April 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

im left handed so im supposed to be soutpaw right but i feel that my left hook and uppercut are much stronger inn orthodox stance and my coach said the same thing too u suggest that i shud switch to orthodox thank you.

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Johnny N April 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I would stay southpaw.

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Newbie boxer April 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Im right handed and my right is way stronger then my left and my left isn’t really strong but my left ey# is mre dominant then my right eye so what should my stance be.

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Johnny N April 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

Please read my guide on finding the dominant hand.

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Wes April 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I’m not sure which stance I should stand in. I am right LEG dominant, so standing orthodox feels much more comfortable, however I am left HAND dominant, so my coach told me to keep my left hand back.

I’ve gotten used to standing southpaw, however sometimes without realizing it I will stand orthodox because that’s just how my legs want to stand. My right leg is much stronger and more coordinated than my left (good for kicks, however that is off the topic).

So, which is more advantageous for me? Should I stick with what I learned to do? Or try learning what is more comfortable. I guess it boils down to Power VS. Balance.

Thanks!

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Johnny N April 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Check out my guide on finding the dominant hand. That’s what I would suggest. For the record, balance is almost always better than power. Ultimately learning how to stay balanced should give you even more power.

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Glen MacCharles May 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’m having trouble with the eye test. When I point at something, I see either two fingers or two objects depending on which I’m focusing on more until I close one eye, and then the finger is on either one side or the other instead of perfectly lined up from either eye.

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Johnny N May 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Try the dominant hand test, Glen.

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Tom June 17, 2012 at 2:34 am

im right-handed and was orthodox till now (in other martial arts as well); but then i tried the southpaw stance and feel much better like this; i lov to throw overhands with my right (lead) hand; but yea i hav to train my left arm now alot

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Dan September 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm

What if my left eye is dominant, and I’m right hand dominant? My right arm feels heavier when I throw the jab from southpaw, however, after doing your test, my left eye is the one that lines up better, so it’s like a trade off. I feel more stable and find it easier to defend in southpaw, but my jab feels very awkward compared to my orthodox jab, and seems slower, but actually is easier to turn the punch over. Is it better to have better eye sight/depth perception, or to use the faster hand in front? Sight would seem to be the one of the most important aspects of boxing, especially for defense, so I see the shots coming.

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Johnny N September 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

You’re orthodox. Work more on your jab.

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T. September 25, 2012 at 7:15 am

Love your articles Johnny! Thanks a lot for this great stuff!

Maybe you can help me out of some kind of dilemma?

I’m an orthodox fighter but had a longer break because of issues with my front knee. While trying to get slowly back in shape I experimented a little bit with different stances that are not too taxing on my knee.
Because of the ongoing pain I played a bit around with a southpaw stance and to my surprise I let my rear hand go off much more smoothly and my stance felt way more balanced.

It’s kinda strange… I always had a problem off shifting to much weight on the front left while jabbing in an orthodox stance and following up with my right because of that. I am definitely right handed and my right eye is also my dominant one so I am kind of confused…

Should I maybe give the southpaw approach a try?

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Johnny N October 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Being off balance is a result of bad technique or muscle imbalances. A switch stance alone cannot fix an off-balance fighter. You might feel better but once you start moving again, you will feel the same problems.

I’m guessing your left side is really weak and not active when you stood orthodox. Which is why you ended up putting so much weight on that side. Now that you switched stances, it feels better because the previously faulty movement is now handed by your more coordinated side. You are welcome to try anything you want. At some point, you will find what is most natural for you.

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Am I too late? October 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I want to start boxing but I am almost 19 years old. Am I too late to get into boxing? How hard will it be at this age?

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Johnny N October 7, 2012 at 3:08 am

Not too late. That’s when I started.

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Wrestling? October 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I am right handed and right footed and I wrestle and that is my strongest attribute and i want to do mma in the future but in wrestling, if your right handed, you lead with your right foot so when i start doing mma i dont want to handicap my wrestling. I was a southpaw for a bit and then i switched to orthodox. I feel like i move better in southpaw (probably because im used to having my right foot forward when wrestling) but my right cross is stronger than my left cross. i also like the open stance of a southpaw vs orthodox fighter. So i was just wondering what i should do because wrestling is my base and i want to use it in MMA and if i have my right foot forward, i can use my wrestling for efficiently. so what do you think i should do? Thanks.

