Specific defences are all very well to talk about but how do you take that and translate it into something you can train? There are some people who train their martial art and look at is as a big collection of techniques - be those joint locks or kicks or strikes or what have you - and I've never seen them actually use their skills when they count.
Reality's not a catalogue of options.
"Oh I'd like some tenshinagi and maybe an irimi would go lovely with that."
"Oh yes, and red socks would go lovely with that too."
And there are other people who train their martial art and look at it as containing relatively few techniques that exploit a small collection of largely overlapping principles - distancing, rhythm, conservation of momentum, timing, relative positioning. The latter can then go and use their training as a way to develop their reflexes to exploit those things.
You get into an explosive situation, you'll react as your training, capabilities, mentality and the context interacting with each other dictate. I don't recommend claiming to not have really been thinking in court, but it's certainly true that the thought that does occur is on more of a gut feeling level than it is a verbal, "I can see that his eyes are glazed and he's got something in his hands... is that a kni-- Oh, I've been stabbed."
sort of level. Too slow.
So, someone shows you a particular application, a particular trick. Well, it's very clever - and it is indicative of a certain way of thinking, a certain attitude towards conflict - but have they actually worked that in drills? Do they have a system that their martial art supports to develop the underlying skills to put that in place? And what else does that system support; have they ended up with something that's cripplingly over-specialised?
In my experience, what makes boxers as good as they are is that they're aware that what they're relying on is a matter of those underlying skills - and consequently they've developed a system of drills to train it. They're even aware that there are different ways to apply those skills. That's why you get technical boxers, infighters, classical boxers that fight from the outside - different kinds of boxers. I mean it's all very well to say what is a defence against a boxer but in all honesty that's sort of like saying what's the best defence against a Chinese martial artist. You look at how someone like Emanuel Augustus fights when he's clowning around:
Apologies in advance about the language in the music of the first video.
And it's very different to how Mayweather
(That's an especially interesting comparison since Emanuel and Mayweather actually fought each other once.)
The tricks with boxers - and I've no doubt the good ones would catch on to it fairly quickly - are things that exploit the contexts they don't train for, and the specialisations of the ones they do. Many boxers tend to stand in a relatively short sort of 45 degree stance. Which is good for what they do, it lets them roll fairly easily, it lets them flurry at things in front of them. It suits the rhythm of a movement that doesn't have to worry over-much about someone pulling against it or dropping down on it. But, consequently, you can catch boxers with sweeps fairly easy. If you can get in close, which you should be able to, there's a grappling and ground game where you can try to swing things back in your favour.
There's a certain amount of truth in the idea that boxing doesn't have much of an interplay between different guards either - just because boxing gloves make it so much easier to shield than it is with hands. And that leads to a style of movement that doesn't favour moving stuff around as much. You look at people with lighter gloves, or with no gloves at all, and there's much more percentage in deflections. Which leads to a greater use of - to borrow some terminology from fencing - two time (parry and riposte) rather than one time (everything done in one movement) exchanges. It changes the rhythm of a fight. It's really got to be said: As gloves have got heavier boxing has got more and more boring to watch.
But again, boxers have a variety of rhythms even within that. I say 'the tricks with boxers' but I really mean the strategies I've had the most luck with. If you look at Emanuel again, he's got a very interesting style of movement, very adaptive. I don't think you'd catch him - or any really good boxer - with this sort of stuff. (Though you may catch a fair one.) You can't really cut a general fit for a subject this broad.
The point of all this is, if you're looking for a technique or strategy that's gonna solve the thing; whether it's running up against boxers or anyone else; I just don't think there's one out there. Whatever your technique is you have to be good enough to do it. And for that you need a system that trains the underlying skills in.
And some people will look at that sort of thing and just think - ah ma-ai is the answer he's talking about. No. Or at least not just as something you can sum up in a word like that. If you understand the principles that go into ma-ai you should be able to comment on the different styles of movement that different training for different contexts enables - and the potential flaws thereof.
Really, I think if you don't have any drills that let you interact with those styles of attacks, if you don't spar against them, if you don't develop at least a general
set of reflexes suited to that sort of thing based upon your analysis of the situation - you may as well forget it. If you don't have that, it doesn't matter what techniques you know. Techniques and little tricks are just the gravy, they're not much of a meal by themselves.
One of the big flaws of many folks Aikido, at least that I see a lot of, is that a whole lot of people don't know anything about how to throw a decent punch or kick. So they can't drill it. So they never develop those sorts of reflexes suitable to different styles of movement.
That's probably enough aimless blithering on the subject from me.