How to Be Great, Part 1: Deciding to Be Great

January 5, 2012 January 5, 2012 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Mental Training 179 Comments

Welcome to my personal recipe for success, a series of articles based on the experiences of my life and the lives of great individuals I’ve gotten to know personally. Of all the amazing individuals I’ve met, my brother was the only one I watched from his humble beginnings. It’s inspiring to witness the daily struggles of someone so close to you.

how to be great

The first lesson in becoming great: deciding what you want…


“Be great.”

It’s good advice, but it’s nothing new. You’ve probably known from the beginning being great was the one of the best ways to impact your life. It’s pretty obvious that it takes great planning to be great.

But how are you supposed to do it exactly? How can you “be great”?

Far too much of what we know about being great feels impossible. Talent, perfection, opportunity… all seem like things we can’t get enough of. Everyone talks about hard work, dedication, self-belief — all useful concepts, but you can’t point to them. You can’t hold out your hand and say, “Give me some self-belief.” As a result, it’s hard to understand what those things actually mean.

Does anybody even know what hard work truly means? Any fool can define the meaning of “hard work”, it takes true understanding to bring great success out of “hard work”. Over the past years, I’ve paid attention to the things that lead to greatness, both in myself and in others. It’s far from complete, but it should be enough to get you started.


LESSON ONE: Deciding to Be Great

1. Set a solid goal

A solid goal is one that is meaningful to you. It has to be so good that you stick to it. Your goal has to outlive your laziness, your indecisiveness, your weak ambition. Great goals will take years to achieve. If you’re the kind of person that changes his/her desires every year, you’ll never achieve your goals. If you’re the kind of person that likes to say, “I’m only going to try if I’m good at it.” then quit now. Again, your desire has to OUTLIVE the time it takes to achieve that goal. If you choose a goal that takes 10 years to accomplish, you better be sure that you will DESIRE that goal for 10 years. You have to know that you won’t change your mind next year.

This is where the fear factor comes in. You start to have all sorts of self-doubt… What if I don’t have the talent? What if I’m too old? What if… blah blah blah *more excuses* blah blah blah. Just quit now. If you’re already doubting yourself at the very beginning, quit and do something else.

The best thing I can tell you is that real goals require passion. If you’re passionate about something and I mean REALLY PASSIONATE about something, then yes, you have a chance. Talent, training, opportunity, luck, etc… all that matters too, but passion matters most. With passion, comes true dedication, self-motivation, and enjoyment in hard work.

I want to give an example of my passion: how much I love boxing. I think about boxing everyday for the past 10 years. I watch all the big fights, read up on all the latest boxing news, watch every boxing youtube video, shadowbox everywhere I go, and train in the gym every week. Is that enough passion to be a champion? NOPE! Sorry buddy, that only scratches the surface of average-level passion.

Now I’m going to ramp up my passion a notch. I love boxing so much I installed a double-end bag in my bedroom. I go to the gym even when I only have work clothes with me. I look for boxing gyms in every new city I visit. I spar even when I KNOW I’m going to lose.

I created a website where I spend countless hours of my personal time EVERY WEEK writing boxing guides and answering questions for total strangers around the world. I’m not being paid (at least not yet), and I’m not always rewarded for my work. Some people even tell me I’m wrong. Out of the 40,000 readers that visit every month, only 20-50 ever take the time to say thank you. And every once in a blue moon, I get a hater who says something nasty like, “Johnny, you suck. You don’t know boxing, you’re not a champion. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

And yet I’m still here…because this is my passion. Boxing is what I’ll be doing no matter how much I “suck” at it. When you find something you love, I believe it’s safe to make it your goal.

A solid goal is passion without conditions.


2. Decide early

Whatever your goals are, set them early. The moment you find your true passion, don’t sit around waiting to see how good you get before you set a goal. The sooner you decide to be great, the sooner you can start working towards it.

Last September, my brother came home from Argentina with the 3rd place cup in the World Tango Championship 2011. (FYI: he also won the US Tango championships 1st place in 2010 & 2011.) The first thing I asked him, “Brian, when did you decide you wanted to be champion?”

His answer surprised me a bit:

“I decided to be champion 5 years ago, about 6 months after I first started tango. I fell in love with it and knew right then that I wanted to be the best dancer in the world. I’ve been working for it ever since.”

I thought people just trained and developed themselves as time went on. And that becoming great was just something that kind of happens when you discover your hidden talent. The way my brother explained it, you can’t sit there waiting to discover your talent. You have to decide early on what you want and then work for it. Champions don’t leave greatness to chance.

Decide early to be great.


3. Prioritize

It’s not about knowing “what you want”, it’s about knowing “what you want FIRST”. The secret is prioritizing your desires! We’re all people and people generally want everything. Love, happiness, freedom, friendship, respect, rewards, etc. It’s safe to say everybody wants all the good things in life.

The trick to having everything in life is to go after them one at a time! Figure out what you want FIRST, and don’t move on to the next thing until your accomplish your first goal. If you spread yourself out too thin, you won’t succeed at anything and will never truly experience anything. There’s a side benefit to doing things one at a time, you get to pass on the skills you learned from one passion to another. But if you’re trying to learn too many things at once, you’ll feel like they’re all distracting and keeping you from truly understanding. Focus, achieve, and then move on. Don’t get distracted from your priorities.

Know what you want FIRST.


You Are ALWAYS Competing

Deciding to be great sounds like it takes courage, but actually, you don’t have a choice. I promise you, that you will be competing your entire life in school, at work, in business, a social setting, or even in the ring. You can deny it all you want with, “I’m just doing this for fun/money/etc. It’s not important.” and that’s fine. If you don’t care to become boxing champion of the world, then would you at least care to become the greatest at something else?

What are you doing now in your life? Can you be the greatest at it? And if you can’t or if you’re not willing to, then why would you do it?

Life isn’t easy, just know that you will always be forced to compete. Now you can struggle to be the average boxer, average student, average employee…or you can struggle to be great. Getting up everyday to tackle life’s responsibilities is hard! You will always be fighting for something, and I hope you’re fighting for something meaningful to you.


Read the other parts of this series:

boxing ebook Advanced Boxing Techniques 30 Day Fighter's Diet Advanced Boxing Footwork Drills
Did you learn something? Share It!


TGP January 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

thanks for this article….my goal is to beat one of my sparring partners….he is the best amateur lightweight boxer in VT, NH, Maine, NY and Massachuesettes and i spar with him 2 to 3 times a wk…


Alex D January 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Great article nothing good comes easy…i like the part about finishing 1 task b4 going on to the next. Here r my words of wisdom for the ring & life “slow progress is better than no progress.” P.S. Thanks Johnny.


Michele March 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm

I love your articles I’m not a boxer but a singer and some people tell me how talented I am but they always tell me things like new artists start at 19 yrs and I’m a mother with teen boys I’m too old but I sing and tune them out whenever I could cause life don’t always give you a full deck but you can still bluff and play a hand Lol


don January 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

nice article,thanks for sharing. But I’d like to ask something. Its true that boxing is one of my passions but can I do all the things I wanted? People say that if you want to be great at something you should concentrate on one area and be an expert.. I have many passions in life, boxing, muaythai, tkd and judo and playing the guitar. I evenly distribute my training schedules for them in a month.But to think of it If I will just focus on all the time on boxing id be great at it. Should I sacrifice some of my passions to be an expert like you are? Besides I have an 8 to 5 job and a love life..all seems to take my time. thanks and its nice to have this website more power 🙂


Johnny N January 6, 2012 at 2:33 am

Don, I have some questions to ask you. If your opponent is dedicating 5 days a week to boxing and you only dedicate 1 day a week, what are the chances he’ll be better than you?

What are the chances he MORE BADLY desires to be a better boxer than you? What are the chances he trains harder on boxing because that’s all he cares about whereas your passion is split across different disciplines?


HarteJr January 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thank for this article, im 17 now and just getting my mind right, i read this article any chance i can. Ive got rid of any distractions around me, because i love boxing and i desperately want to achieve, ive got some flaws atm, but nothing that cant be corrected.. Thanks again.


Hassan December 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

great articles. iv nearly read all your articles and i dont usually comment on articles or videos etc but after reading all your stuff i must say i realy wish u was my personal trainer,cz of your knowledge im becoming a much better boxer now and soon gna win a gold in the 2016 olympics hopefuly , been boxing for like about a 2 years and im 17 now, i wna be a pro aswel and champion one day cz recently i started training heavy training , 4 hours a day – 6 days a week but i live in england and i wish i cud come up and train in usa one day cz the gyms look so beautiful, but anyways my question was that cause im 6 ft 1 and i fight at 154 pounds, i feel bit skinny and weak at the weight so wanted a strength training routine for power which could add on bit of muscle because i dont want top move up weight by adding fat, like what excercises and how many set/reps for each excercise would be helpful for this? abit like what Manuel Marquez did for his fight with manny pacquio by adding a few pounds. thanks


Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

You’re asking for an entire strength and conditioning program which is only effective if its’ tailored to your needs. I would start with the easy boxing workout that I have on my site and then work your way up from there. You’ll learn new training routines after meeting different boxers and working under different trainers. Keep what works and change what doesn’t.


