Happy Birthday Muhammad Ali, Thank you for the shoeshine

Happy Birthday Muhammad Ali, Thank you for the shoeshine

Other than being the three-time Boxing Heavyweight of the World, Muhammad Ali is famous for so many things.  Today, is his birthday day. His unorthodox pugilistic style combined dazzling footwork with hand speed. Ali died at age 74. He had magnetic energy and inspired so many outside the boxing community. For this entire week, my gym POW! in the West Loop will be honoring Ali by integrating his favorite workout into our training which included endless sets of leg lifts, bicycle crunches, side to side jump rope patterns, shadow boxing and of course the shoe shine!

What is the shoeshine?

The shoeshine combo is a flurry of quick little punches that focus on speed. They are referred to as the shoeshine because the fists are held in a vertical position, which resembles shining a shoe. Think of them as quick little uppercuts.

The Application of the Shoe Shine:

At first, it is hard to figure out how the shoeshine drill translates in the ring. It can be thought of as an opener. Opening up the elbows or even the chin. If it is used to unhinge the chin, you ideally follow up with a hook. In general, the shoeshine can be applied as a strategy in many situations. Fast rapid punches that do little damage are a coy set up for a power punch that is intended to finish the opponent. The real difficulty in throwing the shoeshine is coordinating your footwork to match the cadence of the punches. You don’t want to look like that person who can’t clap on beat. There is artful timing that makes it look so cool.

Another way in which fighters use the shoeshine is to remain idol and look busy in the ring. Fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard used it. I am not sure if it actually contributes to winning a round in the judges eyes, but it does make a fighter appear in control, undamaged and still actively in the mix. When practicing the shoeshine your energy should not look like you are running from your opponent. I think of it as simply looking busy!

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