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Grace of Pugilism

A pugilist instructional manual by Javier Carmona


Javier Carmona. Female pugilist
Javier Carmona. Female pugilist

Русская версия


Impressed with the underappreciated genre of the instructional photograph, Javier Carmona presents images which collect the essential gestures of the boxer's practice. The female nude recontextualizes the perception of these potentially violent actions into an aesthetic convention of expected beauty.


Female pugilism Female pugilism Female pugilism
Centrically located pugilist delivers left and right hooks by turns while the other pugilist is in the uppercut delivery stance


Javier Carmona was born in 1972, in Guanajuato, Mexico and became a U.S. citizen in 2001.Working in narrative media, Carmona heads the photography curriculum at Dominican University as associate professor. Often asked about his preoccupation with pugilism, Carmona reluctantly volunteers a formative involvement with the practice. He advocates boxing's potential for sensual influence in lectures and classroom experiences.


Female pugilism Female pugilism
Left hook and right cross


The one-two often heard. It is the essence of coordinated hand movement and the beginning of punching combinations. The jab acts as the lead punch to the chin and sets up power punches such as the cross, hook and uppercut in rapid succession. As with all punches, the back remains straight at all times. The legs bend slightly at the knee. Never lean forward with a punch.

Following the right cross is the left hook, a short punch using all the power contained in the quick turn of one's waist to the right. The left arm punches parallel to the ground, ending in front of one's eye. Note the correct pivot of the lead or left foot, in the second frame, needed to secure the power of this punch.

Similarly, the right uppercut, requires a pivot on the rear or right foot for a powerful twist of the waist to the left. Like the hook, the uppercut never winds up behind one's ribs; it begins at one's side and quickly snaps to the opponent's chin ending in front of one's eye.

Defensive positions are crucial to survive a fight. By slipping punches, one can avoid a blow while remaining close enough to counterpunch the opponent.

Parrying a punch can be a dangerous move, requiring faster reflexes to literally catch or slap the opponent's punch away, leaving her open for a counterpunch.

Practice slipping and weaving under a rope, by keeping the back straight and bending the knees instead. Introduce combinations. Slip and hook as depicted at the right.


Female pugilism Female pugilism
Right jab and right uppercut. Note the fast snap required with every punch.

Female pugilism
The pugilist wraps hands in preparation


Female pugilism
Right cross


Female pugilism
Slipping or moving the head and shoulders to the side of a left jab, right cross.


Female pugilism
A slipped jab


Female pugilism
Defensive block



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