How to Improve Your Fighting Reflexes

February 5, 2013 February 5, 2013 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Boxing Workouts 48 Comments

Improve Fighting Reflexes

Fast reflexes are the standard of being a fighter. If anything, boxing is little more than a battle of reflexes. One man’s reflexes versus another’s.

Sure there’s skill, there’s strategy, strength, and all those other qualities. But without the reflexes to utilize those abilities, you won’t survive the round, let alone win the match.

Now there’s a difference between just being fast and having TRAINED fighting reflexes. It’s the difference between jerking your head back instinctively versus slipping and countering with a knockout punch.

It’s a long road to developing knockout counters as second nature. But I’ll show you how to get there.



What are fighting reflexes?

A fighting reflex is a physical response to a fighting stimulus.

A fighting stimulus could be:

  • an opponent’s punch
  • a discovered opening in your opponent’s guard
  • any movement in your opponent
  • a sudden opportunity created somehow during a fight


A physical response could be:

  • you throwing a punch
  • you defending the punch
  • you moving away
  • any movement you make

A fighter with fast reflexes is one that responds quickly to a stimulus.

A fighter with GOOD reflexes is one that responds effectively to a stimulus.

Naturally, you’d want to have the FASTER AND BETTER reflexes.

Fast reflexes doesn’t help,
if you’re not reacting effectively.


Is it possible to improve your reflexes?

What percentage of reflexes are genetics?

But what if I’m naturally slow?

What if I’m the slowest person in the gym?

What if I can’t even see the punches?

This is a sad issue I have to address because of all the people with insecurity problems. I will explain it like this:

We are sensory beings. We have intricate nervous systems, bones, muscles, and all sorts of highly evolved physical functions to facilitate reactive movement. We are not plants that wave in the wind. And we’re not stationary rocks in the landscape. We see, we hear, we smell, we touch, we taste, and we think. Our bodies were made to respond to stimuli.

And genetics has less to do with trained reflexes than our amount of exposure to sense stimulation over the years. A kid forced to think critically throughout his or her life will grow up smarter. A kid that’s played sports his whole life will be more athletic than one that’s watched TV his whole childhood. Genetics still matters but nowhere near as much as your upbringing and all the stimulus that’s happened to you AFTER childbirth.

  • If you can play video games, you can improve your fighting reflexes.
  • If you can send rapid fire text messages on your iPhone, you can improve your fighting reflexes.
  • If you can scream when you touch a hot pan, you can improve your fighting reflexes.

As long as you have the instinctive ability to react,
you can train your fighting reflexes.


The Secret to Developing Fighting Reflexes

The goal is to develop TRAINED REFLEXES!

A reflex could be ANY reaction.

  • a punch
  • a flinch
  • a duck
  • a panic maneuver



  • a counter-punch
  • a defensive move

This is why I could care less if someone was ‘genetically fast” or not. Without the skill training, a fast person wouldn’t have that much of an advantage. If you pit two total beginners together, the one with faster reflexes would win. But once you pit two experienced fighters together, the one with the better TRAINED reflexes would win.


And what is a TRAINED REFLEX?

A trained reflex is an effective reaction most appropriate to the stimuli.

  1. Sense the stimuli
  2. React to the stimuli

Did you see the big secret? STIMULI, then REACTION! The stimuli first, the reaction second. Better yet, let me say it this way…








And say it one more time with me really loudly….TRAIN FOR THE STIMULI!


If you want to get good at reacting to punches, you need to train by looking at punches!

That’s all it is. The better you get at sensing the punches, the better you will get at responding to them. You want to get better at seeing punches, hearing punches, feeling punches, sensing punches even before they’re thrown. The focus should always be on the stimuli.


Common Reflex Training Mistake #1 – not training with the right stimuli

And you have to train with the RIGHT STIMULI. If you want to get better at slipping punches, you need to have punches thrown at you. There’s no other way. Playing pingpong is not going to help. Dodging tennis balls as your friend throws them at you is not going to help. Sure, having fast reflexes in ANY activity is a physical advantage, but ultimately the guy with better trained BOXING reflexes will win the BOXING match.

