Boxing can teach you more about fighting than you might ever realize.
Those who’ve never tried boxing could easily say:
- Why bother with a limited fighting art that only uses the hands?
- No kicks, knees, or elbows? Boxing isn’t real fighting.
- Boxing is only about landing the knockout punch, anyone can get lucky.
- Boxers have bad punching technique.
- Boxing is so unskilled, it just looks like a brawling street fight.
Those who HAVE tried boxing could easily say:
- Boxing is tough. Tough training, even tougher competition.
- Pure athleticism. Raw speed, power, and endurance. Tiring and painful.
- Incredible reflexes and extremely fast fight reaction time.
- Very skilled, commonly misunderstood and under-appreciated fighting art.
- Very humble fighters and learning environment.
All fighters, mixed martial artists, could benefit from learning how to box. Even if you don’t care for boxing techniques or boxing punches, you could still learn a lot. Boxing can make you a better athlete, improve your reflexes, make you smoother, and more comfortable in a fight. There’s a reason why all MMA camps have dedicated boxing trainers on staff.
Here are my 5 reasons why EVERY FIGHTER should pick up some boxing skills:
1. Punching functionality
This one should be obvious, but for far more reasons than you’re aware of. To begin with, boxing punches are functionally superior to any other type of punching technique found in non-boxing arts. Punching is all we do. And we don’t just throw one kind of punch. We throw ALL KINDS of punches using different techniques that come at different angles using different body positions and different levels of energy commitments. Boxing punches are not only more powerful, but also faster, more surprising, and more deadly than other punches.
Boxers have more versatile and more efficient punching techniques
Sure sure, I’ve seen karate guys break bricks and MMA guys punch just as hard as any boxer, but the QUALITY of the punch is not the same. A boxer’s punch is faster, less telegraphic, and can strike at so many different angles from so many different positions. And we don’t just throw one, we can unleash a barrage of 10…and we do it using far less energy than other fighters.
Punching TECHNIQUE vs punching STRATEGY
Even if someone had technically mastered all the punches in boxing, he still wouldn’t have the experience to use them to their fullest potential. Throwing a picture-perfect jab on the punching bag is EASY. Now being able to throw that same jab in the middle of a fight, WHILE SLIPPING your opponent’s jab, AND watching out for his right hand…that’s much harder. 🙂
It’s the same with the right cross. Anybody can throw a right cross. But can you really see the timing? Can you time it perfectly so that your punch lands as your opponent turns into it? Can you aim it perfectly into his chin? Can you even see all this in the middle of a fast exchange? And can you do all this instinctively?
But what about the non-power punches? How about using a fast punch like the jab to win an entire fight. Or using small tapping shots to distract and turn the opponent, keep him away, or set him up for your bigger shots? Or how about body shots? Or how about feints? Or how about punches with your body leaning forward, backward, crouched position, upright? Punches in close range, long range, straight, curved, head, body, while pivoting, while slipping, while rolling. Can other fighting arts really teach you AND train you to become as effective at that? No, they do not.
*** Incredible PUNCHING FUNCTIONALITY and versatility. ***
The benefit of boxing punches:
- more power
- more speed
- more angles
- more efficiency
- more versatility
- better precision
- better timing
- better punching functionality overall
Punching is all boxers do and we are VERY good at it.
2. Reflex speed
The pace of a boxing match is so much faster than other kinds of fighting arts. We get closer and we throw with 2 hands and we attack and defend simultaneously. For sure, boxing happens at a faster than pace than wrestling or grappling, which is more of a strength game and you have a little more time to think when you’re holding each other. With boxing, there really is no time. Once you get in there, you better be fighting. If you’re planning on thinking inside the ring, you better do it while you’re punching. There’s really no time or safe place to step back or go into a stalling position.
Fights are closer-range when kicks are not allowed
But what about fighting arts that involve kicks? I used to think that a fighting style with 4 weapons (hands & legs) would be at a faster pace than a fighting style with only 2 weapons (hands only), but this isn’t the case in my opinion. Range and power would be the biggest differences in a fight involving kicks vs a fight with only punches. The respect of an opponent’s kick combined with the farther fighting range because of the long kicks tend to slow down a kickboxing-style type of fight. In a fight allowing both kicks and punches, the fighters don’t get as close and do not throw as many strikes.