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Johnny N October 7, 2012 at 3:12 am

I can’t give you any advice for MMA/wrestling positions…that’s not my specialty.

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Emmo F. October 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Hey Johnny, this site is a great resource and I and many others appreciate the work you put into it.

Can this debate not be framed as having a really strong/accurate hook and jab (southpaw righty) and a comparatively weaker/ less accurate right? It seems to me that the untwisting of the body that happens with a “right” will generate a considerable amount of power even if it’s not with the dominant hand.

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Johnny N October 7, 2012 at 3:15 am

Please read my other guides for my other opinions on fighting switch stance. Good technique will generate a lot of power from any hand regardless of what stance you use. What matters is having good power when you need it most and BEING COMPETITIVE. Sure, you can be “powerful”….but what is “powerful” and compared to who? If your opponent is putting his dominant hand in back…he will ultimately have the strongest punch in the fight compared to your hook. Does that matter to you?

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Reece October 10, 2012 at 10:18 am

I am an avid wrestler and enjoy watching boxing. I’m going to learn how to box properly but I want to take up another martial art for MMA any thoughts?

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Johnny N October 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

That’s your choice to make. I would have said boxing but I guess you already plan to do that. BJJ? Muay Thai? Judo? What else is there?

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Aditya October 11, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi Johnny , iv sustained a scaphoid fracture on my right wrist years back and have undergone two operations where iv a herbert screw permanently affixed in my right wrist near the thumb . Im a right handed person , with a stronger right leg and a dominant right eye , my right hand has only about 60 percent of its grip strength and lifting strength . In orthodox stance iv noticed my left hand had a decent jab and a hook , my right cross though on target seems to lack power . Iv spoke to my instructors they advised me to maintain my natural orthodox stance and just work on perfecting my technique , iv tried switching stance to southpaw my left cross is slightly better than my right cross and with my right hand i can only throw a stiff jab without discomfort . Please advise . Thank you

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Johnny N October 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I share the same opinion as your instructors. Stay orthodox.

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Aditya October 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Thank You Johnny

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Ruben Heavyweight October 30, 2012 at 11:20 am

Hey guys I’m a beginner in this sport and I’m only 16 I weigh in at 110kg and I’m 1.91,Im also a rugbyplayer and I also do swimming yet Boxing is my favourite sport and I Really want to take it the extra mile,so why I’m posting here is that I write with my right hand but I deliver much more powerfull shots with my left hand altough my right hand is also very powerfull and thus allows me to use both buut the problem is my left hand is much much slower than the right hand when delivering a powerfull blow pls help I’m trying to find out what works and need a few extra opinions Thanx

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Johnny N November 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Read my guide on “How to Find Your Dominant Hand”. The answer is very simple.

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aiden November 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm

for me, I am a southpaw in other sports. I am right handed, but I play hockey left handed. my body is incompatible with holding a hockey stick right handed. it just won’t do it. I am not a box, nor have I officially started any serious training, but I have been getting some basics while warming up/sparring with a buddy of mine who does train boxing. what I am noticing is that the orthodox stance he tries to get me to use just feels uncomfortable — backwards, even. it just doesn’t feel right. obviously this can be trained away, and I guess i’m answering myself when I type this (you said with strict training on the non-dominant hand).

but knowing this, do you have any input?

best,
aiden

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Johnny N November 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

Aiden, you have to read the guide and decide whether or not you want to follow it. My advice will be to same to you as it is to everyone else. Place your dominant hand in the back. I also wrote a guide on how to figure out which one is your dominant hand.

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aiden November 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

thanks for replying. I guess i’ll just try and beat it out of me :P it just doesn’t feel right. got some work ahead of me, I guess!

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Johnny N November 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

Nothing feels right when you’re a beginner. Especially when it’s something challenging.

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Reece November 19, 2012 at 1:55 am

Hi there I am very light so I box in the bantamweight category.So I wanted to ask if you can be a power puncher even if you are really light like me.

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Johnny N November 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Yes it’s possible. There have been many in the past.