Josue Torres February 27, 2013 at 8:19 am

johnny… my name is josh..i really enjoy your insight to boxing and your way of explaining the art of boxing…i first saw you on you tube looking for drills to help advance my students better in a way they could grasp …i lead them rite to your site to so they can fill them selves not only in the gym but at home i got a few good kids who wish to be great….once again i enjoy your wisdom and your passion to share.. osh..and respect


Johnny N March 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Thank you, Josh! Good luck to you and your students.


don January 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Yes Mr. Johnny its true that he will be a more greater boxer than I am. Well devoting yourself entirely to a particular field will definitely make one an expert. My judo instructor only knows judo as well as my taekwondo instructor, but they told me the same thing “not to limit myself with one art” That can be true for being complete with myself but in a particular field devoting myself will certainly make me a better boxer.. This will give me more time to think, since I had fallen inlove with other martial art disciplines as well im just a white belt on taekwondo and judo..its not hard to let them go


sicnarf January 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I feel u johnny,sometimes i set my own schedule at work just to train with the pro team at the gym and my work is gettin mad because im pretty picky with my schedule lol and i dont get that much hours..its sucks,,i even bought a reflex bag so i can practice before i go to sleep and a 2lb dumbells to shadowbox hehehe..i dunnow wen is this craziness gona stop. Good thing i live in the house for free and my family got my back somehow s hehehe. But still mang gta pay my own bills,Prioritizing is hard (job) when you really want to be great at something..


Jimmy jim jim jim January 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm

This is a wonderful motivational piece with insights from personal experiences. Highly effective!


curtis c January 6, 2012 at 1:12 am

what should you do when family, friends, social obstacals and barriers to secsess are in the way? Do you talk it over with them and reason with or do you speak your mind and listen with your heart, follow your heart and go for it? Hope to hear from you soon and thanks for this artical by the way 10 out of 10 hope to hear from you soon you’ve really moved me.


Johnny N January 6, 2012 at 2:37 am

Great question, Curtis. It’s going to be answered in the following parts of this series. I’m glad you liked it.


Man Likee Pakkz December 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

Great article, i had another question which was that i always tell my parents that i wanted to be a boxer, since i was like 11 because that is when i fell in love with the sport of boxing but my parents did not let me box till i was 15. thats when i started training and so far iv only had 16 amatuer fights. im turned 17 like a month ago and im currently doing A levels so i get alot of work from school and that. My parents keep telling me that boxing is great but you have to have a back up plan but i keep telling them that i never ever think that i wont become a champion one day because just thinking about it is the most depressing feeling in the world for me, i get depressed thinking that im 17 right now, boxers like amir khan was in the olympics when they was 17 but then i look at B hop and sergio martinez , they started at 17 and 20 so if i keep training hard i can definitely become a high level fighter one day but i cant leave my education because i dont want to hurt my parents so how is it possible for me to balance my revision after school as my exams are comming up and train around 4-5 hours? before my exams i used to wake up at 6 in the morning and go for a run and do press up, pull ups and abs in the morining before going school and then after school i went boxing then went gym for conditioning. Thanks bro


Johnny N January 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Sounds like you need more time management and have to be prepared to work hard. Many boxers learn how to balance, school, work, family, sports. Some have to work full-time while raising kids as they train for fights.


Jérôme January 6, 2012 at 1:14 am

Thanks Johnny, very inspiring, for my boxing and for my career. You are very right, it is all about prioritization! My boxing goal since day 1 three years ago was to be great at body shots. I just love body shots! I still suck though and got punch on the head 100 time before I am able to land an average body shot, but what a great feeling!


J January 6, 2012 at 2:16 am

This has to be one of the rawest articles i ever seen anyone put up period, amazing work sir, you were right what you said about the passion part, but by you making this site man, great is not in your content, of course i say that with the utmost respects. What you have done johnny is help those get better at boxing not only that i also noticed my vocabulary thoroughly enriching there are alot of martial artists out there who dont want to show there tricks and strategies. not only that they think their better than everyone and dont have nothing to show for it, so great is in your category? again with the utmost respects man i oppose, what your doing here with expert boxing(which there are numerous boxing sites out there and this is the best most detailed one) But Mr, Nyguen you are going in the books as a legend i will never forget the name Johnny Nyguen, You will be a huge part of my drive all the extra time you put into something others were not willing to do you did, THANK YOU the amazing thing is other great fighters join this site to share such as SABER KHAN, KING LION, and many others, i feel greatful to even be a part of all three of you gentleman’s experiences and to have the opportunity to soak in the knowledge not only which one possess but as well as the knowledge willing to give out


Johnny N January 6, 2012 at 2:42 am

Thanks, J. I know what I’m working for and I’m happy to be on this road. One day, someday…


King Lion January 8, 2012 at 7:05 am

@J 🙂
That was very nice of you to share your heartfelt sentiments.

First of all that you had written of your appreciation in the first place and then to include me in the company of Johnny Nyguen and Saber Khan by name has put a smile on my face. Those 2 men have my admiration too and have helped me immensely to not just appreciate the ‘sweet science’, but to understand it.

You see J, I was just like you not too long ago and felt the same way you do now and have expressed same. I have no doubt that we all have learned and will continue to learn, from each other.

As you have proven by sharing your thoughts……There is never a bad time for good words or works!

Rasta Far I says:…..EACH ONE – TEACH ONE…..because if knowledge is not shared, it is betrayed.



J January 6, 2012 at 2:31 am

I would like to share a story with the expert boxing proponents. Again with all the respect johnny but here it goes.


Another story-



Johnny N January 6, 2012 at 2:39 am

I’ve seen the video. I agree completely.


J January 6, 2012 at 2:44 am



Johnny N January 6, 2012 at 2:48 am

Absolutely…I think it’s already been posted by others, too. And also already on our Facebook, I think.


J January 6, 2012 at 2:49 am
A January 6, 2012 at 3:14 am

“Its only what you make it that’s what you gotta remember but deep down inside everybody a winner you gotta work hard from January to December finish what you started and you could be a contender watch the person in the mirror look into your inner-self maintain health and never be a quitter gotta shine like the sun and flow like the river you get a chance to win then take it like a picture”


curtis c January 6, 2012 at 4:09 am

if this is part #1 is there going to be a part 2? & if there is could you add hyperlinks like or even or If really think you should becuase these really inspired and got my heart pounding i found these as insperational and the rocky movies and i hope you and other can find them just as insperational as helpful and as consructive as I fell they are. If you were to add them into your next edition if there’s going to be another. Hope to here from you soon. And thanks for this artical……….and by the way happy new year!


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 7:57 am

Great links, Curtis. Thank you for sharing.


IRON BOY January 6, 2012 at 6:25 am

Jonhy i have to say WOW, this article realy hit home. I kinda wish i read this a couple years ago when i was playing football (soccer) at a realy high level! But it still inspires me even more to be the greatest my mind is my strongest weapon but once in a while its good to read something like this and put you back on track!
2nd fight next sunday !!!! (1-0) undefeated hahahaha

bdw im that guy u posted the fight video on the FB page.

keep it up!!!!!!


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

How did you do? Post the fight, iron boy!


Reinaldo January 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

Johnny muito obrigado pelo trabalho que você faz eu moro no Brasil e aqui não temos nada pra estudar sobre boxe , o boxe profissional Brasileiro é um fiasco e o Olímpico vem melhorando muito , quero que saiba que seu trabalho é muito importante para mim .


Formerly Ungrateful Reader January 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

“Out of the 40,000 readers that visit every month, only 20-50 ever take the time to say thank you.”

One of those 40,000 is me, and I’d like to take the time to thank you for the website. It has quickly become one of my favorite sites and I frequently check it for any updates.

As for goals, I want a professional fight. I’m just learning how to box now and I love it.


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

I’ll remember this comment forever, thank you and good luck on your pro fight.


Gil January 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

“Johnny, you suck. You don’t know boxing, you’re not a champion. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

And yet I’m still here…because this is my passion. Boxing is what I’ll be doing no matter how much I “suck” at it.


Let the haters hate, because that’s all they are good for. People who do nothing but criticize and comment about how others suck, well, that says a lot about their character, or lack thereof .

You are passionate about what you do, and that’s all that matters. I for one appreciate the valuable and timeless knowledge that you have shared. Plus, being a champion is more than knockouts, belts and the material riches. It’s who we are and how we treat and help others is what makes us winners in life.

As it stands now, I may never compete, but that could change one day. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be for the money. That in no way, shape or form diminishes the love I have for this sport. I bust my ass in the gym, though, because I love the aura of boxing. I have played many sports, but none have fulfilled me as much as boxing has. The sport isn;t perfect as we know, but there is none other like it.

Just keep doing what you do.



IRON BOY January 7, 2012 at 2:35 am

A great Example of not playing the or not being the best at playing the sport and being a great coach is Jose Mourinho! never played at a High level but is the best or regarded as one of the best football (soccer) coaches in the world.


curtis c January 6, 2012 at 10:53 am

what do you think about self possesion – truly making something yours maintaining your own orginality whilest never loosing the common touch is self possession about of boxing apart of life or apart of the exsact same?


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 8:56 am

It’s true, Curtis. Originality has to be with you no matter what you do, or else you lose your unique human identity.


Eddy January 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Nice article Johnny. I’m 41 years old and I can attest to the fact that what you are saying is true. In my profession I am what most would call successful and now I have transferred some of that drive to boxing. I have achieved my first goal of becoming skilled enough to spar somewhat competently and now I am focused on competing in the 2013 TX GG Masters Division. My trainer can be brutally demanding and twice a week I **welcome** the challenge. As part of my roadmap, this week I am adding another day to my weekly training. Working towards 4-5/week while being mindful of my own ability to recover.


Johnny N January 11, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thank you, Eddy. Good luck on your competition next year. Do come back and post a video!


Ron January 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm


First off, for the 40,000 visitors who don’t thank you, THANK YOU!!!!

Your tireless efforts to make those who love the sport as much as you do (or in the process of), are absolutely appreciated to the core by those who are really learning from you.

I train at a gym, but I visit everyday before I train, not just for new material, but to brush up and see anything I didn’t read. To be honest, I know I’m not the most talented guy in the world, and I’m not my coach’s superstar, nor do I care to be. I am who I am. For a period, I almost felt like the fight game, despite having success in training, wasn’t for me. We’ve all been there.

However, the way you word concepts have literally CHANGED the way I think, feel and FIGHT!!! No joke, minor and major adjustments I’ve made from your guides have sent me leaps and bounds beyond what I was capable of before, and I’ve only been here for a few months, tops.