Simultaneous offense and defense
Boxing fights are generally very fast-paced. The hands are not only quicker than the feet, but the weapons are closer to the head, and can be thrown in much faster and more successive combinations. Not only are the hands faster, but they can also be thrown while defending. I would say that in kickboxing type of fights, putting up a defense could easily occupy your “weapons”. For example, blocking a kick could easily use up your legs which then prevent you from kicking back simultaneously or even rotating for a counter-punch. Sure, you could counter AFTER defending the kick but not during. (Of course, there are always exceptions.) But in boxing, it’s very common to attack and defend simultaneously.
Having to attack and defend simultaneously against closer-positioned and faster weapons certainly makes boxing a much faster fighting art. Perhaps what I love most about boxing is that you truly learn how to fight on reflexes. No thinking or planning, you get in there, and you feel your way through the fight. There’s no safe distance or position to slow the fight down. You’re either close or REALLY close.
The only thing you can do is what’s natural, using your natural reflexes. And learning how to fight “natural” in boxing will improve your fight reaction time. I’m sure other fighting styles do the same but I truly feel boxing does it on the highest level.
*** Simultaneous offensive and defensive REFLEXES at high speed. ***
The benefit of a boxer’s reflexes:
- faster attacking reflexes
- faster defending reflexes
- improved multi-tasking abilities (simultaneous offense & defense)
- improve overall natural fighting reflexes
“Slickness” or “the ability to be slick” is something truly beautiful to watch. There’s TECHNIQUE and PERFECTION. And then there’s ART and EFFICIENCY.
Boxing is more like jazz and breakdancing than it is like ballet and gymnastics. You aren’t really held down so much by rigid forms and structured techniques (maybe only as a beginner). Beyond the fundamentals, you can pretty much do whatever you want. As long as you’re winning, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. This freedom is what makes boxing so beautiful. Many of the greatest fighters you’ll ever see have broken the rules, and it takes a great sport like this to allow them to do that.
ART + EFFICIENCY = SLICKNESS
I think this incredibly artistic and efficient quality of boxing is why they call it the “sweet science”. It isn’t only there to look pretty, it’s actually effective. There truly is nothing like it. Slickness shuts down opponents. Slickness wins fights without lifting a finger. Imagine one guy slipping, ducking, rolling, and parrying out 20 punches in a row…without breaking a sweat. Like I said, the SWEET science. A little tilt of the head is all it takes to evade an attack, nothing more. It’s the absolute definition of efficiency.
This slickness can only be appreciated by somebody who’s been in the ring. You’ll know exactly how it feels to unload combinations on a guy standing right in front of you and miss every punch. You’ll know how it feels to chase down a guy who isn’t really running. You’ll know how it feels to be helpless against a guy who isn’t even hitting you.
To the untrained eye…slickness looks unskilled, untrained, lazy, unimpressive, and definitely ineffective. The untrained eye can’t see the battle for weight manipulation on the inside. “Inside fighting” looks like dirty clinching. The untrained eye can’t see the beauty of the slip, it looks like a guy with his hands down and no defense. The untrained eye looks at punch exchanges as a streetfight. They don’t see the simultaneous offense and defense, and constant on-the-fly adjustments going on.
A trained boxer, on the other hand, will not see a boxer’s slickness in other fighting arts. It’s rare if it ever happens. I think Anderson Silva was the closest thing in recent times.
*** The SLICKNESS of the sweet science at work. ***
The benefit of a boxer’s slickness:
- increased efficiency
- ability to completely relax in a fight
- ability to completely shut down opponent’s attacks
- developed artistic expression and fight identity
4. Full intensity combat
Boxing is one of the best fighting arts to experience a full-intensity combat. I’ll compare it to other fighting arts I’ve seen, in 2 parts: “FULL-INTENSITY” & “COMBAT”.
By full intensity, I mean that you truly get to train at full speed, full force, and full brutality. There are some fighting arts that are “too powerful” or “too deadly” for everyday training. They use barehands or otherwise attack in ways that can’t be practice without full safety gear. And then of course, the safety gear hinders their ability to move and practice certain kinds of attacks. Ultimately, they cannot spar at full intensity.
In terms of combat, there are several fighting arts (such as judo, wrestling, grappling/BJJ) that lack the fear factor. You’re not getting punched or kicked in the face. You’re not worried about taking serious damage. You’re not truly in a fight. It’s not the same. And so you don’t get to enjoy or benefit from all the emotions that happen in a striking art.
