Cuban Boxing Fundamentals

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by AndyMaBobs, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    The purpose of this thread is to just compile some information I've come across about the Cuban style. This stuff isn't exclusive to Cuban boxers as when you get down to it, this is all just good boxing. It's focusing on these very tiny basics that ultimately make the big difference in boxing. In my understanding the reason that Cubans and Eastern Bloc fighters do so well, is that boxing is more like a school syllabus, than the more rag tag approach of fighting gyms in the US and UK. In the UK there are coaches in London who teach a very bare basics approach to attack and defence and others that teach a the stone wall, the lock etc. It seems that Cuba and Russia have more uniform styles (if we are generalising).

    Here's the information I've found on how the Cuban system works (@Sinister I know you're well versed in this stuff so if anything's wrong let me know and I'll change it)


    I've got this information from Martial Arts Sparring:
    From there the idea is to just do it until it becomes natural to you. I find the choice to teach uppercuts before hooked punches, as I would say that a rear uppercut is mechanically more similar to a straight punch. It makes sense to have straight punches with palms down, then straight punches with palms up, before moving into hooked punches (which at least in my opinion should start on somewhat of a straight line before turning in, unless you chamber and shift weight first).

    I've also got this helpful video - my Spanish is non-existent so I have no clue how I managed to find it, but it's one I've never seen shared before:


    We see the boxer go through the basics of stance and footwork and the very basic drills, building to the pendulum step and circular movement. Here we see it being drilled more in depth.


    The emphasis should be on circular movement as opposed to purely lateral, if you keep side stepping you run into the ropes, so ultimately you need to get comfortable at moving in circles. The addition of the cones will get you used to the idea of smoothly moving backwards in a situation in which you may be trying to circle but suddenly get pushed back by a sudden attack from an opponent, or if you're moving in a circle and are setting your opponent up for a counter.

    Punching going backwards, while in the UK considered something advanced, is something that is regularly drilled in Cuba.


    Here we see the boxers at Rafael Trejo's training the same tile drill that Sinister has posted several times. From there they move into punching backwards. Later in the video we see the instructor helping a man (I believe the poster of the video) who is stiffer and having trouble shifting his weight. Here are the drills on how to transfer weight and punch on the back foot separately before putting them together:

    The tile drill:



    Punching on the back foot, good videos explaining this have been harder to come by:




    When it comes to shifting weight another thing I've seen is more shifting punches, that is punches that move from one stance into the other. I've seen this more on the Russian side than the Cuban side, but it's used in both systems. Silviu Vulc is a combat sambo champion and amateur boxing champion and here he demonstrates them to Cyrus Washington:




    This is about all the information I have at the moment, when it comes to the absolute basics. I'm a little more used to the Russian way due to my sambo training, but I thought that there's no better way to learn the fundamentals of boxing for... any sport really, than to look at this stuff.

    One last video, it's a half an hour private session again at Rafael Trejo's - nothing is really said but you can learn a lot just from watching and paying attention:
     
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  2. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Nice initiative! Hopefully we'll get some good responses in regards to the validity of the videos in the OP, and other suggested methods of training.
     
  3. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    This is what I'm hoping. :cool:
     
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  4. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Loving a lot of the vids though! The fluidity of movement and being able to punch going in any direction is really something I haven't even begun scratching the surface off. It's crazy how important proper teaching is.
     
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  5. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    it really is such an under appreciated skill
     
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  6. Ryyonvin

    Ryyonvin Orange Belt

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    This is exactly what I needed, thanks for rounding all this stuff up!
     
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  7. Borass

    Borass Yellow Belt

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    One of the best thread ever ! Thanks ! ( still have hard time to perfectly understand the "Tile exercice")
     
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  8. Ilk

    Ilk Green Belt

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    Punching while moving is something we were tough in the begining in our boxing gym. But both coaches were a student and a coach comming from the national academy. I guess the entire USSR boxing stole the Cuban boxing system... as what we learn nowadays about boxing is with the same principles shown on these video.