Focusing on anything other than defending punches is going to be a giant waste of time! At best, you’d improve your coordination and instinctive reflexes, but you wouldn’t get any better at sensing punches or develop any effective reflexes. More on this later.


Common Reflex Training Mistake #2 – focusing on the reaction

So many boxer waste their time by doing the wrong kinds of drills for reflex training:

  • practicing the defensive motion (slipping in front of the mirror or under the rope)
  • practicing the counter punches (on the bag or in the mirror)

I’m not saying these drills aren’t useful (they are certainly essential for boxing training). My point is that they’re terrible for developing fighting reflexes. It’s common to see a beginner practice slipping motions in front of the mirror for a whole week, and then get destroyed in the ring, because he STILL CAN’T SEE THE PUNCHES COMING. What did he expect? How can you slip a punch if you can’t see it?

Just because I spend time slipping in front of the mirror and throwing punches on the bag, doesn’t mean I’m trained to see counter-punching opportunities. Shadowboxing and bag work has more do to with technique and conditioning. If I want to develop reflexes, I need to have punches thrown at me. Having a partner throw punches at me (even without contact) while I move around the ring will be far more effective for my reflex development because it exposes me to the stimuli (punches being thrown).

The secret to reflex training,
is to focus on the stimuli!


Boxing Drills to Improve Fighting Reflexes

At last, we have arrived at the reflex training process!


1. Slow sparring

If you’ve been reading my website for a while, you’ll know I’m one of the biggest proponents of slow sparring. I’m not saying all sparring should be slow. I’m saying slow sparring is an incredible tool for fight training to speed up your fighting skill development. Sure you can spar fast, but make sure you still do slow sparring. Slow sparring gives you time to relax, feel, think, and come up with new creative responses.

Most important of all, slow sparring really gives you a chance to take in all the sensory information from your opponent’s movement. How does he move? Where does his power originate from? What’s the first giveaway of his left hook? Where does his jab come from? Slow sparring gives you time to absorb all this and process it. Fast sparring forces you into a “move or die” attitude where you only remember how to avoid punches but you never actually get to see the punches you’re supposed to be responding to. Hard sparring fails the moment it becomes so hard that you no longer want to “sense” the punches.

I’m pretty sure 80% of you reading this are not going to try slow sparring. Either because A) you’re already comfortable enough with fighting that you don’t need to. Or B) You don’t even fight much and care more about the technical/strategic aspects about boxing rather than the actual execution ability itself.

But I will say this…the ability to absorb stimuli is what makes you great in anything that you do. The ability to see, and sense, and feel everything coming your way…that’s what makes you great at responding to it.

And in boxing, the fighter that can respond to his opponent intelligently yet instinctively, THAT’S THE REAL FIGHTER. Real fighters don’t need to think, don’t need to remember anything. They only respond and they do it naturally. And the best fighters have more fine-tuned reactions because they can sense more things. So having a great defense has more to do with being able to sense different kinds of punches, rather than to knowing many ways to slip punches.

Great fighters can sense more things
than lesser fighters.


2. Focus Mitts

If you don’t have a sparring partner or for whatever reason can’t get someone to throw even slow-motion punches at you, focus mitts will be the next best thing. Now I’m not talking about the mindless full-blast mitt punching where you throw all your power and get tired in 2 minutes. I’m referring to controlled mitt drills where you simultaneously attack and defend against punches and learn how to adapt to your partner’s movements.


This is how I work the mitts with a new fighter:

  • I lift the mitt quickly to give him a jab, and then I take the mitt away after a second.
  • I don’t say anything, I don’t directly “teach” him anything per say. I just lift the mitt momentarily and then take it away. And I keep doing this as we move around each other in the ring.
  • After a while, he gets smart and learns to jab the mitt as soon as it pops up. He learns to be more responsive and to watch for the opportunity.
  • Next I show the mitt and right after he throws the jab, I flash him the other mitt for a right hand opportunity. He’ll probably not see it because he was too focused on the jab, but at least now he knows to be more aware of other opportunities.
  • I go back to only offering surprise jabs. I wouldn’t want him choreographing the combination in his head. I want to teach him how to respond!
  • Finally, I flash him the 1-2 opportunity and this time he gets it!
  • Now I give him some jabs and 1-2’s in random intervals. I don’t move on until he learns to respond perfectly to both.
  • Now I give him a 1-2, and follow up with a 3-2 opportunity. Eventually he understands how to throw a 1-2-3-2 combination without me saying a single word!
  • Now I give him a 1-2-3-2, but now after he throws the last right hand, I slap him with my left mitt high on the side of his head. He quickly learns to watch for the left hook after throwing a right hand.
  • Then I give a 1-2-3-2 combo, swing a high left hook for him to duck under, and then I give him a 2-3-2 combo.
  • As the rounds go by, I give him different opportunities to throw and evade.