Boxers can train regularly at full-intensity using ALL of a boxer’s weapons
Boxing, on the other hand, easily offers both the experience of FULL-INTENSITY and COMBAT. The fighting art itself is quite simple. You can attack with two hands, using closed fists. And you can strike the head or body. There’s nothing “dirty” about it. No groin or behind the head or spine or other critically sensitive areas. They call it “the gentleman’s sport” for reasons like this. It was a fighting art evolved FOR SPORT moreso than actual real-world combat experiences. Because of this, it’s so easy to experience the full rawness of boxing without taking away from its brutal qualities.
And we benefit so much from boxing because it’s quite protective and at the same time very much a fight. You have headgear and gloves but none of these actually take away from the quality and brutality of boxing. You still get to be in a fight. You still have to worry about your face getting bashed in, you can still get knocked out. You can train at full intensity every day because you’re wearing some gear that protects your head and your weapons BUT the gear doesn’t hinder your boxing movements in any way. You get to enjoy fighting in a somewhat controlled environment that doesn’t take away the fun (*COUGH* danger) and intricacies of the art.
Boxing allows you to experience the full brutality of a fight,
in a somewhat controlled environment.
Being able to train at full intensity improves your raw fighting ability
Being able to fight and train at full intensity greatly improved my overall fighting abilities. I developed more refined techniques and much deeper fighting strategies because I actually got to practice them in the ring. Aside from the technical and strategic improvements, boxing has made me a better combat athlete. When I compared myself to friends who did other fighting styles, I could easily see that I was far more athletic than they were. My body was a better tool. I wasn’t only faster or more powerful but also much more relaxed, more slick, and much more agile. I had more dexterity in my hands, feet, and entire body. I had better balance and footwork. My eyes were so much more reactive. My body was so more coordinated than theirs. My breathing was so much more effective than theirs. The way they moved felt a bit stiff to me even if it was “perfect technique”.
*** Controlled and yet brutal fighting. Boxing strikes an impossible balance in civilized FULL INTENSITY COMBAT. ***
The benefits of boxing sparring:
- practice/experience a brutal “fight” in a controlled environment
- experience the rawness of a fight at full intensity
- practice all your offensive and defensive weapons in actual combat mode
- learn how to deal with fight or flight reactions
- learn more realistic fighting methods
- great for building confidence and becoming relaxed in a fight
5. Collective Skill Environment
One of my favorite things about boxing, where it truly stands apart from other fighting arts is the amount of combined skill and experience present in training environments. This was the determining factor that led me to leave MMA/BJJ and go into boxing forever.
How I started boxing…
When I was 19, and just got out of Army basic training, I went around looking for a fighting gym to train in as I was fascinated with the UFC and MMA. I went to Royce Gracie and Rickson Gracie’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools only to find business institutions only focused on the bottom line. The head instructors were never around. The learning was structured into hourly classes taught by family members and lower-ranked students of the head instructors. I had to pay $175/month and I never saw Royce or Rickson in person. Although the art of BJJ was amazing, the actual learning environment was not. Everybody in the class was a white-collar educated type of person, the kind that would never EVER fight in the street, probably never fight in a competition either. They did BJJ because of their fascination for the art. They didn’t care much for fighting or competing. I was unimpressed and so I turned to a friend who took me to a boxing gym.
I enjoyed the idea of boxing as a sport but originally dismissed it as “not a real fighting art” because you could only use your hands. But I’m so glad I tried it out because from the moment I walked in, I fell in love with the place. I was home at last and I’ve never looked back since.
What I saw during my first time in a boxing gym…
- On my left side, was a 3-year old standing on top of a flipped-over trashcan, hitting the speed bag the way Rocky did it in the movies. Another fighter (about 20 years old), fully wrapped up, with blood and sweat all over his shirt, jumped rope as he cooled down after a sparring session.
- On my right side, young boys, older men, and even GIRLS, were smashing the heavy bags with their fists. They were so incredibly powerful. Just sheer force and brutality. I respected them simply because of the sound they made when their hands hit the bag. I know a BJJ armbar is amazing but to hear the sound of a punch shaking the bag is a whole other world. You can feel the thump in your bones and you realize the rawness of boxing.
- In the ring, 2 middleweights battled in a test of wills. Round after round, punching, slipping, pivoting, and smashing each other in the most skillful way possible. At times narrowly missing each other, at other times, exploding their fists with pinpoint precision. Watching them up close, they seemed like gods, almighty powerful and invincible. My friend explained to me: one was a former champion, the other was a world contender. Each proving he was worthy of the other.