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James December 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hi, my name is James and I have an urgent question:

I’m 17 years old, and I fenced alot when I was 12-14. I am right-handed, but as you probably know in fencing, we put our right side in front.
I started boxing when I was 16 (last year), and my coach trained me in the orthodox fashion. I have a very strong right cross, and my left hook is really strong too, although my jab isn’t too good. Recently, I’ve been wondering if I should switch to the southpaw stance, for several reasons:

Reason #1: I fenced ALOT which means I feel and move very naturally with my right hand and right leg forward. In the past year I’ve learned how to move with my left leg and left hand forward pretty well too however.

Reason #2: All of my favorite fighters (Manny Pacquiao, Sergio Martinez, and Hector Camacho) are all southpaws!!!! My boxing style is a lot like Pacquiao, I’m very fast and unorthodox and aggresive, so I was wondering if the southpaw stance would be better for a guy who is very fast and unorthodox like me? A lot of tricks I picked up from Pacquiao and Camacho I feel that I can only use if I am a southpaw.

So should I switch to southpaw and train my left hand to be really strong too? Overall I feel that I can hit harder in my orthodox stance due to that right cross, but when I am in southpaw stance, I feel that I can use more tricks that I learned from watching Pacquiao videos. Also my opponents probably aren’t used to facing southpaws.

Which one should I choose? This question has been bothering me for a while, lol. What concerns me is that if I switch to southpaw now I will have to train my left cross from scratch.

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Johnny N December 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Right-handed > orthodox.
Left-handed > southpaw.

You can decide whatever you want but my recommendation stays the same. I stand with my dominant hand in front too when I throw darts but when it comes to boxing, my dominant hand goes in the back. Your comparisons to Pacquiao/Martinez are not accurate because they’re true left handers; you’re just a guy that’s used to standing with your right leg in front…it doesn’t mean you’re natural at using your left hand like they are.

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Leftmetheus December 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hey there, so my dad was an Olympic Tae Kwon do fighter, an boxed in the millitary. He’s left (handed/footed/eye) an when he did TKD he converted to a orthodox stance, an in the military, he converted orthodox because like you’ve said, nobody knew how to teach, train or fight southpaws correctly. An he’s been fighting converted for now over 40 years. His best power punch was the “left hookercut” an best kick was the left high kick. And when I was born, “surprise” i was southpaw. From his years of experience training an fighting converted, he raised me out of the crib has a orthodox. So I’ve never really been a southpaw, so for the past years I’ve used my right side, an my best punch is the left hookercut, an best kick is the left hook kick. And off topic but, I shoot a gun, pull a bow, play pool, throw/kick, write, play guitar with my left, but fight righty. It’s really does feel natural fighting orthodox, and it’s not even my natural stance. The benifits are high, a strong front, stop takedowns better, shoot better, but the only problem leading with your dominate side is it getting battered in your led side. I love this article but I’ve never really been a southpaw, an I’m left handed haha.

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And March 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm

hey johnny, i would like to hear your opinion on my problem, since to me you seem to be aware of boxing and human anatomy.

I can box orthodox and southpaw, of course they both have their weaknesses.
I’m right eye dominate , but i have Amblyopia on my left eye, especially when im low on sleep.

base on this do you think it would be better if I box southpaw? I saw NEVER BACK DOWN 2 and the trainer had his student switch to southpaw because he got an eye injury in his left.

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Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:51 am

I don’t know how to advise you on this. You have a special situation so I would have to tell you to stick to what feels most comfortable.

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Kirk March 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi there
My boy is almost 11 and has been training since 8, he writes with his left hand and kicks a football with his right, he is at the moment comfortable in the orthodox stance and shapes well but really uses his right hand more than his jab (one handed fighter) but when putting him to southpaw he is very unbalanced but does use both hands. It is very difficult to tell the difference in power between his left and right so what would be your advice as it is very much appreciated, by the way if I ask him to kick a football with his left foot he would fall over before he connected.
Kind regards
Kirk

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Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:49 am

Do the dominant hand test. Also do the speed bag test.

