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When it comes to boxing, the first thing pretty much everyone learns, or least what they should learn, is their stance. When it comes to boxing stances, most people are told to put their dominant hand in the rear and have their weaker arm in the lead. This will generally lead to people taking what is known as an orthodox boxing stance or boxing stance right handed where the right hand is in the rear because most people are right-handed. People who are left-handed are generally advised to take a southpaw boxing stance, where instead of having the right hand in the rear, the left hand is. 

That being said some people who are newer to boxing might think about switching their stance. This is generally looked down upon in boxing, especially for beginners. However, in boxing and especially when we talk about MMA stance vs boxing stance we do see fighters at the highest level switch stances switch success.

So let's go over what switch stance boxing is, how to do it, some famous examples of switch stance boxers and the advantages and disadvantages it has.

What this article covers:

What Is Switch Stance Boxing?

"Switch stance" or switching your stance in boxing refers to the act of changing the position of one's lead foot and lead hand in the boxing stance. In a traditional boxing stance, the fighter stands with their lead foot pointing towards the opponent, and their lead hand is the one closest to the opponent. 

DynamicStriking.com presents the SWITCH SERIES featuring Duane "Bang" Ludwig, a former UFC veteran and combat coach.

Switching stance in boxing

There are a variety of methods that a fighter could use to switch their stance, which we will get into later. 

Switching stance can be used for a variety of reasons, including to throw off an opponent's timing, to better defend against a particular punch, or to set up different punching angles. It can also be used as a feint, where the fighter appears to switch stance in order to make the opponent believe they are going to attack, but then quickly switch back before actually throwing a punch.

In general, switching stance is a technique that requires good footwork and coordination, and is often used by more advanced fighters to gain an advantage over their opponents.

Switching stance is generally considered a faux pas by most boxing coaches, especially more traditional ones. There are a few reasons for this but let's go over the advantages that switching your stance gives you, before we go over the disadvantages. 

Advantages of This Switch Version

There are several advantages to switching your stance in boxing, if there weren’t why would anyone do it? The first and most obvious of these advantages is that switching your stance, especially if you do it frequently, will confuse your opponent a lot. The dynamic of a fight changes a lot depending on the stance both you and your opponent are in. If you are constantly switching, this means you are constantly changing the dynamic of the fight, leaving your opponent overwhelmed. Constantly switching also gives you different angles of attack which your opponent may not be able to see coming. 

Switching your stance can also make it harder for your opponent to land effectively due to the constant angle and dynamic changes. Switching your stance will also very effectively break up the rhythm of the fight. If your opponent has established a particular rhythm in the fight, switching your stance can break up that rhythm and give you an advantage.

Switching stance, especially while you are attacking, can help you catch your opponent if you need to cover distance quickly because they are either good with their movement or because you have a shorter reach. On top of that switching your stance can allow you to attack with different combinations of punches, making it more difficult for your opponent to defend against you.

Switching stances also gives you an advantage from the perspective of familiarity. This is because most fighters who exclusively fight southpaw stance boxing are more used to fighting orthodox fighters because most people are right-handed, the same with orthodox fighters. Because most people are used to fighting orthodox, whether or not they themselves take the orthodox stance, being able to switch to southpaw, which most people aren't used to dealing with, is a great way to throw off your opponent, no matter what stance they are used to standing in. 

The final and probably most overlooked benefit of switching your stance is that training and fighting in the opposite stance makes your footwork in both stances better. On top of the footwork improvements. Overall, especially with the ability to switch between both stances fluidly will make you a more agile fighter.

Disadvantages of This Approach

Despite all the advantages that we just listed, there are several disadvantages to switching your stance when you are training or fighting. 

The first and most common reason that coaches especially, don’t like it when fighters switch stances is that it takes away development from the primary stance a fighter stands in. If a fighter is always switching stances they won’t be putting the time in to develop their primary stances. This leads to some fighters having two subpar stances rather than one good one. 

Switching stances frequently can also be very tiring as it takes a lot of energy to switch between stances and especially to work out of one that you’re not used to using. This means that switching can also slow you down as switching your stance can be a slow and deliberate process, which can make you less mobile and more vulnerable to counterattacks.

It can also lead to decreased power as when switching your stance, it can be difficult to generate maximum power in your punches, as you are using a less familiar position. It can also reduce your accuracy as when you are not comfortable in a particular stance, your accuracy may suffer, making it more difficult to land effective punches.

