"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"
That sounds almost Shakespearean, but it's Robert Browning, English Poet (1812-89)
One of the greatest things for trainers and coaches in this era is the ability to video record yourself in training. Back in the day we didn't have this, although I had two friends who thought I was something special, haha, and did take a video 8 camera and record me sparring. The odd thing, of course I didn't really recognize myself, seeing from that angle, is that my arms looked -really- long. I mean freakishly long. At 5'9 I had a reach over 73", which is what you can touch on the wall arms out to each side.
Some of the heavyweight champs had an enormous reach, Ali is listed as 74" in some places and 80" in others. Foreman had a long reach. One of the shortest was Rocky Marciano at 68" and Tyson was only 71", proving that it's not always reach, huh?
So, the take-away I guess is to always try to find ways to 'reach for the stars' and keep your gaze up, head up, (though, you gotta look where you're going) and despite the aphorism, try to grasp as much as possible - seeing deeply is revealing and challenging. Not everyone is introspective. But everyone can see patterns and frameworks and connections if they work on it.
One of the longest reaches was the Soviet boxer Valuev listed in some places at 86" (Primo Carnera is also up there at 85"). Search Youtube for a cool fight between Holyfield and Valuev. (that's Valuev in the pic vs maybe David Haye, 2009)
Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:
- A Martial Framework by Badger Johnson
- How To Exceed Your Plateaus by Badger Johnson
- Adding to Arnold's Six Principles of Success
- Badger Johnson - 10 Tips on how to analyze a martial art for effectiveness
- "To be a master is very different from being an expert." by Badger Johnson
- Addendum, Clarification and Expansion of Paul Vunak's Fighting Secrets by Badger Johnson
- Expanded Ways of Attack by Badger Johnson
- "Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts" by Badger Johnson
- Badger Johnson - Can Trapping Work?
- The Genesis and Development of Zone Theory by Badger Johnson
- A few aspects of self-defense training by Badger Johnson
- Some of the important ten things… by Badger Johnson
- Over-speed Training - Accessing the Subconscious and the Power of Threes
- Coaching, self-coaching, talent, experience, genetics, opportunity, motivation
- "I'd Like to Teach the World to Dance"
- Some thoughts today
NOTE: My sincerest appreciation for Badger's gracious consent for permission to archive his essay to my site.
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