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saber khan April 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

coach i got 2 question. im at the age of 30 and ive always fought conventional. but i learnt 3 southpaw tricks for running away and throwing the left cross and right hook with the last one being very effective.

ive got 2 sparring partners who are southpaw. i spend a lot of time against them, and theyre good partners they help to develop skill. but the footwork required is very tiring. i turned southpaw myself to give a new look and found they hate southpaws themselves and dont fight well against each other.

right jab on right jab isnt as tricky as left jabs wars because they dont like to hook and dont go downstairs with it. its not their defensive/offensive best weapon as the left jab can be. they dont use it to time opponents.
moving right is far stronger than left. if i keep moving left i control the ring.
the left cross is a very hard game to play with them. even southpaw vs southpaw its very effective. there’s a straight shot which they throw chin to chin down the middle no cockback at all. the true straight left. they can double up the left and throw it as their range finger, like a jab. the left overhand which used to come out of nowhere is just too slow when it can be seen. i can now shoulder roll and parry the punches with glove and elbow. not getting into a left hand war is the best idea.
the right hook is the go to punch. it beats their cross to the punch if theyre close enough. they simply don’t see it coming and they dont know how to get under the shot or roll with it.
also left handers hate hate hate infighting.

imo, southpaw vs southpaw, the better right handed fighter wins. a big advantage for conventionals changing to southpaw. are the things i picked up common, or are my 2 guys different ?

but i dont want to sarcifice my skills as an orthodox fighter as i develop skills in southpaw. and ive noticed my slipping and rolling in orthodox feels a little less natural. so do u think older fighters schooled in one style cant be taught without losing their normal skills ? or should i practice working on both ?

finally, is it possible for conventional-southpaw to go inside and grind it out ?

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Johnny N April 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

Great questions.

Southpaws are used to an open position. The southpaw-vs-orthodox match-up is a very open position where both of you can land punches easily because your bodies are facing the other one’s punches. (Naturally, the southpaw wins this game because it’s more common for them.) In a same side match-up like orthodox-vs-orthodox or southpaw-vs-southpaw you have to work harder because both of you are kind of turned away from the other fighter. This is why it’s so easy to roll punches in orthodox-vs-orthodox. Southpaws don’t like fighting southpaws so much because they have to work so much harder to get shots in.

Southpaws like using range because it’s so easy for them to land shots in the first place, so they don’t need to get closer to land shots. Everything they throw naturally is tricky for orthodox fighters. On the other hand, orthodox fighters are more accustomed to coming into range because they have to overcome that angled position. And orthodox fighters typically have a better rhythm for defense because standing in orthodox-vs-orthodox gives you a very balanced stance where both can punch and roll at the same time with the same rhythm. Whereas in a southpaw-vs-orthodox match, both are disrupting each other’s fighting rhythms.

It’s a good observation to assume that the southpaw with the better right hook wins in a southpaw-vs-southpaw match. It’s because both are usually more reliant on the easy-to-use 1-2 and never need the right hook too much against orthodox fighters. This is because in an orthodox-vs-southpaw match-up, the rear cross has more better range than the front hook. Whereas in an orthodox-vs-orthodox match, the front hook can be easier to land or equally as likely to land as the rear cross. In actuality, though…a southpaw-vs-southpaw matchup is not different from a straight orthodox fight. Jab is most important, cross is next, and then the hook every now and then to make it tricky.

It’s possible to develop skill for both but now you have realize you’re developing lower level skills. As an orthodox, you’re developing feeling and rhythm and movement and counters, whereas a newly converted southpaw, you’re still working on technique and basic strategy. It’s up to you. The more skilled and experienced you are, the more options and flexible you can be with your training.

There ARE southpaws who do go inside but quite often, the fight turns so much that it easily becomes a distance fight again. It’s very awkward to stand up close in orthodox-vs-southpaw because neither of you can square off. The position naturally favors one or the other and one of you will ultimately move. In an orthodox-vs-orthodox position, both of your stances are always mirrored allowing both of you to square off comfortably.

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joe May 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

hey Guys,

i am going through a phase of doubting my stance….
i am right handed, so i have been training and sparing in the orthodox stance.
when switching to southpaw, i get more speed out of my hand but loose a bit of power on my kicks.
i try different technic such as, dominant eye and stuff like that, but i am all over the place…
for example:
i surf natural stance ( right leg at the back)
i skate goofy (right leg at the front)
it does feel a bit more natural in southpaw but i know that my power is in my right hand?
should i keep the orthodox or give the southpaw a good chance…
i have been training for a year now fulltime and your advice will be really appreciated.
any suggestion?

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Johnny N May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Right-handed means orthodox.

