Here is chapter 14 of Jack Dempsey's book "Championship Fighting" published in 1950.


"You give whirling motion to your body-weight by whirling the shoulders.

One shoulder whips forward while the other whips back. Muscles of the shoulders, back, stomach, legs co-operate in achieving the whirl. Also, the process is assisted by shifting the weight from one leg to the other. You need concern yourself only with the shoulder motions. Nature will supervise the assisting muscles and movements.

You can best understand the straight-punching whirl by feeling it out - without using a target.

Stand in the middle of a room with your feet even (on a sideways line) and comfortably separated. Place your relaxed hands in easy guarding positions before each breast (this is illustrated in the book. You're simply standing with legs shoulder width apart, with your fist on your chest. The knuckles of your fist are pointed outward). Turn your shoulders easily to your own left and at the same time, extend your right fist to the chin of an imaginary opponent. As your right fist moves toward the opponent's chin, turn the fist so that it will land "palm down". Meanwhile, your left shoulder is well back, and your relaxed left hand is still in front of your left breast. Aim that left hand at the spot occupied by your extended right fist.

Now, suddenly whirl your shoulders to your right, and let the shouler-whirl shoot your left fist straight at the spot just occupied by your right fist. Be sure you let the whirl shoot your fist instead of letting your prjecting left arm pull your left shoulder around. As your left fist shoots at the imaginary target, turn your hand so that the fist lands palm down. Meanwhile, you right hand returns to is relaxed guarding position before your right breast."


Thanks, MG. I was beginning to think you'd abandoned us. :)


"Practice that shoulder whirl on the bag. Shoot one fist, then the other -bang! - bang! - bang! - BANG! until you are striking out with a rhythmic motion of the shoulders. Your shoulders should be swinging back and forth like the handle bars of a bicycle. Do not move the feet. Be sure that you explode each punch. MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOUR SHOULDERS ARE DRIVING THE PUNCHES; THAT THE PUNCHES ARE NOT PULLING THE SHOULDERS. That position -with the feet on an even line is ideal for throwing straight punches from the whirl. Unfortunately, however, that ideal position is not your normal punching position. comsequently, we'll have to return to your normal punching stance and try the whirling straight punches from that position.

In the middle of the room, take your normal stance, with your hands in normal guarding positions. Practice the shoulder whirl "easily" at first, without the bag. As your shoulders whip from side to side, you'll note that your left leg act as a pivot, above which your torso and shoulders whirl (this is illustrated in the book). If you toe-in slightly with your left foot, you'll get greater freedom in the whirl from left to right - the whirl shoots out your left fist. And that particular whirl needs any assistance it can get. When you're in normal position, your guarding left shoulder is so well forward that you can't give it much whirl in shooting the left jab. You can't, unless you draw back your left shoulder. And if you do that, you may get your brains knocked out.

It's okay to use a "slight" toe-in with your left foot; but keep it "slight". If you toe-in sharply, you may sprain or break your left ankle when you do the falling step. Moreover, the more freedom you give the whirl for your left jab with the toe-in, the less freedom you allow the reverse whirl for your straight right. That's true despite the fact that your left leg serves as a pivot. Each "single" straight punch of the whirling type - whether a lead or a counter - must be delivered from the normal punching position. However, the instant you get into a rapid-fire, straight-punching exchange with an opponent, your good old right foot again will come to the rescue. The right foot will creep up until it's even or nearly even with your left. you'll be getting just as much whirl for your straight lefts as for your rights. Practice the "normal" and the "ideal" on the bag. Whirling punches for the body are delivered in the same manner as those for the head. The fist land palm-down.

You recall that in "straight stepping" punches to the head, the fist landed in an URIGHT position, but that in "whirling straight" to the head the fist landed PALM-DOWN. Why the change?



"The reason for the change is this: the average whirling straight punch is NOT STRAIGHT. It's usually LOOPED slightly or considerably. And the fist approaches its head target from at least a slight angle. Because of the angle, greater solidity is achieved by landing with the fist palm-down. Some instructors favor the palm down landing for straight head blows 'because turning the fist while in motion gives a snap to the punch.' That's true. For a chap who doesn't know how to explode properly, that turning snap would inject a little dynamite into the blow. However, your explosion is not dependnet upon a wrist turn. What did I mean when I said whirling punches are NOT STRAIGHT?

I meant that the non-step whirling straight punch is an IMPURE punch, and that the harder you hit with it, the more nature tries to PURIFY it by giving it a LOOP. I'll explain that.

End of Chapter 14.

Next time Chapter 15: Purity in Punching.

thanks m.g. awesome contribution of an awesome fighter.

funny how we think these old timers are outdated.

I agree KS, Dempsey was a much more technically proficient fighter then he is given credit for. Because he was outboxed so badly by Tunney (when his reflexes had diminished beyond repair due to years of easy living and undertraining) people seem to think of him as a barroom brawler. Yeah, he could brawl, but he was also an adept boxer as well. He wasn't Gene Tunney, that's for sure, but he was good.

People discredit him due to the misconception that there is no science employed in slugging. A puncher can be every bit as technical in the application of his ability as an elusive boxer can.


ttt for great articles, thanks

TTT Great