My "Extreme Boxing" Review

My thoughts on Mark Hatmaker's "Extreme Boxing" (2 vols). (See

These tapes are billed as a course in old-school "pugilism" as practiced under pre-20th century rules with an eye toward the modern MMA environment.

What's good:

-Hatmaker is extremely articulate and clearly spoken. He explains the concepts and techniques very well.

-Production values are good, with good sound and understanding of camera angles (one thing re sound is the "smack" on the focus pads really starts to annoy after a while).

-The emphasis on closing the distance, working the clinch with headbutts and shovel hooks, and defending the takedown.

-Significant inclusion of headbutts, the pivot punch and footstomps.

-Staging of speed in demonstrations (slow, moderate then full-speed).

-Good drills to use as building-blocks to prepare for sparring by acclimating to punching, getting punched at, and defending.

What needs improvement:

-Beginner defense: the tapes could use something like Crazy Monkey before going into all the detail on cuffs, parries, rolls, catches, shoulder stops, etc.

-Defense against kicks: almost no discussion of defense against knees and leg-kicks with the exception of shooting on a leg kick and turning in one's leg to take the strike on the hams rather than the quads, neither of which is demonstrated in much detail.

-More inclusive attitude toward non-Western arts, especially MT-style elbows, clinching and kick defense. He mentions JKD, Kali and MT, but only to say, "This is how they do it, which is fine, but this is how we do it."

Hatmaker's insistence on Western MA is great in its focus on practicality and scientific breakdown of what works, how, and why, and it's an interesting history lesson, but it becomes an exclusiveness that leaves some obvious gaps.

Overall: I'd recommend it, especially for beginners and anyone interested in integrating some "pugilism" into their stand-up (though most of it is illegal in the ring or octagon). It's some mean, practical stuff very well presented that, if learned and practiced according to Hatmaker's demonstrations, would be highly formidable in ordinary life.

I understand the really fun stuff is in the sequel, "Illegal Boxing," which I haven't seen.

Thanks for posting this Conchabar.

I love everything by Hatmaker. I may not agree with all the things on his tapes, but I like his angle. I have quite a bit of his vids.