Barry Robinson is one of the most innovative and successful boxing coaches in the world. His A Million Styles Boxing (AMSB) system has been honed over decades of working with elite professional fighters across multiple combat sports including Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA.
Barry's coaching demonstrate a deep mastery of boxing fundamentals, footwork, ring craft, fight strategy and control. His ability to dissect and explain complex boxing concepts in simple terms, along with his insistence on proper technique and mechanics, has cemented his reputation as an elite ‘coach of coaches’.
His 8 full length instructional volumes on Warrior Collective represent a blueprint for building complete boxers and strikers from the ground up. Each volume focuses on a critical component of the AMSB curriculum. Working through all 8 volumes sequentially allows fighters and coaches to fully integrate the core tools and philosophies underpinning this combat sports powerhouse system.
In this blog post written up from my recent livestream with Barry, I hope to provide you with an overview of Coach Robinson and AMSB, summarize key lessons from our discussion, and explain why every serious coach and fighter needs his 8 volumes as part of their training toolkit.
Barry Robinson grew up in the Bronx, New York where he first started boxing. After a stint in the military, he returned to boxing both as an amateur fighter and trainer. Eventually realising his passion was in coaching, Barry took his skills international, landing a coaching role at Frontline Academy in Norway. This kicked off 15+ years of globetrotting, during which he became lead coach for elite fighters across Europe, Asia, and North America.
A chance encounter led Barry to start posting training clips on YouTube in the mid-2000s. Initially intending these videos as a personal film study journal, he was surprised to find his tutorials gaining popularity. Before long other coaches were contacting him for guidance, and amateur fighters were traveling long distances for his seminars. As his online following grew, Barry moved to sharing technique and fight analysis breakdowns, quickly establishing himself as a leading authority on the finer points of boxing science and ring craft.
Throughout his rise, Barry studiously avoided the easy path of social media hype and combination-of-the-month style content. His educational videos provide serious boxing instruction aimed at developing well-rounded fighters with a solid foundation. His teachings are infused with concepts and language tailored to enhance learning. Terms like ‘systems check’ and ‘rhythm step’ help to simplify complex topics into actionable lessons.
For Barry, boxing technique is just one piece of the puzzle. Equally important are fitness, adaptability, ring IQ and the mental toughness to stick to a game plan under pressure. He has continually refined his training methodology to improve fighters’ positioning, decision-making and strategic control inside the ring. The result is AMSB, a proven high-performance training system integrating boxing, footwork and fight strategy.
The AMSB System on Warrior Collective
I first met Barry Robinson in person in 2018 after I invited him over to the UK to lead a series of Boxing seminars at my gym in Manchester. We used this period of time to also kickstart our production of a series of online training tutorials, which aimed to distill his AMSB system. To date there are 8 AMSB volumes and two training add-ons available on this site:
- Reactive Mitts
- Mastering Agility
- Ring Craft
- Controlling the Fight
- How to Punch Harder and Faster
- Fighter Drills
- Rhythm Step 101
- MMA Striking Evolved
- Punch Development Training (Add-On Training to How to Punch)
- Fighter Development Training (Add-On Training to Fighter Drills)
Each volume provides coaches and fighters an in-depth look at a vital component of the AMSB training curriculum. Barry takes viewers through the key techniques, drills and concepts that make his system so successful. The tutorials feature pro fighters as demo models so you can see how elite athletes apply these lessons under real gym conditions.
Speaking to Barry during our nearly 3 hour long livestream helped shed light on some of the core philosophies underpinning AMSB.
On Language and Communication
- Barry Robinson stresses the importance of using precise language and terminology in boxing coaching. Avoid vague, generic instructions like ‘keep your hands up’. Be specific – Does this mean hold a static high guard? Or actively catch shots with your gloves? The right coaching language enhances learning.
- Terms like ‘systems check’ and ‘rhythm step’ are integral parts of the AMSB lexicon. They simplify complex boxing concepts into easily grasped principles. Adopting the proper terminology creates a shared language between coach and fighter.
- Role of film study: Barry watches fights not just as a fan, but analytically as a coach seeking strategic advantages. He breaks down footage to read patterns and identify weaknesses. Coaches must study film religiously to inform their training programs.
