Part 1. Mittwork Concepts and Continous Feedback Drills

Mittwork Fundamentals


Although this is just a short introduction, in this part I will focus on some mittwork drills of a mitwork system that I call “Continuous Feedback”© mittwork.
Although I was the one who came up with the terms “Continous Feedback” and “Continuous Pattern Striking Drills” the fundamental principles behind these drills originate from the following sources:
  • Dutch Muay Thai Drills (using the training partner’s gloves and shin-guards as targets). Especially the ones used by Rob Kaman and Ramon Dekkers.
  • The (highly recommended) Kenny Weldon DVD instructionals and his mittwork drills.
  • Cus D’Amato’s principles on cutting corners and attacking from angles.
  • The Roger Mayweather mittwork system.
The main boxing counterattacks of the Continuous Feedback mittwork and the training concept of moving from one drill to the other in a non-stop continuous fashion is based on Roger’s system. The main difference between his system and the one analyzed here is that he uses the right hand as the connecting link between combos whereas, depending on the distance, this system also uses the jab. Kicks, knees, elbows, Thai clinching and takedown defense drills are also integrated as the main focus is MMA and/or kickboxing.
To mix such diverse fighting disciplines in a mittwork system is no easy task, so my advice is to study the aforementioned sources diligently. Studying is one thing but mixing things up needs a lot of experimenting and learning from your mistakes. The process is: study, learn, evaluate in action, discard, repeat.
The purpose of this article is to help you create your own drills (although you are more then welcome to try my own). To quote Italian philosopher, famous semiotician, and university professor Umberto Eco, “originality & creativity are nothing but the result of the wise management of combinations. The creative genius combines more rapidly & with a greater critical sense of what gets tossed out & what gets saved, the same material that the failed genius has to work with.“

Continuous Feedback Mittwork Modes


There are three main modes of mitt-work:
  • Providing targets for a student to attack with strikes (single attacks or Continuous Pattern combos)
  • Initiating attacks forcing the student to use defensive moves and counterattacks.
  • Moving and cutting the ring/cage forcing the student to get out of bad spots and check the distance using long range attacks creating an offensive shield.
As a coach, try to use constant motion in order to not let students catch a breath, attack with different rhythms and putting constant pressure. There are ways to turn the pressure on like transitioning to kicking combinations from punches, using MMA drills like sprawls, or forcing them to push you away when you go for the clinch. Other ways are transitioning from blocks and parries to roll-unders, slips, go behinds and duck-unders.
It is also important to use rounds and often asking students to continue drilling after the end of the round, or telling them that the drill will last for three minutes while you set up the timer for five.
The purpose of mittwork drilling is to expose weaknesses both in physical aspects of their game, but more important to strengthen their determination to keep pushing and overcome adversity in order to get the win. That being said, safety is of utmost importance and the student-coach relationship is one that grows through respect and teamwork.

Here is a highlight of my mittwork sessions:



Proper Mittwork for the Jab


The first thing you will notice in my mittwork highlight is that I use the right mitt as the target for the jab. This is based on Kenny Weldon’s mittwork method as you can see below:


He is not the only one. Here is Floyd Mayweather Sr. :



And finally Mike Tyson:



There are significant advantages in using the right mitt for the jab:
  1. It teaches students to keep opponents behind their jab without crossing their punches.
  2. The mitt is closer to the head and the student needs to step-in to land the jab. If you use the left mitt the target is too close and is not realistic in terms of distance.
  3. Your left hand is free and you can always counterattack with a left hook. You can catch students coming in to land the jab.
  4. You can use your left hand to go for the Thai plum or go for a bear hug (I do this often when the student keeps getting too close. As a counter, the student needs to push me away and attack).

Continuous Feedback Mittwork Introductory Lesson #1: The Jab

When training mittwork drills from a distance, the left jab is the connecting link between combinations and counters. This means that all sessions should start with a double jab (jab-in) and finish with a double jab, move back (jab-out). As a coach I teach my students to avoid lead right hands. The jab should be constant, unpredictable and launched in a manner that demands respect. My students can throw at least a hundred jabs per round (spoiler alert: they all hate it).
From a shorter distance, the right hand is the punch that ends all combos and invites the coach to launch another attack in order to keep the mittwork moving.

To illustrate this, here is a basic example:




As you can see, using the right mitt as the target makes it easy for me to use my counter jab as my student’s face is way closer than if I used the left mitt.

As I extend my left hand, this is a signal for the student to keep me away with jabs. Constant, non-stop jabs. To illustrate the difference between using the jab or the right cross I initiate my first attack which is a jab. I also provide an initial target for the follow-up counter. If the mitt is close to my chest and in front of me, the student should block, pull or parry and come back with a right cross, left hook, right cross. After the last right cross I will attack with another move to keep the combinations moving.

If I throw a jab and my right mitt is high and to the back requiring the student to step in with the right hand in order to land for a counter, the student should instead attack with a jab. If the fighter goes for a right hand I will catch him with a left hook like most boxers would. This is the great advantage of using the right mitt as a jab target.
To summarize, in this drill the distance is the determining factor for the counter.