- In their corners, older men yelled instructions from their decades of wisdom. The expressions on their face told stories of a time before, when life was hard and people worked harder. You respected them not because they were old but because they were real men. They had lived a harder life than we did.
- Outside the ring, amateur fighters (wearing groin protectors), gangsters (wearing long denim jean shorts), and local tough guys, geared up to get in the ring. I was amazed to see how excited they were to fasten their gear and jump in the ring. No pep talks needed, these guys couldn’t wait to fight.
- All along the gym, sat “the old guys”. Retired men each with his own fight story. Ask any one of them, and you’ll get a complete fight record, fight history, where they travelled, who they trained with, who they sparred with, best knockout they’ve ever had, most famous fighter they’ve ever fought. Sometimes you don’t have to ask…they’ll tell you anyway, and they’ll tell you everyday as if they’ve never told you before.
- Meanwhile, the guy with the bloody shirt is STILL jumping rope. It’s been what…over 30 minutes? You get the feeling he’s been there over an hour. Still the same relaxed expression on his face. Still the same calmness and rhythm as before. He hasn’t tripped up once. Hard work is just routine for these guys. It truly is.
It didn’t take me long to realize this wasn’t a “fight academy”. This was a fight factory. You didn’t come here to “learn boxing”. You came here to become a fighter. The trainers weren’t charging anything, so they only had time to work with “fighters”. Ask someone how to throw the left hook and the response would be, “Get in the ring, I’ll show you.” For as long as I was willing to fight, I had received the best fighting instruction anybody could give me. Everyone wants to help when they know you’re going to step into the ring.
The unspoken rules of the gym were,
“Respect everyone, hit hard, and never say sorry.”
Boxing is a FAR more competitive sport
The boxing scene is incredibly competitive—everyone with dreams of going to the Olympics or turning pro. Boxing tournaments were everywhere. Even the competition in the boxing gyms was intense. Everybody here had been in at least 20 fights whether outside or inside the gym. Many fighters had over 100 official fights. We had competitors at every level—local, regional, national, and international. We had amateur boxers and professional boxers. We had trainers with over 50 years of boxing experience who learned from other trainers with over 50 years of boxing experience.
And when I say “boxing experience”, what I really mean is FIGHTING EXPERIENCE. EVERYONE had been in a fight. Everyone had spent their years in the ring. You don’t see that in other fighting arts. When was the last time you’ve heard of a martial artist who FOUGHT for 20 years (10 as an amateur, 10 as a pro)? Here at the boxing gym, we’ve got DOZENS of them. We had 10 year old kids fighting almost every weekend. Boxers wore their surnames proudly on their trunks because they had a rich family tradition to live up to. Boxing is very much an intact and FUNCTIONAL fighting art that’s still being used today. It’s not only the techniques being passed down but the actual fighting experience as well. Where else can you find this kind of fighting environment? It’s rare nowadays.
I think the preservation of boxing has directly benefited from modern-day prizefighting. It’s very possible for boxers to turn professional and support their families by boxing into their later years of adulthood (35-40 years old), whereas other kinds of martial artists couldn’t have made any money and had to quit fighting at an earlier age. Typically with other martial artists, they compete as an amateur for some time and then simply become a teacher by age 30 and open up a school to make money. When a sport makes more money teaching than fighting, you tend to have more teachers than fighters (students). And you tend to gravitate towards a more watered-down quality of instruction.
The fighters were the kinds of guys I got to train with everyday in the gym. Modern-day warriors who actually fought every single day and competed every month. There’s something I respect about people who actually train to fight. And trainers who actually train fighters. There were no white belts or black belts, only title belts. Everybody respected each other because everybody fought. You can see why I fell in love with boxing and why I have so much respect for the sport.
Everybody respected each other
because everybody fought.
*** A boxing gym full or locals, amateurs, and pros. All fighters. ***
Benefits of a boxing environment:
- surrounded by pure fighters
- many fighters, many trainers, many styles, all battle-tested
- collective knowledge from centuries of experience
- absolutely BS-free learning environment
- absolutely proven fighting techniques
Boxing is the sport of all sports
Boxing was a sport designed to be a sport. It wasn’t meant to be a deadly ancient fighting art designed to kill opponents. Boxing was simply a fighting sport to showcase brutality and skill at the same time. It takes hard work, heart, courage, and more. The rules were evolved to make it more entertaining, not less brutal. Padded gear was meant to protect the fighters’ hands, not necessarily to cushion the impact. Times have changed a bit but boxing is still in many ways the same at heart.
