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Global Training Report

Presents

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In Training, Comeback, Letfs Rumble

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Global Training Report

Presents

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In Training, Comeback, Letfs Rumble

Featuring Sean OfGrady

Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira

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The video opens with footage of Sean OfGrady and some other little guy wailing on each other in a ring. They look to be about eight years old at the time. Later on, Sean became lightweight champion of the world. Sean has the credentials and the curriculum vita. Sean knows how to box. But can Sean teach you how to box? 

The answer is no, at least not much, at least not on these three videos. The only way I can avoid calling these the worst training videos Ifve ever seen is by not calling them training videos. It almost looks like Sean is practicing for his next career as a talk show host. Hefd probably be pretty good at it. He was good as a ring analyst on Tuesday Night Boxing, with Marv Alberts before Marv got busted on the ladiesf underwear rap. But there isnft enough good material on these tapes to compensate for the bad.

What inference can you draw from the fact that all of the instruction takes place, not in a ring, not even in a gym, but in what looks like a TV studio living room set?  The tapes are short enough, but each one begins with Sean telling you that each gwork outh as he facetiously calls them, will be the same: gwarm up, work out, and cool downh. So you get to see Sean do the same warm up and cool down on all three tapes. In fact, the segments from tape 1 are copied onto tapes 2 and 3. Sean does push ups, knee bends, and sit ups. Maybe you can learn something from this. Or maybe his target audience is middle-aged housewives. In that case, why is he teaching them how to punch in such a way that they will slice open their opponentfs face? I suspect Sean wasnft entirely clear who he was making this tape for.

The music, composed by Mark Dye in the John Tesh style (think "thrill of victory, agony of defeat"), adds nothing and is merely irritating and distracting.    

Tape 1 is called In Training. Sean teaches the gJoe Louis Shuffleh, which is the way boxers step into their punches. Before Louis, it seems, there was less science to it and if you look at old boxing film, you will see the difference between pre and post Joe Louis stepping. (Parenthetically, two other things youfll notice is that before Jack Johnson, no one jabbed, and before Jack Dempsey, no one threw combinations). Next up, Sean expounds on the gmailman combinationh, otherwise known as the jab-cross, or g one-twoh, or gleft righth.  He calls it gmailmanh because it should sound like the sound of a mailman knocking on your door. In other words, a jab-cross combination isnft two separate punches, a jab followed by a cross, but rather a single gtechniqueh, executed with two hands. If you have trained in karate or taekwondo, or other gstylesh where you throw one punch at a time in the air and lock it out and hold it there, you may find this a tricky thing to master.  It will help to think of the combo as a single technique. When the jab is extended and on its way back in, that is when the cross should be initiated. Then youfll hear the mailman knocking. (It also helps a lot if you hit something other than air, such as focus mits.) You get to see Sean shuffling around the studio set sniffing and throwing one-twos. Donft imitate him. He drops his right hand after every cross. Thatfs a good way to get clipped. (Dropping your left after every jab is another way—itfs how Max Schmelling dismantled Joe Louis in their first fight).The tape ends with Sean doing sit ups.

On Tape Two (Comeback) Sean informs us that boxers jump a lot of rope, but not like little girls on the playground. Sean demonstrates many ways to jump rope, but doesnft teach any of them. If you can jump rope you may wonder what there is to teach. But try teaching someone who canft jump rope and youfll realize how complicated it is, how much hand foot and eye coordination is required—and therefore, why itfs such a good way to burn calories and build stamina in the calves and deltoids. Sean isnft very helpful is this department.

Sean breaks down the jab and cross into a bit more detail, but not much. He doesnft provide any drills that someone who didnft grow up boxing could do to master these punches. He wraps his hands in lieu of teaching how to do it (contrast this with Kenny Weldonfs superb wrapping segment on tape 1 of his own series). Sean then teaches the hook. This was one of the worst jobs of teaching Ifve had the sorry misfortune to see.  Worse, and inexplicably, Sean is not even executing his hooks correctly. This isnft a question of permissible variations. Sean is just plain doing them wrong. He has no leverage and his angle of entry is impossible. Abstractly, he knows, because he next teaches the gDempsey Rollh. If you havenft seen Jack Dempsey do it, youfve seen Mike Tyson. This movement puts you to the side of your opponent, which is where you have to be before initiating the hook. This is where you would also be if you had just bob and weaved to the outside of a right cross (which obviously makes a left hook a beautiful counter to the right cross). The power comes from rotating your hips toward the target, while leaning back. To do this, your lead leg has to be extended, and your rear leg bent, just the opposite of a cross. In fact, it helps to think of a hook as a cross in reverse and competent trainers teach it as such: get ready to throw a cross, but at the last instant, donft throw it; now youfre set up for the hook.  Sean doesnft do this. Moreover, his elbow is always too low.  The tape ends with the same segment from tape 1 showing Sean doing sit ups.

Tape 3 is called Letfs Rumble. Sean teaches a few defenses against the basic punches. The defenses are simple so he canft steer you too wrong. He also teaches uppercuts, clinching, how to shift your weight and sparring and combat techniques. Itfs extremely minimal. If you have already spent some quality time in a boxing gym with a trainer who can communicate, youfll be able to fill in the blanks. But then, why would you need this tape?  Sparring is where the rubber meets the road. The boxerfs unique package of physical, mental, and emotional skills can only be assembled in their final perfected form between the ropes (to borrow a turn of phrase from the French sociologist Löic Wacquant, who actually trained in a boxing gym on Chicagofs south side for three years while preparing his paper gThe Social Logic of Boxing in Black Chicago: Toward a Sociology of Pugilismh). Sparring is the reward for the tedious hours of shadowboxing, jumping rope, and pounding various types of bag. It would have been nice to see Sean sparring. As an experienced fighter, articulate analyst, and a pretty intelligent guy, he could have provided a lot of insight into what a boxer does and why he does it when he spars as a form of learning. But Sean doesnft do it. Instead, he spars about 20 seconds with a young guy, a boxer Sean says, and he looks like he might be. This gsparringh seems to be in slow-motion and takes place in a living room rather than a ring. Sean is joined in this tape by a couple of young kids, one a girl, both there for their first boxing lesson. Needless to say, this tape is not directed toward athletes.

The how to clinch material, while very basic, is not bad. Sean explains why you need to move to your right when you are facing a right-handed boxer. And he gives the excellent advice that when you donft know what to do, jab. The solution to any pugilistic puzzle is gjab moreh. Despite these flaws, Letfs Rumble is the best of the set but the set is pretty pitiful. If you want to learn to box, go to a boxing gym. If you canft do that, and even if you can, get Kenny Weldonfs tape set You Can Learn to Box.  

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    © 2000, by Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved. 

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