On Drilling and Gym Time
- Sweat the small stuff through deliberate, repetitive drills focused on fine details like footwork and punch technique. Mastering boxing fundamentals prepares you to utilize more advanced tactics.
- Don’t skip steps in your training progression. Be patient and methodical in layered skill building. Walk before you run. Crawl before you walk. Drill basics before moving to complex techniques.
- Spend more time solo drilling proper technique than sparring or doing pad work. Your mitt man can mask deficiencies by going easy. Drilling ingrains good mechanics so they hold up under pressure.
- Barry Robinson spends hours studying film and fine-tuning his system for each individual fighter. Meanwhile, many fighters try shortcutting with social media clips without putting in diligent gym work. Respect the process.
On Ring Craft and Strategy
- Use deliberate footwork drills to control distances, angles and positioning. Master your footwork and you can dictate the geography of the fight on your terms.
- Boxing strategy is about smart ring generalship, not relying on a big punch or favorite combination. Take what your opponent gives you rather than forcing a scripted game plan.
- Changing up your stance, guard and look messes with your opponent's timing. Use this variety to disrupt their reads and create openings. Confidence comes from possessing well-rounded skills.
- Don’t get distracted headhunting for knockouts. Stay defensively responsible. Methodically set traps through precise positional dominance and calculated pressure.
- Win rounds through ring craft. Don’t take risks trying to squash opponents with a highlight reel KO. Stay disciplined in your game plan for the long game.
On Coaching and Holding Pad Holders Accountable
- Many coaches teach techniques incorrectly, fail to instill proper mechanics, and neglect building a solid boxing foundation. Without a strong base, fighters struggle to apply tactics.
- Pad holders often disguise a fighter’s weaknesses by not throwing realistically. Barry insists on sharp pad work where the fighter must apply skills properly or get tagged. No bad habits hidden.
- Use video review and self-critique to keep fighters accountable for mistakes. Have them do pushups or other consequences for errors to ingrain good technique. Don't allow lazy mechanics.
My Livestream with Barry Robinson provides tremendous insight into the philosophies, language and techniques integral to his AMSB boxing system. For coaches and fighters serious about elevating their game, studying this footage alongside his tutorials will prove transformational.
You can watch the full the Livestream below
Let's now look at key lessons from each volume in more detail.
Volume 1: Reactive Mitts
The first volume lays the foundation for the AMSB curriculum. The 'MITTS' in Reactive Mitts stands for mitt work a.k.a pad work. Barry Robinson designed the AMSB pad work program to be realistic and reactive. Holders ask for high percentage combinations and intelligently led shots rather than robotic 1-2-3 pad routines. This forces fighters to sharpen recognition and responsiveness.
Barry fills his system with a wide variety of 'calls' - slips, blocks, parries, etc. Fighters drill moving through the various call ’systems' until making the right reactions becomes instinctual. Layering defensive calls on top of attacking frameworks allow fighters to learn how to counter more efficiently.
The AMSB pad work curriculum strengthens defensive fundamentals while ingraining sharp counterpunching reflexes. Barry sees many gyms that neglect dedicated pad work in favour of heavy bag work and sparring. However, he sees the bag and freestyle sparring as poor teacher substitutes compared to focused pad rounds with an experienced coach.
The reactive mitt framework provides the backbone for all future learning. After introducing the basic pad work curriculum, Barry shows how to easily build progressive combinations on top of a defensive foundation by using a simple numbered punching system that will connect the athlete to an ever growing ecosystem of calls, defences and agility drills. There are also essential lessons on managing distance, angling off shots and maintaining form even when fatigued.
In addition to technical instruction, Volume 1 establishes core tenets of the AMSB philosophy such as holding fighters accountable, doing proper repetitions and resisting the urge to advance before mastering basics. This first volume sets the foundation for assimilating the full AMSB curriculum. Mastering Reactive Mitts allows you to maximise the benefits from all subsequent volumes.
Volume 2: Mastering Agility
Volume 2 builds atop the Reactive Mitt foundation by developing critical footwork and movement skills. Barry Robinson focuses on moulding economical, explosive footwork that smoothly transitions from defence to offence - the epitome of a skilled boxer and/or striker.