I’ve taken many friends from other fighting styles and martial arts to my boxing gym over the years. EVERY SINGLE ONE was completely amazed by the skill and brutality of boxing. They saw the training, they heard the breathing, and they felt the punches. And they were ALL humbled. These are guys with years of “fight training” now taking a seat because they were too scared to look foolish in a boxing gym. The ones that stepped in the ring never lasted 2 rounds (even against a beginner boxer). There is NO PLACE like a boxing gym (especially one with competing fighters). If you’ve never been to one, please go and see it with your own eyes. If you ever want to judge a boxer, do it from inside our home. And even better…from inside the ring.
I could go on and on about the benefits but really all I want to say is for all fighters to give boxing a chance. It’s been around a long time. It’s highly HIGHLY refined with completely functional moves. And the many lessons in practicality can be passed on into other fighting arts. It is for these reasons that just about every single MMA camp nowadays will have a dedicated boxing trainer on staff. There is no substitute for the skills and knowledge of a boxer.
Boxing can make you a better fighter,
in any fighting style that you want to do.
And if you’re like me, you might just quit your fighting art and become a boxer for the rest of your life. There’s no other fighting sport like it. Give it a try. 🙂
In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela describes his love of boxing (and why he did it):
I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one’s body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced oneself over a match.
Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant . . . I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter. It was a way of losing myself in something that was not the struggle. After an evening’s workout I would wake up the next morning feeling strong and refreshed, ready to take up the fight again. (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, page 193.)
i want to see a video that elaborates on the thumbnail for the article
So true. It is the sweet science.
The other fighting sport that is trained the same way is Muay Thai – lots of sparring, lots of padwork at full power, lots of offense as a counter – but requires great trainers and sparring partners to have the full arsenal. The top fighters are slick like boxers, and ‘boxing fit’ reflected in some of them becoming boxing champions. Inside there are knees and elbows and clinches and throws; outside are kicks and punches. It’s also a great fun sport not a ‘martial art’ as such. Video link attached of Samart, one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of the 80s, who also became a boxing champ….
Great fighter for sure. Skilled hands, slick. Thanks for the video.
The Southeast Asian Boxing Styles (Muay Thai, Muay Lao, Pradal Serey, Lethwei, and Tomoi) and the East Asian Boxing Styles (San Shou, Kyuk Too Ki, and Shootboxing) are excellent combat sports that are able to differentiate themselves from other ‘martial arts.’ You can’t go wrong with these styles.
I enjoy coming to your website. Excellent source of information on Western Boxing that beats 99.9% of the other boxing websites and blogs. Keep up the great work and I wish you the best.
I Turned 59 in August and have trained in “self defense arts” for over 30 years. About 4 years ago I stepped into my first boxing ring to spar, box, with a couple of young boxers who I would most likely destroy in a street fight or self defense situation. Much to my surprise there ability to hit me and not get hit was both embarrassing and frustrating. Limited to just my to hands and unable to do anything but strike with them I quickly learned what a science / art form boxing really is. It also dawned on me how much better my other techniques could be if I could gain these skills and incorporate them in my arsenal. I have been hooked ever since. I train and spar 2 times a week in the sweet science and this old dog is learning some knew tricks. Your article really captured the essence of what makes boxing so great. Keep up the good work.
I love your comment, David. One thing I hear from martial artists all the time when the first spar a boxer, is that boxers never stop moving. Either way, I’m glad you gave you a try and incorporate it into your existing skills. It’s a fun sport and not as physically demanding when you turn down the pace and throw in a bit of skills.
Hey Johnny I have a fight tomorrow. Here’s the thing. I trained hard for it. But I feel like when I was training I wasn’t focused. So it feels like I didn’t work hard. I think it has to do with the holiday in the middle of the training camp. But I feel like I didn’t give it my all. This is my biggest fight yet. Do you have any tips on how to get confident about the fight tomorrow and get my head in the game? I have a feeling your going to say “train harder in the gym next time,” but I feel like I did train hard. But then in a way I feel like I didn’t give it my all. & it make me nervous about tomorrow. Any tips on getting confident? Thanks!
At this point, all you can do is focus on the fight. Give it your best in the fight and go from there. And yes, train harder next time. As for confidence, that comes with training and experience. The more experience you have, the more confident you become.
