Here is Chapter 15 of Jack Dempsey's book "Championship Fighting" published in 1950.


"The stepping straight punch, which you learned ealier, is PURE because it has all the essentials of a punch. One of those essentials is this: THE BODY-WEIGHT MUST BE MOVING IN THE SAME DIRECTION THAT YOUR STRIKING KNUCKLES ARE POINTING. In other words, the body-weight must be moving in the same direction that the EXIT of your POWER LINE is pointing."

"When you punch straight from the falling step, the fall and the right-foot spring send your body-weight STRAIGHT FORWARD in the same direction your striking knuckles are pointing (this is illustrated in the book). And the assisiting power you get from the accompanying shoulder whirl in the falling step DOES NOT CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR WEIGHT IN MOTION. THAT ESSENTIAL - same direction of weight and striking knuckles - IS LACKING WHEN YOU PUNCH STRAIGHT FROM THE SHOULDER WHIRL, "WITHOUT STEPPING". You'll understand what I mean when you try this little experiment."

"Take your normal punching position before the bag. Using the shoulder-whirl, hit the bag hard with your left fist; then, move to follow with a terrific straight right to the same spot. BUT, INSTEAD OF LETTING YOUR FIST ACTUALLY HIT THE BAG, YANK YOUR FIST IN AGAINST YOUR CHEST JUST BEFORE IT CAN LAND.

What happened?

"YOUR BODY WHIRLED AROUND, using the left foot as a pivot. Your body had practically no tendency to PLUNGE FORWARD into the bag, for your weight was spinning like a top. Had you completed that punch, your STRIKING KNUCKLES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POINTING IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS THAT OF YOUR WHIRLING WEIGHT. Your striking knuckles were straight forward, but your shoulder was whirling. Usually. When a straight punch is exploded against a target, the arm is fully extended. At the instant of explosion in a non-step whirling punch, the striking knuckles of the extended arm are trying to continue in ONE DIRECTION, whereas the shoulder is trying to pull the arm in ANOTHER DIRECTION (This is illustrated in the book).



"Your moving body-weight, instead of being exploded straight forward into the target as it was in the falling-step punch, may be whipped away to the inside by your whirling shoulder. That type of punch CANNOT HAVE EXPLOSIVE FOLLOW-THROUGH - unless your opponent steps into the punch. Incidently, I believe that "whip-away" causes many of the nysterious shoulder and elbow injuries suffered by fighters - torn ligaments, pulled muscles, and socket dislocations.

"The harder you throw a straight punch from the whirl, the more your body will try to PURIFY the punch by giving it LOOP. You body will try to send your striking knuckles in the same circular direction in which your body-weight is whirling. The harder you try to punch, particularly in rapid-fire exchanges, the more old mother nature will try to force you to hook. You see: THE HOOK IS THE PERFECT WHIRLING PUNCH. IT'S PURE. Consequently, the more LOOP given a whilring straight punch, the more explosive the punch.

"Nevertheless, you cannot let nature have her way with your straight whirls. It's unfortunate that the wider the loop the easier your opponent's block or slip. Moreover, the straighter you throw your punches in a rapid-fire exchange, the better you will keep "inside" your opponent's attack. The fellow who has the inside track in an exchange usually lands the most punches. SO DON'T LOOP 'EM.

"Although a non-step straight punch from the shoulder whirl is IMPURE, don't get the idea you shouldn't use the whirl for straight punching. THE WHIRL IS VALUABLE WHEN YOU CAN'T STEP, AND VERY VALUABLE AS AN AID TO POWER IN THE FALLING STEP. The more power you can generate with the shoulder whirl, the harder you will hit with both types of straight punches; the more explosiveness you will inject into your hooks. THE SHOULDER WHIRL IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. But let me stress this fact: NEITHER YOU NOR ANYONE ELSE WILL BE ABLE TO HIT AS HARD WITH A STRAIGHT PUNCH FROM THE SHOULDER WHIRL...WITHOUT THE FALLING STEP..., AS WITH IT. I emphasize that becuase many instructors teach: 'Never step with a straight punch unless you have to.' That instruction is wrong.

"The trigger-step (falling step) must be part of your "instinctive" equiptment before you begin experimenting with straigh, shoulder whirl punches. Otherwise, when you do have to step with a shoulder-whirl punch, you'll be using the wrong type of step. When you step in with a left jab, you'll be using a CURVED STEP; you'll be letting your foot follow your whirl. And when you try to step with a straight right, you'll be trying to 'hit off the right foot' by "raring back", like a baseball pitcher, before you throw the punch. A pitcher has time to rare back before he goes into his falling step, but if you rare back you'll be a "catcher."

"You may ask, 'Well, when should I step, and when should I whirl?"

"The answer is simply this: STEP WITH A STRAIGHT PUNCH WHENEVER YOU GET THE CHANCE, EVEN IF YOU CAN TAKE ONLY A VERY SHORT STEP. When you can't step, nature will force you to depend entirely upon the shoulder whirl.

"Let's move on to short-range punching: to hooks and uppercuts.

End of Chapter 15.

Next Time: Chapter 16 HOOKING

Not only was Dempsey a great fighter, but a great writer as well. I think the way he breaks things down is amazing.


m.g. thanks. my friend, who learned from an old navy guy at a pal upstate, always told me to step into my shots. now i think i am starting to understand why.