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ko707 June 13, 2013 at 8:33 am

I am right handed dominant but my stance is southpaw because the is nothing like the fast uppercut with your front hand then overhand left….. *_^

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Travis June 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Hi there
I am left handed, and my left is a little bulkier than my right. Its a tad bigger I should say. Im six foot two and I think the jab is so important. But since most people are right handed, when I throw a right jab they can counter it with a straight right or right hook. Especially if I miss. So my question is should I convert to right handed? Because it seems that a left jab can catch a straight right. Its sad because I feel my left jab will never be as fast as my right and southpaw feels more natural. But I feel like I need to convert to have a a slicker jab that will catch those right hands. Should I convert? I feel kinda scared to throw a right jab because of the easy counter.

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Johnny N June 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Don’t convert. Listen to the article. It takes time to develop the skills and conditioning for boxing.

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Travis July 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

So when I throw I right jab in the sreet and get countered with a right straight I should come back to the site bro? You really dont think I should just throw a left jab? And really train my right cross? And as a southpaw should I not jab then? Just throw left straighs all day? Becausw most people just throw right straights out here. I just really feel im gonna get kod if I jab with the right. Does that make sense? I want to jab jab jab jab jab.

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Johnny N July 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm

You can do whatever you want. I’m here to give basic boxing advice but it’s up to you to read the situation and do what you think is best. You’re the one fighting, not me.

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Chad July 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm

New to boxing, have done some MMA but want to improve striking and hand speed. However, broke my right hand last year and had it surgically repaired, 3rd metacarp. still bothers me some, but I am left eye dominant and write with my right hand. Any thoughts on the stance that I should take given the injured right hand? Thank you in advance.

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Johnny N July 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm

With an injured hand, I wouldn’t recommend any stance, or even fighting at all. But for kicks, I would say to put the injured hand in back.

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Chad July 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Yeah that’s the response I get a lot but the hand has been repaired surgically and I have been lifting weights etc to regain muscle for almost a year now and it seems to be ok. Surgeon has cleared it for normal activity including boxing as I asked specifically. Heavy bag doesn’t hurt it. Knowing that you recommend against fighting but for kicks why would you put that hand in the back? Thanks again in advance.

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Johnny N July 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Chad, check out my guide on why I feel the strong hand belongs in back: http://www.expertboxing.com/how-to-box/why-the-strong-arm-belongs-in-the-back

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Jack Lee July 25, 2013 at 1:18 am

Right-hand-forward has the following advantages though:
- Your strong hand is closer to your opponent and can make damage easier
- If you have well trained finger (e.g. finger push up) then you can use them as a sort of dagger or sword to attack eyes.
- You automatically get your right leg forward as well so you can easily make powerful side kick or and other type of kick easily. Kick to the groin or lower body can be very devastating.
- You heart is on the left. So if you put your left forward and your opponent has a dagger then your heart may get damaged first. This is the biggest disadvantage. If your left hand get sliced open, more blood will come out compared with your right hand get sliced open, so you will have less chance to kill your opponent.
- If you have a weapon, a knife, hammer or even a pencil, you definitely want it to be forward and close to your opponent. If you take south paw this will be naturally done; otherwise, you have to do it without familiarity.

Conclusion: for sports it is ok to go left forward; for real life, right forward might be a better idea.

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Chad July 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Johnny N,
Thanks for your advice, I am fighting orthodox and it’s going well so far. The hand is holding up and I actually have good power in both hands. Still trying to master the left hook but that’s mostly a beginner’s lack of body mechanics issue I think. Thanks again. This site is great by the way, I have read most of the articles for beginners so far and am starting to read the more advanced things, your glove review really helped me a lot prior to buying my gloves and getting started. Thanks again.

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Brad August 16, 2013 at 3:40 am

Hi, I`ve started boxing when i was 14, my trainer asked me if i write with my right hand, then i should box with my right hand in the back. So i did, and it felt good, because even though i write, and catch a ball with my right hand etc, im much stronger in my left arm. When doing arm wrestling, lifting and pushing weights my left hand is dominant. So now i had my strong hand in front. I`ve didn`t even think this was unnatural, but i always felt i didn`t connect or hit hard with my back hand (right hand) It feels like i hit just as hard with my left hook as my right hook, in orthodox stances.

I`ve boxed several matches with my strong hand in front, and i noticed i relyed to much on my left hand. I jumped in with my power left hook without setting it up with my straight right cross.