This might sound corny, but in the way everyone here’s their coach’s voice while training whether present or not, I can hear yours because you make sense to me.

Do I want to be champion? Absolutely. But to reach a degree of where you are would truly be an honor.

Please, don’t ever stop until your heart tells you to, because I think many, many more fighters/trainees than you could imagine would be losing out on a teacher, coach, friend and guide. You’re the man brother.

As far as becoming great, I can’t wait to get my ass out of this damn office and into the gym ASAP!!!!!!!


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

Thank you Ron! Stay out of the office!


Ron January 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Haha…here’s should be *hears*….forgot english in my excitement 🙂


Laura January 7, 2012 at 4:36 am

Hey johnny, completely off topic but I was wondering if you have considered making an audio Boxing workout series for shadow boxing or for training on the heavy bag?

There’s not much available out there except for Bas Rutten’s audio workout guides, however his guides are for MMA training, not Boxing.


King Lion January 8, 2012 at 6:19 am

Everlast has a Teddy Atlas CD that is sold with Everlast Heavybags that are endorsed by him.
I’ve used it for my workouts (bag and mitt work) and find it is real good.
TheTeddy Atlas heavybag is marked with numbers (7, 1-2,3-4,5-6) that Atlas refers to for jabs, upper hooks, uppercuts and hooks to the body.
It starts with 4 rounds of three minutes each, followed by another 8 rounds, for 12 rounds total.
There is lots of fight philosophy offered and instruction for proper breathing and motivation. IMO, it is an excellent resource.


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

Laura, I never thought about that…until now. It’s an audio CD with music in the background and a voice telling you what to do, right? I’m going to check it out and see if I can help. Thanks for the idea.


Laura January 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

Yep, here’s an example from Bas Ruttens Boxing Workout CD

What would be better would be to make a track with just audio commands, that way people can put what music they want with it. That would be awesome!

I’m surprised that not many Boxers are making these sorts of tracks (though the others I can think of is BoxingFitFactory and Dennythetrainer), you could make a series for beginners, intermediate and advanced boxers. It would be, without a doubt, a hit.


Spaniardguy January 7, 2012 at 6:08 am

Great article, great writer and great person, thanks Jhonny, very nice to read you!!


Dennis January 7, 2012 at 8:11 am

Very encouraging and motivating article!


BTF January 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

Love the picture for the post. The mind is definitely your greatest enemy or greatest friend.


vibha January 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

johnny THANK YOU SO MUCH for ur articles,advice,website…….& everything!


YB January 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

wow.. very moving and straight to the point. this definitely makes you think about your life and the choices you’re making. I’m sharing this one on my facebook for sure. Many others, not only boxers, can benefit from this message. THANK YOU!!


i’m going through some hard times and this just helped me out of it!!



Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanks for inspiring me, Y 😉


curtis c January 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

in the last few days alone i think (with a little effort and a little more persistance) this guide as well with what i’ve seen on youtube has turn my life in and out the ring around apsloutly. What do you think a fighter should base his life, his actions and his directives around both in the ring and out? I hope im not asking too big of a question like i maybe have before but seriously what should i do hear and now, becuase of you and what you’ve write and more, i have every hope faith and confidence i will get from A to B. Hope to hear from you soon, that for this artical it was a life saver/ pure gold!


Joe January 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

hi, my parents especially my mum disapprove of my love of boxing because they say its too dangerous, what do you think I should tell them too make them change their mind?


R.D. January 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

Speaking from experience you have to accept that your parents aren’t going to like it but you have to tell them that it’s your life, your body and what you do with it is your choice. While your parents may be looking out for your wellbeing you shouldnt let them stop doing what you love. Worst comes to worst if you want it enough you just do it without your parents support – and that’s a life lesson not just for boxing. Never let anybody, not even your parents, control how you live your life.


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

It’s a tough call, Joe. My parents didn’t like the idea at all, but I showed them videos of me sparring. I did my best to make them understand that many other people can box safely under controlled conditions and that injury could be minimized with proper safety equipment. Let them accompany you to the gym and meet your trainer.


Joe January 22, 2012 at 8:33 am

Thanks R.D, and Johnny you have both helped me, I will try to take my parents along to the gym.


King Lion January 8, 2012 at 6:27 am

Good article Johnny!
Let me share my own personal philosophy with you and your readers. I was told this years ago by a neighbour, when I was going thru a particularly difficult time in my life. He said it was something his father had taught him.



Alejandro January 8, 2012 at 11:34 am

Hey Johnny!

First, something has being weighing on me and after reading this article I must tell you I hope you had a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year! Belated as it may be I was sweating not sending you those happy wishes when I sent them to my other friends and family, seeing as I hold that mutual respect for you too. As I said before in previous posts – You’re cool guy man!

Thanks for this latest article – Wow! Awesome! True! What you wrote about is living at its best. When someone decides on that one thing to do that they love so much, it’s their identity fueled by their passion, and that is so important to have a happy life. Your advice is invaluable and inspiring to me! Need I say Thank You Bro? Your the best every day you try to be!



Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

Happy New Year, Alejandro! Thank you for the awesome comment.


The Crusher January 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm


I’ve gota say that you by far are one of the most insightful and educated boxing practitioners/instructors that I have came across (anywhere). I’ve been reading your articles for months, but have just now decided to comment, sorry about the delay. Yes, yes we all train and do this and that but I will say that I am fortunate enough to train with some high level boxers/trainers, and every tip/theory you employ is accurate, and or can be accurate in the fight game. Listen up folks, Johnny know his stuff, and you will not find better instruction outside of being able to train with professional trainers such as Johnny himself!! As for this article, thanks man I needed this!!

The Crusher


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

Thank you, Crusher!


Fabrizio January 9, 2012 at 6:21 am

Thanks for sharing your knowledge of this wonderful art. This site is really useful and easy to read, I learned a lot of stuff that helped to get better with technical aspects of boxing and conditioning. It’s particularly useful to me ’cause I’m not allowed to train at gym and I have to do my “dirty work” at home.
May I suggest an article on proper way to do shadowboxing for beginners?
Thanks a lot again.
P.S.: sorry for my probably bad english, I’m italian.


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:31 am

No problem, Fabrizio. I have that guide coming in the near future. Thank you for reading. Ciao.


JaketheSnake January 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Hey Johnny, please count me in: “Thank You” for the THE most insightful articles on boxing technique on the Internet! You are doing things on the website that take a team of people, from putting up videos, answering all the responses, always taking the time to cheer us on in our boxing journeys and for no pay. When are you putting up that book or sell that t-shirt so we can show some love?

By the way, here’s a good article on double punches to open up your opponent’s defense. Nice and complete with videos, just like your stuff:


Johnny N January 11, 2012 at 7:20 am

The book will be ready in less than a week, I believe. Thanks for the link.


saber khan January 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

coach, i know there’s a lot more where this article came from so im going to hold the comments.. for me whenever i start thinking aboutt this, it always goes back to michael jordan for me.. the flash of his entry into the NBA made him seem like the golden boy. the dunks and layups and block shots then all the weaknesses showed up, the defense and the inconsistent passing and the midrange jumper off ball. and people were like `aww its ok he’s an exciting player of course he’s gonna have flaws.’ usually people’s opinion seems to push everyone to take or not take action. and all by himself, MJ was working on his jumper, his passing, his defense. even when no one cared. and then when he couldnt win against detroit in the playoffs, people said aww he’s a great player overall but a scoring champ cant lead a team to a championship. ive seen sportsmen cry when a victory is narrowly snatched from their hands. to see Michael tear up when his team had gotten blown out-it showed just how much he wanted it. i was a really young kid then, but i remember crying without knowing why.

watchign MJ i began to feel the pain of loss in almost every aspect of my life. when someone gets good at something and misses out they feel disappointed-because they have a goal, they can see themselves at the finish line. but they need to have some amount of luck to get there, cuz if they encountered major difficulties they would have folder. because they werent invested enough in the process. i learnt from MJ to see myself at the finish line from the moment im starting to learn. to feel the pain of losing when it was ridiculous to even think i could win. passion and determination makes one i think look at reality differently. i guess u could call that deciding really early even deciding whats true for you. i learnt from MJ to be a really really really sore loser. i cant stand being beaten at anything, it just stabs me in the heart and i cant tolerate the feeling. it makes me want to get better get even. while MJ had that fire more than any other person ive ever seen, i saw the same determination in frazier and chavez and ali and leonard and hagler and duran and every other great fighter. marciano. hopkins. its something i never saw in tyson and roy jones except when roy fought montell griffin in the rematch and tyson fought spinks. i saw it in pacquiao but now it seems to be gone. and i saw it in floyd but it comes and goes.

to me it comes down to the passion for something. if someone feels the pain of losing even though theyre still a rank green newbie, i know that kid is gonna be great someday. if someone doesnt feel the pain of losing, theyre probly saying ahh its not my time to win. it’s not logical for me to win. i have a long way to go. if enough trouble comes in this guy’s path he’ll never get the chance to get good enough to win. and even then when he’s against his own caliber he will say the same thing. it’s not my time to win. it’s not logical for me to win. and he won’t.

it can be called setting a goal, deciding early, priorities. i just see it as how much a person hates to lose and how much they want to even the score. people to hate to lose so much they dont fight dont actually get in the ring. people who dont feel the pain of losing are easily forgotten. the demand from life to be the winner when one logically should lose-i think thats where greatness comes from.


King Lion January 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

@Saber Khan
Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.

What keeps me going is goals.

