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There are many different professional forms of combat, and striking arts like Muay Thai Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts, Kickboxing, and Boxing are all full contact arts. Different athletes will always diversify their learning with different training methods, and the more dedicated, and consistent they are, the better fighter they will become.

What this article covers:

Athletes need a good balance of technique, form, footwork, posture, cardio, balance, strength and conditioning, and strategy. Most professional strikers like to fine tune their form, and technique with shadow boxing drills, and this will result in a highly improved style of fighting.

Let Ben Savva and THE SHADOW BOXING MASTERCLASS help you to learn to fight better!

does shadow boxing help you to fight better

Shadow boxing is an extremely dynamic form of training, and athletes will use this time to get creative, and explore how to become fluent with their striking movements. There are different shadow boxing techniques that can be used for different purposes, and breaking down the drills so the athlete can master each concept is normally how beginners start. Setting a goal of working specifically on one aspect of the fight game, will help them to master the movement. Once they have elevated their skill level, they can integrate all of these elements together, and build up a significant skill set in their overall fight proficiency.


Shadow boxing is a great warm up drill, and athletes will use this exercise to increase their heart rate, which in turn increases the blood flow, and the oxygen levels to the muscles. By skipping, and stepping around the mat, and throwing a versatile range of punches, the athlete will activate all of their muscles. This drill is highly beneficial to a combat athlete, and the importance of warming up correctly is the main principle behind better performance. Shadow boxing is not just a warm up drill, as it can also increase an athlete's skill level across all of their attributes. Shadow boxing can be used as a cardio workout, or as a core strengthening exercise. The technical components are designed to help an athlete improve their fluency, and the venom in which they attack with strikes. It can also be used as a creative tool, so the athlete can explore different shadow boxing combinations, and how to integrate them with their footwork. 


The shadow boxing benefits that an athlete will receive, is instrumental in how they can sculpt their striking game. Spending time practising how to move around the mats, and stepping in and out of the range of their opponent will increase their balance exponentially. With balance comes posture, and these two elements are extremely important to the physical structure of the athlete's offensive and defensive maneuvers. Having a good posture means an athlete will be hard to knock down, and even harder to take down in sports like Mixed Martial Arts. Hand and eye coordination is another significant development that athletes can improve with shadow boxing. Even though there are no opponents in shadow boxing, an athlete can still use visualisation as a way to imagine that an opponent is attacking them. Developing reflexes will help an athlete utilise hand and eye coordination tactics.

Agility is the big one, and this means to move quickly, and easily. Becoming more agile is a by product of many combat sports, especially the striking arts. This is where athletes are expected to move around with speed and finesse, as they look for different avenues of attack. Stepping in on an opponent and then suddenly changing their direction into a sideways, or backwards movement is a very important way to harness the benefits of agility. Using head movements, and fakes combined with elements like changing levels are all benefits of becoming more agile. Once an athlete has developed a significant footwork ability, they can use their agility to increase the depth, and the unexpectancy of their attack.

Using fight strategy is crucial for an athlete to develop the skills needed to out smart an opponent. Athletes will often speak about fighting IQ, and having a high intelligence for fighting is how they can significantly increase their overall ability to fight under pressure. Thinking their way through a fight is a smarter option than rushing in impulsively, and throwing reckless punches. Athletes will need to use different methods of baiting their opponent, and this can be using stutter steps, pivots, sideways movements, level changes, or head fakes. The art of war is a complex subject, and athletes are playing the ultimate game of strategy, and using shadow boxing is a fundamental way to increase their ability to problem solve on the fly.

Another benefit of shadow boxing is how the structure of the training drill can improve an athlete's strength and conditioning, as well as their cardiovascular ability. Using this training drill to move around the mats will help the athlete compete for longer, and even find resilience when they are deep in the trenches with an opponent. Building core strength is another effective method that is instilled within shadow boxing. Athletes can add signature movements like squats, lunges, push ups, or sprawls into their training systems. This will make the work out harder, and effectively burn more fat, and build more muscle mass. An athlete will also utilise shadow boxing with weights, and this is so they can use a faster rate of strength progression. When an athlete strikes while holding dumbbells, they are training their hands to stay shut, and this can only ensure the safety of their hands during a punch. The athlete will also see the benefits of training with weights, as they increase the speed, and strength within their arms.


Understanding form in Martial Arts is all about the fluency in which their punches are delivered, and the overall technique of how the punches are structured. Shadow boxing will achieve huge developments in the speed of their movements, including footwork, their evasion maneuvers, and their overall punching ability. Becoming fluent with an athlete's punch takes time, and patience, and athletes must endure mistakes, and time, before they can become skilful enough to be called a professional fighter. Integrating a whole series of different techniques together, and trying to keep them all fluent by using timing and systematic movements is a fundamental part of the shadow boxing formation.