I guess I miss posting chapter 13. I thought I did.

Oh well, I'll just have to post that one. So expect chapter 13 and 15 in the next few days.

Thanks as always. Great stuff!


I guess I missed posting chapter 13. I thought I did.You posted it, it's just gone. I copied it to my HD though, so here it is:"You should understand and appreciate "range" before you learn punching from the whirl or from the surge. When you're in a normal punching position, range is the distance between your right fist and your no. 1 target: your opponent's chin. The right fist determines the range; for if you haven't punching room for the right, you certainly won't have punching room for the more forward left. There are generally three classifications of "range" (Note: the book illustrates these ranges) 1. LONG RANGE: That's the range for explosive sharp shooting. It's the range at which most leading is done. At that range you're far enough from the opponent so that you can "step in" with a fuul-fledge straight punch. It can be either a lead or counter punch. You've already learned that falling step is used for launching your weight in long-range hitting. 2. MEDIUM RANGE: That's the range for rapid fire straight punching exchanges. You are rarely at medium range when not exchanging. At that range you have room to throw straight punches but lack the room to step. For those straight punches your weight is given principally by the shoulder whirl instead of the falling step. If you're lucky, you may be able to develop a knockout straight punch from the shoulder whirl. BUT YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DEVELOP FROM THE SHOULDER WHIRL A STRAIGHT PUNCH THAT'S AS EXPLOSIVE AS THE LONG RANGE, STEPPING BLOW. 3. SHORT RANGE: That's the head to head slugging range. You're at close quarters. You haven't room for straight punching. So you use hooks or uppercuts. Hooks are powered by the shoulder whirl or by combination of the whirl and upward surge. Uppercuts are powered chiefly by the upward surge. The hook is a legitimate shoulder whirl blow, and it can be just as explosive as a long-range straight punch. However, hooks usually are more easily evaded than straight punches. Uppercuts also can be extremely explosive if delivered correctly. And a genuine uppercut is difficult to evade. You, or anyone else, should be able to hit harder with a hook or and uppercut than with a medium-range shoulder whirl straight punch.--MORE--


"When you investigate the short-range blows, you'll learn why the ideal hook and ideal uppercut would be delivered as such close quarters that stepping would be impossible. However, I'd guess that about one-third of all hooks and uppercuts are delivered with a step, in order to reach a target that can't be nailed by a straight punch. But the step usually is so short that it doesn't enfeeble the blow.

"While we're considering ranges and their blows, let me stress one extremely important fundamental: A STRAIGHT LINE IS THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO POINTS. Either fist, in its normal punching position, has less distance to travel "on a straight line" to its target than on the curve of a hook or uppercut. Consequently, a straight punch always should be used when:

(a) it has just as much chance of nailing the target as either of the others,


(b) when it will be just as exlposive as either of the others.

In other words, don't be taking long steps with hooks or uppercuts, when you should be sharpshooting with straigh punches.

On the other hand, if you're in so close to an opponent that you're almost in a clinch, it would be silly for you to be rearing back and trying to stab your opponent's face with straight punches - when you could be exploding hooks or uppercuts on his chin, or digging them into his body. Your understanding of range will enable you to PRACTICE landing the correct blow for each distance. And it will help you to "judge distance" - to anticipate exactly where the chin of a moving head will be at a certain split-second. Also, it will help you in your "timing" - landing your punch at the EXACT split-second when your target reaches it designated spot.

"Timing and judgement of distance are extremely important in a fight, where the range is changing constantly and you are using a variety of blows to suit the openingss and the distances."

Thanks Stratakos, I missed that one too.

Did MG post chapters 1 & 2?


I think he started with chapter 3. If I'm wrong, and MG posted them, I'd like to get copies of chapters 1 & 2 myself.

Is anyone archiving these posts?


I think I did post chapter 1. I didn't post chapter 2.

Chapter 1 is a very short chapter, and is essentially Dempsey talking about "exploding body weight" and how it is the most important weapon in boxing or fist fighting. And how even at the weight of 180 pounds he was able to explosive use his body weight as a weapon against bigger fighters. He uses Jess Willard, the 6'6 245lbs giant he fought in 1919, as a prime example of "exploding body weight". Dempsey also gives alittle biographically information.

Chapter 2 is also very short. This chapter is essentially where Dempsey speaks ill about the state of boxing and how it is becoming very commercialized and "big-business. And how this is attracting people to boxing who know little or nothing about "self-defense". And how amateur instructors are diluting boxing by pointing boxing students toward winning amateur and professional competitions instead of teaching the student how to defend themselves with their fist. He basically talks about the decline of "fistic skill" in boxing and the decline of good boxers overall. Good instruction and instructors in boxing is lacking according to Dempsey. And this was in 1950.

Anyway I can post those two chapters but let me first get the remaining ones out of the way.

TTT AND Thanks to MG

sorry, been busy at work. no time at home.

i don't recall seeing ch 1 and 2, it was introductory but m.g posted that he did post ch 1.

i did not see 13 and will make a separate thread for it and del it from this thread on thursday. on thursday/friday i should have time to update my site with these threads.

thx to m.g and to all.