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Stepping And Jabbing: Moving Your Feet With Dyah Davis

Stepping And Jabbing: Moving Your Feet With Dyah Davis


If someone asked you to explain boxing, what would you say? Probably something about a sport or fight in which two people try to punch each other. You wouldn’t be wrong either. Pugilism, as the sport is also known, literally translates to “fighting with the fists.” When we watch a boxing match, the most striking, pun intended, visual feature is the punching. Because of all this, you would be forgiven for not mentioning the feet.

Footwork is a key component of the sweet science. It is your first and most effective line of defense, your means of getting to your opponent, and the source of your power. In other words, the feet are fundamental to everything. A boxer without footwork is not a boxer at all. In fact, many trainers, such as the great Virgil Hunter, will eschew other aspects of boxing in beginners and focus solely on moving well. Great trainers build their fighters from the floor up and for good reason.

Like all skills in boxing, footwork is multilayered and nuanced. When most people think of excellent footwork in boxing, they recall images of Ali shuffling around the ring or Lomachenko disappearing from in front of his opponent to reappear on their blind side. While both of these instances demonstrate tremendous skill, they are exceptions. Focusing on flashier examples overlooks more common, yet equally sublime pieces of footwork. Being able to move in on your opponent while maintaining balance to deliver and defend against punches is invaluable. In the video below, acclaimed boxing coach Dyah Davis teaches how to make your feet and jab work together.


Keep A Solid Foundation

Immediately, Davis stresses the importance of keeping a solid base. Stepping in with the jab is commonplace in boxing and is a fundamental skill, however it must be done correctly. Otherwise, the jabber will be out of position to defend against return shots. The specific error Davis cautions against is moving the rear foot too far forward when stepping in. Bringing the feet close together compromises a fighter’s balance. When the base is gone, so is the ability to absorb blows. Taking shots in a narrow stance increases the fighter’s vulnerability to being knocked down. To prevent this, the jabber must move his back foot just enough to redistribute his weight evenly between his front and back foot. 

Maintaining a good stance benefits more than defensive capacity. A proper stance allows you to follow your jab with further strikes. Davis’ prize pupil Dustin Poirier displays this marvelously in his finishing flurry against Conor McGregor. In the sequence, McGregor is hurt and begins to back himself away from Poirier. As Poirier follows up, he keeps to his fundamentals and brings his feet with him. By properly moving his feet as he closes the distance with his jab, Poirier is able to follow up with a barrage of punches, keeping effective pressure on the discombobulated McGregor. 

Displaying sound footwork in such a high stakes moment not only takes great composure, but it requires consistently great coaching. Astute observers will have noticed Poiriers rapid development as a scientific boxer. Although a majority of the credit always goes to the fighter, we would be amiss to neglect Davis’ role in this development.

Dyah Davis’s Instructional

Fluid Boxing Fundamentals by Dyah Davis
To learn some of the same skills Davis has helped imbue in Dustin Poirier, check out Dyah Davis’ instructional Fluid Boxing Fundamentals here Fluid Boxing Fundamentals by Dyah Davis – Dynamic Striking