Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chad Howse who is doing a series of posts for Art of Maniless on the basics of boxing. Thanks Chad!

In this installment of the “Boxing Basics” series, I’m going to cover proper stance as well as a bit of footwork. There are a couple things you want to accomplish in your stance. One, you want to be ready to react, which means having your knees bent in an athletic stance with the weight on the balls of your feet, and two, you want to protect yourself.

Take a look at the tips after the video for some extra info.


1. Feet a bit wider than shoulder width

If your feet are too wide you might have more balance, but you’ll also lose some power on the dominant hand. Take a look at the stances of a guy like Rocky Marciano versus the stance of a guy like Floyd Mayweather Jr. Marciano was going after the knockout in every fight and had his feet about shoulder width apart, while Mayweather Jr. has a wider stance for balance and movement because of his “score points first and not get hit” mentality.

Also, don’t keep your feet in a straight line; this will take away from your power. Have your feet facing the same direction with your back foot slightly to the side.

2. Make a small target

I say have your back foot slightly out to the side, but don’t go overboard. Notice how you can’t see my whole chest-you want to avoid being square to your opponent, providing as little a target as possible. The less he can see, the less he’s going to be able to hit, which also means keeping your hands up as well.

3. Chin down

You’ll hear it a lot in fights; the announcer will say something like: “He’s throwing punches with his chin in the air,” or, “He got hit right on the button.” So why is this? Well, just above your jaw bone there’s a bony ridge on either side of your head that protects a bunch of nerves. A punch landing on the front of the chin drives the jaw bone into those nerves, causing disorientation and loss of coordination that can result in a knockout. So keep your chin down and your hands up.

4. Be in a position to react and throw back

Keep your knees bent with the weight on the balls of your feet. You also want to take small steps; making larger movements with your feet will result in one foot is off the ground for too long. If you’re hit while in the middle of a step, you’ll be off balance and not in the position to slip, or plant and throw a punch back.

5. Elbows in

As much as you want to protect your chin and head, you also want to protect your body and throw straight punches. Keeping your elbows in tight to your body will allow you to get them in a position to block punches to the torso as well as help keep your punches straight.

Note: The video primarily shows an orthodox stance. If you’re left handed (southpaw) follow the same tips but do the opposite of what’s done in an orthodox stance.