An athlete has no choice but to get heavily involved in dangerous situations, while they fight inside the ring. This means that stepping in and out of range of their opponent can be dangerous, as they can expose themselves to being knocked down, or out maneuvered. Shadow boxing will teach the athlete comprehensive skills in using timing, and hand and eye coordination to make all their punches work as a flow system. This is why we see highly complicated combinations, where athletes will start off with the jab, before throwing in a cross, a straight punch, a body hook, and a takedown if it is Mixed Martial Arts. Either way, fluent striking, and timing is crucial to the successful technique of an athlete.


One of the most important aspects of any striking Martial Art is how the athlete will engage their opponent with footwork. Closing the distance, or escaping back out of range is crucial to the survivability of an athlete inside the ring. Without comprehensive skills in footwork the athlete will not be able to get close to their opponent, and therefore be unable to utilise any proficient strikes of any sort. Shadow boxing is a great workout, and this is because an athlete can be creative, and explore different positions with their feet. Utilising different aspects like side stepping, stutter stepping, skipping, or pivoting are all exceptional ways that an athlete can close the distance, and set up striking opportunities.

An athlete that has good footwork can be extremely disruptive to an opponent. This is why training in shadow boxing techniques is crucial for an athlete to develop an expert level of foot movements. An athlete that has an excellent level of footwork will always be able to out hustle their opponent, and in combat sports this can be extremely daunting. Footwork is also used for changing levels, and shooting in for a takedown, or sprawling to escape their legs and defend their opponents takedowns in platforms like Mixed Martial Arts.  Fine tuning an athlete's movement systems is one of shadow boxing's most reliable resources. Athletes that are well versed in footwork concepts can utilise a wide variety of different entries, as they empower themself to take control of the striking game in a real fight.


There are many different striking Martial Arts that incorporate high energy systems, and a diverse range of intricate movements. Shadow boxing is one of those workout drills that can be integrated into any combat sport system, and practising in other techniques like muay thai shadow boxing, or MMA inspired workout drills can be highly beneficial to an athlete. All striking Martial Arts use speed, footwork, fluency, and strategy to out maneuver, and defeat their opponents. This is why the structure of shadow boxing is an extremely good fit for every striking Martial Art there is in the business. 

Training in full contact Martial Arts, and sparring with an athlete's training partner, can still be highly beneficial to the athlete. Due to the dangerous nature of coping damage during the spar, it becomes hard to significantly improve their skills. Shadow boxing offers a workout that consists of no impact on the athlete's body, all while they are free from any type of hindrance from their opponent. Even though a real fight has an opponent, shadow boxing will help the athlete to control their movements, and intertwine them all into a more systematic flow, which creates muscle memory. This translates extremely well for an athlete when they are in a real fight situation, as they will commonly use their instincts to initiate, and dominate their opponents.


Sports psychology can be incorporated into all forms of combat, and in a sport that requires athletes to use a strategic mindset, a high level of athleticism, considerable strength and conditioning, and a formidable process of calculated movements. Positivity is an important concept in sports psychology, and this is because an athlete should always be building for a win. Having a sense of confidence, and belief in themselves to defeat their opponents is a crucial element in conquering the fear of being on display in a professional fight.  Shadow boxing is one of the best methods that an athlete can use to firstly improve their skill sets, and secondly to explore the possibilities that they can win their fight from a psychological standpoint. Visualisation is a key component in shadow boxing, and all athletes must imagine their partner is giving them significant troubles during their fight. An athlete will begin to predict how an opponent is going to react as they set traps, and from the beginning of a real competition fight, they can begin to understand how to break down their opponent and inevitably win the fight.

Psychology in combat sports can be a simple thing, and all the athlete really needs to do is set goals during their shadow boxing training sessions. Using different goals is a great measuring tool, and the immediate action is to set achievable goals. There is a difference between setting a goal that is out of reach, where the athlete may just reach their target. What they should be doing instead is to set a more achievable goal, and look to surpass their goal extensively. This will instill confidence, and allow an athlete to build inspiration, and motivation levels beyond the normal parameters. Having a defeated mindset has no place in the ring of combat sports, as this can only lead to an athlete losing their fights, or even worse, by sustaining long term injuries. Some athletes are nervous, and have fears going into professional fights, but they must embody the spirit of the warrior, as they look to use bravery, and smarts to make an impact.

Let Ben Savva and THE SHADOW BOXING MASTERCLASS help you to learn to fight better!

does shadow boxing make you a better fighter


Becoming a good Martial Artist involves a number of different concepts, and basically all the athlete has to do is instill good habits into their repertoire. Good habits are aspects like good body posture, and knowing how to stay at a safe range away from their opponent. Athletes will need to learn how to increase their ability to engage their opponent, but still stay in a safe enough position that they will not receive any form of damage. Bad habits will stick out as plain as day, and a good opponent will know how to expose a bad habit that an athlete has. This is why shadow boxing is the perfect way to tune up all of their skill sets, which will give them the opportunity to learn good habits instinctively. Poor form can creep into an athlete's game, and if they are practising incorrect technique, then their muscle memory will pick up bad habits. Ingraining muscle memory with good striking habits is critical for longevity within an athlete's own striking careers. Building up these good habits can take time, and utilising shadow boxing workouts is the catalyst for an all round style of fighting.

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