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

Muhammad Ali


stephan richardson January 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm

thank you


Jonatan January 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Johnny,

Have you ever had to deal with people constantly challenging you or trying to belittle boxing? I’m in good shape, so many conversations lead to me talking about my training and boxing in particular. Sometimes when I meet new people I will mention that I train in boxing and I almost always get challenged to spar or told that boxing is inferior to MMA or some other fighting art. One person in particular kept egging me on and tried to get me riled up so I’d fight with him, even going so far as to say that my legs must be weak because I only use my hands to fight. At one point he lightly punched my abs to see how “tough” they were in front of a group of people and kept showing me the “proper” way to throw a punch. By that point I got so upset that I had to leave the party where the conversation was taking place. I’m really not cocky or arrogant about being a boxer, and I don’t believe I give off that vibe by any means. Do some people just feel threatened when they meet someone that trains in a combat sport and feel the need to upstage them? How should I handle situations like this in the future?


Johnny N January 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

Some people are just jerks, you can find them everywhere. If it were me, I would have just walked away the minute he was starting to bore me. I’m amazed you stood there while he made you look silly. Next time, be careful about sharing that information with idiots if you don’t plan to demonstrate or back it up. You made the right decision in leaving. There’s no point in “upstaging” a jerk.


Jonatan January 11, 2012 at 8:38 am

Sadly there are too many jerks out there. Next time I’ll save my conversations about boxing for other boxers or walk away if things get remotely heated. Thanks Johnny.


King Lion January 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

You should have walked the talk and tested his chin!


Jonatan January 11, 2012 at 7:15 am

In an ideal world I would have just leveled the guy, but in reality it wouldn’t be that simple. I have a wife and a daughter, work full time, and attend my local university when I’m not boxing. I have responsibilities and while it would be noble to defend my honor and just knock out every bum that smart talked to me, that’s not the way I would like to handle things. I can’t let my ego lead me to going to jail or getting injured simply because some other guy has something to prove. My family counts on me, and I have a future career that would be compromised if I were to have a criminal record. What I’m looking for are strategies for getting out of situations without having to resort to getting physical unless it’s absolutely necessary.


saber khan January 11, 2012 at 6:33 am

hey johnathan, i have faced your problem a LOT in my life my man. specially since im short for my weight people seem to find it funny that a boxer isn’t a heavyweight sized man. i can relate what i do. i talk about my experiences, successes and failures, how boxing is about challenging oneself and not just about beating people’s ass. its like physical chess. i use humor and mention that id like to keep the teeth i have left (ive lost 2 teeth in various streetfights and 1 in the ring). and i tell them i dont want to hurt my hands for no reason. since my fists are marked up they see that and usually shut up. if they keep pestering me i go `i wonder if i have the power today’ and punch something solid like a wall with my right, hard enough to say leave a mark but not hard enough to risk breaking my hand. i prefer using the right because the left hand hits harder and i think its easier to break your hand on a more powerful punch. ive sometimes given them a free shot askign them to give me a chance to know what im getting into. i try and put them on the point of my elbow or take it on the shoulder. and when i punch i go OF COURSE for the liver! now if someone tries a kick or a takedown or knee footwork is the key. if they still keep with it, i do get pissed off. and i do a stare down and tell them i could settle with a fight but they definitenyl wouldnt like me after. and ive walked away about 4 or 5 times this way in my live. its socially pretty appropriate since people sided with me every time so far. ive never gone nuts and fought someone just because they bothered me. but ive been in plenty of street fights. when i do get into fights im a shameless sucker puncher and go straight for the jaw with the left. haymaker type. i think the way i handle things is pretty mature. im letting them see my scars, im showing them i know what i do, im giving them a free shot and putting them in place with a body punch. maybe it will do you good to try and show your skill before having to whoop him. and if u do decide to lay him out, go for the chin. big haymaker if youre close the elbow if shorter the headbutt to the chin. and a body punch to the liver or the solar plexus along with a takedown.

i find that works for me. above all dont let someone else force you into going to jail or having to pay because of their stpidity.


King Lion January 11, 2012 at 8:49 am

It is really quite easy to avoid charges or jail in these circumstances — merely ask the aggressor …..’do you want to fight?’ Once he agrees, it is a form of contract and you will not be chargedeven if he should die, because he agreed to a fight.
What Jonatan experienced was ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. Rather than rise to the challenge, he left. It did not even have to escalate to a ‘fight’ per se, only a demonstartion of skill as Saber Khan pointed out. He tested your gut. So you yest his chin. It really is quite simple.
There is no need to knock him out, just check his chin, or his gut – or both. As a boxer, you should be used to physical contact and getting hit and so should he. But because most MMA training is on the ground, once you check his chin and he feels the pain, he would have to think seriously about pushing things further and if he did, I still think a boxer will win if he uses what skills he knows, combined with controlled aggression.
Most MMA fighters now know that fundamentally, boxing is the more effective combat sport for close fighting and that is why you see most of them using more boxing techniques these days.
Think about it.


Jonatan January 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

I do agree with a lot of what you’ve written, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that I did not “rise to the challenge”. I simply felt the cons would outweigh the pros in the situation and made a choice to walk away. I can put my pride on hold for another day. If the situation were a little more serious (seeing a guy hit a woman, a mugging, etc), then I could rationalize getting physical. It is also not true that I would not face any consequences if we fought, as there is still a chance of conviction (public disturbance, assault, murder) and the permanent guilt of having killed someone for something so petty. Sure it may sound great to kill another person for smart talking, but living with it is a whole different story. I am used to physical contact because of boxing, but I view boxing as a sport and a hobby, not as a measuring stick for my toughness outside of the ring. If I have anything to prove, I’ll do it in the ring. Most real fights I have seen start lightly and escalate into something serious because it soon becomes a pissing contest and before you know it, it becomes an all out brawl (and rarely one-on-one). Why risk the great life that I have for something like my ego and pride? One of the basic fundamentals of Bushido (Way of the Warrior) is the idea that one should never draw their “blade” (weapon or hands/feet) unless the situation becomes unbearable. I truly believe that some stupid guy at a party with an ego problem is not just cause to inflict injury or death. If he were physically trying to harm me or someone else, that to me would be a just reason for defending myself or others. Those of us that are trained in combat sports have a responsibilty to use our skills responsibly and justly, otherwise we are no better than thugs or bullies.


King Lion January 11, 2012 at 11:55 am

@Jonatan….Why do you keep saying you won’t let your ‘ego and pride’ get in the way, yet you came on here asking how you should have handled the situation?
Say what you will, but your ‘ego and pride’ were hurt.
Ego, by definition is, ‘the state of one’s self, either in thinking, or feeling, when distinguished from an other’.
You’re just trying to rationalise, to make yourself feel better in the hope it will mitigate the pain to your ego.
Isn’t control a large part of combat sports? So why are you so worried about ‘killing’ someone?
I only mentioned that aspect because that could happen. Say you or he, got hit and then hit your head on the pavement……(God forbid)
You say you would come to the rescue of a woman, or a mugging victim; but for your own peace and safety, you would do nothing!?!
He hit You – first!
As Johnny said, don’t talk about it – be about it!


Jonatan January 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I asked how to handle the situation to get some advice from others who may have had the same thing happen to them. I don’t need to rationalize anything, I simply wanted to see how others would have handled it. Is this not a forum for boxers to discuss things with other boxers? Of course my pride and ego were hurt, but I learned from that and have moved on. That situation happened almost 2 years ago and I have grown as a person since then.

Yes killing someone could happen any time you decide to hurt someone. You don’t seem to have a problem with that thought, but I do. There have been many cases where someone did not intentionally try to kill someone, but did anyway. I didn’t initially bring up the concept of killing someone; you did when you said it could happen if you choose to fight. If you read my posting you will see that I said I would defend myself if someone were trying to harm me. The guy at the party was not trying to harm me, and his gut check was barely a tap. Yes combat sports are about control, but that is as much mental as it is physical. If you can stop something from escalating into a physical confrontation, is that not a form of control? You told Khan that you don’t like people messing with your “coolness”. I personally don’t care about things like that anymore, so I can now look back and see that I made the right choice to walk away. I also didn’t take Johnny’s advice as “don’t talk about it – be about it”. I took it as him saying to be cautious about whom I choose to discuss boxing with and to walk away from situations before they get out of hand. We are both free to interpret it in any way we please, and I do appreciate your views on the subject.


saber khan January 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

ahh kinglion i do not like the idea of killing anyone. because i have unfortunately had the bad luck of causing some pretty bad injuries to some opponents. and myself losing a tooth in the ring and having some injuries in my right shoulderblade as a result of being hit with a hockey stick, i dont think one can jsut test a chin and have the other guy get up and go `wow yeah ur a good fighter.’ it escalates. and usualyl in my experience such dudes have backup when they pull these stupid moves. my method has worked for me by being sincere first, then humorous, then showing what i got on something not living. and if i do get into a fight (never fought cuz someone told me to always for a good reason) i want to end it early. instantly in fact. now i must add im a very fast puncher with a still pretty good lead right hand and my patented opening lead left hook. so i like to take them unawares because with bare hands and outnumbered i dont want to spend time boxing i want to finish it early. and ur right kinglion NOTHING is as deadly as a boxer with heavy hands good speed and the ability to throw the first punch on the street. its only big guys that ive had to take down. combining the fact that youre throwing a haymaker, NO GLOVES, and they dont see it coming, even a grazing blow will usualyl take down an opponent for good or at least allow for the all important second shot. fights over. that STILL is not my suggestion to johnathan though, my suggestion is just be honest about what boxing is, and its not about showing off (at least for me). and maybe defuse it with some humor, then just show your skill. if the guy’s still an asshole, walk away from the social circle and tell him if he makes another move towards you he’s responsible for the consequences


King Lion January 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

“It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly”.
Isaac Asimov
I understand Saber, I’m just sayin’……this is a physical sport, probably the toughest of all sports. There will be physical challenges and in any competition, there will be winners and losers. This challenge came outside of the gym, or ring, but it is still a very real challenge and not a ‘sporting’ one either.

