Pugilist’s Training Tips: Choice of Weapons

This is a guest post from Oleg Fadeev who comes to us all the way from Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.

Hi all!

Today it’s time to visit our armory and have a look at what we have there. For the sake of a logical approach let’s divide our weapons into offensive and defensive means.

Offensive means

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It is the simplest section for a boxer, actually. If you condition your knuckles and wrists properly you need no special “street” techniques (the pugilistic way of the hand conditioning you may find in my previous article about the Basics). All boxing strikes and punches which you practice in your gym are also good for the street fighting. The only thing to remember is that we shouldn’t use long series and combinations of strikes, just two or three strikes sequences: jab-cross, right cross-left hook and other basic boxing stuff. “The simpler – the better” is the main rule in the street.

Defensive means 

This is far more complicated thing. Let me remind you that there are two main reasons which make us choose our defenses very carefully:

There are no gloves in the street. 

The assailant can have concealed weapons which we haven’t noticed for some reason (bad lights, bad weather conditions and etc.) That can be different kinds of brass-knuckles, short knives, black-jacks or sappers.

Keeping in mind these two factors it is obvious that we can’t use “shield and cover” defenses because on the one hand our bare fists are too small to cover any significant area and on the other hand our cover won’t protect us from being hit by a black-jack for example.  So we should exclude these types of defense from our pugilistic training. But don’t worry; we still have tons of effective stuff down here.

First of all, it is all your boxing body movements. Slips, ducks, shoulder rolls and etc. are as good in the street as they are in the ring. Actually it’ll be even easier to evade small fists instead of big boxing gloves.
For the second, it is parrying. We can parry a strike, we can parry a knife thrust, and we can parry everything. 

For the third, it is blocking. Not very popular in the modern boxing blocking saved many lives in the old time prize fighting bouts. And once again, we can block everything be it a punch or a knife thrust. The rule is simple: shield and cover in the ring = blocking in the street. Interchange these techniques dependently. Some examples of blocking are present in the videos below.

Note: These videos are shot in a way that I don’t know what hand my partner will be striking with. We did this to show that blocking is a simple and spontaneous action. 

Thanks for your attention, 

See you! 

Pugilist’s Training Tips: Basics

This is a guest post from Oleg Fadeev (pictured below) who comes to us all the way from Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.

As we all know, the conditions of the street fight differ from the boxing bout ones, so today let’s talk about some common training peculiarities which helps us becoming not only a good boxer but a skillful pugilist as well.

image1First of all it is the most basic difference between boxing and pugilism – in the street there will be no tapes and gloves. That is why we should thoroughly condition our knuckles and wrists in order not to have an injury when defending ourselves. So, here are simple rules of the hand and wrist conditioning

Gloves are for the sparring only

It means that we should avoid using gloves working on the bags and pads. We can use tapes at the beginning, but we should aim at full power punching the heavy bag bare knuckled. The bag shouldn’t be very hard and it shouldn’t be very soft either. The thing is that we should feel how our knuckles dig into the target a little. Do not haste, begin with 20% of your strength and in course of time your fists will be as hard as a rock

Remember the goal and work out wisely

We can condition our fists and wrists during our workout routines as well. If you are doing push-ups, do them on your knuckles, not open handed. Also include different kinds of the wrist push-ups in your routines. The surface shouldn’t be too hard or too soft either. A wooden floor is the best variant, but a laminated one is also quite ok. DO NOT KNOCK WALLS OR OTHER HARD SURFACES WITH YOUR KNUCKLES!!! This way of hand conditioning is complicated and it demands a qualified instruction and supervision.

The second thing about gloves is that they are bigger in size than bare fists. It is significantly easier to defend against the punch wearing gloves, so if we are training for the street we should add some additional gear in our sparring sessions. I’d suggest using MMA gloves and helmets with a face shield from time to time.

Now let’s look on the environmental aspect of the fight. It happens so that we have to fight on different surfaces and in different circumstances, so we should get acquainted to possible battlefields. I’d suggest adding open air sparring sessions in our curriculum. It can be street, backyard, countryside etc. We should wear everyday garments and shoes, we should train in any season so we can use all pros and cons of different gear and weather conditions.

This was the basics of the pugilist’s training. Later on we’ll talk about other interesting things concerning boxing self-defense.

Best regards,


Pugilism: from the ring and to the street

This is a guest post from Oleg Fadeev (pictured below) who comes to us all the way from Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.


I have about 15 years of practice and teaching combatives and self-defense to different groups of people starting with military operatives and up to the civilian white collars, who were eager to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. It is obvious that all these groups have different aims and different means of reaching their goals: a special forces quick killing at the theater of operations has nothing to offer to a common citizen in the weekend evening bar quarrel. So, now I’d like to focus on the civilian self-defense. 