This takes time but eventually I’ve trained a fighter to look for punching opportunities while staying defensively alert. I don’t say anything and I correct him very little if at all. I’m careful to move in ways that create effective BUT NATURAL habits in his response. It won’t be long before he can throw entire combinations while defending simultaneously…and all without thinking!

This might sound like magic to some of you, but it’s really not. A good trainer can teach you how to fight without making you remember anything, without making you feel unnatural, and even almost without making you think! It’s like all you have to do is stand in front of him and he will make you respond like a boxer.


3. Shadowbox Sparring

Get a partner and shadowbox in front of each other as if you’re sparring except only you don’t make any contact. It sounds like a silly drill but it’s deadly effective. You learn how to look at real punches and how to respond to real movements.

Just the fact that you’re spending time looking at a real human being in front of you will do you a lot of good. You are being exposed to realistic fighting stimuli! The probably with training alone on the heavy bag or shadowboxing alone is that it doesn’t challenge your eyes, doesn’t challenge your mind, and doesn’t give your body anything to sense. You just kind of stand there and throw punches like a robot. And then you get in the ring and can’t hit your opponent because you can’t tell where he’s going to be next.


4. Double-End Bag

Last but not least, the double end bag. It’s not as good as having a live person throw punches at you but at least you’re forced to hit a moving target and be defensively aware at the same time. At least you’re forced to adapt and respond to something.

This is why many higher level fighters don’t bother with the heavy bag too much. Their punching technique is already good and they’d rather save their bones for crushing skulls. The double-end bag keeps their eyes sharp and senses alert.


The Goal of Fighting Reflex Drills

1. Learn how to SEE punches

It’s ALL about the eyes!

That’s the beauty of reflex drills. They force you to react honestly. Sometimes, we want to slip like Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather but then we get in the ring and react differently. This is BEAUTIFUL! Because you DON’T want to react like Floyd Mayweather (trust me), you want react NATURALLY…the way your body lets you react. Maybe it’s ugly or awkward or ineffective or doesn’t feel good but at least it’s an honest reaction. With time and training, your reactions will become more effective.

The first step of improving your fighting reactions is to respond honestly to the fighting stimulus. And you cannot respond effectively if you’re so busy trying to slip a certain way or counter a certain way.


You can’t defend a punch you can’t see.

What does a punch look like? It’s a funny question but believe me A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW! (Because if they did, they would have seen it and avoided it easily!) What does a right cross look like? If you had to wait until the right arm was fully extended, you are WAY TOO LATE. Too late to block, too late to counter, too late to do anything.

You have to be able to “see” the right cross BEFORE it becomes a right cross. This means being able to see the shoulder twitch that becomes a right cross. This means being able to see a sudden rotation in the body that generates power for the right cross. If anything, the hand itself should be the last thing you should be looking for.

Again, don’t rely on the heavy bag so much because it doesn’t give you anything to see. Your eyes become lazy and dead because they’re not being used. If you’re going to do bag work, at least try the double-end bag so it sharpens your eyes.


2. Learn how to FEEL punches

You won’t have to look for punches,
if you can feel them coming.

After you know how to detect and see incoming punches, the next thing you’ll want to do is develop your ability to feel them coming in. I’ll break it down for you. When I first started boxing, I got hit with everything because I couldn’t see the punches coming in.

After a few months, I started to notice when jabs were being thrown, when right hands were coming, when a left hook was about to launch, etc. I knew exactly what every punch looked like and where it was coming from and all that. But this wasn’t good enough. Being able to see a punch only allows you to defend it. You need something more if you want to be able to counter it.

