Question on focus mitts

Okay, I know that every boxing and muay thai gym uses them, but I
have to ask if that's from tradition or what.

For me, the problems with focus mitts are:

1) They create a distance measuring confusion. Your eyes are used to
measuring the distance between you and your opponent's head or
body. The focus mitts are held in front, or to the sides, or slightly
behind. You end up focusing on the mitts and ignoring what the guy's
body and head are doing while training to hit his hands. Not that it'll
cause you to only focus on the mitts in a real fight, just why would you
want to add confusion into this very important aspect of the craft.

2) The trainer slaps the fighter's gloves, meeting his punches at the
sweet spot. Again that causes a distance confusion, as well as a power
confusion IMO. It also takes away the accuracy that focus mitts are
supposed to teach. So often you see very experienced fighters and
trainers go through what looks like a choreograph. They know where
their hands are going to meet. The fighter just throws them out there
without aiming and he's gauranteed that the trainer he's been working
this with for weeks will slap that glove. It's like kata for two.

3) All too often trainers have the fighter hit in combinations where the
mitts are held at left and right sides. The fighter ends up hitting left
right, left right, not at a single target but at targets distanced too far
apart to mimic how a single opponent would move. I see this all the
time. Lef jab toward the trainer's right shoulder, then right cross all the
way over toward his left.

Seems to me that having the fighter spend time on the double ended
bag is much better for practicing accuracy and speed than the mitts. It
moves in random motion so you HAVE to be focused and accurate to
hit it. And you can tell very quickly if you've hit it with power or if
you've only glanced it.

I fully admit I don't have a huge amount of experience boxing. Maybe
that's why I don't know enough to see the mitt's usefulness, but on the
other hand maybe because of that I'm not beholden to traditions and
fears of respecting the trainer/teacher. I suspect that most trainers
teach the way they've been taught and just carry on the tradition of
mitts. I know that the mitts have been around a long time and
champions all over use them. I'm just questioning whether they're
champions because of good mitt training or because of the other
training and that the mitts don't do much. Maybe if the time used on
mitts were used on other stuff instead, maybe you'd end up with even
better fighters, or novices who will progress quicker. I don't know.
Educate me if I'm wrong.

Focus mitts are just a tool like everything else but they are a versatile tool.
I work with focus mitts and they can be a great tool for working all the ranges. Kicking, punchging, clinch, ground.

  1. You need to spare as well but the focus mitts are great for training combinations, bob and weave, and for line familiarization.

  2. Where I work out we do not slap with the focus mitts. However I know a lot of top level people do.
    As far as choreographed movements are concerned I think it is ok to learn to throw in combinations. That kind of training will come out when the opportunity is available.

  3. if your trainer is holding the mitts too far apart from each other then he is holding incorrectly IMO.

Focus mitt work is a lot of fun for me and think it is an effective training tool.

Just my opinion.


The reason you move focus mitts into a punch is to save your elbows and shoulders from taking all the force of the punch. If you don't you'll end up with a wrecked rotator cuff.