If a guy is being an a-hole to me – I tell him!
If he doesn’t like it – good!
Now he knows how it feels.

I wouldn’t hit the guy hard, just tap him, but that tap will let him know that- A)… a little tap on the chin/jaw CAN hurt him, so he better be SURE he wants to go further with his B.S. and- B)…I’m ready, willing and able to meet his challenge.
That leaves- C)…does he really want to ‘go the distance’ and get down and dirty, which in this circumstance means, does he want to quit playing around get serious, because this ‘big cat’ don’t play!

So I will have to ask him – Do you want to fight?

After that, he KNOWS that I am serious and I will know if he is too. More often than not, a bully (and that’s what this guy seems like) will get that ‘look’ on his face, like he is being set-up; and he is!

What ever happens, win or lose, doesn’t much matter, because I will not tolerate some punk trying to mess with my ‘coolness’. If I feel that tension vibe coming from him onto me, I meet it – head on!
I’m not in the habit of letting punks get the better of me, in any way, or fashion. At this point I don’t care about him, or his MMA because this thread is about ‘Greatness’ and How to be Great, well – “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.” – Washington Irving

So, rather than walk away with hurt feelings, I’ll kick some azz, before I kiss some azz; and then I’ll leave, when I want to; but I won’t be the only one feeling bad – you feel me? 🙂


isaac January 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

“I will not tolerate some punk trying to mess with my ‘coolness’”

yah were really gonna take u seriously after that LOL


STEVE E. February 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm

“I will not tolerate some punk trying to mess with my ‘coolness”

With that attitude, you’ll be in prison within a few years. Guys in prison LOVE guys like you that think they’re so “cool”. They’ll be calling you Queen Lion in no time LOL 🙂


King Lion April 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Pearls unto swine…


ROD L January 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Another solid example. Not only have I started boxing at the age of 38, and loving (almost!) every minute, but starting my own business soon as well. I reckon it’ll be great advice to take into that arena as well!


Jonatan January 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

To start boxing at the age of 38 is badass. It takes guts to do that; best of luck to you!


saber khan January 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

okay guys, time, time!! 😀 sory johnathan if we seem to go out of line. i was just trying to say i feel ur pain and i dont believe one has to fight physically. most of real boxing is NOT physical anyway-do it in the ring break their spirit.

i definitely get what ur saying king, man trust me i was exactly the way youre describing man. i mean i lost 2 teeth in streetfights i fought that much (i had 43 fights as a club pro and we KNOW those guys hit 10 times harder than any dude on the street). i agree with u king im not going to let a punk get his way.. \

king, let me mention some of the people who go `u were a boxer’ and my seniors at hospital, friends of friends, restauranteurs, guys who are with the girls im trying to pick up, even new colleagues. we cant go whacking everyone man people wouldn’t wanna talk to boxers if we just laid everyone out. but i do make them walk the talk by seeing if they can mentally handle the image of me putting them to sleep rather than doing it. the psychological mind **** zen part of physicality is more powerful than actually doing it. i AM a doctor by profession so gotta keep the good name 🙂 within that context tho, im totally with u. im NOT going to let a punk mess up my good vibe. but what i find, is if u put out that mental challenge they just move aside man.
when people are just new in boxing, kickboxing whatever, im sure uve seen this too, theyre all talking about technique little victories. but given a year or so they start talking more about how they met their match at various times or went thru when they thought the fight was done, the mental aspects. i find just talking about that, showing those scars, pointing out a broken nose and 2 fist with every knuckle marked by knocking teeth out, it scares these people 95% of the time. now king this works good for me cuz i dont have THREE teeth and its visible, and i got marked up on both hands ppl see my hands they ask what the hell i do u know ? so theres a novelty factor there man. come to think of it ive made a few people somewhat good friends just talking about it they seemed to get respect for it, apologized, it was good.. if someone does persist in being an ass, i get pissed off. if they think they can box ill let them take a shot and roll with it or just slip it and angle them. its kind of like saying `if that was real ud be mince meat.’ tusually the layman punches at the stomach, theyre scared of hurting people themselves. so i either avoid em elbow parry or if im feeling vicious land on the elbow. if someone punches hard and lands on your elbow, and u go, oh what happened ? i didnt do anything… what’s wrong ? its just hilarious =D and no one can say it’s ur fault.

now, some BIG GUYS dont believe in boxing at all theyre about MMA. so to prove a point ill take a whack at something a wall or even better some thin metal. cuz the metal sometimes bends or at least the impression of the bones below the knuckles stays in em. or doing it to a tree. and what it does in my experience, it makes them wonder if they can take it-i can see it in their eyes. i think people are naturally definitely more scared of a fist than a takedown or a judo move or a karate hiyaa or whatever. and in my whole life, after this stuff, it has failed me 4 maybe 6 tmes. thats a pretty good record for my technique i think. but if they still want to fight. i just step away and tell em if they follow me theyre responsible. and thankfully for them no one has ever decided to step to me, and my social circle hsa supported me for being a gentleman and blah blah.

i hope johnathan i could kind of share ur frustration with the social reaction to fighters man, and i think beating someone in their mind is much much better than physically. and believe me u can MENTALLY psych out a half a dozen guys but u cant physically take them. i havent done that myself but my guru Sam did it infront of my eyes.. wow that guy was good man. and king, hey man if u can lick em, dude go for it-and get in some shots for me.

this article is about being great and thats mental. so is winning on the street most of the time. at the highest level, i feel i beat opponents with my mind as much as my punch or defense. and i believe that i can be intimidating enough without lifting a finger to scare people away. i feel thats even more awesome than actually having to hit 😀 after all, a lion go can roar at a mouse that’s disrespecting it but if he starts chasing it-he’s now a pussy cat … zen baby


paul January 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

That article was a great pick me up!When ever I feel like chucking in the towel I’ll read this article.I only discovered the excitment of boxing six months ago.A friend of mine suggested I come along to his club and give it a try.I’ve found it really tough and the fitness is like nothing else I’ve ever attempted in my whole life.I did athletics at school and was in the cross country team.But this sport is something else.My fitness levels now are the best they’ve ever been and at the age of 41!I used to think boxing was for young people but when I go to boxing club there’s people older than me some in their fifties!My goal is to get good enough to enter an inter club boxing bout.I know this may take quiet a while to get good enough,but I’m determined to have a go.I would love to win,but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world.I’ll enjoy the challenge and I will see where I went wrong and try again for the next one.I think anyone that has got the bottle to get in a boxing ring and fight shows real courage and I have the utmost respect for them!
My short term goal is to learn to relax more and not burn myself out too quickly.I usually get over enthusiastic during the first round,which slows me down in later rounds.I train about five times a week and spar once a week.I am determined to get to a better standard within the next six months.I’ve cut out alcohol completely,cut out junk food and I’m starting to pay more attention to what I eat.
I’ve lost two stone since taking up boxing ,I would never have achieved that doing pointless diets.The benifits are fantastic!
2012 is boxing all the way for me!


Johnny N January 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Awesome dedication, Paul! It’s exciting to hear about people just starting boxing.


saber khan January 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

wow paul i really really hope u keep going in your journey to become a great pugilist and a healthier person brother! welcome to the gloved men’s club 😀 btw i hope u are appreciating the very mental aspects of boxing too. it needs one to understand the next moves your opponents will pull like chess especially if one is ready to learn a few different ways of fighting. im older myself now than when i fought seriously. and by trying out different styles and modes of boxing that i previously ignored, i find a greater deal of variety in my time on mitts and the bags. some things do get tedious if ur coach prefers to teach u one style, i would suggest asking him/her to walk you through all the motions. each type also seems to focus on a different kind of physical activity. while swarmers are much more endurance oriented, throwing lots of bombs like a big george foreman on ali is really fun. and both are physically demanding and good for health. one will be killing your legs from constantly getting down low under the slip rope the other will make ur arms toes your back burn from throwign shot afer shot. very different experiences. i find that when i practice the moves of a counterpuncher, i get more sore than usual. i think its because going backwards and darting to punching forwards uses muscles i dont have that developed or maybe they dont have the same stamina. counterpunching also seems to sap my nervous energy i feel less tense afterwards 🙂 wow i really didnt realise this stuff until i started typing i just wanted to congratulate u good luck man


Radd January 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

Star Sheriff how is going brother ? 🙂 I got a question for you; Do you have some tips for efficient clinching and extreme inside fighting, i know these are too general stuff but you always have very useful tips and experiences about boxing concepts so i wanted to ask you these subjects.
I watch “Holyfield-Tyson 1” fight last night, I guess that’s a good example for clinching especially. Also for “going forward punching and clinching for stopping the counter punch of opponent or shut his offense” style i watched hatton. Hatton style is like an brawler clincher style i guess. Boxer style clinching is going backward clinching as an idea, hatton’s is going forward pressure clinching if i don’t understand wrong. What is your opinion bro.


saber khan January 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

yo bad radd..i think infighting really close has different techs for a taller vs shorter fighter, one who wants to fight in close vs one who doesnt. i can indeed tell u about being the shorter fighter trying to come in and being smothered. now handspeed counts a LOT inclose, much more than outside. but few boxers ever remember the importance of timing the opponent. someone coming in has to of course either avoid a series of punch to get in, and throw a punch. or use their speed and throw a lead punch that gets them in distance to throw the next one. one HAS to have either a very good jab or a beautiful lead hook to close the distance. just trying to get in close by taking punches is stupid-even if one has a chin like hagler or lamotta or margarito. and punch for punch fighting (you throw one they throw one, you hurt them a bit more and then get close) is not that practical, if theyve got better reach your punches lose some starch. i have in fact knocked down a guy once when getting hit by his right hand, man i wish i had a video of that i really want to see what happened. i threw a left hook, he clipped me im sure but he went down. but its just a rare rare occurence. either get in clsoe with handspeed or timing the opponent, avoiding a punch + footwork. but i assume you are talking about fighters already close up.