It's also common to think that switching stances is easy and that you can work just as efficiently out of the other stance just as much as you can with the one that you are the most comfortable with. 

The act of switching stance, if it’s done sloppily without any training, can also leave you open to being hit as you can be caught in a stance that you cannot defend from, especially if you are caught with a punch while you are in the process of switching. Changing your stance can also take your focus away from your defence, leaving you open to being hit by your opponent.

However, this is far from the actual case as many of your techniques are born from muscle memory and habitual movement and that starts with the stance that you're in. Habitual movements in one stance may not translate well to the other stance, meaning that you may need to train extensively to become proficient in both stances. This leads back to the point we mentioned earlier, which is that if you’re spending time working to get better in one stance, it might not translate over to the other, meaning that you aren’t making your good stance as good as it can be if you are working on your bad one. 

It's important to keep these potential downsides in mind when considering whether to switch your stance in a boxing match. While switching stance can be a useful tool, it's important to use it at the right time and in the right way in order to maximize its potential benefits and minimize its risks.

How to Make the Switch 

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits and disadvantages of switching your stance, let’s go over some of the methods of switching your stance because there are actually a few. The first thing that you want to do when you are switching your stance is to make sure that there is there distance between you and your opponent when you switch, or at least when you are done switching. This will prevent you from being caught as you are switching which can be very devastating. 

There are several ways to switch your stance in boxing properly, the first we’re going to go over is a very simple switching of the feet in place. This kind of movement is seen most often in more traditional martial arts like Taekwondo. This is just where you very quickly shuffle your feet so that you end up in a different stance from the one you started in.

This is easily the quickest way to switch your stance but it is also the most explosive and therefore costs the most energy to use. 

Another way that you can switch stance and also create some distance from your opponent is to pivot on your back foot. Start by pivoting on your back foot, keeping your lead foot stationary. This will be the foot that you will eventually move to the other side. You can keep yourself extra safe while doing this by leaving your lead arm out as a post or frame to measure the distance and switching off hands when your stances switch. 

If you want to do this but actually close the distance there are actually two methods of doing this. The first is similar to the last method we talked about but instead of pivoting back on the rear foot, you are going to pivot forward on the lead foot. This will bring your rear foot forward and allow you to cover the distance and end up in the opposite stance. Since this is bringing you closer to your opponent it is good to switch your stance with the lead hand out in a long guard or measure position so you can maintain a safe distance even while chasing. 

The other way to close distance while switching your stance is to do it while throwing a punch, this is known as shifting or using shifting punches. For example, if you are in an orthodox stance with your right hand in the rear and you throw a hook with that hand, let the momentum take that right leg forward so that when the blow lands you end up in an opposite stance. 

Shifting is a great way to chase down your opponent and is more often than not done off of rear-hand strikes. You can even chain shift together to switch stance multiple times and cover a massive amount of distance. 

Aside from getting you to switch your stance, this is also a great way to put power into your punches. 

Former UFC veteran and combat coach Duane "Bang" Ludwig is here with his SWITCH SERIES from DynamicStriking.com!

How to switch stance in boxing

It's important to practice switching your stance in a controlled environment, such as during training or sparring, before using it in a fight. This will help you build up the muscle memory and coordination necessary to switch your stance quickly and effectively.

When switching your stance, it's also important to maintain a good defensive posture and keep your guard up at all times, as you will be vulnerable to counterattacks during the transition.

Famous Boxers Who Use the Switch

With al lthat said here are a few switch-stance boxers that you should know of. If you’re interested in learning how to switch your stance, watching tape and studying these fighters is definitely something you should look into. 

The late great Marvelous Marvin Hagler is definitely one that you should look into if you want to switch your stance. Originally a southpaw, Hagler was forced to learn how to fight from Orthodox so that he could find more opponents. This led to him becoming dangerous from both stances by the time he turned professional. 

Another great boxer you would want to look into for stance switching in boxing is Roy Jones Jr. A former four-weight world champion, Jones was known for his exceptional hand speed and his ability to switch from an orthodox to a southpaw stance. On top of that his explosive and unorthodox style made him so awkward that his opponents wouldn’t even notice the stance switches. 

If you want some examples of stance switching outside of boxing, Duane Ludwig and his protege, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw are great examples of fighting out of both stances, especially when it comes to switching using shifting strikes.

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