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This is in regards to boxing.

Background:

Height: 5.9 | Build: Fat | Fitness: Poor | Stance: Orthodox

I am working on my fitness. I used to be fit but I got out of sports for a while due to ACL and meniscus tear. But I am doing MT, Boxing, weight training, and a bit of basketball (getting back into it slowly).

Like many, I love Cus D'Amato's Peek-a-boo style of boxing. I have been trying to emulate Tyson's style for sometime now. And it is not because of the "wow" factor that I want to learn it, but because I truly feel that that posture/style of boxing reflects who I am. I want to be a pressure fighter. I spent most of my life playing as a forward in basketball and I particularly enjoyed getting low and posting up. I enjoyed the contact rather than getting open or playing like a slasher. When I see Tyson, or try emulating his movements, it brings me the same joy as when I play basketball. I emulated Hakeem, Jordan and Kobe. They were crafty, skilled with footwork, and relentless. When I look at Boxing I see Tyson having a similar mentality and craft. I really, really need to and want to learn this style.


Concern/Question:

Most tutorials on YouTube teach slipping this way: For an incoming Jab, slip to my right, transferring a bit of weight on my back leg (right leg). Concurrently, the head slips out right as the left shoulder rolls down a bit diagonally to the right as well. My right hand is then loaded for a hook to the body or an uppercut. The same technique applies for an incoming Right Cross. In that case my left hand is loaded for the Hooks and the uppercut.

Slipping in Peekaboo is more from side to side. The following are my concerns.

  1. After working on my side to side slipping for a while, my lower back gets weak and I don't feel like doing it anymore. It starts to feel like the way one would naturally feel after 5 sets of Deadlifts. Has this happened to others? No one at my gym does peekaboo style so I can't talk to anyone about this.

I personally feel that our spinal cord is not suppose to move side to side with such speed. Like this. I don't want to get injured, if it is the case that the basic anatomy of out body is not built to work that way. Can someone with knowledge in physiology clear this for me? Or anyone?

  1. I talked about it with my boxing head coach, he said that the Peekaboo compromises one's balance when they slip side to side and the head goes too far to the side. If the head goes beyond the centerline too much (which is the case in peekaboo) then that affects balance adversely. He said the head must never cross the blade of either feet. But Tyson's did go over the blade of the feet some times. Here when he is working on the slip bag. This is another channel for peekaboo boxing. He too advocates going all the way down on the slips.

  2. I had a light sparring session with my trainer. He lit me up. He was right in front of me. And when I ducked and slipped he was gone. He was moving around me that fast. He threw a barrage of punches from outside and my peekaboo went out of the window. Uppercuts! I caught him with a good hook one time. I looked at his feet as I was crouching down and covering up to protect against his thousand punches. So I desperately leaped and let go of that hook and it landed. But it was a terrible shot because I threw it blindly. It's what you would call a fluke in basketball. After the session, he told me that had he wanted he could have taken advantage of my poor form, but he didn't and he wants me to correct it. As in, not do peekaboo. My trainer is a great boxer. But he fights on the outside. He is more like a long range shooter, more like fast guards like Curry/Kyrie/Klay. In and out. But that is not who I am. And I can't emulate my trainers style.

There is so much more to peekaboo than just slipping side to side. The side steps and angles. I am working on them and I can do them much more comfortably than the slipping. I can slide too. I am working on strength training-Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges to build up my legs. But without the proper slipping I can't get inside. Can anyone help me with my concerns? I know its a long post but I don't have any other source of help.

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    Mmmm...peek a boo more refers to the hand placement (as I understand it), not necessarily the slipping. As far as emulating a specific boxer, what works for them may not work for you. The spine is not really designed to whip side to side like that, so yes, that can be causing the back pain. Rather than trying to emulate one specific boxer, work to implement those elements in a way that fits your own body and capabilities.
    – JohnP
    Nov 13, 2018 at 14:45
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    @TonyD Good observation and totally valid points. I have no problem with my MT stance (I don't duck or lean like they do in boxing), and I am aware not to transfer over my habits from boxing to MT. I have been doing both for the same amount of time and have managed to keep my posture and fighting stance separate.
    – RoundHouse
    Nov 15, 2018 at 5:02
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    Some of your links are broken I think. I can't see them (location is in the UK)
    – Huw Evans
    Jun 18, 2020 at 12:45
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    @MacacoBranco Sorry I didn't mean to get this active again. Huw mentioned that some of my links do not work anymore, so I guess when I updated the links it made the question active again. And, I have been trying this style of boxing for a while and the side to side slipping is really, really hard on the back. I don't have any back issues normally, it's the peekaboo style that causes this fatigue 2 or 3 rounds into shadowboxing. I also can't keep up the same speed in doing the side to side slipping after a round or two; my movements get considerably slower. I have heard from a lot of people ...
    – RoundHouse
    Jun 20, 2020 at 18:04
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    @MacacoBranco ... that the peekaboo style requires one to have an extraordinary level of fitness (think of the 20 year old Mike Tyson) and a naturally gifted physic to be able to withstand that level of rapid side to side slipping. I have taken bits and pieces of it and incorporated them in my game. I can't do it all round long, I try to use it sparingly.
    – RoundHouse
    Jun 20, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1

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I don't box, but I do Capoeira, which involves a similar kind of lateral movement both in dodges and in the general movement of the ginga. I, too, am prone to back pain if I'm not careful, but in my case, it's not so much the lateral movement as the lean. If you are leaning forward at the waist when you do the lateral movement, you put additional strain on the muscles of the lower back because they kind of have to curl up in the course of the movement. I wish I could give a more technical description, but that's how it feels for me.

Try doing a series of lateral movements with your torso completely upright. See if that provides less strain. Yes, you probably won't be able to maintain that in a sparring match where you have to lean into the punches to reduce your attack profile, but being able to do the movement without pain will help you to break your brain's insistence that the movement causes pain, and you can gradually increase your lean as you get stronger.

As a slight follow-up to this, I've realized some years later that my issue is less general tilt (although there is an aspect to that) and more lumbar spine tilt. If I bend at my waist, or along the upper spine (such as the traditional "crouching over" pose), it's not as bad, but I have come to realize I have a bit of a tendency, when leaning forward, to arch my lumbar spine up and back in the process of lifting my head to continue looking forward. I don't know if this might be factoring into your lower back pain, but the general cure for it, for me, is to always be aware of my lower back when leaving forward, generally ensuring a gentle curve forward there if I'm leaning forward, and when I feel like I have to curve up to see my opponent, I consider that I may be leaning too far forward (in general, in Capoeira, an extreme forward lean is being done as part of an active movement rather than the general ginga, so there are other ways to keep one's eyes on the opponent).

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    I was about to suggest something similar... I'll still post my own answer because I think I can find some good videos to illustrate it from my own style. (+1ed)
    – Huw Evans
    Jun 18, 2020 at 12:47

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