“To South Paw or not to Sout Paw, that is the question this post will answer.” – Thacker
Inside the world of Mixed Martial Arts there is a dilemma that many beginners face which remains a point of contention and honestly even for the more advanced MMA fighters: Should face my opponent with my power punching hand to the rear or front?
Normally, beginners pick out their less powerful punching hand since they are emulating what they see or this is what they heard from their previous boxing coach. The sport of Boxing has a tradition of taking right-handed fighters and placing them with their left side forward. Just about 85% to 90% of all the boxers adopt the left-side-forward stance, and that matches the percentage of right-handers within the general population.
However in MMA as well as other combat arts, there is a differing schools of thought starting to appear (This thought actually started with Bruce Lee, – the legend). The truth is, Mixed Martial Arts is leading the pack and demonstrates a significant change from boxing doctrine. As opposed to 80 to 90-percent belief in the traditional stance, it’s only about 60 percent and that number is dwindling fast.
Just before explaining this choice, let’s examine why placing the strong hand to the rear became the norm. Inside the 18th century, the act of hitting an opponent started turning into a science. The lead arm was held somewhat extended in front of the body as a person may possibly hold a foil or quarterstaff. This extended lead arm acted as both a defensive tactic as well as a range finder for the more powerful upcoming punch.
The jab was not a go-to weapon inside the arsenal. Instead, fighters circled each other, seeking to unload their powerful straights shots and swings (hay-makers but very controlled) for their rear powerful arm. With that in mind, placing the powerful hand/arm to the rear for the windup created sense.
The advent of boxing gloves (back then referred to as mufflers) gave fighters with an entrenched strong rear hand an even greater impetus to help keep it there. The mufflers made knockouts harder due to their cushioning effect, plus the case for keeping the powerful hand to the rear became even much more compelling because a higher windup was now a necessity.
When the jab developed in emulation of the fencer’s foil, boxing changed but stances did not. The jab was and is essentially a foil seeking to stab and spear with precision. If the boxer were to truly mimic the fencer, he’d location his coordinated side forward just as fencers wield the foil with their dominant hand. Ninety percent of fencers hold their foil in their proper hand. They prefer the coordinated hand forward mainly because they’re seeking to strike with precision.
Boxers accepted the jab as a foil substitute, but why didn’t they adopt the coordinated stance-shift? Once more, the answer lies inside the glove-it’s difficult to knock out an opponent if you have gloves on. Boxers erred on the side of power and kept the strong-side windup as their mainstay.
Which brings us back to Mixed Martial Arts. Why are there numerous deliberate southpaws?
There are actually two answers to whether you should South Paw or not in MMA.
First to southpaw or not:
There are plenty of athletes who had been wrestlers, grapplers or Brazilian jiu-jitsu players just before they transitioned to the area of Mixed Martial Arts, and, as a rule, shooting (seeking take-downs with leg shots) is taught with the coordinated side forward (often the correct side). So when it came to striking, lots of of these grapplers adopted a southpaw stance to stay as close to their comfort-zone stance as probable.
Second to southpaw or not:
MMA gloves are far lighter than boxing gloves, kickboxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves. Having lighter gloves means much less power is needed to deliver harm. With that stated, light gloves enable for jabs that will land as heavy as a cross in standard boxing and enable the less-powerful hand to have the benefit of the windup. Light gloves put power back into both hands, and rather than the lead hand being a feeler, defensive tool or point scorer, both hands have KO power. This equalizing nature of light gloves permits grapplers to shoot in with their coordinated side forward. For that reason, we see much more deliberate southpaws letting go of a stance that’s now an artifact of a rule set tailored to a different era.
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