in that case, for the short guy it’s all about 1. keeping the chin down 2. punching as you move 3. timing and vision 4. preventing the other guy from putting his weight on you that is, getting TOO CLOSE 5. keeping it varied

its illegal for them to keep you away but hey it aint a fair world. to do so a taller fighter keeps his arm out to prevent someone getting too close, a smaller figter uses the elbow. to defeat that push one needs to have very fast feet and hands. and SEE the push. train for the push. george foreman used to push a lot. and i kept thinking, doesnt frazier realise what foreman was doing ? when anyone is pushing their guard is partially down and moreso theyre standing up straighter. if ure still in boxing mode ure fighting wrong. the moment they start to push they get their weight backwards if one can land any kind of punch at that moment (timing) they can knock the fighter back and even score a knock down. its just so rare these days and even in the 70s but i read in the 30s, 40s 50s it used to be a staple against boxers. there is vision, timing, speed of foot and fast hands required. one can also duck the push and come around with a big punch. tho it seems like the 2nd option is better, for me the 1st one worked wonders. looking at the elbows going back together u can tell when someone is going to push (and this is ample time for a quick guy to push). whether its one or two armed a push looks different from a punch better to have someone push at you. and it takes more time to do so. plus ppl push at the chest and have to lower their arms to chest level. perfect to get in a shot.

taller fighters will jab at the upper body rather than the chin and try to hit a few punches and clinch. as someone comes in to clinch, if you can time it, a short short punch to the body or a lead right will stop them in their tracks. specially if there’s some elbow with the punch. avoiding punches in close isnt easy, it needs special training. my trainers were hard as nails but they taught good stuff. one guy would be in the corner and the other would be pushing into him in the corner. the against the ropes guy was only supposed to throw a punch or two and clinch. the aggressor was supposed to keep him on the ropes and prevent or get around clinching. boxing vision is so peripheral and it was so ingrained in us even today if someone approaches me from the side i sometimes slip to my left 🙂 you have to be able to see those punches coming in close. you can look at the other guy’s upper body for movement to know he’s punching, but i think its much more instintive than just one move or technique. if u can avoid a single punch and get the other guy offbalance it’s a big opportunity to land a punch on a blindsided opponent up close. not pushing throw snappy and short. not single punches, try and throw combos that include one to the head one to the body. feinting works best when someone if going up and down.

another thing to do but really not practical is to hop back. if you can do so quickly and move forward theyll get imbalanced. but it doesnt work 🙂 just something we tried. one can push and clinch much faster than one can go back in our experience. against someone like margarito i would try it. push off the left foot and jump back, then forward with a lead right. one needs to try it against a slow guy. and of course, see the push or clinch coming.

one also has to keep their balance. the other guy is going to be pushing you offbalance trying to get their head down. that’s about staying down carrying hands high and head down, for me bending lower than usual.

one has to prevent people grabbing at them after missing a punch or if one gets in close. like holding down the neck or putting their armpit on your shoulder. if someone is just avoiding punches and not throwing theirs its all too common. punch as you move punch as you slip punch as you roll. just moving is purposeless. but going 1 for 1 is useless. either find the right time (when theyre trying to push or clinch or when you feel you can beat them to the punch) or counter.

also in close fighting prefers a guy who has power in short fast punches. tyson did not seem to have that and holyfield did the right thing. tyson was lazy as hell against clinches, maybe he was never trained for that maybe he just never had to do so. also punches should be short and snappy not pushing. dont be pushing through be looking for the surprise. i like to imagine that i punch so fast i cant see my shadow. it just drives me to be as fast as the blink of an eye.

if the shorter fighter does not have the ability to hurt the taller fighter its a very very hard battle. ive unfortunately tried to teach other shortish fighters at my gym in my area for their rematches against taller opponents. but without some power to disturb the opponent maybe the boxing gods made it unfair for the short guy.

so those are my bread and butter for staying in close and winning. chin down. weight low. keeping them from unbalancing you by punching as you avoid something. short punches. no haymakers. body punching against a guy who is loading up on the top. seeing them with the peripheral vision so you know when theyre going to punch and more importantly when theyre going to try and push or clinch. and using the time when theyre going to push or clinch to throw a punch.

man radd u chose a really long topic bro! ok thats bread n butter. the REAL REAL key comes in how to recognize the moves (a tap, punch, a push, a clinch) and timing to to avoid the move and punch, which is about drills improving that peripheral vision. but if u get too one dimensional it will stop working. they will figure u out. u gotta make sure making sure YOUR defense isn’t too mechanical. one needs to be observant of their own ways of avoiding punches or fighters will time them. nothing done too often is good. bait the jab, bait the close in left hook. let some miss, block some. feint punching. feint ducking. occasionally back up a bit after they land a punch while keeping your weight on the foot you land your best punch at. if you can time them and make them the aggressor and land a fast lead as they come in try to chase their advantage, you mess with their mind a little. it stops them from trying to come at you. feint, change up. throw leads when u have equal chances, counterpunch when u see opportunities and feint to mix it up, prevent a fighter from feeling he has to clinch/push all the time or even start feinting himself. if someone feints a push/clinch and you come in to punch and he gets you im imagining the fight may change right there. so a few feints are needed to see what someone is willing to do after youve tagged him a few times. see if he’s figured you out. see if he is feinting. its not as much a chess much up close but POTENTIALLY it could be. just that these days boxers dont seem to care about these things.

now if a tall guys the aggressor he will try to impose his height weight on the opponent to prevent others getting too close, its hand speed and timing them as they come in. youre landing punches and clinching them. or youre trying to punch at angles and moving.

there’s a ton of other stuff. which hand someone pushes with. which hand they begin to clinch with. where their weight is in close. do they get tired jabbing with the left and put it down at any point (oh what a joy it is to land a right on a tall muther***** as they tire after jabbing my chest and abusing my shortness!!!) a lot about when body shots are better. if standing shoulder to shoulder the kidney punch and flop. ask johny to write an article dude


Radd January 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

Saber; thanks for the great and detailed article (i don’t think it’s a comment 🙂 This really helps a lot.


Bob January 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Just wondering when the amateur boxing workout is coming out?


Johnny N January 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Bob, that might not be for a while. It’s low on my priority list and still needs a lot of work before I think it’s helpful enough for amateur fighters.


Guilherme Nanini January 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Your website is the greatest!!


Malcolm S January 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm

This is such a inspirational article. Thanks for writing it. I’m thinking about starting a boxing club at my university and I was wondering if you had any advice. I love boxing too and that’s why I want to bring my love to the place I attend almost everyday.


Johnny N January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

The school has an organization where you apply to start a new club. It helps you get officially recognized on campus and even get access to funding and a place to train. Of course, they may have some rules to protect club members, let them know their rights, etc, etc. Be a leader and start it up!


Thien Bui January 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Johnny, keep doing what your doing! Your an inspiration to me and I use your website primarily because the outlay, the articles, everything is easy to read and understand. Thanks for your time and your wealth of information!


Johnny N January 28, 2012 at 12:13 am

Thank you, Thien! I’m glad you enjoyed.


Jokulps February 2, 2012 at 10:32 am

You should write a book.



Steve February 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

…..he did, LOL


Jokulps February 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm

You’re right Steve. But as good as his ebook is (I got it), I mean a REAL book, not a guide.


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I could honestly see that down the line one day.


Ryan O February 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Often I find that my willpower starts to falter when I overthink things. I’m one of those people who considers all options in scenarios, weighs up the pros and cons and looks at everything logically. I don’t believe this way of thinking often holds me back; especially when starting something new or somewhat risky. It’s a self preserving way of thinking but I really hate it and find it extremely difficult to stop or ignore that way of thinking and approaching things.

Has anyone else been like this? I’d love to hear some opinions.

Powerful article indeed. Well done Johnny.


Johnny N February 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

I use to get yelled at for over-thinking too much especially during matches. The best way to ruin your performance is to over-think. Let it go and trust your body to fight the way it’s been taught. If you lose, then you need more training not more thinking.


Ryan O February 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Edit: I DO believe this way of thinking holds me back. Typing on iPhones is frustrating xD


Vinny February 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Nice article! I liked it! Thanks! 🙂


Michael February 20, 2012 at 12:23 am

Thank you Johnny


onTheRightPath February 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Thank you Johnny


W. March 7, 2012 at 4:39 am

“What are you doing now in your life? Can you be the greatest at it? And if you can’t or if you’re not willing to, then why would you do it?”

i do a lot of things just cos i enjoy doing them, not cos i want to be the greatest


Johnny N March 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

Ahhh…then this guide won’t apply to you, W 😉


W. March 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm

i really enjoy all of the other articles so it’s all good!


starfishman March 7, 2012 at 6:52 am

So glad I found this awesome site. Definately one of the better ones ive come across for technique realted training. I need some advice from you Johnny (though everyones 10cents is welcome).

I got into boxing a few years back when I was a lot younger like (16/17). A lot was going on in my life at that time, a lot of pressures from parents, and the fact I still hadntdeveloped my social skills to a reasonable extent (whatever that means) by this point in my life didnt help. I basically let all the typical stuff like drinking and making false friends get in the way (and believe me ive learned the hard way).

Around this time I got my first “real” part time job, I remember around that time my parents were constantly nagging at me, about earning money, dont get me wrong I was in the middle of getting a education but nothing I ever did was good enough. I remember around this time also my Step dad venting on me (used to deal with that alot) snd basically saying something like “Why you ever wanted to get into boxing I dont know, and basically pointed out that I dont have the right genetic make up to succeed or not get hurt, telling me my arms are too short for my relative height, and have a pretty wide back, he said its gonna be alot harder for me and I stand a chance of getting my ribs broken in the “Amateurs”. I remember his words cut deep and I vasically felt I wasnt good enough after that. My training suffered and eventually I stopped going to the gym and spent more time chasing girls most of which werent worth it, more of a distraction for me.

