T Nation

Stand Up Fighters: Orthodox & Southpaw

I’ve got a few years of TKD, some Muay Thai and boxing under my belt. Nothing serious, mostly just for fun. Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on movement and balance, which was one of my weak areas from day 1.

During sparring and heavy bag work I feel a constant need to switch from Orthodox to Southpaw, back and forth throughout. In most sparring sessions it has been very effective and I’ve been able to work (in boxing sessions) the switch right into the middle of combination. Does anyone else do this? Or better yet, know how to work with it? The trainers are up my ass about it, but don’t suggest anything.

Why are they “up your ass” about it?
Its a good thing to say after a few rounds when the other guy is used to your style be able to switch it up.

They keep drilling me to stick to one or the other for longer. I switch back and forth basically throughout each round.

[quote]Jeffe wrote:
They keep drilling me to stick to one or the other for longer. I switch back and forth basically throughout each round. [/quote]

Because it loses its shock value when you switch too much. It strips the change of it’s importance.

It’s like how the Dolphins run this Wing-T bullshit now. When they did it against the Patriots, no one had ever seen it or played against it or prepared for it, so it shocked the shit out of them and they didn’t know what to do. Now, though, there will be film on that, and defenses will be able to prepare for it, get reads, key on players, etc. It lost its shock.

Same thing with fighting. Most orthodox fighters never see a southpaw, so if you switch in midfight, you’re going to throw them the fuck off badly. Micky Ward used to do that once in a while, just switch in the fifth or sixth round for a bit.

If you switch too much, you just become a two-handed fighter, and somone will figure you out, and guys will get used to it. But if you’re fighting orthodox for three rounds, then switch to southpaw and start throwing lead right hooks and straight lefts, you’re seriously going to fuck them up.

They also may not have known you can fight lefty, so they might not have had any southpaws spar with their fighter.

Just my take.

I think it depends on how good you are. I think you need to be very good at one before training the other side. Otherwise you just become mediocre at both. If you already are at a high level then I don’t see a problem switching up, or training the other side. I have not seen you train but one thing I noticed with people who feel a need to switch up often is that they just are not comfortable fighting in one stance. They have certain techniques they feel more comfortable in one stance. That just means their skill level is still relatively low.

I was taught to train one side. I didn’t quite understand why I was being told to train one side. I thought I could do both and was good enough to do so. Looking back now, they were correct. Actually I started out as a southpaw as a child but I eventually converted to orthodox. I haven’t personally felt much of an advantage in swithcing up for more than a series, like if I step back into soutpaw in order to pivot off to my right against an orthodox fighter, it creates a great chance to counter with my left.

It sounds like you have some really poor trainers, because not only is there nothing wrong with what you are doing it is something you should be doing.

Fighting is all about movement and body positioning. Your trainer doesn’t understand the use of stances and the interplay of body positioning, so he is trying to lock you into a limited form of fighting.

Your fighting should have a flow to it that should not get broken up just because you have the wrong side out and have deliberately trained to be an invalid in that position.

Contrary to what Otoko says maximizing your abilities will not make you a mediocre fighter it will do the exact opposite. It will make you a better fighter and give you an edge over mediocre fighters who have limited skills.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
It sounds like you have some really poor trainers, because not only is there nothing wrong with what you are doing it is something you should be doing.

Fighting is all about movement and body positioning. Your trainer doesn’t understand the use of stances and the interplay of body positioning, so he is trying to lock you into a limited form of fighting.

Your fighting should have a flow to it that should not get broken up just because you have the wrong side out and have deliberately trained to be an invalid in that position.

Contrary to what Otoko says maximizing your abilities will not make you a mediocre fighter it will do the exact opposite. It will make you a better fighter and give you an edge over mediocre fighters who have limited skills.

[/quote]

I know you’re coming from a TMA point of view, and what you say does make sense- the school that I was attending had us learning to punch and kick from both sides equally.

However, what the OP is old school boxing thinking. I’ve heard it quite a lot; for example,Joe Frazier turns around any fighters he has to fight orthodox regardless of whether they start off southpaw.

For one, it’s going to be harder to get fights- no one wants to fight a southpaw.

Number two- the skill set is so specific for boxing that I could see them not wanting him fighting that way. There’s different combinations and different movement associated with fighting southpaw.

This guy might think he’s fine at it, but the trainers might see that his footwork really revolves around being a righty. You never know. They might be trying to teach him the basics of the ring, and he’s switching feet all of the time, not allowing him to get perfect at the base footwork.

