Dempsey: Champ Fighting Chap 10

Here is chapter 10 of Jack Dempsey's Championship Fighting.

The chapters get longer so bear with me if you can.


"You have learned how to set your body-weight into motion for a long range jolt. And you have located the power line and its exit. Now you're ready to learn the "relay and explosion" You can do that best by throwing a jolt.

"First, we must get something to punch - something you can hit solidly without injuring your fist. If you can go into a gymnasium, swell; for in a gym you'll find an inflated, pear-shaped, light, leather striking bag, and a large, heavy, cylindrical canvas or leather "dummy bag" - sometimes known as the "heavy bag". The latter is packed with cotton waste, but it is solid enough for you to accustom your fist, wrist and arms to withstand considerable punching shock. One can practice both body and head blows on the heavy bag. On the fast light bag - which is about the height of an opponent's head - one can sharpen one's speed and timing for "head-hunting"; and one also can practise the important back hand, warding off stroke until it becomes automatic.

"If no gymnasium is available,and you are unable to buy bags from an athletic goods store, you'll have to carry on without a light bag and make your own heavy bag. To make a "dummy bag" get two empty gunny sacks. Put one sack inside the other to give your bag strength. Then fill the inside of the sack with old rags, excelsior, old furniture-fillings or the like. Sawdust mixed with the above makes an excellent filler. Make certain there are no solid objects in the stuffing of your bag. Leave enough space at the top so that you can wrap the necks of both bags securely with a rope. Suspend the bag on the rope from a strong girder in your basement, barn, or woodshed - or even from a limb of a tree. Do not attempt to use a heavy bag in your living quarters; the pounding vibrations will loosen the plaster in the walls and celing.

"Whether you practice punching in a gymnasium or at home, you must use striking gloves (not boxing gloves) to protect the skin on your knuckles. If you can't buy the small, mittenlike leather striking gloves, make a pair of your own by snipping the fingers off a pair of leather work gloves, midway down each finger. Cutting them off in this fashion will permit you to clench your fist freely. Even with the protection of striking gloves you'll probably skin your knuckles during the fist 3 weeks of punching practice. However, the knuckles will become calloused gradually.



"Now that you have some sort of heavy bag and some sort of striking gloves, you are ready to begin throwing punches".

"You are ready to: STEP, RELAY, and EXPLODE. Do it as follows:

"Put on your striking gloves. Take your falling step position before the bag. The toe of your left foot should be pointing straight at the bag, and the toe-tip should be about 3 feet out from the bag. Practice the falling step three or four times, with your arms to the sides.

Now, again take your position for the falling step. As you teeter up and down, raise your relaxed arms into guarding position. As you raise them, also raise your LEFT shoulder slightly and shove the LEFT shoulder foward a trifle, so that your chin -snuggling beside it - would be protected from a blow coming at any angle from your own left. KEEP YOUR ELBLOWS IN, toward your body. Your relaxed hands are HAL-OPEN, with the thumbs resting easily upon the index fingers. The upper knuckle of your LEFT-THUMB should be about 10 inches forward of from your lips. The uppper knuckle of you RIGHT THUMB should be about 4 inches forward from your lips.

Teeter in that position until you feel balanced and comfortable. BE RELAXED EVERYWHERE AS YOU TEETER. If you feel cramped by holding your elbows in, let thm out slightly, but only slightly."



"Now -when you feel comfortable and relaxed -SUDDENLY DO THE FALING STEP TOWARD THE BAG, and as you step make the folling moves:

1. Shoot your loose, half-open LEFT HAND straight along the power line at a chin-high spot on the bag.

2. But, as the relaxed LEFT HAND speeds toward the bag SUDDENLY CLOSE THE HAND WITH A CONVULSIVE, GRABBING SNAP.

Close it with such a terrific grab that when the second knuckle of the upright fist smashes into the bag, the fist and the arm and the shoulder will be "frozen" steel-hard by the terrific grabbing tension.

That convulsive, freezing grab is the EXPLOSION.

Try that long left jolt 3 or 4 times. Make certain each time that:

1) you are completely relaxed before you step.

2) your relaxed LEFT HAND, in normal guarding position, is only half-closed.

3) you make no preliminary movement with either your feet or your left hand.

Do not draw back or cock the relaxed left hand in a preparatory movement that you hope will give the punch more zing. DON'T DO THAT! You'll not only telegraph the blow, but you'll slow up and weaken the punch.

Now that you've got the feel of the stepping jolt, let's examine it in slow motion to see exactly what you did.

First, the falling step launched your body weight straight at the target at which your left toe was pointing.