“About 4 years ago I stepped into my first boxing ring to spar, box, with a couple of young boxers who I would most likely destroy in a street fight or self defense situation.”
Another delusional speculation from an MMA-niac. If you couldn’t keep pace with them when they ALSO were limited to fighting only with hands . . . then what logic are you using that makes you so sure you’d beat em in a no rules situation?
I dont really see whats so delusional about that. The old guy was limited to just his hands meaning that he couldnt do throws, takedowns, submissions, and chokes that the boxers wouldnt be familiar with.
truth be told one style is never better than the other, a boxer never wrestles a wrestler and a wrestler never boxes a boxer. All fights end up on the ground. Golden rule , always trap a fighter into your technique. Period
awesome article Johnny
I’m a 41 year old beginner boxer preparing for my first amateur fight. I too started boxing for mostly the physical benefits and then got hooked for the sweet science itself. However, I’ve had to deal with some injuries as a middle aged beginner. I know Johnny went from MMA/BJJ to Boxing, but has anyone here gone the other way from Boxing to MMA/BJJ esp. if you got a start late in life? I still want to box b/c I enjoy it the most (and for all the reasons Johnny put on here), but maybe 1x/week and do more cross training (BJJ/grappling) b/c of my injuries/head ringing. I noticed in BJJ or grappling, they can spar hard every day b/c there’s no punching. They have injuries too, but it’s different from boxing esp. to the head. Maybe I’m sparring too much. Most likely, I’m just old/overweight/out-of-shape.
Any thoughts on this (cross training mma/bjj/boxing) would be much appreciated. Thank you Johnny for the best site!
PS I started a blog detailing my journey to my first match b/c I couldn’t find anything on the web where an old fart like me started from scratch.
I’ve seen some people go the other way for sure for exactly what you said, worries of brain damage. The important thing whether you stay in boxing or not is that you have to spar at your pace. If this means going much slower, so be it. Once your reflexes are there, you don’t get rattled so much.
PS: Good blog! I used to write something exactly like that. My sparring chronicles and daily workouts.
Hi 40yrs old fighter,
You can try Aikido for this, which is a very good art to learn at any stage. it look similar to BJJ but different from BJJ. It will give you best defensive stance and fighting spirit also.
Great article. Very well written, love this website! 🙂
You just summed it up better than anyone I ever heard talk about this before.
Thanks Johnny, great article. I think boxing is vastly underrated as a martial art. One of the key things about it is that you are tested and the art/science is tested constantly. There’s no question whether a technique works, the art evolves so that only effective techniques are preserved or added. Also things such as distance, timing, rhythm and accuracy are learned and not against a compliant partner but moving targets and people who are really trying to hit you. I studied traditional arts for over a decade but it was only after a few years boxing I felt confident as a martial artist. Boxing reveals and builds character like nothing else I know and fighters are special people that deserve more respect. Peace bro.
“…it was only after a few years boxing I felt confident as a martial artist.”
Such a great quote. All of my friends in traditional martial arts who I took to the boxing gym were immediately impressed by the skill level of boxing. Not a single one lasted 2 rounds in the ring (even against beginner boxers) but they had been training in their arts for years and thought they had trained punching technique.
Makes me feel inspired to focus on boxing again. I’ve trained BJJ for 3 years at various schools and can’t help but get that feeling you are just important to instructors because you are a paying customer. Left me feeling disillusioned with martial arts honestly. Quick Question: Ive never had any fights but have been training (sparring included) boxing for around the same time as I’ve been doing BJJ. All this time I’ve been a right handed southpaw . I know you recommend against this but is it worth trying to change after all these years?
I had the same feeling you did, Fabian. I was just a paying customer and not somebody they really felt passionate about teaching their craft. It’s like I chose my teachers but my teachers never chose me.
Answer to your question: it’s worth learning to fight the way you were made to fight. The natural way is the best way. Every technique you ever learn should be helping you to become successful in your natural way. It doesn’t matter how invested or well-trained you are in a less-effective technique. If it’s less natural, it will never perform as well as your natural technique. I could learn how to write with my left hand (even though I’m a righty) but it still wouldn’t mean that my left hand has more potential than my right hand.
Thanks for the time you took to reply Johnny. Really makes this site the best on the internet in terms of boxing technique and training. Keep up the awesome work!