What took me to the next level was being able to FEEL the punches coming. So just from one tiny little slip that my opponent made, I could feel his feet gripping the ground, I could feel his core tighten and chest loading up, and I visualized him throwing the left hook. And this all happened in my head before he actually threw the hook. But once that left hook came, I was ready, and I slipped and I countered easily.

Now how the heck was I able to FEEL his punches? It’s part training, part experience, and part magic. It’s beautiful that we boxers can reach a level of instantaneous reactions.

I’m not 100% sure how I slipped a 4 punch combination without thinking about it. But what I’m sure of is that I couldn’t have done it without paying complete attention to my opponent. I can feel when he wants to move, I can tell when he wants to punch, I can tell if he’s really hurt or not. Somehow, I know what he’s going to do. I’m totally in-sync with his body and mind. And this magical ability to “feel the punches” can’t be developed on the heavy bag or shadowboxing. You have to work with a live person to develop it.



This right here is the truth!

The ability to do something is pretty much the ability to do it without thinking. If I ask you to show me a jab, and you have to think about it, remember it in your head, warm up a few times, and then finally throw it…it’s obvious you can’t jab. Being really able to do something means you can do it without thinking.

To be a fighter,
means to be able to fight WITHOUT THINKING.

Michael Jordan doesn’t have to think about his arm when he shoots a 3-pointer! Cheetahs don’t think about running form when they’re chasing down their dinner! I don’t think about what my legs are doing when I walk to the bathroom! I just do it. We sometimes don’t even know what we’re doing until somebody asks us the question. Most of the time, we just do things as we feel—naturally, instinctively, and without thinking.


The problem with beginners – they have to think too much

That right there is the problem! If you have to think, then it’s not a reflex anymore. The moment you have to think in order to do something, it becomes a process that requires mental preparation and therefore you’ll never be able to do it automatically.

But then some people go, “WHAT?! But I can’t do it if I don’t think about it.” And that’s where I answer, “THAT’S WHY YOU HAVE TO SEE AND FEEL!” And “seeing” and “feeling” can only be done with a live opponent. Now if you’re purposely avoiding the fight in the ring because you don’t want to “SEE & FEEL” punches because they’re painful, that’s a whole other story.

You cannot have fast reflexes,
if you have to think.

I used to spar as a beginner and not remember anything that happened in the ring. My hands and feet were everywhere and much of the action was too fast for my brain. Sure enough, my body responded instinctively and not at all like what I had practiced in the mirror. Little did I know, that was probably the best training I could have ever had. My body was learning how to see and feel, and bypassing my brain, in order to help me learn faster!

Which brings me to another point. The brain isn’t as helpful as you think when it comes to learning. Sometimes, the brain gets in the way, it plays tricks on you, and prevents you from performing at your natural best. Sometimes the best moves you’ll ever make are when you let go and simply enjoy the fight for what it is.

Real fighting knowledge lies deep in the muscle memory of your body and its ability to adapt to “combat impulses”. All the analytical thinking in the world doesn’t mean anything in a physical sport. This is why spectators who’ve watched boxing for years still can’t outbox a kid that’s only been training for six months.

Want to have great reflexes? Learn how to fight, learn how to punch and defend, master the movements, build a strong body, and then just let go. Let yourself feel the fight and develop natural habits and instincts. Train with a focus on the stimuli and you’ll quickly develop TRAINED FIGHTING REFLEXES!

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Stunned at how awesome you are February 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Your way to focus mitts is amazing… I should try to learn it that way and this article is awesome man just like the other stuff you do! It incredible! And I bet imma be referring to this article lots when I’m training my reflexes. Thanks again Johnny 😀


Aydın February 8, 2013 at 12:34 am

Thank you for your information,

İs the eye contact important?
Because our coach always suggest us to manitain eye contact with the oppenents,this will cause to reflect more efficiently.

is it true, could you reply,




Johnny N February 11, 2013 at 9:15 am

Check out my boxing guide called “Where to Look During a Fight”.