Number 3- I wouldn’t want to be a southpaw if I wasn’t one. Your jab doesn’t work as well, you get clocked with counter rights, and you really have to work on the “slick” part of southpaw. You can’t ever keep your hand in a low guard, which I really like doing, and you can’t hook to the liver, which is my favorite shot in all of boxing.

Just my take.

[quote]Jeffe wrote:
I’ve got a few years of TKD, some Muay Thai and boxing under my belt. Nothing serious, mostly just for fun. Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on movement and balance, which was one of my weak areas from day 1.

During sparring and heavy bag work I feel a constant need to switch from Orthodox to Southpaw, back and forth throughout. In most sparring sessions it has been very effective and I’ve been able to work (in boxing sessions) the switch right into the middle of combination.

Does anyone else do this? Or better yet, know how to work with it? The trainers are up my ass about it, but don’t suggest anything.[/quote]

Not to mention, you said your movement and balance are your weakest points (which are the most important things in boxing).

Want to know why they’re weak? Because you keep switching your fuckin feet. You come up against a guy with good balance who throws combos, and he’s gonna time your switching of the feet and hook your chin into the next state.

switching like that in the middle of a combo is a good way to get your ass knocked the fuck out.

There’s a difference between being able to fight standard and southpaw… vs not being able to do either efficiently.

you’re LIMITING your efficiency by doing the bounce around into different stance TKD thing. You are NOT point sparring.

I’d obviously need to actually SEE you fight… you might be the 2nd coming of bruce lee or some shit and I just don’t know… but otherwise I’m willing to bet you THINK you’re doing well and you’re fighting like junk. Thats not a knock against you but if anyone told me something like that I’d say the same thing. You could just be stepping forward momentarily and returning to proper stance, or you could be just undecided and it doesn’t make you efficient.

That said… I LOVE fighting southpaws, they tend to ‘expect’ the straight right but carry their right guard low, and i can bring the thunder with my lead hook.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Not to mention, you said your movement and balance are your weakest points (which are the most important things in boxing).

Want to know why they’re weak? Because you keep switching your fuckin feet. You come up against a guy with good balance who throws combos, and he’s gonna time your switching of the feet and hook your chin into the next state.[/quote]

Good point. If the reason you’re switching leads is because your balance is off after you throw strikes, it’s difficult to return to your normal fighting stance. Usually the natural reaction is to step forward with the rear foot. You see this all the time with new guys.

From what I’ve seen, it generally happens because during the strike, the upper body gets thrown forward at an awkward angle and the legs don’t follow underneath. Sometimes it’s because the feet are too close together in the fighting stance, taking away a solid base from which to strike.

If you’re switching leads mainly after some type of high kick, that is more normal, but you may just be overextending your reach as a compensation for not being in the proper range or for poor timing.

I’d say that when you can throw pretty much anything you want at virtually any time against a sparring partner and never deviate too much from your stance, then you probably have good balance and can start working on your opposite lead.

Of course, this is just an IF your technique sucks… but if balance and movement are weakpoints… then your technique probably sucks.

Good luck training!

I used to do the same thing when I was in TKD. I would always start off in a conventional stance, but I would usually end up switching because I felt more comfortable with my strong hand/foot in front.

As was mentioned you need to be seriously careful switching stance during a fight. If an opponent is aware that you like to switch they will try to time you. I used to use a shifting kick in order to change stance because I would rarely get caught that way.

[quote]SKman wrote:
I used to do the same thing when I was in TKD. I would always start off in a conventional stance, but I would usually end up switching because I felt more comfortable with my strong hand/foot in front.

As was mentioned you need to be seriously careful switching stance during a fight. If an opponent is aware that you like to switch they will try to time you. I used to use a shifting kick in order to change stance because I would rarely get caught that way.[/quote]

To be honest, this is why bullshit point sparring crap should be eliminated from every martial art.

Teaches you bullshit like this that will get you knocked into next week in the ring against a real fighter.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
SKman wrote:
I used to do the same thing when I was in TKD. I would always start off in a conventional stance, but I would usually end up switching because I felt more comfortable with my strong hand/foot in front.

As was mentioned you need to be seriously careful switching stance during a fight. If an opponent is aware that you like to switch they will try to time you. I used to use a shifting kick in order to change stance because I would rarely get caught that way.

To be honest, this is why bullshit point sparring crap should be eliminated from every martial art.

