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Shadow Boxing

Hall of Fame trainer Teddy Atlas writes about the art of shadow boxing

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Bradley-Atlas
Bradley-Atlas

There is a certain ritual to shadow boxing. A kind of war dance before the battle. There’s a cardio and physical purpose, as well as technical. You are practicing the form that will be needed later when the bell rings for real. It’s a cleaning of the guns.

Imagine him, your opponent there; visualize his movements, feel his presence, the pressure. Mediation with sweat.

 

The goal is to develop habits, good ones, the kind that will one day save you. There is a circle on the calendar, a date with war. As the day grows close, strategy becomes more of the focus. Where is the main artillery; are there land mines. Is there a sense that a blitz krieg type attack could be warranted, or could the other side be anticipating that; feints will be needed. Knock, but don’t enter.

 

General Patton would look at aerial photos, your trainer has watched film, he told you where ground must be held.

 

Geography; it’s always about who’s territory is secured, and who’s is invaded. So you draw a line in the canvas, an infrared one; not to be crossed. And you choose the weapon; one with accuracy and range. The jab. That old friend, who’s been with you from the beginning, since the day you enlisted.

 

The shadows were always there too. They used to be hard to see through the dark. But then the light began to come; making them visible; ghosts who had been pardoned. As the bell rings you walk to the corner, to get water and instructions. You download the information and take a deep breath.

 

It’s time to find the next shadow.

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