Thank you for your succinct explanation of what implosive punching is. You are the only person on the internet who even speaks of implosive power. I have been developing an implosive moment martial art I call “water” for five years now. This martial art is a constant flowing form of punches, based on rotational energy and implosive movement. I studied the works of Viktor Shaumberger on structured water and implosive systems of propulsion and believe his axiom “comprehend and copy nature”.
Schaumberger says all systems in nature are closed systems and as such utilize implosive energy to infinite efficiency. I have applied this principal to “water” which has allowed me to effortlessly practice up to 20,000 punches per night.
I would be appreciate if you would critique a video of this technique. If this this is of interest to you then please respond to my email.
Thanks and I trust you will have a fantastic day!
Hi Chris. I haven’t seen the email yet.
I’ve never met an MMA guy who could box.
I work in a prison, and many of the guards there train in MMA.
When they find out that I box, they don’t show me much respect when they’re around their fellow guards, but when they’re with me one on one, they always ask me to help them with their boxing.
I have a lot of respect for anyone who does MMA, or any fighting art for that matter, (I trained in tang-soo-do for years), but for me, boxing, and the training and strategy that go with it, is second to none.
Anyone thinking MMA or UFC is superior to boxing in or out of the ring are woefully il-informed or lacking real life experiences. It’s not really the styles as much as the men and you won’t generally find tougher men than found in boxing; rated by ESPN as the toughest, and by the way, more dangerous, as the statistics show in comparison to MMA. Boxers are almost always much harder punchers than their counterparts in MMA, also, they are inured to more punishment. For some good discussions and a good reading regarding boxing’s effectiveness, I recommend reading Ned Beaumont’s books; very informative.
This is a very good point. Boxing as a sport is definitely more dangerous than MMA. More precisely-targeted head shots, much faster and much more rapid shots to the head. Far more deaths in boxing than MMA. I’m not exactly proud of that but it’s an important fact to know so we can minimize risks.
Great article and your description of the sport really resonates with me as I have followed the same evolution coming from BJJ to really settle into boxing and am now helping to train a really talented amateur for the last few years. Out of all the sports I’ve competed/participated in, boxing has taught me the most about myself and others. One of the most important things boxing has taught me is how to exist in the storm of chaos and aggression of another human and mastering my emotions.
Nobody can really know the dedication, skill, and heart of a boxer unless you have gotten in the ring and experienced the whole gym wander over during the first minute of the first round to watch you spar and you start to feel the pressure. How about the pressure of putting it out for all to see, putting it on the line in a pure test of what it means to be victorious or defeated. Nobody puts more on the line in such a basic and pure fashion as a fighter does and can make it look so good as a boxer does.
Some have said that boxing is dead or dying, but those are people who don’t know #%@&. Boxing is alive and well in any MMA fight as any other art and the PPV numbers speak for themselves.
Thanks for articulate description of your story and the great site!
I love this sport…
Thanks Johnny, it’s so cool to hear like-minded folks who share the love of the art 🙂 instead of arguing about nonsense. Bigups to one all.
The more I learn the more I love the Sweet Science. In the past week I made a slip bag @ home with piece of a handwrap tied to a juggling ball and after seeing Lomachenko training for Ramirez I made that thing where you tie a tennis ball to the back of a baseball cap with a few rubber bands. It’s awesome fun, great for training rhythm, timing and concentration.
Just wanted to share a thought on orthodox vs southpaw. I’m orthodox but am learning how to switch, I find it to be a nice skill to have in the toolkit because the different angles often throws people. Also boxing is so dynamic that in the heat of the action I sometimes have to throw from a southpaw stance because I don’t have time to reset. Peace.
you must be frustrated at how underrated boxing is especially since you have almost unlimited knowledge on the sport. like how einstein would feel if a kid told him science is useless subject matter
expertboxing.com is the best site ever and i check it everyday
On one hand, I do feel a bit angry that boxing isn’t as respected as it should be. But on the other hand, I know boxing is the truth. Everyone who has ever tried it knows. And I’m so proud to represent this sport and so honored to get the opportunity to contribute to it as best as I can.
Coming into this as an MMA and karate guy, I gotta say, you’re right. The level of science in both is pretty awful even at the highest level, when compared to boxing.
I hope SOMEDAY MMA and boxing can finally put the BS aside, stop tearing each other down and that each sport can see what it can learn from the other instead of whining about how a fighter from one sport would get routed competing in the other. Sure, James Toney and Milo Savage got choked out under mixed rules, but even the best MMA striker’s going to wake up to a ring doctor asking him if he knows what day it is if he tries to box.