I was talknig to a guy at work a few months ago whos really into his powerlifting, and practices muay thai for self defence. I was getting inspired by the guy a lil, and I expressed my feelings of maybe getting back into boxing, we were talking one night (few drinks), and he basiaclly started ranting on about how im full of shit about having ever done any boxing, and that I would get seriously hurt because my arms are too short for my height (familiar pattern here)…

Now im 23, havent done any trainning for years, and want to get back into it, but I only want to do it with an emphasiise on competing, idk why I just do. But surely two people cant be wrong can they??

Anyways if I did decide to give it another guy and not listento other peoples pseudo bullshit advice id be looking at light welter or welterweight in the ams, Im like 5’10 1/2 tall 71″ reach (wingspan), and….wait for it … arms just reach 23″ from begining of arm to knuckle.

I remember all that time ago back when I was training my coach tried to get me to box on the outside as opposed to infight, as he said I was tall, however my arms dont help at all do they? I should also probs mention im a natural soupthpaw, but my right hand seems to have more power (a lot of power actually for my weight), im pretty strong and seem to get a lot of leverage for myweight, but I know that isnt worth jack in boxing compared to the Ungodly defence I would need.

I must admit the porspect of getting my ribs broken does interfere a lil with my goals, but thats mainly because of what those two people have said to me.

When it was my stepdad telling me my mum actually told me hes just jealous cus he done nothing with hia life LMAO, when the guy from work said it one night, my best friend who also knows the guy even backed him up and was saying hes right. The whole thing escalated into a near fistfight because of this, and I got pretty emotional im not ashamed to say..but do I just listen to the wrong people?? I remember sparring was okish *(nothing spectacular) but nothing particularly dreadful either.. Am I just too big a target for the ring at my relatively low weight, hhow would I DREAM of being as elsuive as I would need to be if im too wide for slipping? Also are my stats that bad??

Sorry for the rant guys.. this wasnt meant to be a sob story but I have to be honest in order to get the most accurate advice.


Johnny N March 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thanks for sharing your honest feelings and being open. It’s rare that people can confront their feelings the way you do (that’s a great quality, btw). All those negative people in your life aren’t talking about you, they’re talking about themselves. They’re talking about their own failures and their own limitations. They bring you down because they don’t know how to live happily and inspire others to live happily. Follow your goals and be more careful about who you listen to. Most people will either be helping you reach your goals or simply getting in the way.

There have been numerous champions in the past with short arm length. Rocky Marciano had the shortest arm length of any heavyweight champion in history. (Rocky’s listed on Boxrec at 5’11” and 67″ arm length and retired undefeated.) Keep developing your skills and moving towards your goal. Not much else matters.


starfishman March 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

P.S. sorry about some ofthe spelling this keyboard is jacked (im in a local library atm).


starfishman March 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

thanks for the reply johnny, are there any pros I could look at that you know of in terms of technique/defence that are taller but with short arms?..

It seems to be a rarity in boxing, I started watching some of the old Winky Wright vids a fewdays ago, noticed he bout my height, and relative weight, his stats read 23″ arms but man tbh I think some of these stats are made up, his arms look longer than that. The same goes with Bernard Hopkins, who although alot of his reach comes from his wider back, I still think his arms a re longer than 23″ at 6’1..

I see what you mean about rocky marciano being undefeated, however I cant help but mention he was more of an infighter type, as at heavyweight he would have been shorter than most of his opponents so could get in and under them without worrying too much abouttaking heavy body shots (think Tyson).

It feels as though I would have been better off if I was actually shorter lol! if that makes sense as then at least my reach would measure up fairer, and it would not be a question of whether to fight inside or out as id obviously want to go in on the other guy.

However doing this at 5’10ish at welterweight in ams would I be opening myself up more shots??


Johnny N March 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

Hmm, a tall guy with short arms…Lucian Bute. I’m sure they’re more out there but that’s not the point. Arm reach is only one of many factors. Train hard and do what you can with what you have. A good fighter is a good fighter regardless of his arm reach. The time you spend focusing on your disadvantages takes away the time you could spend developing your advantages.


starfishman March 10, 2012 at 7:30 am

ok im tihking of getting back into a gym next week, been doing a couple of searches theres plenty nearby where I live! at least 2 or 3. Ahhh I took a look at Lucian Bute, I think boxrecs stats for him as 70″ is wrong though im not sure. One last thing, im curently 154 (11 stone) all most inactive fitness wise (less you wanna class walking), and im probs around 10% BF, would it be a bad idea for me to compete at 152? this is the weight I would rather be sitting at for training.. Or would I need to go light welter which is 141 in the ams over here.. I just feel that might be too low a bodyweight for me, though I could be wrong.. I look weak now at 154, so 141 even if im in top shape I dont want to look ill lol.

Man they should use the same weight cat system as the pros 147 for welter.. that would have been better,, guess alot of this is down to the fact they scrapped the jr middleweight cat from the ams…

thanks again for the heads up johnny, this site is amazing.


Johnny N March 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Get in the ring with different fighters and see where you feel comfortable. After you fight a hundred opponents, you’ll get a better understanding of your best competing weight. It takes time to figure yourself out.


starfishman March 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

ok im planning on going to a local ymca boxing gym tonight, just gonna get back on it rather than try to get myself fit again first.

One last thing Johnny do you mean sparring? or do I basically need to be competing at both weights to see which is better?…. probs a dumb question, I think you mean the former, but just making sure..


Johnny N March 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Yes, I definitely meant sparring.

Prem March 10, 2012 at 6:02 am

Thanks for website Johnny N.
I am really thankful for this article as well as all other article.I was Amateur Boxer once a regional champion.But,due to my studies i was not able to continue(you can say i made my choice,i agreed with my brain not with my heart).It is very difficult to live sportsmen life in my country .But, one thing always used to haunts me I was not able to be National champion .I feel guilty to let my coach down who use to believe in me and was also smashing my own dream to be a national champion.
Now I am starting over all again.
You website also bring out many fault in me.I was not 100% fit physically,technically and more important mentally.At last Fight where I lost by technical Knockout(at national level),i gave it out very easily because I was not prepared for that tournament both mentally and physically(i was flying high after winning Regional Level and not training).
Now here i am far away from guidance of my coach and training center and RING RUSTY,i found this site a ray of hope in the end of the tunnel.
Thank you very much!!


Johnny N March 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Prem, it’d be awesome to see you at work again. With a 100% effort this time, who knows what possible! You must have had great potential to be competing at national level without training.


GB Steve March 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Great site Johnny.
Thanks for having such a passion for our noble art.
I beilieve Pugilism goes beyond training, and fighting. it symbolises a connection with our ancient past and our spiritual awareness. The physical training and sparring allows us to touch with that deep inner part of us that habors mental well being through the intenseness that is Boxing.


saif youssef March 19, 2012 at 6:04 am

i want to be the champion of the world ! but im just not getting the support i need not from my family not from my coaches,and with no support i find it really hard to accomplish that goal yet that not stopping me from working out everyday,i just wish i was born in a different place wehre i could just live my dream and box for the rest of my life


Jacob March 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

ive kinda been thinkin about this and avoiding admitting it to myself since i havent even started boxing officially yet, but this artcle has helped me see ive gotta lay out what i want, and my ultimate goal right now is to go pro, and once i make it there, to see how far i can push myself in this sport. thanks for all the inspiration johnny!


RSerranoJr March 26, 2012 at 12:08 am

Great site. Recently took up boxing (at 43!). But I have been in relatively good shape all these years (basketball, weights, jogging). I am taking it to the next level in terms of fitness. Nothing fancy, no expectations except a boxers physique and mentality. Boxing has become my medium to train myself to be great in the other aspects of my life. I have always been a fan of boxing but the other sports took much of my time. Since my body had adopted to the constant, repetitive movements of those sports all these years I realized I wasn’t going anywhere in terms of real fitness. I finally took the sport up and its been amazing. I am even into healthy eating for the first time. Thanks for the great site…been surfing for one for a long time and I guess this is the one I will follow through and through. As far as the greatness thing…with boxing I know I am going to get there.
All the best.


Jeremie le Congolais April 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Thank you


Reggie April 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thanks for the motivation, bro! All of these articles are great. But especially this one. Ive been a lifelong martial artist but only really became serious (AKA obsessed) within the past year and a half. I just competed in my first tournament in March and won. Now I’m training for the next tournament at a higher skill level in June. My goal is to eventually become have at least 1 amateur kickboxing win. I’m 34 and sometimes get down about the fact that I started getting serious late but I’ve finally decided that I don’t care how long it will take, I will make it.


Johnny N April 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

Congratulations Reggie! Post a video of your fights. I’d be excited to see.


ahmed elbiali April 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Johnny, amazing article… I’ve had times of confidence in my self but as you said if you don’t practice the mind, the mind forgets. can’t thank you enough bro.


Andrew T June 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Great article, very inspiring!


Sara_Smile August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I’m no boxer, not even an athlete. I’m an actress looking to drop 8-10 pounds for a project and I’m delighted that I stumbled upon you’re site. You’re a good writer and have a gift for teaching, keep doing what you’re doing : ). Anyway, just want to thank you Johnny for generously sharing your knowledge/experience and wish you success in all you do!


Ty H. September 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Great site, this article and the other two are very inspirational. I have gone on your site everyday for the past year, it is awesome. Keep up the good work.


Stefane Di Gianno September 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Hey Johnny I love your blog. I’m not a boxer I really don’t watch it that much but I highly appreciate the sport. Funny enough that is not at all how I landed on your page. But what a blessing to find your site with great information. Thank you! Looking forward to much more.


Johnny N September 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed. I’m curious. How did you find my site?