Jimmy Dioguardi August 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

Hello John

I live in Melbourne, Australia & find your web-site very informative & gel with most of what you talk about.
The copied & pasted paragraph (below) is from your notes :

” Which brings me to another point. The brain isn’t as helpful as you think when it comes to learning. Sometimes, the brain gets in the way, it plays tricks on you, and prevents you from performing at your natural best. Sometimes the best moves you’ll ever make are when you let go and simply enjoy the fight for what it is “.

ME : When you are talking about the ‘brain’ I’d like to think you mean the ‘mind’ ?
Because I see a clear difference between the brain & the mind. The mind in my opinion is & can be the devil itself, however the brain in my view is the original essence ! OR if you’d like me to go a bit deeper, pure intelligence is beyond it all.
Intelligence in my experience is AQUA / WATER, I believe the inception of creation was created from water ! WHEN WE EXPERIENCE DEW, WE EXPERIENCE THE BIRTH OF LIFE.

Back to Boxing, I’ve always been interested in fighting from when I was a young teenager, I remember playing Australian Football one Saturday in the U 15’s many, many years ago & walking off the ground after the match, I noticed there was a TV showing ALI fighting a Martial Artist (Judo)?
I’ve always been enthralled by things like that , E.G Bruce Lee, Marven Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard ETC, ETC.

Thanks very much, I hope you get a chance to respond.

Jimmy Dioguardi


Johnny N October 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Yes, I probably meant to say ‘THE MIND”.


Admirer February 6, 2013 at 3:23 am

I agree, the way you use the mitts is just beautiful. You, sir, just explained the magic of boxing to me in one article, all I can say is thank you and hope to see more from you 🙂


MG February 6, 2013 at 3:54 am

Like always, the best! 😀


Arthur February 6, 2013 at 3:57 am

Another really good idea from you.
It must be really nice to get to train at your gym!


Spaniardguy February 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

Congratulations Johnny, great job!!!!


Terry February 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

Dear Johnny, I do so agree with you about slow sparring. It’s the missing link that few trainers seem to know about. They show a newbie a few punches and then chuck him in the ring sparring at full speed against whoever is around. If he survives, he’s got “bottle”. If he doesn’t, “Well, it’s a hard game, son. See you around”. No wonder many boxing clubs have such a high turnover of members. Terry.


PrinceRudyNasim February 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

Couldnt agree with you more.


Johnny N February 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm

It’s certainly unfortunate. High speed sparring is probably one of the worst ways to develop new fighters. The only one who gets tested is the beginner and the better one doesn’t get any workout at all. The point of training is to make you better. But you can’t get better if you’re being pushed way beyond your limits. That’s like saying a beginner weightlifter should start at a weight he can’t lift in order to get stronger.

And the funny thing is, the ones who advocate high speed sparring for beginners are the ones who handle it very well. To the point that it doesn’t even challenge them.


Michael B. February 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

Great article!!


Gordon February 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

I think slow-sparring is the best advice I ever got from you. I think of all the times I’ve been to a boxing gym, I’ve only done slow sparring twice. I actually got more of this done outside of the gym.


thair February 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

my favorite article ever. the thing about your website is. alot of high level boxing trainers and fighters know all of this stuff, but its never been explained and written about in this fashion. All of trainers might know and understand all of this, but I highly doubt they can explain it and put it into words the way you do in your articles. The way it’s organized and the breakdown, is like an online class for the subject of boxing. I feel like im studying for my career. Always feel so much excitement and passion on your website. thanks as always johnny!


Butch February 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

As usual a great article, just be wary of opponents feigning their punches. But I do agree, slow sparring practices makes perfect. Thank you for this one Johnny!!! Big fan


Steven Wang February 7, 2013 at 1:54 am

Johnny awesome article! I am so impressed with the wealth of info you created on your website. What if you don’t have a partner to train with, can you train your reflexes by vizualizing the punches coming at you?


Johnny N February 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Absolutely not.

Can you run an effective basketball practice by imagining opposing players on the court? Even if you had a vivid imagination, you’d only be able to imagine players that think like you. Because your mind is limited to the way you think. Another person would be able to think and play against you in a completely different way. And what you need is exposure to other types of movement. This is what gives you the experience to develop muscle memory that later becomes trained reflexes.


