13 important points about your guard that you must always remember.
A checklist on the quality of your guard in striking
This post is not to explain the types of guard you need to know and use but is a check list on the quality of your guard regardless of the type.
These are common elements in the guard that must always be present!
I just want you to pay attention to these points that are essential whatever guard you decide to use.
A brief detail on the types of guards.
- 1 There are several types of guards:
- 3 Guard in MMA
- 4 Muay Thai Guard
- 5 The 13 important points on your guard that you always need to remember:
There are several types of guards:
Traditional Guard (Orthodox):
The traditional or orthodox guard is the first one that is taught.
For a right-handed boxer, the leg and left arm are in an advanced position with the arm slightly bent, while the right arm rests with the hand protecting the chin and the rest of the limb defending the torso.
When a left-handed boxer adopts the traditional guard it takes the name “southpaw.”
In some cases, a right-handed boxer can adopt this guard because, for example, it offers the possibility of performing a particularly powerful direct, since it is launched with the dominant hand, or to surprise the opponent.
- This is the basic guard and the most common in boxing.
- For a right-handed boxer, the left leg and arm are in the forward position, while the right arm protects the chin and torso.
- When a left-handed boxer adopts this guard, it is called a “southpaw.”
Square Stance (Front Guard):
The square stance or frontal guard requires the boxer to stand in the foot and with his hands in front of his face.
This style is often criticized because it discovers too much the torso and reduces the power of the blows, not giving the boxer the ability to properly rotate the torso; however, it allows the boxer to use the jab more easily and especially favors the counterattack.
He is a very aggressive guard of those who advance a lot by beating.
Mike Tyson, known for the ferocity of his counterattacks and his ability to cash in, popularized this style of guard.
- The boxer positions himself with his feet in front of his face.
- This guard is known to be more open, exposing the torso, but allows a good use of the jab and favors the counterattack.
- He is a guard often adopted by aggressive boxers who advance a lot.
The philly shell resembles the classic position, but the dominant hand is rested on the torso so as to cross it, while the weak one is positioned lower to protect the trunk than in the normal position and with the shoulder at the top.
You know Floyd Mayweather? Here’s the use of it a lot
Although this guard offers “less protection” and weakens jabs (excluding some types such as the Cuban Jab), cross-attacks will be more explosive and doding will be easier.
It is a type of guard that is used by fast and highly technical boxers.
- Similar to the traditional guard, but with the dominant hand resting on the torso so as to cross it and the weak hand lower to protect the trunk.
- It offers less protection than the traditional guard but favors explosive counterattacks and facilitates escape.
- Often used by fast and highly technical boxers, such as Floyd Mayweather.
These are some of the most common guards in boxing.
In addition to these, there are variations and custom styles that boxers develop to suit their preferences and fighting style.
The choice of guard depends on the boxer’s skills, his fighting style and the strategy he wants to adopt in the ring.
Here are some other less common but still relevant guards:
- High Guard:
- In this guard, both hands are positioned high, protecting the face.
- It is effective at protecting the upper body, but can leave the trunk uncovered and make it more difficult to counterattack.
- Low Guard:
- The boxer lowers his hands to protect the trunk and ribs.
- This guard can be risky since it exposes the face to attacks, but it can be used to escape blows and counterattack with blows to the body.
- Cross-armed guard:
- In this guard, the boxer crosses his arms in front of his face.
- It offers complete face protection but limits the ability to launch direct shots.
- Butterfly Guard:
- The hands are kept low, with the elbows pointing outwards.
- This guard is used to invite the opponent to strike and look for counterattack opportunities.
- Slip Line Guard:
- In this guard, the boxer tilts his body sideways to dodge the opponent’s blows.
- It can be used in combination with other guards to avoid blows.
- Shoulder Roll:
- In this guard, the boxer tilts his body back and uses his shoulder to protect the side of the face.
- This guard is known to be used by defensive boxers and counter-punchers.
- Open Guard:
- In this guard, the boxer keeps his hands slightly more open than in the traditional guard.
- It is used to invite the opponent to strike and seek counterattack opportunities.
Guard in MMA
In mixed martial arts (MMA), guards can vary greatly depending on the practitioner’s fighting style and personal preferences.
Here are some of the most common guard types in MMA, along with a brief explanation for each:
- This is the most common guard in MMA, similar to the traditional guard in boxing.
- An Orthodox fighter places his left foot forward and his right foot back, with his hands ready to defend his face and body.
- Similar to the Orthodox guard, but reversed for left-handers.
- A southpaw fighter will have his right foot forward and his left foot back, with his hands ready to defend.
