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We think about the fists but not as much about the other aspects, such as footwork and dodging.

When I think of waist in boxing, I think of Ali with his arms limp, leaning back just enough for his opponent's strikes to fall just short as a taunt. (Here's a less refined, but more humorous version.) Ali would also lean into long light jabs, and McGreggor's style of Irish pugilism seems to me exemplified by a strong, flexible waist and love of leaning. McGreggor and St-Pierre are adept at pummeling an opponent as they sink to the mat, which is at least as old as Pankration. Pacquiao is another example of using the waist to lean, and today you sometimes see fighters striking from extreme angles.

  • How important is leaning in Boxing?

How much training goes into this?

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Been training MMA, boxing, Muay Thai for a couple years.

I feel like leaning is an extension of hip flexibility, power and (for lack of a better word) snappiness.

Great dodge is a combination of: head movement, footwork and the hip lean that you seem to be describing. I think that it all comes together.

Moving your head out of the way seems like a head movement, when in fact a slip or a roll is all in the hips. Everything else just moves along with it or gets out of the way.

Think about pivoting on your front foot, or stepping into a 90 turn - there's a lot of hip focus particularly in the latter. The rear leg steps out to one side and slightly forward to make the turn. You turn with your hips, which brings your entire body into a new advantageous position.

The slip is a bend in the knees and a slight twist to one side from the hips.

In boxing training, everything you do from footwork to the perfect strike - it's all in the hips. Turn the hip just enough to maximise the reach and power of the jab, turn the other hip more into the straight right to generate maximum output with minimum force required.

If you are practicing the keys to be a good fighter like proper hip movement in all these things, then you are training the stamina, strength, burst and flexibility of your hip muscles. I know this because mine still burn like hell to this day if I have been going hard at perfecting a striking or footwork drill.

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