    The guard and moving with a guard explained as a - left hand is the shield, right hand is the sword and how you need to carry them in a proper position to have a good defence
    side, forward and backwards stepping concept - even me as a newbie have posted pretty decent moving backwards and 2-1-2 or 1-1-2 combos. I am actually more comfortable to trow them while going backwards or towards my right due to constant drilling of these
    circling and distance management - we practice these a lot on the pads. I wrote a few days ago to shincheckin that I did not like his padwork, as what I have been doing in our gym is very different (he however explained he has worked specifically on something else).
     
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  9. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    You got it back to front mate, the USSR shared their sporting programs with Cuba. Soviet Boxing is dope.
     
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  10. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    Happy to help!

    Yeah, you just gotta keep doing it, someone I'm training right now is having quite a bit of trouble with it, because depending on how athletic you are beginners can have trouble doing it, especially if their hips are weak. Keep doing it and it should click, just make sure you can feel the weight shifting and you feel balanced.
     
  11. spacetime

    spacetime Black Belt

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    I was was gonna start a thread on "European boxing" what that is and how it differs from American. The commentators talked about how Lennox Lewis was knowledgeable about the European style. Well I'm European and haven't got a clue what that means.
     
  12. Borass

    Borass Yellow Belt

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    In fact, it's the opposite... i think that it's really easy... making me think that i didn't understand perfectly the exercice... When i google "tile exercise", i only find Sinister s youtube channel. I understand the principe, working only on the hip movement for weight transfer but i don't understand how it should be difficult.
     
  13. AndyMaBobs

    AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    I don't think it's difficult in a tear your hair out kind of way, just that it can be a little awkward at first. If you're not finding it difficult then you're either getting it right or getting it wrong haha, you're more than likely doing it right, it's just a matter of applying it to your actual boxing itself, which I must admit I still sometimes forget to do!
     
  14. Ilk

    Ilk Green Belt

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    Another fun fact. I was doing the tyle.exercice when training kickboxing from a pro MMA fighter but my academy boxing coaches never tought it.

    They teach weight transfer with feet. Kind of like with the video with the white guy in the.Cuban outdoor gym. Where the coach shows him how he needs to step in by ´marching´ forward. The weight transfer happening by pulling back your non punching shoulder and steps.
     
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  15. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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  16. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    What do you mean by US and UK have rag tag boxing training approaches?
     
  17. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    The main difficulty is in people's hips being stiff...so the knees do the work. This is incorrect. Knees need to move eventually but only as a further facilitation of what the hips should be doing. Also incorrect upper-body positioning. Just today one of my students kept turning his face away from where the opponent would be, in other words his head would rotate with the shoulders. Nose needs to remain facing forward WITH the chin down.

    But these are fairly remedial exercises. The Cubans and Russians have these motions built into bigger motions with a more direct function to fighting. So the students are learning A MOVE, the wouldn't identify it as a remedial way to condition the hips to facilitate slipping. Things like this are necessary because Westerners don't typically have the ability to do them easily (because we eradicated physical education in schools, what SHOULD be physical education, which devolved into games, which devolved into shit kids didn't want to do, which parents hated). Those of us who go to these lengths simply believe it's much easier to teach someone's body to do a thing as opposed to yelling at them to do a thing they're not capable of doing.
     
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  18. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    I take it US gyms dont have these large sparring sessions with multiple matches going on unless it is a TMA gym. I remember TMAs will line up their students and have everyone spar at simultaneously. That way no one is singled out.
     
  19. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    One of the trainers at our Gym is "King" Arthur Williams. Arthur was trained, in his youth, by Roy Jones Sr. Roy had a total of 4 fighters who eventually became World Champions, albeit I don't think any were Professionals under him. So he's got a fairly solid resume. I once asked Arthur about what it was like training with him and this is what he said:

    "Yeah Roy was good, he had some good fighters and did a lot of good things. But I also think he used to look at too many karate movies or somethin'. He was always bringin' weird shit to the Gym to try to hit us with."
     
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  20. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    I think I get what you mean. There is not real set standard. In fact, in the UK, Joe Calzaghe was trained by his father Enzo. Enzo has no boxing experience at all. I dont think he ever sparred either. I think he just watched a lot of boxing, and tried to impart knowledge to his son.
     

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