- Open Stance:
- In this guard, both fighters have their left foot forward, creating an “open position” between them.
- This style can be used to favor certain fighting techniques, such as leg strike, and to look for attack opportunities from different angles.
- Wrestling Stance:
- This guard is commonly used by wrestlers and wrestlers in MMA.
- Fighters lower their level, bringing their hands close to their legs, so they can grab the opponent’s legs to perform a grip or takedown.
- Philly Shell / Peek-a-Boo:
- Similar to the Philly Shell in boxing, this guard involves lowering your head and shoulders, while protecting your torso and face with your arms.
- It is used to defend against enemy attacks and look for counterattack opportunities.
- Low Guard:
- In this guard, hands are placed lower to protect the trunk and legs.
- It can be used to dodge opponents’ blows and look for opportunities to attack the body or legs.
- Kickboxing Guard:
- This guard is suitable for fighters using boxing and kicking techniques.
- The hands are positioned to defend the face, while the legs are ready to kick.
- Muay Thai Guard:
- This guard is specific to Muay Thai fighters and provides heavy protection of the legs and elbows.
- The hands defend the face while the elbows are ready to cover the body and throw elbows.
It is important to note that in MMA, fighters often mix elements from different disciplines and develop their custom guards according to their unique fighting style.
Flexibility to change guard and adapt to situations is a key element in MMA.
Muay Thai Guard
In Muay Thai, one of the most iconic and dynamic martial arts in the world, the guard is a crucial aspect to protect yourself from the attacks of the opponent and to prepare to throw powerful blows.
The guard in Muay Thai has some specific characteristics:
- Foot position:
- The feet are placed at a shoulder width or slightly wider.
- The dominant leg (usually that of the strong side) is placed slightly ahead of the other. This allows you to have a stable base for kicks and facilitates defense.
- Protection of the upper limbs:
- The hands are usually positioned in front of the face and shoulders to defend against enemy attacks.
- The right hand is positioned in front of the left side of the face, while the left hand is in front of the right side of the face. This guard style protects the face and chin.
- Elbows and forearms:
- The elbows are held close to the body to protect the trunk.
- The forearms may be tilted slightly outwards to block blows.
- Leg protection:
- The back leg can be positioned slightly behind, with the knee slightly bent, to protect the lower body.
- The front leg is ready to defend against attacks on the legs.
- Active guard:
- In Muay Thai, guarding is often more active than in other martial arts. This means that fighters can use their forearms to block enemy shots and intercept attacks before they hit the target.
- Despite a solid guard position, fighters in Muay Thai are always ready to move quickly, both to defend against enemy attacks and to seek attack opportunities.
- A distinctive feature of the guard in Muay Thai is preparation for counterattack. Fighters often try to parry or block enemy attacks and then immediately respond with powerful blows, such as elbows, knees or kicks.
Guarding in Muay Thai is crucial for protection and offensive effectiveness, as fighters face a variety of attacks, including punches, kicks, elbows, and knees.
Constant practice of guarding is essential to become an effective fighter in this discipline.
Here is a list of the main guards used in Muay Thai:
- Standard Guard (Orthodox or Southpaw):
- The standard guard is suitable for both right-handed (Orthodox) and left-handed (southpaw) fighters.
- In this guard, the fighter places the dominant leg slightly forward and keeps his hands ready to defend the face and body.
- High Guard:
- In this guard, the hands are placed high, protective of the face.
- It is effective in protecting the upper body, but can expose the trunk to attacks.
- Low Guard:
- In this guard, hands are placed lower to protect the trunk and legs.
- It can be used to defend against attacks on the body or to prepare counterattacks.
- Muay Khao Guard:
- This guard is often used by fighters who specialize in knees (Khao) and clinch.
- The hands are slightly more open, and the fighter is ready to enter the clinch and throw powerful knees.
- Muay Mat Guard:
- Used by fighters specialized in fighting techniques and projections (Mat).
- The Muay Mat guard can include lower and open positions to facilitate grips.
- Classic Thai Guard:
- This guard is traditionally used by Thai fighters.
- The fighter keeps his arms slightly bent and placed protectively in front of his face, with his legs ready to move quickly.
- Counterattack Guard:
- Some fighters use a more open guard, ready to parry enemy attacks and respond with precise counterattacks, such as elbows or knees.
- Open Guard:
- In this guard, the hands are positioned slightly more open than in the standard guard, inviting the opponent to strike.
- It is used to create counterattack opportunities by exploiting the opponent’s flaws.
