I have found a few examples detailing that bobbing and weaving is not as (if at all) effective outside of boxing, in scenarios where especially knees, kicks and elbows are involved. I understand landing an elbow, knee or kick to the head can end a fight but so can a well timed punch, so I am curious what is it about these striking surfaces that make bob and weaving so risky? Also I am curious if there are still situations where this technique can be effective assuming it is used smartly and while being aware of the additional dangers when doing this in an mma, muay thai or street context?

One example I was considering was where an opponent's hand striking is faster and overwhelmingly better than your own, using a bob and weave to bait them into kicking or kneeing to create better opportunities for yourself to counter against and be able to launch your own offensive.

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    Probably not what you're looking for, but bob and weave is fairly common in Capoeira due to various factors such as most kicks being thrown high, that it just looks cool when done well, and because the movement can nicely dovetail into various ground and acrobatic movements (in fact, one of the progressions for learning a non-hands cartwheel involves a "bob and weave" motion to create upwards lateral momentum. Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:17

3 Answers 3


As long as all are silent, I'll add my two cents.


When you are weaving with amplitude, you usually ground yourself - obviously to prevent falling. It's generally ok in boxing, but such grounding is dangerous when kicks are involved - just because you are cutting your mobility. Also, while lowering your head, you place it near to your opponent front knee - which usually is charged for quick shield/check-kick and surely can be used for striking your head. Adding weave motion here may lead things go bad.

Also, comparing to hand striking, some kicks have more "attacking surface". For example, when you are throwing a middle kick with front leg (say, as a counter to your opponent's weaving to his back-leg) - it's a side kick - weaving won't help here - because, since middle is usually going from bottom to up, it's just impossible to evade it in such way.

In boxing it is effective, because hand strikes are usually "piercing" or thrown high - you can effectively evade them with bob-and-weave approach. But while kicking is involved, you also involve "non-piercing" kicks - which are generally unaffected by such evading.

In kicks-involved activity it can be used if you are rushing to cut the distance and want to prevent(or, at least, complicate) your opponent from landing a heavy stopping punch. As long as cutting distance effectively lightens damage from most kicks (of course, you still can potentially ate front-kick or ushira-geri to your body), that is the best usage for it here, from my point of view.


Some points about elbows. Generally, it's for very close distance, in fact - clinching distance. Comparing to boxing uppercuts/hooks, elbows have some advance - they are not suffering from clinch distance.

For example, if your opponent is weaving to the front leg - you may (especially if you are taller), ground him with your right elbow, doing side-step with your back-leg. As long as in such upper-to-down elbows you can include your weight, and the distance is very close - result may satisfy you. Also, don't forget down-to-up elbows - also very useful as very-close-distance-uppercoat.

Difference from boxing is huge here. What you may do in boxing, when the opponent is too close? Clinching, and then referee stopping and placing both of you at a distance. In MT/MMA there is no stopping.

All examples above are describing situations, when both of you have the left hand as front-hand.


I'm not a grappler, not at all, but maybe you are also more vulnerable to takedowns/throws, if grounded and placing your head low.

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    Very helpful thank you. Would you mind also commenting on the dangers elbows pose to bob and weavers? I understand the dangers of an elbow to the top or back of the head, but unless I'm mistaken these aren't allowed in MMA so I'm wondering if they would be any more of a threat than a strong body hook or uppercut (while the opponent is crouched of course which would mean it strikes them in the head), both of which already exist in boxing.
    – FrontEnd
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 11:13
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    @FrontEnd, I've added some points. Strikes to the back of the head aren't allowed - but not to the top., as I know. Commented May 14, 2021 at 11:48

In boxing when ducking your head or doing any sort of level change, the main concern is watching out for some sort of uppercut or body hook, the same applies to MMA or Muay Thai but there's a ton more to watch out for. A round kick covers a much bigger area than a punch and if you ground yourself and start ducking your head, it's gonna be tough to try and get out of the way of a round kick in time. Plus, with bobbing and weaving, this usually involves closing in the distance on an opponent which makes it so that if they were to throw a round kick, you run the risk of getting clocked by their knee instead of their shin.

Apart from kicks, knees are the prevalent reason why you are told not to duck your head in MMA or Muay Thai, these can come just as fast as an uppercut and follow a similar trajectory but can have much more devastating consequences than punches.

Clinching is another big reason why we don't see this, mostly in Muay Thai where ducking your head is almost non-existent. In Muay Thai, giving up the back of your head/neck is the perfect scenario for an opposing clinch fighter. Even if you were to land a nice shot by bobbing low against a clincher, under Thai rules him getting full control of you in the clinch gives him more points.

In MMA, on the other hand we see bobbing and weaving a lot more especially because of the necessity of level changing in order to wrestle, but this also has the same risks as above with getting caught with a sneaky uppercut/knee/kick that lands on the knee which get seen pretty often in MMA, the Masvidal Askren fight is a famous example of that.


Qiu "Tank" Jianliang and Ramon Dekkers might be what you're looking for? Not as much due to more types of attacks, but still something akin to the evasion and countering.

Randy Couture's Wrestling for Fighting highlighted using head movement to set up takedowns, and that focusing on level change etc. may make it "easier" for a striker to learn wrestling and vice-versa.

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