Teaches you bullshit like this that will get you knocked into next week in the ring against a real fighter.[/quote]

In my last real fight ambidexterity saved my ass. It is a must have ability for optimum self defense.

The best fighters are ambidextrous and can use it to completely dominate others who don’t have the ability to deal with it. That is the real reason why ambidexterity gets dissed, because it is intimidating to face someone who can completely negate your best techniques.

[quote]Sifu wrote:

In my last real fight ambidexterity saved my ass. It is a must have ability for optimum self defense.

The best fighters are ambidextrous and can use it to completely dominate others who don’t have the ability to deal with it. That is the real reason why ambidexterity gets dissed, because it is intimidating to face someone who can completely negate your best techniques. [/quote]

Missing the point entirely.

Ambidextrous is one thing… Trying to compensatr for SUCKING and then making excuses for it is another. CHOOSING to switch leads as a tactical decision is an advantage… Doing so involuntarily because you have no control is a failure in your technique.

All you guys are doing is making excuses for not doing the work because you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do it.

One of the paths to victory in a fight is getting the other guy out of his comfort zone and exploiting that.

Most fighters cannot deal with an open stance and that is something to exploit. It is also a vulnerability that you get rid of by training.

The best fighters can switch up guards at will and use it to their advantage. I don’t understand why you guys make such a big deal out of it you make it sound like you have never seen anyone do that.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
All you guys are doing is making excuses for not doing the work because you have to go outside of your comfort zone to do it.

One of the paths to victory in a fight is getting the other guy out of his comfort zone and exploiting that.

Most fighters cannot deal with an open stance and that is something to exploit. It is also a vulnerability that you get rid of by training.

The best fighters can switch up guards at will and use it to their advantage. I don’t understand why you guys make such a big deal out of it you make it sound like you have never seen anyone do that.[/quote]

The point is that its only natural for a select few. You make a good point for using it to get someone out of their comfort zone…but its just that…a “small” tactic to feel the other guy out.

Its more of an advantage to have your actual fighting stance and train to have technique and power through lead punches(hooks)…and be comfortable throwing kicks with your lead leg…switch step,etc. That is still ambidextrous…is it not?? :slight_smile:

Mastering your footwork from your actual fighting stance should be king over learning to fight “ambidextrously.”

Also…from MY perspective most(not all)guys who switch stances are the ones who are out of their comfort zone.

o.k. Jeffy, let me go ahead and 411 ya, as a guy, who had a similar problem/advantage; when you are in the middle of switching your stance, you are more vulnerable, because you don’t have a leg behind you, as a shock absorber, your easier to to knock off balance, what I suggest is that you practice bagwork(speed and heavy)in each stance respectively, as well as some time shadow boxing, circling and following a straight-line, again in each stance respectively,

my most useful tip is that you practice switching position by sweeping your back foot forward and keep the ball of you foot touching the ground, so you don’t easily lose footing to a sweep or low kick. your trainers probably don’t suggest much because its not a common problem, but switching too often makes you easily figured out in a fight, just enough and he’ll be on his toes and confused the entire fight.

So I guess in one big fat pearl of wisdom; maintain and develope each stance seperately, and when the time is right you’ll turn your small problem into a huge advantage.

If you are charging someone every step forward that you take is going to change which side you have forward.

If you throw a power kick off of your rear leg and use it to close distance you are going to set that leg down in the lead, so your lead is going to switch up.

Also there is the issue of real world self defense like fighting multiple opponents or dealing with surprise attacks. Believe it or not people out on the street are real dastardly and they do things that most of you probably think are unfair in a street fight. You have to be prepared for that. That means being able to defend either side of your body.

Sifu, I think that what most of us are saying is that if he’s switching leads because he sucks and has poor balance then its not a good thing.

But if he’s good and is switching leads for strategic purposes then it IS a good thing.

I think most of us would agree that when you first start out, it’s easier to learn to strike when you practise with the same lead forward, as opposed to switching around all the time.

Do you disagree with that?

Your example of the power kick is good, but unless he is already fairly well trained it seems kind of strange to start working switching lead combinations off that… he’d probably be better off doing a spinning back fist or something to switch back to his regular lead, Shonie Carter v Matt Serra style, or some similar technique to hold him over until he gets good enough.

Again, it all depends on his skill level. He could be awesome, but he hasn’t really said anything yet.

Well said. Like I touched on above…mastering footwork and technique from your actual stance should be king before even worried about switching stances.