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Short problem description: Sometimes, while boxing (after some rounds have passed) I find myself in a wide stance — with legs wider than shoulders. Of course, it gives me some advantages, but I definitely think that penalties are too bad.

While working with on a heavy bag or pads, all is okay. Even in kickboxing sparring, all is generally good. But while boxing — no.

Has anyone faced the same problem? How did you solve it? Any ideas are welcome.

Question is about what to do (no matter how painful/hard it would be) to remove wide stance from leg reflexes; remove it as completely as possible.


And according to comments:

Long problem description: Why I consider wide stance as bad at all? Because of a lack of mobility (it is just my opinion, which caused me to ask this question).

Imagine a situation: You have long arms and are sitting in a wide stance, ready to evade with your upper body and immediately counter. What would your opponent do (just a pair of options):

  • Step forward. So, now all your evading is gone — that is, he is too close for effectively evading in a wide stance. And it is much worse if you have long arms — on short distances you are loosing in speed. You may ask, "But what if I would also step backwards?". Answer is "you may try" — just because moving in a wide stance is much slower than in normal stance. You may try, but your opponent would be faster. If you are unlucky — much faster. Of course, you may try to change your stance — stepping back only with your front-leg. Problem is, that when you are "grounded" you usually have weight on both legs. So, it would also be not quick enough.
  • Circle above your front-hand, flanking you from outer side. Of course, you may circle too — around your front-leg - but another time: you would be much slower.

You may ask, "Then for what it is needed at all, that wide stance?"

And it is obvious: when your opponent can't step forward or circle, or when he is in a corner. Then — YES, you may afford to get into a wide stance, and then you could deliver a bit more force while punching from the wide stance, which is also profitable.

P.s:

My possible decision: I'll try to fix it, binding my legs together with elastic band, but I'm not sure if it would help.

  • I hope you saw my edit to my answer; please consider not using bands. – RoundHouse May 31 at 21:01
  • @RoundHouse, yes, I saw it, thank you! – user2501323 Jun 1 at 6:02
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Don't use bands:

Whatever you do, I suggest you don't use any bands. If your body mechanics work a certain way, you need to consciously work on it if you want to change it. Artificially restricting your legs to move a certain way is likely to cause injuries and unnecessary strain on the joints. When you shadowbox, go hard and fast so you get tired, and then keep shadowboxing while only focusing on your stance and legs.


Sometimes, while boxing, after some part of round passes, I find myself in a wide stance - with legs wider than shoulders.

You are asking the wrong question. Before asking "How can I fix the problem?", you need to ask "Why am I doing this all the time in boxing sparring, and not when I am doing bag work or pad work?"

To cure a disease, you need to find its source; you need to understand what is causing it, right?

There are at least two reasons why you might be going into a wider stance during your boxing sparring.

Offense:

After a few rounds, you are fatigued. Your technique is no longer giving you the results you want. Your hands are worn out, and so are your legs. Your punches don't have the "snap" anymore. You are keeping your punches tight and clean, but you feel they are no longer doing damage. They don't have the speed to make that damage.

So. what do you do to get the same strength or power behind your punches that you had in the first two rounds (when your punches were snappy and clean)?

  • You compensate. You widen your stance and draw the force from the ground. In simple words, you are loading up; widening your stance adds power to your shots.

Why you don't see this bad habit when you do your pad or bag work?

  • That is because the pad holder adjusts the pads for you — you are always able to hit the target, and the noise feedback tells you your punches are landing (you don't need power to hear those snaps with the pads). When you are sparring, the clean techniques in the later rounds (when you are fatigued) may not elicit any reaction from your sparring partner. This may make you feel that you need to hit that dude harder, harder, harder. With the pads and the heavy bag, you don't need that, the sound feedback is readily available.

Defense:

In the first two rounds, you are moving like a butterfly, using that great footwork of yours! But in the later rounds, your legs are worn out. You are not able to move around that swiftly anymore. And once your opponent starts throwing punches in bunches and you can't get out of that exchange, your body natural reacts by widening your stance. If you are being hit by a barrage of punches (or even a few strong ones) your natural tendency would be to widen your stance to brace against those hits. Your body does that so that you don't fall over.

Another thing that happens when we are getting hit by combos is that we tend to close our eyes, and when that happens, we often widen our stance and plant our feet firmly to the ground. What we should do is parry and roll with the punches, and not "shell up".

Remember that at this point you are not able to move as swiftly as you were able to in the first two rounds. May be (1) your legs are not conditioned enough, (2) you are gassed, (3) your muscles are too tight and tensed, (4) you are not breathing, (5) you are feeling dizzzzzy and having difficulty maintaining balance, etc.

Why you don't see this bad habit when you do your pad or bag work?

  • Because they don't hit back! And so your body does not need to brace against any thing.

I presume that a combination of these factors (both offense and defense) and others that I have not considered and don't know are what is causing you to go into that wide stance a few rounds in to the session.


Kickboxing:

So why am I not doing this wide stance in my kickboxing sessions?

