8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Gloves by Jesse Enkamp

1. Striking with a glove is easy. Striking with an unprotected fist is hard.

You have to know how to punch correctly when you don’t wear gloves. Understanding exactly how to align your wrist, how to twist your forearm, which part of the fist to strike with and how to squeeze your fingers together is just the tip of the iceberg.

2. Even extremely skilled fighters tend to break their hands in street-fights.

World famous MMA fighter Fedor Emilianenko displaying his broken hand. Not the first time.

Many fighters get so used to wearing gloves that their hands get more prone to injury when they happen to not wear gloves.

Often they’ve never even practised how to make a proper fist without a glove on. After all, wearing gloves and wraps is alot like wearing shoes and socks for the hands.

It makes you soft.

3. Gloves throw off your distancing.

Most gloves are so padded that they extend anywhere from one to three inches from your fist. This will make your strikes come up short when you take off your gloves as you’ll be more used to another striking distance. Can be a really bad thing in the wrong situation.

4. A gloved fist turns a punch into a push.

Since the padding of a glove can be very spongy as you hit your target, you’ll sometimes end up pushing through the glove as you make contact. Even more so when you’re tired. One does not have to a genious to realize that this isn’t optimal.

5. Gloves allow you to get away with hitting areas you would never hit barefisted.

When you’re training with gloves on, you tend to not pay much attention on exactly where you are hitting. You might occasionally hit an elbow, top or side of the head or maybe even somebody’s knee and not think anything about it; after all you’re wearing gloves and wraps to protect your hands from such inconveniences.

But do that bareknuckled and you will think twice.

6. Gloves produce lazy hands and wrists.

World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao shadow boxing. Notice the half open hands.

When you train exclusively with gloves and wraps, you end up relying on them more than you know. For example, you often forget to tighten your fist on contact, due to the fact that your wrap and glove don’t allow for your fist to clench properly.

Have you ever seen a boxer do shadow boxing without gloves? Their hands are half open all of the time, just like they are inside a glove.

You also end up relaxing your wrist since the wrap is supporting it.

Of course this is a recipe for disaster, or an accident waiting to happen.

7. Target areas are bigger with a gloved fist.

Some gloves can be almost two to three times the size of your hand. Or even more. Depending on how much padding they have, that makes for a very large striking surface to hit with.

Not good.

Your bread and butter strikes won’t hit or impact the same when you land them bareknuckled, since the target area will be much smaller. In short, your accuracy will suffer.

8. Gloved fists make your strikes heavier, due to the weight of the glove.

Gloves can weigh up to one or two pounds per glove. It depends on the size.

This means that you will get used to hitting with that weight on the end of your wrist as you start to throw that leather around. But let me warn you it won’t be there when you have to throw those same punches bareknuckled. “Hey, where did all that mass go?”

Your fists will be lighter and will be carrying less mass to strike with, which will have many consequences. For example, your hooks won’t tend to pull away from you as you throw them, since the centrifugal force won’t be as strong (you do realize that’s why big hooks are easier to throw with gloves on don’t you?)

And that’s about enough, I think.

If these eight reasons won’t get you to abandon your gloves and throw away your wraps, then there’s really only one thing left to do:

Get yourself a makiwara and learn it the hard way.

By Jesse


2 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Gloves by Jesse Enkamp

  1. Ok, old post, but has to be commented…

    First of all: calling Fedor “soft” is… well… I don’t even know what it is. Stupid, perhaps?

    Second: The fist is _supposed_ to be unclenched when shadow boxing, except at the moment of impact. This is especially true if you do an art that has grappling in it, as you are always ready to grab whatever comes close to your hand. Keeping your fist clenched at all times will suppress blood flow. Furthermore, it’s not necessary…

    Third: When you hit hard, and you hit hard _a lot_, you’d better wrap up. Even fighters with supreme technique get tired, and can get sloppy in their delivery, and wraps can prevent a lot of injury. If you do a lot of bag work, you use thin gloves, but even then, you can seriously injure your wrists without wraps, and it’s just not worth it. Even working out a lot without wraps cannot guarantee that your wrist is strong enough to always prevent injury, and working out with wraps ensures enough movement for you to be able to strengthen your wrists.

    Therefore, in my book, you have to do both. Volume work on bag with wraps and thin gloves. Hard fighting with thicker gloves to prevent you from damaging your opponent. Lighter fighting with thin or no gloves, for some of the reasons given in the article. To discard of the gloves completely is a mistake, in my opinion.

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