Secondly, your relaxed left hand shot out to relay that moving body-weight along the power line to the target BEFORE THAT MOVING BODY-WEIGHT COULD BE RELAYED TO THE FLOOR BY YOUR DESCENDING LEFT FOOT.

Thirdly, the convulsive, desperate grab in your explosion accomplished the following:

(a) caused the powerful muscles of your back to give the left shoulder a slight surging whirl toward your own right.

(b) psychologically "pulled" the moving body-weight into your arm with a sudden lurch.

(c) gave a lightning boost to the speed of your fist.

(d) froze your fist, wrist, arm, and shoulder along the power line at the instant your fist smashed into the target.

(e) and caused terrific "follow through" after the explosion.



"When the long, straight jolt crashes into the fellow's chin the fist doesn't bounce off harmlessly, as it might in a light medium range jab. No sir! The forzen solidity behind the jolt causes the explosion to shoot forward as the solid breech of a rifle forces a cartridge explosion to shoot the bullet foward. The bullet in a punch is your fist, with the combined power from your fast moving weight and your convulsing muscles behind it -solidly. Your fist, exploded foward by the solid power behind it, has such a terrific "follow-through" that it can snap back an opponent's head like that of a shot duck. It can smash his nose, knock out teeth, break his jaw, stun him, floor him, knock him out."

-to be continued-

Thanks a bunch MG for all the work going into this. I and others really appreciate it.


I don't post too often on the boxing forum (though I'm
a big fan of the sport), but I've got to say that this
is one of the biggest contributions to any part of
UG forum I've seen.

I wish they'd put this book back in print. I checked
amazon for it, and all I have to say is holy shit . . .

Here is the rest of the chapter. Sorry for the delay.

"What was your right hand doing while your left delivered its first punch?"

"Your right hand should have been in a position of alertness to protect you from a countering blow or to follow with another punch to your opponent's chin. As your "left" hand sped towards its target; your "right" hand, rising slightly from its original guarding position, should have opened - with all fingers, including the thumb, pressing tightly against each other to form a "knife blade" and should have turned its palm slightly towrad the bag, as if you were about to chop an opponent's "left" shoulder with the outer edge of your "right" hand. However, you do no chopping; instead, your "right" hand merely remains tensely alert until the "left" fist lands.

"Try a few more "left" jolts. Make certain each time that your "right" hand becomes an alert "knife" (this is illustrated in figure 13). Perhaps you wondered why I started you punching with the "left" hand instead of with the "right" inasmuch as we are seeking speedy development of a knockout blow. I started you with the "left" for several reason."



"Contary though it may seem, the "left" fist is more important for a "right-handed fighter" (not a southpaw) than is the "right" fist. That is ture because, in normal punching position, the "left" hand is closer than the "right" to an opponent's head or body. Since it is closer, the "left" is harder for an opponent to avoid than the more distant "right". If you can land solidly with a straight or with a left hook, you'll generally knock your opponent off balance, at least, and "set him up" for a pot-shot with your right.

"It's not only easier to hit an opponent with you "left", but it's also safer. When you shoot the left, your chin is protected partially by your left shoulder and partially by your guarding right hand. Because it is easier and safer to use the left, you usually "lead" with that fist. When two fighters are warily watching each other, waiting for an opening at any time during the encounter, the first punch thrown (by either) is a "lead". it's so dangerous to lead with the right against an experienced opponent that the "right lead" is called a "sucker punch". However, there are times whne the "right lead" can be used with deadly efectiveness, as Schmeling demostrated in his first fight with Louis."



"In addition, use of the falling step practically guarantees your developing a solid left jolt. You have no such guarantees if you try to develop a good straight left from the medium-range shoulder whirl - the method by which most current fighters put body-weight into motion for all straight punches. I'll explain later why straight punches that are powered only by the shoulder-whirl cannot have effective follow-through. Right now let me merely point out that when a fellow stands in normal punching position, with weight forward and his left shoulder slightly forward to protect his chin, he can get very little shoulder whirl into a left jolt - unless he draws back his left shoulder. Such a move would be a cardinal sin."



"I use the expression "left jolt" instead of "left jab" because i don't want you to confuse the type ofstraight left you will throw, with the futile straight left or "jab" used by most current amateur and professional boxers. Most of them couldn't knock you hat off with their left jabs. With their lefts, the tap, they slap, they flick, they paw, they "paint". Their jabs are used more to confuse than to stun. Their jabs are used as shuttering defensive flags to prevent their poorly instructed opponents from "getting set to punch". A good fighter doesn't have to "get set" He's always ready to punch. Some of them use their jabs merely to make an opening for their rights. And that's dangerously silly, for the proper brand of feinting would accomplish the same purpose. With but a few exceptions, they "do not use the left jab as a smashing jolt that can be an explosive weapon by itself" - that can knock you down or knock you out"

-to be continued-

(note: there are two more pages left in this chapter I will finish posting them after I come back from my class).


