Learn to throw rapid flurries like Sugar Ray Leonard. Surprise your opponents with these lightning fast 10-punch combinations.
What’s a Shoeshine Combination?
A shoeshine combination is a flurry of quick little punches. Their emphasis is purely on speed. Shoeshine flurries are often thrown with improper punching technique, but pure speed sometimes gets the job done.
The reason why it’s called a shoeshine combinations is because your hands are held in a vertical manner as your fists go up and down, similar to two hands polishing a shoe with a cloth. Some boxers describe it as multiple quickly little uppercuts designed to dig under your opponent’s elbows OR lift his head up to be chopped off with a left hook.
The boxer will typically throw a shoeshine combination to lift an opponent’s head up, setting him up for a bigger punch. Other times, the boxer throws a shoeshine flurry just to keep his opponents busy and escape off the ropes. Even if the punches don’t land or cause any damage, some boxers will throw them just to look busy and steal rounds. *COUGH* Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler *COUGH*
How to Throw a Shoeshine Combination
The shoeshine combination is all about speed. Forget what you learned about proper punching form and technique. The key to fast punching is to coordinate your hands and feet to move in unison. First off, we learn some basic footwork drills.
Bouncing Footwork Drill
Bounce up and down on the balls of your foot, shifting your weight from one foot to the other.
- You make small jumps as if you were jumping rope. (If you never jumped rope before, this is a good time to start so that you develop better footwork.) Exhale a little breath of air on every bounce. (Hiss out a quick little breath explosively.)
Shuffle Footwork Drill
Shift your weight side to side, bouncing WITHOUT lifting your feet or your hips.
- Notice how my feet stay planted now. You do the same drill as before, lifting your heels as you “jump” side to side but you don’t lift the balls of your feet off the ground. MORE IMPORTANTLY, keep your hips down! As you bounce your weight from one feet to another, try not to let your hips “jump” up. (Your hips will “jump” up regardless, but you want to keep them as low as possible.) Keeping the hips down adds power to your flurry. Don’t forget to exhale on every bounce.
- Next, add some punches. You throw a single punch for each bounce, coordinating your hand movement with your foot movement. You’re not throwing at fully speed, you’re simply bounce-shuffling and throwing a short punch for each bounce. (Just punch at the air when practicing.) This is just a drill for you to get use to moving your hands and feet together.
- The REAL trick is for you to do this relaxed. You should feel your legs and hips SLIGHTLY tense and un-tense as you shuffle-bounce back and forth. Try shuffle-bouncing as you move across the gym (remembering to keep your feet touching the ground the whole time). Try punching a heavy bag or even a double-end bag. Don’t just shuffle in one spot, move around the bag as you punch it with your shuffle rhythm. Try to shuffle in a relaxed manner that allows you to shift your weight quickly without getting tired.
The shuffle drill is great for developing footwork ability (even if you don’t like shoeshine combinations). I do this drill 80% of the time when I’m watching other fighters spar. I’ll even do it while shadow-boxing, waiting in line at McDonalds, or even in between rounds. You’ll NEVER catch me standing still and doing nothing. I owe my awesome footwork abilities to this drill.
Watch Manny Pacquiao’s feet when he shadowboxes and you will see that he’s also shuffling his feet very quickly as he moves around the ring.
Fast hands deliver fast punches.
Fast feet deliver fast power!
Shoeshine The bag!
Ok, now let’s try it on the bag!
Stand square at the bag and throw flurries of 10-15 little punches up the middle. Do it slow at first, and then full speed with quickly little punches and rapid bouncing of the feet. Don’t forget to exhale on each punch. Your breathing should sound like a machine gun.
Shoeshine Combinations in Combat
Once you get the technique down perfect, it’s time to use it on somebody. (Watch my demo above.)
- You can throw it to get an inside fighter off of you. Or maybe you want to push an opponent into the ropes. Or maybe he’s got slow hands and you just want to hammer him all over the place. Another great time to use it is when you have a fighter hiding behind a high guard or shell defense. Throw a shoeshine flurry to scare him from coming out of it.
- In my live demo above, I use it to interrupt my opponent’s rhythm and surprise him with rapid punches as I manuever into a better position. In the 2nd demo, I use it to pin down my opponent with a flurry to the body.
Masters of the Shoeshine
See how the pro’s throw the shoeshine combinations! All speed!
- Muhammad Ali
- Sugar Ray Leonard
- Joe Calzaghe
- Meldrick Taylor
- Roy Jones
- Yuriorkis Gamboa
- Watch pro boxers throw shoeshine combinations. (CRAZY SPEED!)
Throwing the Shoeshine Combination
The shoeshine combination is best thrown on the inside. Although the shoeshine flurry is typically used as little uppercut punches at the head, you can still throw whatever punches you want. Some guys will start at the body and shoeshine all the way up to the head. Personally, I like to throw tight hooks at the body to intimidate my opponents. Any time your opponent closes up for more than a second, it’s a great opportunity to step in and throw the shoeshine combination. He’ll most likely close into a tighter shell and give you time to look for more openings.
I also like to flurry as a counter punch. What I’ll do is sit there with a shell defense and wait for my opponent to throw the first punch. It doesn’t matter what his first punch is, I immediately respond with a flurry and interrupt the rest of his combination. It sounds so simple but it really works, just try it. The speed of your flurry will surprise him!
Some boxers don’t believe in the shoeshine flurry; they think the punches don’t hurt. Don’t worry about not punching hard enough. Think of the flurry as a bunch of fast slaps. If you slap someone multiple times rapidly, the speed and REPEATED element of surprise can hurt him even if you have little power. If you got an opponent close to you with his hands up, just flurry all over him until his guard falls apart.
Throwing a shoeshine combination is like throwing 20 jabs.
The most important attribute of the shoeshine is speed! Keep your entire body loose. Do not try to add power! Just keep whipping out that speed and throw whatever punches you want in whatever direction you want. The important thing is that you focus on SPEED and moving your hands and feet in unison. Whatever the case may be, the shoeshine flurry can cause damage AND look good in the judges eyes.