I didn`t even know before now, that i im also a left eye dominant. And when i do skateboard i stand with my right leg in front. But after 10 years of boxing (on and off) i feel very natural when i move with in orthodox stances. I can keep the distance good, but still i dont land the “power” right after the jab that i wish.

When i try to switch stances the footwork gets weird and feels strange. But i havent practiced to much on it. Im now 26, and want some more fights, but i want to start all over to be the best i can be. Should i devote myself to switching stances to southpaw, or continue with my strong hand in front, and my dominant left eye in front – and develop the power in the right rear hand?

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Johnny N August 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

Being that your right hand is the dominant, more functional arm, I would put you as an orthodox.

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Siege August 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

confused
i’m more comfortable moving in a southpaw stance my right hand’s hook and straight are much faster and with greater accuracy,
i think my left hand is much stronger because i can put more weight on it when i punch, but it’s a little bit slower and with lesser accuracy than my right hand’s punches

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Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Put the dominant hand in the back. If you’re right-hand dominant, put that one in the back. The dominant hand isn’t based on strength alone, it’s based on functionality. If you write with it, it’s faster, has more endurance, and more accurate, that’s probably the one that should be in back.

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billy the kid September 12, 2013 at 12:17 am

I recently started boxing and i am using the orthodox stance. Im a bit confused.
When some time ago the coach asked me about my dominant hand i wasnt really sure. In fact im ambidextrous and i use each hand for different kind of things without ever trying a lot to use both for the same thing. (f.e i can write better and carry more weight with my right but i can turn a screw better with my left).
It seems that my left hand is much faster and stronger than my right when i try to jab, less accurate when i try to cross though (switching to southpaw). I also find it easier to throw stronger and faster uppercuts and maybe even hooks with my left to sum that my right hand feels only better for crosses. Right now im thinking like having two weak hands. He told me to use whatever feels more confotrable for me keeping in mind to not go off-balance or be left unguarded while moving and throwing punches. What should i do?
Should i continue using the orthodox stance or adapt to southpaw? Or maybe practice on switching depending on the situation?

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Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 2:12 pm

It sounds like you’re right-hand dominant, Bill.

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billy the kid October 1, 2013 at 10:15 am

Thanks for your reply johnny!
In the meanwhile i gave a chance to southpaw and used it as my stance for the previous 2 weeks.
I didnt have any problem with my footwork (i used to switch stances on t.k.d quite a lot during my 16year experience with it) and in fact my strong leg is the left.
My dominant eye is the right one though…
I read in another article of yours that “strong back leg+strong back hand+ strong eye’ is the best possible combination. Is it normal for some people to not having both 3 of them?

I should get back to orthodox if the sum makes me weaker but im still wondering.

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Johnny N October 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

It’s common for people to be a mixture. I’m dominant left eye, stronger left triceps, and strong right bicep, right hand dominant, and definitely an orthodox.

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billy the kid October 8, 2013 at 6:06 am

This helped a lot! Right now i feel way less confused.
I want to ask you one last thing regarding the stance:
In the boxing gym i go, we are trained in a way that the rear foot is looking towards the opponent. As far as i searched the reason why we do this i only found some hints leading to better speed/burst. Then again, like 99% of the times i watch a boxing video , people have their rear foot a bit sideways (great proffesional boxers too).
So is this stance bad or something due to heavier stain of the rear gastrocnemius or will it aid my footwork the more im geeting used to it?

Noah October 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

Hey Johnny, been interested in getting into boxing for a while and found your site. It sounds like you really know your shit, as you give excellent reasoning and solid explanations for everything you write about. Currently devouring as much as I can in between sets of crunches, and eyeing up the skipping rope and bag in the corner of my room.

I have a couple of questions for you, though.

1) About the eye dominance test: When I try this test, I seem to get a perfect split on each side. I assume this means my eyes are equally dominant, but what does it mean for possible stances/techniques? Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?

2) I can’t afford a gym membership at this point in time. Hopefully this won’t be an issue for long, but in the mean time, what are my best bets for training? I’m hoping to get a couple of my friends in on this, but I’m not sure they’re going to be as dedicated as I am.

Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work

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Johnny N October 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

1) Don’t worry about the eye dominance so much. Put your dominant hand in back.

