MMA/Boxing Technique – Head Movement Drill and more…


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Save Your Face in Sparring and Competiton!

Over the years I’ve done a lot of shadow boxing. Actually I think I’ve done a little too much of it. I recall a time when I would set the oven timer for 30 minutes every morning and every night so that I could work on all of my newest techniques over and over again while shadowboxing. Needless to say after a while I could no longer lift my arms up and out to my sides without feeling excruciating pain pulse through my shoulders and biceps.  That was a painful lesson about over doing things.

Anyways, I want to share my one of my favourite shadowboxing drills. Before I do, let’s look at how you will benefit from doing it regularly.

First off it will help you get hit in the head way less!

If that’s not enough of a reason to start implementing this drill, then I say it will also help you land more strikes on your opponent and majorly increase the damage you inflict because the poor guy won’t even see the strikes coming.

Lastly this drill will make you frustrating to face in training or competition. You’ll look slicker, smoother and more experienced inside the cage or ring which is a nice bonus that may even draw you a few extra fans over the years.

What’s the drill you ask?

It’s a shadowboxing drill that incorporates the use of a set of mirrors –which many kickboxing and boxing gyms have– to improve your head movement skills.

Here’s how it works.

Plant yourself directly in front of the mirrors, body facing them, at a distance of two to three feet. Assume a fighting stance and adjust your position so that from your perspective your nose is directly in line with one of the cracks or seams that marks where one mirror ends and the next mirror starts. Be sure that you’re in your full fighting stance when you line everything up.

Next, begin shadowboxing as your normally would but keep your lower body completely still. Instead of moving your feet focusing on moving your upper body so that your nose moves on and off of the line you marked using the mirrors in front of you. Slip to the left, slip to the right, roll under a punch or two and after every evasive manoeuvre allow your nose to return to the place in which it started. Once there, move your head again…and again…and again.

I suggest doing a few rounds without any punching, strictly focusing on moving your head. Once you feel comfortable in doing that begin to add some simple punches. If your nose is off to the right side of your mark, fire back with a straight right hand. If it’s off to the left, counter attack with a killer left hook. Remember to maintain your high rate of head movement as it’s easy to get so wrapped up in punching again that you head movement starts to lessen.

Now you’re ready for the full drill. Start the timer to begin a round. Begin moving your head often, keeping your motion fluid and relaxed. Start unleashing punching combinations into your imaginary opponent’s face and body, each set of punches originating from the position that your evasive movements brought you too. Be sure to throw some punches from the normal vertical standing position but always move your head immediately after ending a flurry and then continue on with the drill. In the midst of all this action, maintain solid technical striking detail in your movements by keeping your hands up high, and by turning your hips when you punch plus all of the other things your instructor has taught you in training.

Do this drill often and you’ll find yourself moving your head more while working the heavy bag, while hitting the hand mitts and most importantly while sparring. What’s the end result? You’ll get hit less, land more solid shots of your own and look pretty slick in the process.

Have fun with it!

Here’s an example of how not to move your head!

and here’s a technique from a Head Movement workshop that I taught:

To pick up the Full 31 Video Head Movement video workshop which covers proper slipping, rolling, counter punching and more visit HERE.

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  1. LYRIQ says:


  2. Micks says:

    You have a great point. First of all boxing is the art of not getting hit. It’s hard to teach people that they can’t afford to get hit all the time. It will come back to them. They understand it even less when they wear a headguard, unfortunately. Heedguards aren’t made to allow people to eat punches.
    A smart boxing champion once told me: If you manage to avoid getting hit for the entire round, all you need is to hit back once to win the round. repeat every round and you win the match.

  3. game-lists says:

    Once you have the wrestling base on your checklist for how to become an MMA fighter, what do you recommend for hand skills — boxing techniques, kickboxing training, Thai boxing drills?

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