"There are two reasons why the left jolt is a rarity in fighting today. First, nearly all current boxers launch their jabs with the non-step shoulder whirl. Secondly, nearly all have been fed the defensive hokum that it's less dangerous to try to tap an opponent with the left than to try to knock him down with the left.

"Concerning that defensive hokum, let me say this: Any time you extend your left fist either for a tap or for an all-out punch, you're taking a gamble on being nailed with a counter punch. And the sap who uses "light stuff" - tapping, flicking, etc, - has his left hand extended much more often than the explosive left-jolter, who doesn't waste punches - doesn't shoot until he has feinted or forced his opponent into an opening. It's true that you can "recover" your balance more quickly after missing a tap than after missing a hard punch. But it's also true that an opponent who is defending only against taps and slaps will be much more alret to counter than an opponent who is being "bombed"

"My advice to all beginners is this: Use a light jab only in one instance - in the so-called one two punch - when your left fist strikes the opponent's forehead to tip his head back, so that your immediately following straight right can nail him one the chin. Speaking of straight rights, I'll let you throw one now. "The straight right is thrown from the same position as the straight left. Stand in your normal punching position. Your relaxed "right" hand is half-opened, and the upper knuckle of the thumb is about four inches in front of your lips.

"Without any preliminary movements of the right hand, shoot it at the chin-high spot on the bag as you do the falling step. Neither pull back or cock the right before throwing it . As you step in to explode the second knuckle of your "upright" fist against the bag, your chin should be partially protected by your "left" shoulder, "left" arm, and "left" hand. Remember that your "left" hand opens to make a "knife blade", with the palm turned slighly toward your opponent."



"While the "right" fist is being thrown, the "left" hand and arm should stiffen for an instant in order to present a rigid barrier before the face in case an opponent attempts to strike with a countering right. The "index knuckle" of your opened "left" hand should remain anout 10 inches in front of your left eye as you step in. But the instant your "right" fist lands, your "left" hand should relax into its normal half-opened condition so that it will be ready to punch immediately, if neccessary."

"STRAIGHT PUNCHES FOR THE BODY: with either hand are begun and executed in the same manner as the head punches. (Any change in position before the start would be a tell-tale.) When in motion, however, your fist turns so that the palm is down when the second knuckle explodes against the bag. Also, "as you begin" the body punch, you bend forward to slide under the guarding arms and to make your own chin a less open target."

"As you practice those punches, KEEP YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN. Don't close your eyes as you step in. Focus your eyes on your target. YOU MUST KEEP YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN AT ALL TIMES WHEN YOU ARE FIGHTIN OR BOXING."

"Keep your eyes open; but KEEP YOUR EARS CLOSED to the kibitzers and wise guys who may scoff at your early awkwardness in using the "trigger step". They may tell you that you're charging like a war-horse. They may tell you that you're merely poking as would with a stick. They may tell you that you are completely off balance and that you must have a slowrecovery if you miss with a stepping punch."



"You are not charging; you are not being shot forward. You are not poking; you are EXPLODING. A stepping straight punch to the head should land with the fist in an UPRIGHT position to keep the punch straight. THE INSTANT YOU TURN YOUR FIST TO LAND PALM DOWN IN A HEAD PUNCH, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LOOP THE PUNCH. You'll learn all abut looping later, when you study straight punches that are delivered from the shoulder whirl, without the step. Don't concern yourself now with balance and recovery. You are punching from the proper "stance". As your feet, legs, and arms accustom themselves to the falling, power-line explosions, they will take care of balance and recovery. They'll make certain that you are still in normal punching stance, whether you land on target or whether you miss."

"Don't let anyone induce you to shorten your step before you have mastered this type of punching. You must become an expert in using comparatively long step fr two reasons:

(1) (there is) no other way can you become an "explosive long range sharpshooter", particularly with your left hand.

(2) (there is) no other way you can so accustom your body to the lightning forward lurch that the movement becomes instinctive. Later, when the trigger step has become a habit, your body will bolt forward - whether you step two feet or two inches.

"To make your early practice sessions with the basic, long range blows more interesting, I'll tell you now about stance, and then teach you the fundamentals of footwork."

End of Chapter 10.

Next Time: Chapter 11: Stance.