2) Do the best you can with what you have. I’ve never trained alone so I’m no expert in that. But if that’s all I had, I suppose shadowboxing and bagwork with some music on ain’t too bad.

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Victor Hugo November 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I’m right handed, BUT my left leg is stronger than my right.
This change anything about my punch? (I just started boxing 2 week’s ago)

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Johnny N November 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

Put the right hand in the back.

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Victor Hugo November 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Thanks Johnny! This site really helped me a lot.
200 jabs every morning, 100 on south pawn!
Really great job teaching, and again, thanks for the tip.

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Vladimir November 20, 2013 at 5:55 am

Hi,Johnny!
Awesome guide!But I still wanna ask you a question.
My dominant side is left(hand,leg,eye),but my stronger side is right.So could u help me?
Which stance should I choose?

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Johnny N November 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

Put the dominant hand in the back.

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vincent December 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hey Johnny,
This is great stuff. keep up the good work. I’m learning a lot from your website.

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lamont santos January 23, 2014 at 3:02 am

What do I do for speed im very slow give me some pointers

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Johnny N January 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Reflexes or hand speed? Do more shadowboxing and train more. It can take time to become comfortable and process things faster.

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Manny R February 15, 2014 at 1:27 am

Im left handed but i’ve always stood in an orthodox stance, despite knowing left handers should stand in a southpaw position, im left footed as well but im able to move around in both directions alot better from an orthodox position. I tested out the southpaw stance early on and my footwork was choppy, my combinatons flow better from a southpaw position but the footwork feels beyond akward. I did the speedbag test and my right arm is miles more accurate but i never use it individually outside of boxing. Although that could just be a mental bias since in terms of presence it feels weaker and i cant feel it as well as my left hand so i never use it for anything. Strangely enough that stronger presence on my left hand also makes it less accurate as it feels stiff and crippled although it is stronger. What do i do?

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Johnny N March 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The standard rule is to put your dominant hand in the back. Beginners may be confused because they’re still only one-handed and haven’t yet developed coordination for both hands and also the footwork movements. You need to give it time. But in the meanwhile, do it from the proper position, even if it feels weird or harder.

In regards to the speedbag test: I recommend for you to hit 10 times with the left, then 10 times with the right, and keep alternating 10 minutes. Whichever one is more functional at the end of that time is probably your dominant hand (in regards to the speedbag test).

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Kevin February 25, 2014 at 3:16 am

Great website! I’m training for a masters bout in the near future and you have such succinct and useful advice that is really helping me in training and strategy, thank you.

I am orthodox as my strongest hand is my right hand, but my dominant eye is my left eye – in fact my right eye is a lot weaker than the left, vision wise. So, I’m kind of mixed up a bit there. My sparring partner said that my left punches seem just as hard as my right, but my right feels stronger than my left. Yeah, I’m confused lol.

Defensively I sometimes switch to southpaw to fend off an opponent with hard right jabs when retreating, but switch back to orthodox when out of danger to advance. When I was club boxing when I was younger I used to come out in the first round southpaw and throw a flurry of strong jabs and right hooks, just to mix the opponent up into gauging me as a southpaw at first glance and hopefully leave him wondering what my left might be like, but switching back to orthodox after about 4-8 full power jabs and right hooks in southpaw stance.

The advice on this webpage has reinforced the fact that orthodox is my natural stance and it makes sense to have the stronger hand back to land power punches. This advice I’ve taken on board. Makes perfect sense.

Thanks again Johnny.

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Juancarlos April 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

Is it weird but I can fight both sides ? Like im southpaw and orthodox…I go in either side

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Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Nothing weird about that. Anybody can do it. Some better than others.

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Angelo June 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm

i’m doing boxing for about 4 months. I used to have the orthodox stance but recently my trainer told me to practise the southpaw too. (I was born a lefty but my mom made me to write with the right hand, so now my right is more powerful…that’s the reason i have orthodox stance). My trainer said that i am doing better with the southpaw stance and i sould practise both stances…what do you think? help me…..because i have heard that you must be experiences to start to practice southpaw stance too and also this might make you to have bad habits. ( during these 4 months i have made a remarkable progress and i am doing very well..my trainer said that i will be a great boxer if train hard) please tell me your opinion about the stances…if i it’s not a problem to start practising southpaw stance too.

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Johnny N July 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Try doing what your trainer says and see.

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