Step into any boxing gym and the first sounds you hear will be leather hitting leather. Not smashing it mind you, but a rhythmic tap-hit, tap-hit. One-two. One-two. This is the sound of the “Sweet Science”. But you may be asking yourself, I’m not looking to fight, heck I’m not even looking to compete, why should I lace up the gloves and start boxing? Yes, boxing is a sport born out of combat. For decades, the squared ring was home to some of the bloodiest matches in history. But today, the art of boxing can also be used by the average person to better themselves; both physically and mentally.
The great Muhammad Ali coined the phrase, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Boxing requires you to constantly move. You move your feet forwards and backwards to attack and evade. You move them sideways and at angles to create openings for attack. Your arms are always up defending, parrying and attacking. Your head bobbing and swaying to avoid getting hit or feinting. Often times, boxing requires you to employ 3 or more of these types of movements at the same time and requires a tremendous amount of coordination.
Remember all that movement? It elevates heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. The conditioning required to box properly has always been very tough. You have to make sure that you not only have the power to punch but you also have to last 24 minutes (12 rounds of 2 minutes each) of combat. You want to make sure that you have both the energy to throw a punch but also the oxygen in your lungs to for the rest of your boy to function.
Punch off the fat
Sweat. It’s the natural product of boxing training. Whether you’re jumping rope, speed bag training, drilling foot work, working the mitts, punching the heavy bag or shadow boxing you’re elevating heart rate and burning energy. Nearly every aspect of boxing requires you to exert effort and thereby use energy reserves. There comes a time when carbohydrate stores are depleted and your body taps into your fat stores to fuel your workout. Many a gym owner or gym manager can be seen with a mop in their hands wiping off the product of hard work on the gym floors.
Strengthen your joints
Boxing actually puts a lot of stress on some joints. Ankles, elbows, wrists, knees, shoulders and hips are constantly being engaged. Elbows tend to get hyperextended, wrists take a beating from all the pounding of punches, ankles get rolled, shoulders are strained and spinal joints are stressed from the unusual movement. However, there is a positive to all this stress. Under careful practice and tutelage, you can develop the muscles that support these joints. The same movements and actions that stress the joints also workout and strengthen the stabilizer muscles that are used less and less in our modern sedentary lives.
Avoid mental disorders
It is odd to state that training in boxing can prevent mental disorders when the sport of boxing has actually produced a great deal of participants with brain trauma which later led to mental disorders and disabilities. Most notable of which is Muhammad Ali who now suffers Parkinson’s disease. But, training in and of itself will not cause brain trauma or mental disorders. The training, conditioning and skills development associated with boxing requires the participant to constantly think, act and react. This sometimes happens in a fraction of a second. Such processing power requires neurons in your brain to continuously fire, to forge new neural pathways and increase your brains ability to calculate possibilities. In turn, this prevents many mental disorders from taking hold. Imagine doing brain exercises like chess, crossword puzzles and word searches while walking on a tight rope. That’s what it’s like to train in boxing.
Develops better cognition
This is a sight game. It is said that the punch that knocks you out is the one you don’t see coming. With this in mind, boxers train to constantly observe their surroundings and their opponent. They train to be as perceptive as possible. They look for subtle cues in the actions and movements of their opponent. They keep an eye on their position within the ring and occasionally glance at the time on the clock. All the while trying to avoid punches and throwing punches in return. If you think about all the things we have to watch out for outside of the gym, you can easily see how this training applies. Imagine driving your car home from the gym and having to watch for oncoming traffic, changing traffic lights, pedestrians and the cop with his radar gun out. See!
White Collar Boxing is a sport in which you really can’t develop or progress without putting your all into it. To excel and see the results from training requires real discipline. If you want the “boxers body” then you have to be disciplined with both your diet and training regimen. If you want to get better at the sport of boxing you must be willing to endure the hours upon hours it takes to develop the physique, skills and knowledge required to step into the ring with another person. This dedication undeniably spills into your life outside of the gym.
Boxing is perhaps one of the oldest forms of martial arts. The oldest recordings come from Sumer, what is now Iraq, from the 3rd millennium B.C. It first made its Olympic debut in 688 B.C. It’s practice today is mostly relegated to sport; however, its fundamentals are used anywhere from military training to many of the martial arts practiced recreationally. Training in the Sweet Science allows you to not only gain the skills to attack but also in how to defend or parry an attack made towards you.
So take your training and life to the next level, head to the local boxing club, join some boxing classes and strap on those gloves. One-two. One-two.