  • That is because in kickboxing (KB) or Muay Thai (MT), we are specifically paying attention to our lower body which in boxing we are not. We are concerned about blocking low kicks with our shins, we are concerned about devastating inside low kicks if we were to get into a wide stance, we are concerned our opponent might get into a better clinch position if we are too wide and low. Our minds are more active in KB/MT (there are more sources and varieties of attacks - punches, kicks, knees, elbows, clinch). We are paying attention to all our limbs. Then there is the offense part. We want to be able to throw those round house kicks, teeps, spinning side sides, knees, etc. We can't do any of those from a wide stance. Because we are so much concerned about and focused on our lower body in KB/MT, it keeps us from getting into poor, wide stances.

So, how do I fix it?

I don't know. I am not an expert or a coach. This happens to me as well. When I am in the 3rd round, I am being a warrior and I want to hit my opponent hard. In the first two rounds I am having fun focusing on footwork and movement. Everything I mentioned applies to me as well. Overtime, I was able to work on the problem.

Here is what worked for me. Bend more at your knees, instead of widening your stance too much. The extra bent knees allows you to quickly spring inside the pocket (i.e., close the distance and get in range to unleash havoc on the body) with the gazelle punch or the long lead uppercut. It helps you to spring out and escape when your opponent starts a combo. Basically, bending your knees a bit more from time to time helps with quick bursts. And you are able to move more swiftly when your opponent throws a barrage of punches (contrary to how we freeze with a wider stance when being hit by punches). So, bend your knees to stay low instead of widening your stance to stay low.

I learnt the hard way in KB. I was testing for a third grade belt, and I had to spar with one of the black belts (they are the 8th grade belts) in my gym. This was after a grueling session of 2.5 hours of combos and partner drills, pad work, kick shields, and 7 rounds of serious sparring with other test takers. The black belts are judges and they come in fresh to spar with those testing for third grade and above. I was dead tired and I resorted to widening my stance as he unleashed a fury of punches that I could barely see. I was dizzy and my head was spinning. I was gassed out. When I went back to the gym, I asked my mentor what I could have done to not get stuck in that compromised position in the corner. He said never try to brace against punches with a wider stance - you might think that the combo will end and you will soon be able to throw yours and get out - but you won't. Once you get into that wider stance while being hit by combo after combo, a great fighter will finish you off. So when you feel you are going to get stuck, raise your guard and move the hell out.

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    thanks, your approach seems to be working for me! – user2501323 Jun 26 at 10:35
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I took boxing classes at Peter Welch's gym in South Boston. Seemed like in every class, he said, "smart feet, smart fighter". Actually, it sounded like "smarht feet, smarht fighter".

Footwork

He drilled into us that foot placement was critical for getting the most power out of a punch with the correct amount of effort.

To change having a wide stance all the time, I practiced keeping my feet at the right distance. Then, I did the boxer bounce all around the gym making sure that my feet landed in the same, well-balanced, place with each bounce. I drilled it every time I went to the gym.

Boxing Footwork Drills for Creating Angles - YouTube

Wide Stance

Widen your stance to be more defensive...With this wide stance your upper body will be a small target...This stance is not wrong. This stance would be more for the jabbing range, long range.

WikiHow, How to Get in a Proper Boxing Stance

I think the wide stance works for me since I have a long reach and I am a defensive fighter, a counter-striker. But in sparring, it's important to mix it up, to prevent your opponent from clocking your patterns.

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  • Thank you for your answer, I do know, what is stance in general, I just want to remove wide stance from my moves. Problem was present for me from the elder times, at the very beginning - as I liked to counter opponent's moves, thanks for my enough long arms. Problem is that wide stance gives more penalties, than bonuses. And is, in fact, dangerous at some time. So, answer is just practice a lot, controlling the legs? – user2501323 May 29 at 6:09
  • Hello User2501323, I wonder if you shift your focus from your legs to your feet, if you will find the solution to your problem. Feet, hips and shoulders are your main concern. Interrupt the pattern, change your game. Your feet determine where your legs go. When you land on your feet, if you're firmly planted, you can throw punches well, but a kick might not be as effective from that planted, weight forward, position. Do you rely on kicks or punches as your main attack? Are you talking about fighting inside the pocket or maintaining distance? And yes, practice a lot, as you already know. – thatgirlisfunny May 29 at 14:35
  • Practice a lot - is a very good advice, but I expected something more detailed. When you are landed on your feet, or "grounded" in terms of Tai-Chi - yes, it gives you some advantages. But, another time, (at least for me) penalties are MUCH worser. Skilled opponent would not stand in front of you, while you are grounded, trying to hit. He'll step forward. And, as long you are "grounded" - you just can't do the same - because it is impossible in this stance. As far as I see, that point is not specified in question very good, I'll try to improve it. – user2501323 May 29 at 14:40
  • A skilled opponent might stand in front of you or he might cut an angle and create an opportunity to clock you wherever your guard is down. I suggest that you ask someone to show you (in person)specifically how to adjust your stance to meet the fast and fluid situations that pop up in sparring. It might be something simple that you're missing. – thatgirlisfunny May 29 at 14:45
  • Question is just about specific training to completely remove wide stance from leg reflexes. At all. That is the point because of what now I'm training with legs binded together with elastic band. I just wonder if there is something more productive. – user2501323 May 29 at 14:48

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