This volume extensively drills lateral movement including sidestepping, circling and pivoting. Barry constantly reinforces positioning, hip alignment and proper weight transfer. Nailing down footwork mechanics before adding punches or other layers is key to ensuring mastery of combat sports agility.
There are also valuable concepts such as controlling distances, entering/exiting on angles, and using foot feints to manipulate opponents' movement. Barry builds and layers essential footwork drills round after round in order to drive technical mastery.
As with all his AMSB volumes, Barry provides historical fight examples illustrating how boxers leverage these footwork tools strategically. The breakdowns showcase pro fighters confidently and consistently capitalising on positioning advantages gained through adroit foot skills.
While the drills themselves appear simple on the surface, their nuance and precision elevates technical execution. Devoting yourself to Coach Barry's meticulous footwork training bestows deeper command over positioning and distance control compared to the atypical under-appreciation of training movement in isolation. Mastering Agility will change the way you train and coach combat sports.
Volume 3: Ring Craft
Following the first two volumes, we now arrive at the point where boxers need to start learning the art of ring craft. The term ring craft encompasses a fighter's skill in maneuvering strategically to gain control of exchanges. Ring craft involves reading opponents' movements and tendencies while concealing your own plans and positioning to dictate the fight's cadence on your terms.
Barry Robinson focuses this volume on a number of essential ring tools - including those of how to control the outside space, pivoting and footwork feints. Da Da Da (a term coined within the AMSB system) will allow you to control lateral space while maintaining options to attack, defend or pivot into new angles as opportunities arise.
Pivots build on lateral movement by rotating the body from side-on stances into squared or opposite stances. Pivots enter new angles, align power hand shots, and take you from defensive to offensive positioning. Barry layers striking into the foot patterns so fighters get comfortable letting combinations flow from any stance or angle.
The volume concludes with another of Barry's trademark AMSB systems, the ‘neutral stance’. From neutral you can fire shots in any direction or transition into lateral movement or pivots disguised by the squared stance shape. Ring Craft teaches you how to become the fighter you want to be by controlling space proactively and thus dictating both the range and the fight at every turn.
Volume 4: Controlling the Fight
Volume 4 delves into the strategic heart of Barry's AMSB system - controlling fights physically and mentally through smart positioning and intelligent ring generalship. Coach Barry has always been well ahead of the curve in advocating strategic fight control as opposed to fixating on raw punching power.
The beginning of this volume focuses on using arm, glove and shoulder 'checks' to physically impede opponents from getting set to launch attacks. Barry demonstrates how to make opponents uncomfortable with various hand trap techniques and how to use body positioning in order to disrupt their rhythm.
Limiting opponents' offence is critical, but only part of the control equation. Barry also emphasizes controlling the clock by avoiding risks and unnecessary exchanges. Conserve energy by sticking to advantageous positions and distances to frustrate opponents into chasing out of frustration.
These are then followed with lessons on feinting and angling to manipulate opponents into forced errors as they aggressively pursue you. As always, Coach Barry stresses remaining composed defensively, even when opponents are externally rattled. Your strategic poise magnifies their frustration and saps confidence.
Controlling distance, position and tempo prevents fighters from doing what they want to do. "Controlling the Fight” provides the missing strategic layer that allows converting your technical skills into victory against all styles. Learning to dictate fights on your terms is how ring generalship leads to having your hand raised time and time again.
Volume 5: How to Punch Harder and Faster
Here, Barry takes a brief detour from the fighting strategies discussed in Volume 4 in order to level up your punching efficiency with Volume 5. This volume focuses on honing proper punching form and mechanics so that you learn how to generate increased speed and power when striking. This includes aligned fist rotation, correct footwork connections, proper hip/torso involvement and recoil motions.
There are meticulous breakdowns on maximising torque and kinetic sequencing for each punch type. Barry also examines common form flaws that undermine punching authority. Small mechanical fixes generate substantial improvements in delivery and impact.
This volume runs through focused solo drills for each punch category to ingrain proper mechanics through repetition. Barry even delves into unorthodox variations such as the shifting southpaw left cross for added sneakiness. There are also valuable concepts like using relaxed speed hits to set up sporadic heavier artillery.
