Boxing has seen a recent uptick in popularity, from YouTubers fighting to celebrity boxing matches. People from a variety of backgrounds are lacing up gloves to try boxing, whether it be for fitness or self-defense. Here are five reasons to master the fundamentals of boxing.
1) Improves Striking And Grappling
Boxing is a fundamental part of any combat sport, from Muay Thai to mixed martial arts. Fighters that are skilled boxers are overall more dangerous in the pocket or clinch range. Skilled boxers are able to negate the advantages kick-heavy fighters have by staying out of range or fighting from the inside. Both of these tactics effectively nullify the power of their opponent’s kicks, while simultaneously getting them into a dominant position.
Footwork is a universal skill in martial arts and boxers are known for having smooth, slick footwork. Beyond just punching, training footwork can increase the power and speed of other strikes, such as kicks and elbows. The weight transfer for a proper punch is very similar to that of other strikes in other martial arts, leading to a high level of carryover skill. This logic also works the other way. For example, Muay Thai legend Samart Payakaroon was a multiple Lumpinee Stadium Champion who went on to become a WBC boxing champion. His signature technique in Muay Thai was his unique side teep that he threw from a southpaw stance. The footwork from this transferred over to boxing perfectly, enabling him to throw crips, powerful jabs during his time as WBC Champion.
2) Train Safely
To ensure the safety of both yourself and anyone you train with, it is essential to master boxing fundamentals. The first fundamental rule in boxing is to protect yourself at all times. This is a critical lesson in self-awareness, and awareness of your surroundings. The first step to developing this awareness is to become comfortable moving around in your boxing stance utilizing proper footwork. This lets you stay balanced, with your weight centered, so that you are able to shift your weight and fire off a punch that is hard and fast.
A prime example of superb boxing footwork is the Cuban School Of Boxing. They have dominated the Amateur Boxing System and Olympic Games for Boxing for many years. Here are Cuban boxing drills you can practice on your own. Interestingly, many of the footwork techniques can be applied to kicking as well.
3) Increase Your Fitness
Boxing is undoubtedly one of the most physically demanding sports. Boxers need to develop their aerobic and anaerobic systems extensively to keep up with the fast pace of a fight. This can be done in a variety of ways. One of the most popular and effective ways is utilizing a heavy bag. Similar to a Muay Thai heavy bag session, a boxing heavy bag workout can burn up to one thousand calories in an hour! A bag session can be something as simple as setting a timer for rounds and picking punches or footwork patterns to focus on, or more in-depth techniques, as in the case of a HIIT heavy bag workout. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It involves intense intervals of work, followed by active rest. This type of training has been shown to have similar effects as steady-state cardio, such as jogging, but requires less time overall, making it a perfect fit for those with a busy schedule.
For those that have access to a heavy bag, give the following HIIT routine a try! If you do not have a heavy bag, this guided boxing workout is for you! It does not require any equipment and is an intensive cardio circuit.
When trained with the proper intention, boxing is a very effective means of self-defense. Boxers with swift and nimble footwork can avoid the telegraphed blows of a non-martial artist, and block or evade strikes from people who train. This familiarity is ingrained into them during many hours of drilling and sparring. The increased bone density from working a heavy bag helps them avoid injuring their hands if they need to throw a punch in self-defense. Specifically, the jab can be a very useful tool for de-escalation or to set up a quick blow to finish the fight. Your lead hand can also be used to control the distance between you and your attacker via posting or framing. Placing any part of your forearm on their shoulder or neck will prevent them from closing distance to shoot for a takedown and can interrupt their own striking.
Stopping power is an important factor when it comes to self-defense that is often overlooked. Although the jab is a versatile tool, it is rare for someone to possess knockout power in their jab, even at the highest echelons of professional boxing. The cross is a powerful punch, but its straight-line pathway can be easily blocked, especially if it’s preceded by a jab. In contrast, the lead hook starts out of eyeshot and has a pathway that can be hard to predict and block. It is also commonly referred to as the most dangerous punch in boxing, making it an ideal choice for self-defense. Here is legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach explaining how to throw the lead hook with proper form and technique.
5) Cultivates Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is a rare virtue in today’s world. The ability to force yourself to stay on track is what often separates the good from the best in the world. In an era of instant gratification, self-discipline goes twice as far as it used to. Boxers do not want to wake up early and do roadwork, and they rarely want to follow their regimen to a tee. The world champions are the ones that are able to take control of themselves, mentally and physically, to overcome these obstacles. That is the beauty of Boxing. Everyone has a fair chance, it’s up to you to become the best version of yourself!
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