There are many decent civilian self-defense systems, but I want to talk about the oldest European and American system – boxing and pugilism as its street application.

The fact is that boxing or pugilism has many pros related to the self-defense. We can divide it into the following categories: technical, physical, psychological and methodological. Let’s have a closer look on every one of them.


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Boxing is really simple. It has a rather small amount of techniques, which can be learned and trained during quite a short period of time. It is a valuable aspect for those who can’t spend a lot of time training, for those who should work for their living. Actually for self-defense we don’t have to spend years in the boxing gym. My personal experience shows that it is a matter of one year as the maximum. Certainly just one year of training won’t make a champion of a common person. This kind of training has a different goal: to give a person the means necessary to defend him, and a year is quite enough in this case.


Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 6.20.50 PMBoxing is a complex kind of sport. Along with punches and defenses it has a necessary amount of physical training exercises to keep fit. Power, agility and stamina are developed simultaneously giving the pugilist a physical harmony, a highly appreciated quality since the times of the ancient Greece. 


Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 6.22.39 PMThis aspect of boxing is really hard to overestimate. The pugilist always deals with different kinds of aggression. It is the aggression of the environment, when he should overcome his fatigue and become stronger than he was the day before. This habit to overcome obstacles and distribute the efforts is very applicable in everyday life. The pugilist is effective in the gym, he is effective doing his job, and he is effective keeping his house and family. The pugilist undergoes the consequences of the stress less often than the others. He actually faces it in the gym; he knows how to deal with it. The second type of aggression is the individual aggression. The pugilist faces the adversary in the ring or during a sparring. He throws punches and builds defenses against the extremely hostile being. He’ll meet the same thing in the street. He learns how to be really tough and how to use his mind at the same time. He eats punches and strikes back with more strength. He fights to his last breathe and never surrenders. It is a great lesson to be active under the circumstances, always look for the effective way of solving the problem.


Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 6.23.47 PMBoxing has been developed in Europe and America for centuries and it was always connected either with recognition or with making money. So for years and years lots of coaches and fighters have been constantly improving each and every aspect of training to be more effective. As a result, boxing nowadays is the most well developed fighting system in the world. What it gives the pugilist? It gives him the assurance of the high quality training in any boxing gym or club. In any boxing gym we will see the most effective results of the centuries of research, so it is a guarantee that boxing will never be the loss of time and money.

Those were some of my thoughts on the topic. I’d always like to answer any questions and to discuss boxing and pugilism.

With my best regards, 


Radio Host is Former Marine with a Soft Touch

Typically when someone describes a fighter they don’t usually say things like, “He’s got a really big heart.”  But Chuck Horton and Brad Bennett, two former boxers and combat veterans, say just that about each other.  

They met years ago and had an instant connection through their service history; Bennett was a Marine in Vietnam and Horton served in the Army in Desert Storm.  Horton grew up in a boxing family in Duluth, Minnesota, and Bennett boxed a little as a Marine.  This brought the two men closer.

After leaving the military, Bennett watched boxing from afar.  He knew how hard people had to work to be good at the sport.  He says he has a great deal of respect for the athletes and was always impressed with those like Zach Walters who could make something of it.  

When Horton was getting started and looking for an announcer for his matches, he asked Bennett if he would be interested.  Not only did he jump at the chance, his wife got involved as well.  She sold the tickets for the Duluth boxing club’s 50/50 raffles and he encouraged the crowd to purchase tickets between matches.

Typically when someone describes a fighter they don’t usually say things like, “He’s got a really big heart.”  But Chuck Horton and Brad Bennett, two former boxers and combat veterans, say just that about each other.

Typically when someone describes a fighter they don’t usually say things like, “He’s got a really big heart.” But Chuck Horton and Brad Bennett, two former boxers and combat veterans, say just that about each other.

These days Bennett spends his time behind the mic on his radio show, Sound Off, on WDSM 710 AM in Duluth.  He says he likes to throw out some issues at the beginning of his show and kind of let the listeners determine where the show goes.  And although regional and national events get some air time, most of his show is based on what’s happening locally in business and politics.

This time of the year for Bennett there’s plenty going on locally.  He’s currently in the midst of planning a Christmas Eve dinner for anyone who needs a hot meal that afternoon.  It’s a tradition that started almost thirty years ago with one turkey and the usual fixings.  Now they’re averaging between 400-450 diners.  

And the best part is that all of the food is donated, and the cooks and helpers volunteer their time. 

They turn-over the tables at the VFW in Duluth’s west end about three times that afternoon to accommodate all the people.  But the help don’t mind.  They are happily there in their Christmas aprons and Santa hats, ready to enjoy a visit from Santa himself.   

