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The Hierarchy of Skills in Pugilism

The Hierarchy of Skills in Pugilism
by J. R. Workman

Skill is the most valuable asset in all of pugilism and in all of combat in general. All else being equal (physical conditioning, size/height/reach, etc.) skill reigns supreme in that it will be the greatest advantage and have the most substantial benefits in comparison to anything else. Moderate physical conditioning with exceptional skills will beat moderate skills with exceptional physical conditioning most of the time. Consequently, it is useful to learn what skill components are the most advantageous in a self-defense scenario.  This article will elaborate on what the most vital skill assets in pugilism are

“Now, whoever has courage and a strong and collected spirit in his breast, let him come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands.” ― Virgil, The Aeneid

The Hierarchy of Skills in Pugilism

Defense vs. Offense


The best offense is a strong defense. Defensive skill is superior to offensive skill since it keeps you alive and reduces your chance of injury and also because it helps to set up cleaner offensive attacks via creating openings for counter-punching. This is why boxers tend to have the edge over brawlers in boxing matches. Because the boxer has a sturdy defense and solid counter-punching skills which make it arduous for the brawler to hit him and a headache for him to outsmart him:

"But being a brawler can only do so much for you when you come up against a guy who knows exactly what he wants you to do and, like some sort of mental magician, he has you in a trance-like state, he has you obeying his subtle mental commands." (The Boxer vs the Brawler by Rahiem Bailey)

The emphasis in pugilism should be placed on head movement, footwork, parrying, counter-punching, and other defensive tactics and maneuvers which will make you tough to strike and will open up opportunities for your offensive moves to succeed. 

Counter-Punching vs. Combination-Punching

Counter-punching surpasses combination-punching because one powerful punch landed cleanly and accurately produces more damage than a barrage of punches landed less cleanly and less powerfully. Often times trying to throw too many punches dilutes and decreases the power of each one of them, whereas throwing one well set-up punch with all your might will generate greater impact. 

Power and Timing vs. Speed 

Power and timing defeat speed. If your timing is on point and you know how to move effectively then it makes it challenging for someone who is fast to hit you or use their speed against youin essence, it takes away their speed advantage from them. Add power on top of that and you can do more damage to them than they can to you because it takes several punches from them to equal the damage of just one of your punches

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