Stefane Di Gianno September 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

seo is awesome lol. i was searching for articles on a focused mind and it brought me to you 🙂


Murakami September 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

thanks again for such a great article. i mean, it really is a well thought out idea of how to look
at oneself and decide what you truly want to be or do.


laurence sherrington September 22, 2012 at 7:21 am

hey man im 14 and ive been boxing for the last two months and my coach and people at the gym say ive made progress. i mean i never stop thinking about boxing and i so want to get better. but i really want to know can people actually get better at somthing or is this a hollow cause were you terribla when you first started or is everybody round good when first started. i have natuaral ability but i do get beat by some boxers in the gym sparring and my punch power isnt as good as the guys there. i know theyve been doing it longer but surely thats no reason


Johnny N September 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Everything takes time. Some people longer than others. If you’re not there yet, then you need more time.


Kevin September 25, 2012 at 1:27 am

Johnny, I wish I could say that my passion for table tennis is as strong as yours for boxing. I can relate to everything you do for your passion (besides the dedication to make a website). Due to the lack of literature for table tennis in the U.S., I constantly read about biomechanics, kinesiology, and interdisciplinary sports literature in an attempt to discover all the techniques I feel will make me great. You are so well-versed in boxing, and it is truly inspiring for someone like me that hopes to be on a similar path. You know you are great when people from other disciplines applaud and respect you. Thank you for sharing your love. Keep it up.


mattman559 October 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

Brotha, i admire your passion a great deal. I think this is like the third or fourth time i have either commented or emailed you to tell you that shit lol. You have a wonderful attitude and outlook on life and i wouldnt be surprised if years from now you wind up doing some great things, even beyond boxing. thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us


Johnny N October 21, 2012 at 2:47 am

Things are definitely in the works. Thank you for the good wishes because I’m going to need all of it. 😉


O.G. Zolas October 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Hi Johnny,

First of all, I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for this site – I’ve gotten so MUCH from it!

I’ve been in the fighting arts on and off since my late teens. I’m now in my mid-40’s, and I’m the best I’ve ever been in my life. Part of that credit goes to you and these tutorials. In my teens I was a straight brawler, then I later became a pressure fighter. Now I’m transforming myself to the Drowning Style. It’s much more suitable for a long term strategy as my body gets older, as I don’t plan to ever stop!

So in my case, I’m not training for a pro career because I’m long past the cutoff age. So why do I train so hard and study so hard still if I’m destined to remain nothing more than a gym rat? I always thought it was because I love boxing/kickboxing, but after this article, I’m wondering if there’s something else driving me. But what?


Johnny N October 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Conscious evolution?


Benjamin Focus October 21, 2012 at 7:24 am

Hey man, nice 5 part special on How to be Great.

Thanks to your post, I remembered those days when the words ‘enough’, ‘give up’, ‘no more’, ‘i quit’ were the words that popped up on my head followed by ‘f**k that, keep going’

Feels really great to have that passion come back to possess me again, thanks to the post. I’m at part 3 as I write this but just need to write it now before I forget what I want to tell you.

Rock on man 😉


Newbie October 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I can feel that what you are writing here is true.
I can just FEEL it.
I started boxing almost 2 months ago for fitness, and I am obsessed.
It is all I think about now.
I have lost weight and feel fueled to train with passion every day.
I am a 36 year old woman with three kids, a happy marriage and my own business.
How’s THAT for being spread thin!!! LOL!
But this is where I feel I must face the music and really define my goals if I want to be “great” at any of it.
My family needs be to be great at what I do, to run my business well (better than I have been lately) and make more $. And while my work used to excite me, lately, not so much. We had our youngest son a year ago and so I have been putting family first over the last year or so. But it’s discouraging to look at all I need to do to play “catch up” and make my business successful again. It’s overwhelming.
And lately, all I can think about is boxing. I think about boxing at almost every moment of my day. In less than two months, boxing has changed my life. I feel alive, aware and full of fire and passion. But…
….while fantasies of pro boxing (yes, I said I was 36, so I recognize that this is more of a fantasy then a reality) are inspiring me to run farther, work harder, jump faster, etc. they are not going to pay my family’s bills anytime soon…which leaves me with this dilemma:
My “first” goal should really be my business, my work. But I NEED to keep my boxing goals with me because it is the highlight of each and every day for me. So how do I avoid watering down my goals when it is necessary for me to maintain two (at least) totally different areas of focus?


Johnny N November 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I wish I could answer that question for you. I too have more than one area of focus and I do my best to stay energized and be successful in all areas that I need to be. If it takes 100% effort to be successful then you really have no choice but to narrow down to one goal. That would be the EASIEST and MOST LIKELY way to be successful.


A.s Fighter December 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thank you Johny this sereis helped me change a part of my life,a small one but still it changed and im going to continiue like this.Sorry for my bad english its not my native.


Vinoth January 6, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thanks mate….


Elvis January 20, 2013 at 8:48 am



Sam February 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Awesome as articles on becoming great Johnny!!!! Its really motivated me!! Love your vids and blogs.


Paul February 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Hi Johnny,

I normally don’t post comments, but you have some solid advice. I was doing a Google search on ‘negativity’ because I’m facing some tough times in my Life right now and came across your site. I wasn’t searching on boxing, so it was ironic how I landed here. I was impressed how as you stated that a lot of the advice you give also applies to Real Life. You’ve motivated me more and encouraged me to seriously think about taking steps to ‘correct’ my situation and go after what I really desire.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for having a website to share this information!


Johnny N February 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

Go for it, Paul! I wish you good luck in your goals.


ali azeem March 3, 2013 at 1:14 am
Johnny N March 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Read my site, watch my videos, and if you like–buy my guides.


Larry Zhang March 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Put this guide out more. This has literally changed my life. My goal as a 17 year old is to go pro, and everyday I tell myself that I am a pro already and I make everything I do part of my greatness. I started planning, Ive become hungry to learn and train more and more. Especially your “dealing with failure” article. If I have a problem, I will no longer allow time to just try to fix itself. I will assert the problem and take responsibility for it. And I can totally relate to your case of failure. I am inspired to try harder. I really hope this comment will make you strive to become the best you can be too. Become more than the best man, good luck


Macho Prieto April 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hey man, I found your article very intense and for a bit it felt a little like you were yelling at me, in a good way. Really like the website, find myself reading every day. Thanks for tips!


MRRokko July 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Great Site, you don’t suck you are good and you will be better. I really like your scientific approach.


Adam W April 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

I would like to show my appreciation Johnny. You have an excellent site. Your ability to break things down and articulate each point is exceptional. The above article shows your versatility and willingness to approach all aspects of boxing. I have also noticed that you reply to most commenters with thoughtful answers. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. You have the spirit of a teacher.


Kevin April 2, 2014 at 7:31 am

I second that Adam W. And not just because you are my only training partner out in the sticks in South East Asia for boxing in a predominantly kick boxing / MMA environment 😉 I haven’t found one article on this site yet that I haven’t been drawn into or that doesn’t contain very useful information. Many websites concentrate on posting regularly, sometimes 3 times per day with weak content except for keywords and SEO rubbish, but this site has advice that’s applicable in the real world and is explained so clearly, with care and broken down into studying each aspect of boxing in a fascinating way. There’s never a torrent of weak posts, only occasional well thought out, game changing articles that explain a nuance or particular aspect of the sport in fascinatning detail and so clearly.


Johnny N April 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Thank you, Kevin. I do care very much about quality. If I’m going to write anything, it has to make a difference! And I’m glad it has.


Johnny N April 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Thank you, Adam. I do my best to share and very proud to have helped so many. I appreciate your gratitude very much.


Waseem April 3, 2014 at 12:42 am

Awesome as articles on becoming great Johnny!!!! Its really motivated me!! Love your vids and blogs.


Ryan B April 3, 2014 at 7:32 am

Excellent article. Really has me thinking about what I want in life. Started boxing 3 months ago at age 31 and can’t get enough of it. Wish so bad that I’d started 15 years ago. First goal is having my first amateur fight this summer. Trying desperately to get into shape by them and loving every single minute of it!


Samuel 2-nde June 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Hey Johnny, am so so loving your blog moreover thanks for the speech you dropped here base on ‘how to be great’. Nevertheless i don’t like boxing


Mark June 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Great article and great advice. It might explain why I have not moved forward. I have more than one goal and plan. I want to move up in my field into more planning and decision making roles, and I have had some success with that. However, I also want to return to school, even if it’s part time at first, but I would like to eventually complete 2 more degrees. Is it wrong to visualize me returning to school one day while I strive to move up the ladder of my dreams simultaneously? Once I’m working again I will be doing both simultaneously…but is it wrong to plan these goals in advance and simultaneously?


Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 12:24 am

Up to you, Mark. You do whatever you want. It’s your call.


Pete September 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Great Read. This relates a lot for life in General as well as Boxing.
Curious, Do you have Parts 1-5 in like PDF format? Just so I can have it with me at all times, it truly is a great read.
Thanks for sharing it.


Johnny N October 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Pete, what you can do is scroll to the very bottom and click the “PRINT” option and then use the “PDF PRINTER” which allows you to save the article in PDF format.


Colin October 31, 2014 at 1:21 am

Hi Jonny, great read!
i never followed the 5 steps in life because i never truly found my passion. That all changed when my daughter arrived, I decided then that I wanted to be the greatest Dad in the world. After reading these 5 steps I realised how true that was for me. Seeing it down on paper made me realise that my daughter is my true passion. thanks again .


Sérgio January 10, 2015 at 3:50 am

I’m not a boxer, but your advices fits like a glove in me. Very good and gives the positive energy to do something and change. It’s never to late to change.


lo August 14, 2016 at 8:46 am

hey john I’m same as u I shadbox most of my time and I daily throw at least 2000 punches but boxing doesn’t work in the streets especially hook and uppercuts


Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright © 2008-2013 How to Box | ExpertBoxing. All rights reserved