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Video analysis: Mike Tyson’s offensive body punching

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An extensive video analysis of Mike Tyson’s attacks to the body

This exclusive video is a continuation of the popular Mike Tyson breakdowns here on Bloody Elbow. The presentation is narrated by British actor, MMA fan and Jiu Jitsu Purple belt George Asprey.

Body Punching

During his prime, especially when Cus D’Amato was by his side, Mike Tyson was a devastating body puncher. His body punching arsenal worked in complete synergy with his peekaboo movement and helped keep his offense unpredictable, thus enabling him to confuse his opponents.

In boxing, attacking the body is a science by itself. Hurting the opponent’s body is an important, but often neglected part of combat arts. But why, you may ask, is it important to attack the body?

First of all, punching the head is very effective and can result in spectacular knock outs. In high level competition though, knocking people out is not always possible. The truth is that some people can take punches to the head and some people can take punches to the body, but very few individuals can take both. Therefore, attacking the body is worth the effort and can help beat tough opponents who can take a lot of punishment.

We must also emphasize here that body punches have an accumulative effect. As old school boxing coaches often say: “You need to consistently invest in body punches early, in order to collect interest in the later rounds.”

Body punching is also a good way to compromise your opponent’s footwork as fighters tend to slow down when they get repeatedly hit to the body.

It is also often said that if you want to “torture” your opponents, you should punish the body. Unlike punches to the head, it is very difficult to recover from body punches. Fighters remain hurt for the rest of the fight.

On another note, attacks to the body force opponents to drop their guards, and this keeps them confused by having to anticipate attacks from all levels. Body-punching is a great way to create openings in their defenses.

Final thoughts

Attacks to the body seem brutal and simple to the untrained eye. Fans often get the impression that it is just speed or power or even luck that gets the job done. Truth of the matter is that repeated results don’t just happen on a consistent basis no matter how talented a fighter is. In peekaboo style boxing, every punch preceding or following an attack to the body is part of a well-established system.

Every punching variation and every boxing combination derives from a rich history of high-level competition where every idea and every concept was put to the test again and again.

Whenever a punch or combination lands, talented coaches notice. Eventually, they manage to identify patterns that can be replicated and applied in similar situations. One such trainer was Cus D’Amato who was instrumental in helping Mike Tyson achieve greatness.

Although we can never hope to reach the heights of wisdom of a trainer like Cus D’Amato, we can at least appreciate his legacy, his love of the sport and his teachings. These technique breakdowns try to do just that: help you appreciate the science behind successful application and encourage you to do your own research. Sooner or later you will reach a point where a left hook is not just a left hook, but a door leading to endless possibilities.

This video is dedicated to boxing scholars Cus D’Amato (1908 –1985) and Kenny Weldon (1945-2018). The tree of knowledge is strong when its roots are strong.

Author’s note: This is my last post here on Bloody Elbow. I would like to thank all BE writers for their support, editors who had the patience to edit my 3000+ word posts, and especially Nate Wilcox for his trust in my work and enabling me to both reach a diverse audience and enrich my martial arts experience through working with established and experienced pros. My work was far from perfect but this is the nature of research: trial and error is the only way to expand our horizons. Please follow me on Twitter to stay in touch.