Are you an orthodox fighter? Do you have trouble when you’re sparring a southpaw? No need to worry – you’re not the only one.
With only a handful of the world’s population being lefties (and some righties that box lefty), stumbling upon someone who stands like a mirror image of yourself can be confusing.
A lot of people don’t know how to spar or fight southpaws. This reason, among others, contributes to the success many southpaw fighters find in the ring. However, going up against a southpaw won’t be as scary as long as you practice and keep these three pieces of advice in mind.
#1 – YOUR LEAD (LEFT) FOOT STAYS OUTSIDE OF THEIRS
This is a solid piece of advice for those just starting out.
Keeping your lead foot outside of theirs ensures you’re always off their centerline.
Being off their centerline means they’ll have to work harder to connect their cross and for their left middle kicks to land with power.
Planting your lead foot outside of theirs can also prevent you from getting swept.
(This goes for sparring/fighting both southpaw and orthodox people, which is why many trainers tell you to step outside when you kick, not just forward.)
#2 – DON’T THROW MID OR HIGH KICKS WITH YOUR LEFT LEG
Because of the unfamiliar, reversed stance, throwing a left middle kick at a southpaw can mean you end up on your butt because of a sweep, especially when you start fighting at a higher level.
Left middle kicks are easy to catch because your opponent’s lead arm is close to your body. It’s even easier to sweep because they will most likely use their power leg to do the tripping. Using your left leg to throw teeps is fine, but avoid the middle and high kicks with your left.
On the other hand, do throw plenty of right low and middle kicks. Note: many southpaws are excellent at blocking the right middle kick as they spar mostly rightys, so set up your kicks with punches (or use feints) before throwing that kick.
#3 – WHATEVER THEY CAN DO TO YOU, YOU CAN DO TO THEM
Southpaws love using that right hook of theirs, don’t they? Most orthodox stance fighters simply don’t see it coming. But because they’re a mirror image of you, the great thing is that you can fire whatever they throw back at them.
The left hook and right cross are vital tools to use against a southpaw, especially when setting up kicks. Something else you can do is watch videos of southpaws (Saenchai, Sitthichai, Yodsanklai, etc.) and see the types of combinations they throw. Do the same as them, but as a mirror image.
Keep in mind that the main reason people get hit by southpaws is because many of their shots are coming from spots you’re not used to. When you get hit with a certain combination, whatever it may be, return it back with a vengeance.
Now, on the other end of this equation is southpaws themselves. Do you fight lefty? Then this Kick -> Cross combo is for you! It reinforces (especially in novice nak muay) the idea that not every strike needs to, nor is meant to land. Some strikes, like the one in this tutorial, are bait. They lure your opponent out of their protective shell only to get tagged with follow-up strikes.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.