Bennett says, “At the end of the day you’re worn out, and now you have to go home and do your own stuff.  But it just makes you feel good.”  And he says he runs it the same way Horton ran his gym, no one is turned away.  It’s just what’s best for the community.  

Two tough guys with big hearts, indeed.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

Be sure to visit the other sites of Duluth boxing promoter and trainer, Chuck Horton, for more interesting stories.

George Booth’s Testimonial

Hi, my name is George Booth. I have had the privilege and opportunity to be trained by Horton’s Gym owner Chuck Horton – I would like to share my experience of intense training. I learned a lot about discipline, dieting, and believing in myself. 

I can recall walking into the training class with anywhere from 6-12 people – all who were well ahead of me when it comes to fitness. I weighed in at 243 pounds (you could say my body mass was well over weight for a 5’10”). First thing that is very important with Chuck’s program is setting goals, understand why you’re in his class, and understand the commitment you have to make when you’re training. 

With that said I had no idea what I was getting into. I have joined other training classes that set up skills for football, baseball, and weight training. I was expecting a light fitness class. Well I was wrong! In the 6 months I was training I learned endurance. I was punching the bag for 3 minutes straight, breaking from standing in one place, moving my feet and lifting my arms. After 15-20 minutes my arms and legs were glue. I remember performing “Farmer Johnsons” for a minute back and forth – it felt like hours! 

Chuck had our class run a lot. I can recall the hills of Duluth MN. And these were not normal hills! They were steep inclines. I’d do pull-ups until I was exhausted, and then he’d start punching my belly. “Learn to breathe out” Chuck would say, “or you will have no wind left.” Chuck stressed that timing is very important when it comes to pushing your body to the limit. 

Imagine going 1 hour to 1.5 a day Monday through Friday with no breaks. Always pushing you to the edge where you had nothing left. That was my experience. I also was taught how to defend myself on the boxing moves Chuck showed me. Although I have not ever had to use these skills it’s always good to remember what Chuck had taught me. 

End result: in 6 months I lost 33 pounds, moving from fat to muscle. Thank you Chuck for pushing me and making me believe in my own ability. I recommend Chuck to any human that can handle his training. But never quit!!

First Step: Realize We Live In A Violent World

I often shake my head in amazement when I read or hear of some random act of violence. Those that report on these acts always seemed shocked. Anyone that pays attention to history knows that from the beginning of time, violence has been a part of our existence. If our ancestors did not stand up to those that perpetuated violence against them, you or I would not be here. It bothers me when I hear people say things such as, “The times have gotten so bad, people have no respect anymore,” or “We are living in such violent times.” And my favorite, “We sure have a bully problem these days.” This isn’t a fad; we are genetically wired for violence from the very beginning of mankind. If some tragedy wiped out everyone but two people, they would fight till the last survivor. So the very first step for anyone wishing to be prepared is to open ones eyes, and accept that human’s will always be violent. 

Even if you'll never step into a boxing ring, it's important to know how to defend yourself.

Even if you’ll never step into a boxing ring, it’s important to know how to defend yourself.

If you want to prevent yourself or your loved ones from being victimized, you should learn realistic self-defense. I grew up fighting in blue-collar neighborhood in the northern Minnesota shipping town of Duluth, MN. Back when I was young man, bar fighting was a sport. I served in the Army, and spent time in combat. I have spent many years in Professional Boxing. I learned long ago that people that can handle themselves are not victimized. You don’t have to be the toughest person – you just don’t want to be an easy target. If you follow my instructions and put in the work you will no longer be a soft target, you will be a hard target. People who wish to harm someone will recognize that. I have seen the transformation from soft target to hard target too many times to count. I have trained people for years on how to fight. I have a proven track record with the success of my Boxers. 

My hope is by starting this blog that I may help anyone out there who is being threatened or bullied to feel safer in this violent world. I especially want to help young boys and girls out there that are being bullied. For years I have taught kids on how to box (as my Father did before me).

I have come to realize that some parents do not want to bring their kids to a boxing gym, and some kids do not want box. I understand their concern – that is why I started this blog. I want to reach those people who need help. This will not be a blog about some make believe and ancient martial art secret. This will be a blog about simple yet practical skills that almost anyone can use. It will be a free of charge resource for you to learn from.  I have been blessed with many people in my life who have helped me along my journey. This is my way of paying back. I encourage those that read this blog to show it to any of your friends that might benefit from it. Bookmark this blog on your computer and visit it often; it will be updated frequently with new material that anyone may use to not only defend themselves but also get in great shape. Simple yet very efficient workouts will be posted; these workouts are what I use to get my professional fighters in top condition. Good luck on your journey.