Alex April 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

What about videotaping yourself shadowboxing towards the camera, then watching the video on your tv, and trying to see the punches coming? It’s obviously not like sparring, and you would only learn to see your own punches, but still it’s something you can do alone at home, and as much as you want.

What do you think Johnny? Anyone else done this? I’m gonna try do this and see if my fighting reflexes improves!


Johnny N April 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Try it and see. Most likely, it’ll only be 5% as effective as sparring with a live person. The thing is live opponents exposes you to different movements and that’s what really makes you grow.

Sparring against a video of yourself is like playing chess against yourself. It’s limited, doesn’t expose you to anything new and you won’t grow much from it.


josh February 7, 2013 at 4:13 am

Without delving into too much detail on any specific technique, you have managed to explain the essense of boxing in a great article. Awesome read! I think you have inspired me to relax and slow spar more often as I can see exactly where your coming from.
Great site!


Jeff February 8, 2013 at 1:56 am

One of your best articles!!!!


Dongor February 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

You spend a lot of time teaching us all these techniques. Thanks for that Johnny! 🙂


ebss hassan February 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

really great article J 🙂


Jon Dometita February 10, 2013 at 5:50 am

I have to say this Johnny…You are the “BRUCE LEE” of the modern day Boxing!


don February 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

another amazing article, this does not come overnight. Mr Johnny came up with this through his years of actual boxing experience. He is indeed a boxing genius 🙂 another great read thank you sir


Steve February 13, 2013 at 12:07 am

I’m in awe at how well you break things down. Lots of boxers know the sport, but I can only go to ONE place online that can break it down so well. I’m so happy i found this site several months ago. I wish I had found it a couple years earlier. ^_^


Frank February 16, 2013 at 12:11 am

I should really try some slow spar that you have mentioned. thanks!


Ben February 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm

there’s not nearly enough emphasis on this in boxing gyms from what I’ve heard, my gym the main objective is fitness especially for beginners so lots of circuit training and sprints, next is technique which is really just bag hitting and occasionally a trainer will call you over to do mitts but they tend to focus on punching power with a few tips on defence whilst throwing punches. By the time they get you in the ring you’ve already got it in your head its all about power and fitness and your oponent is thinking the same so it turns into a real war between two fairly fit competitors who can throw a hard punch, the result is exaustion, bloody noses and shiners after a couple of rounds.


Alex D (poppa bear) February 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

Johnny I am the biggest fan of slow sparring. I’ve really learned how to move more efficiently and feel comfortable plotting counter punches “setting traps.” Last night me and a gym buddy stepped it up to real sparring (I have my 2nd fight next thurs) and I was amazed at how I was able to see anything he threw. I countered well but didn’t destroy him( he’s at 170 while I’m at 201). Anyways for u other novice fighters and/or experienced, give going slow a try.


Johnny N February 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

Beautiful. I’m happy for you and really glad to hear this!


andrewp February 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

hi johnny good article.the automatic parts of your brain are completly seperated from the conscious pathways and basicly unclutered.clinical studies on woman knitters (you see there are 2 completly different ways to knit and obviously a knitter makes 1 way completly automatic and has to think about the other way.)mra cat scans on the brains of these knitters using both methods whilst knitting show the automatic brain waves are almost instantanious and require no energy.the thinking method lights up your brain like a christmas tree and takes lots more energy and time.your brain tries to make any repeated activity approach is very similar to yours with the emphasis on developing drills to enhance good technique through automotive repition.a recurring theme in your articles.


andrewp February 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

also once these automatic pathways have been established they are very very hard to change and they set the bar for how good a boxer can become( most of the time).teaching a boxer to change these automatic fighting techniques using his thinking brain is a losing battle .they are best improved by creating new automotive rresponses) keep up good work johnny


andrewp February 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

oh sorry to correct you but your comment you cant react to a punch you cant see is incoorrect .look up blind sight google it .basically our subconsciuos reacts to visual pherical vision that is still present from our primival past .blind people can detect movemement and react to it (well certain types of blindness).what happens is the visual signals (about 10% are sent to subconscious part of brain).fight or flight or freeze.our conscious sight is completly unaware.minor point still an exellent article johnny


Johnny N February 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

I guess another way you could say it is “You can’t react to a punch you can’t SENSE.” How’s that?