- Clinch Guard:
- This guard is especially important for experienced fighters in clinch, a phase of Muay Thai in which grips and knees are used.
- The hands are positioned in such a way as to allow an effective grip on the opponent.
- Women’s Muay Guard:
- In women’s Muay Thai competitions, some fighters adopt a guard that can vary from traditional, often including elements of Western fighting styles.
- Low Blow Guard:
- Some fighters may adopt a specific guard to defend against low kicks, lowering the front leg further and protecting the legs with the forearms.
- Balanced Guard:
- A balanced guard tries to find a compromise between protection and attacking ability, keeping his hands and arms in an intermediate position between high and low.
- One-Arm Guard:
- Sometimes, a fighter may lower one of his hands, holding one hand high to protect the face and the other low to kick or elbow more easily.
- Guard for Running Strike Defense:
- When facing opponents trying to hit on the run or quickly close the distance, a more closed and compact guard can be adopted to repel attacks.
- Guard for the Counter Elbow Attack:
- Some fighters, especially those who are experienced in elbowing, may adopt a guard that allows you to defend against enemy attacks and respond with lethal elbows.
It is important to note that in Muay Thai, the guard can vary considerably from one fighter to another, based on individual skills, tactics and preferences.
Constant practice and the ability to adapt to different situations are fundamental to becoming an effective fighter in this discipline.
The choice of guard depends on the strategy of the fighter and his fighting style.
Muay Thai is a very dynamic and versatile martial art, and fighters can adapt their guard according to circumstances and their personal preferences.
The 13 important points on your guard that you always need to remember:
- Foot position: Stand as if you were on a watch face. If you are on right guard, your right foot should be forward at noon (12), while your left foot should be behind at 8. If you are on left guard, your left foot will be forward at noon (12) and your right foot at 4.
- Shoulder width: Keep a distance between your feet that is approximately shoulder width. This position offers stability and mobility.
- Foot orientation: The forward foot should have the toes slightly pointing inwards, at about 15 degrees, while the back foot should be oriented outwards at an angle of 30/45 degrees. This configuration helps maintain a stable balance.
- Weight distribution: Feel the weight spread evenly over the two feet, but without lifting the heels completely. This gives you a good foundation without sacrificing mobility.
- Knee flexion: The knees should be slightly flexed. Never kept completely straight, as this position limits your ability to move quickly.
- Hand position: Raise your hands in a defensive position, with your fists clenched. Hands should be at a comfortable distance from your face, ready to parry or throw blows.
- Back Fist: The back fist should be positioned so that your fist touches your back cheekbone. This position protects your face from attacks.
- Front fist: The front fist should be at shoulder height and extended about 30 cm in front of the shoulder. This allows you to quickly launch direct shots.
- Elbows and forearms: Keep your elbows and forearms parallel, avoiding keeping your elbows too open or too closed. This position allows you to better protect your body.
- Chin position: Keep your chin slightly lowered to protect your jaw from potential blows. The chin should be hidden behind the shoulders.
- Shoulders: Lift your shoulders slightly, but avoid stiffening them too much. Your shoulders should be relaxed to allow you to move with agility.
- Gaze: Fix your gaze forward, maintaining peripheral vision. Avoid looking at your feet, as this will make you vulnerable to the attacks of the opponent.
- Relaxation: Finally, try to relax in your guard position. Tension and stiffening can make you slower and less responsive. You need to feel comfortable and ready to move quickly.
You don’t have to do three 5-minute rounds on this, but run your guard position in front of the mirror and see if your position is correct.
It must become a natural position that you have even when“you don’t think.”
The idea here is to practice the guard position so intensely that it becomes a natural part of your posture, almost an instinctive reflex.
This means that you should practice in front of a mirror, so that whenever you look at yourself or prepare for combat, your guard position is automatically corrected.
Imagine that this position becomes second nature, similar to how you get used to walking or breathing without having to think about it carefully.
It will be as if your body instinctively knows how to position itself for defense or attack without requiring conscious thought.
This constant practice and repetition of the action of maintaining the correct guard position will help you develop an instinctive reaction, ensuring that it is always present even when you are not aware of doing so.
In this way, your guard becomes an automatic and natural skill, ready to protect you in any situation without having to think too much about it.
At first get help from your more experienced friend or your teacher/teacher.
Never lose sight of the fundamentals.
Then even more important when you make the sack also pay attention to your guard after you have brought the shots.
The same thing with the focus pays attention to your guard because if after you hit your hands and your body are not in position it means that you have opened your guard and the opponent can hit you.
In combat leave nothing to chance.
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