Some coaches neglect fundamental punching technique in favor of high-rep hitting and fitness drills. Barry believes mastering delivery mechanics is the safer route to increased pop. You can't just strong-arm knockout punches. Well-honed technique allows translating your existing power into punishing blows. Crisp punching form multiplied by accuracy, timing and diverse set ups gets the job done.
Volume 6: Fighter Drills
Fighter Drills compiles the essential solo, pad and bag work routines Barry uses daily with top pros to refine their skills. These are the repetitions that forge elite talents into complete technicians able to excel under bright lights. This volume is a greatest hits of Barry's most effective training drills.
There are highly detailed pad work progressions focused on technical development. Drills for slipping and rolling practice so that fighters develop sharp reactions to incoming fire. Angling drills help avoid getting caught by an opponent’s counters after attacking. Barry also includes situational sparring focused on inside fighting tactics and combination counters.
Several sequences address fighting 'tall' and 'short' against disparate sized opponents - critical adjustments every boxer must master. There are also Reactive Mitt flows for developing polished southpaw skills to complement orthodox prowess. Each segment provides numerous reps to engrain proper techniques and responses.
The 10 round heavy bag workout provides a template for sharpening technique under fight pressure. There are also several highly demanding metabolic drills that enhance muscular and mental endurance. Fighter Drills provides a readymade curriculum for honing skills safely while also addressing fight-specific conditioning.
Volume 7: Rhythm Step 101
Rhythm Step 101 tackles the subtle area of footwork tells. Barry is world renowned for coining the term 'rhythm step' to describe unconscious foot motions that reveal a fighter's imminent movements. Examples include closing feet together, shifting weight, before-step foot flutters etc.
Identifying opponents' rhythm steps alerts you to launch preemptive attacks, or use evasive footwork to avoid incoming assaults when expecting a rhythm-stepped attack. Being aware of your own rhythm stepping helps eliminate telegraphing.
This volume focuses on drilling smooth footwork transitions absent extraneous footsteps which sap positioning. Removing inefficient steps enhances balance and frees attention to watch for opponents' rhythm steps signalling their next move. Coach Barry details tactics such as using sidesteps or small angling bounces to glide out of range as you trigger attacks off opponents' telltale foot motions.
There is also valuable conceptual content on types of steps and weight transfers so students better understand footwork motion. As with all AMSB volumes, Barry reiterates essential fundamentals like proper stance width and weight distribution to reinforce optimal mechanics.
The volume concludes with freestyle pad work integrating rhythm step principles into realistic exchanges. Rhythm Step 101 is the masterclass that fine-tunes often overlooked footwork nuances impacting fighting success.
Volume 8: MMA Striking Evolved - The Blueprint for World Class Fighters
In Barry's own words, this final volume represents "over a decade in the making". It provides the blueprint for integrating his AMSB boxing curriculum into MMA striker training. In it, he distills hard-earned lessons from years coaching elite MMA champions and fighters.
This volume focuses on using footwork, distancing, angles and fight strategy to amplify any striker's toolkit. There is tremendous crossover drilling boxing stance-work and lateral movement into situations like circling away from the cage and angling off strikes to evade takedowns in MMA. Coach Barry also shows cage cutting footwork to trap opponents for whatever attacking framework you want to utilise.
Other segments address marrying striking defensive reactions to MMA tactics such as catching kicks or returning fire when opponents overextend on strikes. Additional lessons cover important MMA-specific tactics such as defending reactive takedowns, manipulating openings through eye feints, and strategically controlling pace through patiently applied pressure.
Throughout the training drills on display, Barry Robinson focuses on ingraining the AMSB boxing systems so that MMA strikers can control distance and use angles to enter/exit safely. The goal is developing well-rounded striking mastery, not crudely attempting to make boxers into kickers or wrestlers, or vice-versa. Each phase brilliantly blends boxing, MMA and overall fight strategy.
This volume is a phenomenal resource for coaches seeking to elevate their MMA strikers’ games. Fighters will also benefit immensely from the detailed process for becoming truly complete stand-up artists included within. This is an essential blueprint for modern MMA strikers.
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