Rey February 28, 2013 at 10:35 pm

You are amazing, you’re my hero!


A. Ruiz March 18, 2013 at 3:48 am

Would you say that holding the mitts for someone else helps as well?

Similar to shadowboxing across an opponent, you’re still learning to see another boxers punches and learning to react to them and even throwing punches at him to defend?


Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:46 am

Well holding mitts isn’t the same because you’re not forced to react to anything. You already know exactly what’s going to happen which is not at all like a real fight.


Robin Tudge March 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I loved the vid where to learn the reflexes against certain punches, you have to know what they look like This is what a hook looks like, frame for frame ‘here, or here, or first here’.
Total ‘of COURSE’ moment.


Shawn March 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Great article Johnny. Ive been training for about 3-4 months and last week my trainer threw me in the ring with a way more experienced boxer for my first full contact sparring sesh. and he really broke me. I realized after reading this that it is in fact my fighting reflexes that I really need to work on and everything i’ve read in this article seems like exactly what I need to be incorporating into my training. I suppose like a lot of ‘newbs’ ive been spending too much time on strength and conditioning and not enough time familiarizing myself with the signs of an incoming attack or movement. These articles have really been clearing the fog up for me and I just wanted to say Thank you.


Flash June 10, 2013 at 2:31 am

This is some awesome advice you put up here.I dont see many coaches telling things like this though I bet they know it all…….but still thank you


Ermolaos October 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm

There is a straight kick in Taekwondo which I call the “jab kick”.Anyway I had a friend who doesn’t apply Taekwondo realistically and he’s too much of a fantasy-maker so I have some common sense to realize that his executions aren’t too explosive and intense. Even though I don’t know much of a Taekwondo I can imagine what a realistic sparring/fighting looks like. So that’s I did. I put my thoughts through intensive sparring which I was applying boxing blocks, techniques and dodging to a Taekwondo fighter/sparring partner with realistic and extremely fast techniques. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but I was sparrring with him in those brown cliffs where Vegeta and Goku fight. God, it was like 10 degrees Celsium outside and when I ended sparring with that Taekwondo fighter I felt like it was 28 Celsium(I drank coffee before at least two times) . I know it’s something coming for Dragon Ball Z and I think that I subconsiously applied that after watching Krillin and Gohan “thought sparring”inside the Namekian spaceship.

Anyway my mind remembered and visualized more Taekwondo kicks and punches, but when I went to the staight high kick which I call the “jab kick”my realistic imagined self couldn’t imagine a realistic block or dodging technique since I wasn’t actually imagined myself in my thoughts as a moving picture, but my view on first person conflict. I was imagined myself blocking it, but it didn’t work too much when the dude faked it or did the classic “kick or not to kick” thingy.

Apparently you can defend from a jab because you can simply dodge it but the foot conquers more area and it’s difficult to dodge something like it. So I came to the conclusion that boxer most of the time win in MMA by having far more greater reflexes and realistic thoughts. So you can’t to not think. Conditioning also play great role in that. You can’t escape a high staight kick to the face if you have an equally great fighter with equal reflexes or greater than yours and pragmatic thinking. So you MUST have your hands up until you feel the kick in your hands. Then extend one of your arms and apply a cross or a jab. You must remain in blocking position if he’s doing the “kick or not to kick”.


Johnny N October 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I definitely agree with your theory that boxers do well in MMA bouts because they have faster reflexes trained through more realistic sparring.


Mike C July 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Thank you so much for this. This is what I’m missing from my training regime and possibly the reason I feel I’m getting nowhere and never winning matches or competitions. First opportunity I get I’m grabbing a partner and we’re going at this. What was I thinking training alone it seems like such an obvious answer and I couldn’t see it.


Teh July 7, 2016 at 4:06 am

Hi Johnny, may i know what is your opinion on Reflex Bag?


Digraj December 15, 2016 at 8:12 pm



Mohammadreza December 26, 2016 at 8:07 am

Great article. It’s going to be very helpful.
Thanks Johny


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