Slipping punches is the most basic form of dodging, at least in boxing. It’s easy enough to do, but some would-be boxers manage to mess it up. However, when it is done successfully, for a brief moment it makes you look untouchable.
What is Slipping:
Slipping is an elementary defensive maneuver that is incorporated into other, more advanced maneuvers (bobbing and weaving, overhand straight, etc.). It requires a slight lateral tilt of head (and torso) away from the line of an incoming punch, usually a jab or straight. And ideally, boxers would slip towards the outside of an incoming punch. For example, if your opponent is orthodox and is throwing a jab, you would slip to your right.
How to Slip Punches:
- Anticipate or recognize the punch or series of punches you will slip. This is recommended because you don’t want to be caught inside a punch (for defensive and offensive reasons).
- In stance, move your upper body (head and shoulders) laterally, simultaneously bending your knees and ankles to assist the tilt. If more helpful, think of your hips as a pivot–your legs only move the pivot up and down.
- End the lateral movement just enough to dodge the punch cleanly. This step makes your slip more efficient but takes practice and good spatial awareness.
When to Slip Punches:
Slipping is a mid-range defensive maneuver suited for a single straight punch or a short series of straight punches. You could slip uppercuts, if you are lucky or have superb timing. But the punches you normally slip are the straight punches because it is a great tool for decreasing the distance from your opponent. Unlike when blocking, your opponent can’t stop you when you slip successfully. On the other hand, you can actually stop your opponent from advancing if she misses her jab or straight. It is also viable for setting up counters. If you anticipate when your opponent throws a jab or straight, you can land your own punch while slipping to the outside. However, if you don’t time your opponent, slipping their punches would be difficult. It is also difficult to slip when you have to deal with series of punches (e.g. double jab) unless you can slip quickly.
Slipping is simple since it involves just a tilt of the torso, but it relies on foresight and timing; to slip successfully, you have to anticipate a straight punch so that you can tilt laterally. You also have to time it well enough to follow up with a step inward or with a counter. However, with enough practice, you wouldn’t even have to think about it.