With the current heat wave and the upcoming July 4th holiday, it has been hard to come up with something to write about this week. In an effort to find inspiration I turned once again to youtube and the result surprised even me.
On June 22, 1937, Joe Lewis fought James Braddock for the boxing Heavy Weight Championship of the World. Braddock, the subject of the Russell Crow film “Cinderella Man” was defending his title, which he had won from Max Baer only two years before. Little did he know that Joe Lewis would finish the fight in round eight with some great martial arts. This video shows the second half of the fight. Take a look in particular at Lewis’ last two punches, thrown around minute mark 7:50 in the video. They show it again in slow motion afterward.
The second to last punch is described by some commentators as as body shot but what I see is a punch to the arm. Lewis knocks Braddock’s left arm out of the way and makes room for a crushing right hand to the head. Often in martial arts practice, we are so focused on hitting the head, or hitting the body, that we forget the techniques that make those shots effective; strikes to the hands, arms, and legs; attacks that off-balance our opponent; techniques that clear a path, or pull them forward, or push them away.
If you make some time to train this weekend, keep these sorts of techniques in the forefront of your mind, especially if practicing kata. Study your movements for the unexpected applications. Visualize your opponents arms and consider how to get past them to those sweet finishing shots. And, most importantly, bring lots of water because it is going to be hot.