Rugerdude, (Cool name!) I’ve been watching this thread trying to figure out whether or not I want to post an answer. I’m left with, somewhat, mixed emotions by your message; however, I’m unquestionably impressed by your personal refusal to resort to deadly force. In today’s excessively violent world, your personal scruples are meritorious; and you deserve to be commended on them.
You’re only 14; and I’m not going to advocate that you strike the first blow. (I’m hoping, perhaps not against hope, that your high school world isn’t that violent; and something of, ‘Marquis of Queensbury’ rules still apply.) My credentials for this discussion should be beyond impeachment: I was a kid who fought his way through all of high school and the first two years of college. As a matter of fact it’s taken me a long time to learn how NOT to fight.
In my experience most of high school fisticuffs hold, pretty much, to arm’s reach tactics. Ain’t been in too many fistfights recently; and maybe things have changed; but, in my day, it was the unusual fighter who would prefer to, ‘take you down’ and turn a fistfight into a grappling assault. We usually would go at each other, ‘toe-to-toe’. Now, if you bend the usual rules of engagement just a little bit, any fistfight is a whole lot easier to prevail at than the kind of low down and dirty, ‘mat work’ we used to do when I studied Kodokan Judo.
Here’s one of my favorite tricks for people who like to punch: FADE! That’s right, I said; ‘FADE!’ Then pick your target and strike. In order to understand what I’m trying to put across, you first have to understand, ‘What’ a good punch is. A, ‘good punch’ involves the maximum delivery of blunt force shock from one opponent to another. Ideally it consists of a lot more than just arm strength. If you’re going to hit hard you need to get your body weight behind the blow; and the blow has to make contact while you, still, have about 3” of reach left in your arm. The hardest punches I’ve ever managed to throw, all, made contact just as my lead foot went forward with the punch and touched down on the floor. In other words, if you’re going to hit hard: The punch, the shoulders, and the step forward must work together.
I, always, felt that the real art to boxing is to be able to, ‘plant yourself’ in order to hit hard while at the same time staying flexible and, ‘light-footed’ enough to avoid being hit really hard. I can’t teach you this in a post. Hell I may, now, be too old to even do it myself – anymore. I am able to say, however, that I would recognize good boxing technique if I were to see it again.
(The best fighter I ever watched was a boxer by the name of Jimmy Young. Why Jimmy didn’t go farther in the fight game I’ll never know. (Personally, I think he, ‘got robbed!’) The young Mike Tyson had it for awhile, too – Especially when Cus D’Amato was training him. As a matter of fact Cus’ famous, ‘peek-a-boo’ fighting stance involves a lot of what I’m talking about here.)
Now that you know what a, ‘good punch’ consists of you are in a position to understand, ‘How’ to minimize its effect! We’re back to, ‘FADE!’ again. If you fade on your opponent’s punches, it’s going to be very difficult for him to deliver the energy and blunt force trauma he needs to inflict upon you with in order to prevail. A second advantage, also, occurs: When you fade on a punch, your opponent is forced to reach out for you.
Looking back over the years the biggest, if not the toughest, guy I ever fought clearly knew better than to overextend his reach in order to get at me; and I, with equal clarity, knew that I was going to have to get him to start reaching if I were to take him out. I fought him at the limit of his reach for an extended period of time; and, even though he otherwise might have, he didn’t hurt me at all. I only went inside when his arms were out, did what I had to do, and immediately slipped off one of his shoulder points – never straight back from his vertical body centerline! Between reaching for me, being forced to turn his body in order to line me up, and a growing impatience to impress the crowd with his formidability, well, he finally went down hard.
What’s the point? The point is that it’s not so much WHAT you hit; it’s not so much HOW hard you can punch; it’s not even important how much daily bag work you do – It’s whether or not you truly UNDERSTAND, ‘What’ a fistfight is actually all about.
If you strike first, if you, ‘cold cock’ another student, you’re going to get into trouble. However, (1) if you understand that anytime you’re within the other guy’s reach you’re in real danger of being hurt, (2) if you recognize that the other guy’s vertical body centerline is a very dangerous place for you to remain, and (3) if you master the art of forcing the other guy to reach out for you, (especially across his own body) then, you’re going to be a very difficult boxer to defeat.
Furthermore once you’ve learned to step to the side as an opponent moves in on you, you’ll discover a whole new world of targets, including: armpits, the rib cage, the back of the knee, and (well) others. If it’s serious and you need to take an aggressor out quickly, work on his hands – This should bring the confrontation to an abrupt end. By the way, if anyone ever pulls a knife on you, many of the same techniques apply.
(Just make sure you don’t heed that very bad example in the above video: Never expose your hands to attack - That’s what you want the other guy to do. Stay off the wall, too - That’s your, ‘fade distance’; and it’s, also, where you want the other guy to be! Conversely, don’t follow an opponent into a corner; he’s forcing you onto his vertical body centerline by placing himself in a strong defensive position. A corner defense may work with barehanded techniques; but it, sure as Hell, won’t do you any good if you’re exhausted or facing an opponent with a knife.)
You might want to give some thought to dividing the time you spend working on that bag between, both, bag, and mat work: Chokes, wrist, arm, finger, and legs locks are always good to know. Just make sure you leave all that hardware at your dad’s house. A, ‘real man’ never resorts to deadly force – first. Any murderous ape can do that. Personally I’ve always found, ‘mano a mano’ confrontations to be a lot more satisfying.
Sometimes, like an incident that happened to me in college, a guy you get into a really good fight with can turn out to be an excellent friend later on. That happens, too! If you want to add another dimension to that punching bag, surround it by, at least, four softballs suspended from the ceiling. Try moving around the bag while hitting it without getting smacked by any of the balls. Wow, this feels like, ‘memory lane’. When I was your age that’s how I used to practice!
PS: I don’t know. The more I watch that video, the more quixotic I feel. I’ve been trying to direct my remarks to the intellect of an impressionable young man who is working to determine his way in life. The more I watch that video, the more I realize that today’s world offers few if any choices. Children are now being taught fighting methods and techniques that I wasn’t exposed to until I was, at least, in my mid-twenties. It’s not getting any easier out there; is it! Maybe I should stick to Sunday school.