I'm new to (thai) boxing and I remember that it confused me during training that I was always assumed to position myself according to what I now know is the "orthodox stance". I naturally assumed that it makes sense to train both stances (orthodox and southpaw) equally well - at least for three reasons:

  • physical balance as I'd assume muscles should always be symmetrically trained
  • to be less predictable in a fight
  • I read that training a motoric skills with the not dominant side will speed up overall improvement also for the dominant side (can't find the study). Or generally - symmetric training works faster than asymmetric training.

Now I read that actually you can categorize fighters into southpaw and orthodox stance. Wouldn't it make sense to encourage symmetric training in boxing?


2 Answers 2


Symmetric training is encouraged only at higher levels, and only by some coaches. The reason people mostly stick to their base stance in training is because "you need to learn to walk before you can run." In a complex sport like kickboxing, learning to "walk" takes a looong time. Some would say it takes an entire career.

There's no sense in learning a combo from your switch stance if you can't throw it with perfection from your base stance. That doesn't mean you can't try it, but stance changing doesn't do THAT much to confuse your opponent (you asked about being less predictable), so you're better off having a sound offense from one stance, than a half assed offense from both stances.

As you become more proficient you can start having a new combos or moves you like to throw from your switch stance. For example, the step back rear hook (which when you step back with your lead leg, the hook is now your lead hand) is a solid starter switch technique. It leads to a nice cross with your off hand too.

Just because you're standing in your base stance doesn't mean you're not training your lead hand. Practice lead hand heavy techniques! Jab jab lead hook is extremely deceptive, and done entirely with your lead hand. It's a good way to condition your "weak" hand in preparation for switching stances.

All in all, switching stances is a good tool to have in your pocket, but it's not important enough to sacrifice becoming an expert at techniques in your normal stance. Many of the greatest MMA fighters and boxers of all time never switch stance. "Who's going to win, your opponent in their natural stance, or you in your switch stance."

Here's a nice article with some more breakdown: https://www.expertboxing.com/boxing-basics/why-dont-boxers-train-equally-in-both-stances


For Southpaw stance, the boxer puts his right leg into the front, consequently, the right hand will become jab hand and left-hand will become power shot hand. The orthodox stance is reversed, he puts his left leg into the front, making the left hand the jab hand and right hand the power shot hand.

  • 3
    The question is not about what the southpaw and orthodox stances are. The question is about why boxing trains fighters with a side preference.
    – mattm
    Mar 26, 2020 at 13:41

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