I learn a lot just reading this site and practicing with the college boxing club. Keep up the good work!
You are becoming an amazing writer mate..
Just finished reading the article, and I must say this get me back into the sport. See I started boxing when I was 24 (late bloomer in college) I always loved the sport, had a couple of fights sparred some contenders, Now fast forward to 2013. Got a great job here in Houston and looking to get back into it. I’m now 33 and feel like an old man for the sport, but you guys give me hope. I plan on having my first professional fight after I finally get my eyes fixed (bad vision, which really stopped my progress) anyone here from Houston? keep fighting guys this sport is for warriors!
I have been practicing martial arts off and on for most of my life. I have a strong Karate foundation, and have trained in Tae Kwon Do, and Jujitsu as well. When I met a friend that was a boxer, and offered to train me. I have been completely blown away from that point on. Of all the years that I was in those other arts, I never knew how to throw a proper punch! I am learning things about movement, striking, and defense that were never emphasized by any of my previous training. Though I will never regret the skills I learned in those other disciplines, I feel more fit, and capable than I ever have in my life after just 2 months of training. I believe I am hooked for life, and am floored to see how much I have to learn. Thank you for spreading your knowledge!
As a person who has boxed and trained mma and actually has fights for both, I gotta say I’m pretty disappointed that so many people here couldn’t find a good mma gym to train at. Everything said here is all subjective and a desperate attempt to keep boxing “alive”. To say the science in mma is non-existent is ludicrous. The science is different in mma then boxing but its certainly not non existent. If mma was so easy then any top level boxer who isn’t making huge pay days in boxing could spend a year working on grappling and come in and dominate and become a millionaire. I train everyday and you gotta spend as much time in each asset or you’ll fall behind. But how is that possible if mma isn’t scientific? Couldn’t they all just lift weights and perfect their hugging technique? Lol. I honestly love watching boxing matches and have been watching and admiring the top level boxers for years! They’re just two different sports. Even the stand up technique is different because you don’t wear shoes and the gloves are smaller so power shots are more likely to be thrown then jabs. It is fighting after all not boxing. Plus there are kicks, knees, elbows, and takedowns you have to worry about. So it is very different.
I agree with some of your points. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris. MMA is definitely a real sport and very scientific in itself. Something like BJJ is almost pure science…you really can’t just muscle your way through it.
With that said, I think one of the big reasons why boxer’s can’t switch over to MMA easily is because you need a lot of specialized knowledge in MMA. You need a striking coach, grappling coach, boxing coach, etc…and poor boxers or any kind of financially-challenged individual would find it damn near impossible to find someone to teach them all that for free. Especially when there are so many more whites or middle-class kids with a wrestling background (because they came from a better high school) who can afford to pay for lessons.
you boxers think boxing is a good workout you should try wrestling! you guys think its all muscle no technique? theres a reason why matches are only 6 minutes because its the hardest thing youll ever do. wrestlers are the best conditioned combat athletes in the world! we train 2-3 hrs a day 6 days a week !
Anything can be the hardest workout ever because you’ll always blow everything you have in that the time that you have. Whether it’s 3 mins of 10 mins, you’re going to give it everything you got…especially against an opponent who’s doing the same. I think what sets wrestling below other sports…like striking ones boxing/muay thai/mma…is that you’re not getting hit in wrestling.
The fear and worry of getting your face/body smashed in adds a whole other layer of “workout” altogether and can’t really be compared. Like I could be relatively relaxed when I’m wrestling or bjj but in boxing, I’m like on my damn toes the entire time. In a fighting sport with striking, it’s so much more than simply a physical workout because you’re on edge and seriously in danger of getting hurt. I’ve been in some intense wrestling/grappling matches before but I never felt like I was going to have to kill someone or be killed myself. In boxing, you’re kinda staring death in the face at times. I’m sure all strikers can agree with that.
I heartily agree with you on this one as have done all two plus a third Muay Thai/Glory KB rules as well and can say boxing and MT/KB can have you all stressed out alot faster than just rolling around with someone cos if things get bad all you have to do is tap, but we get to nap. lol..
Please put a video of your sparring Johnny.
That’s in the works but not a priority right now as it serves no purpose other than for people to see a video of me sparring. It doesn’t improve anyone’s boxing skills and doesn’t help me in any way…unless, of course, I put in the hours to cleverly edit the video to make myself look like a god. Either way, it’ll be up sooner or later.
“Boxing can make you a better fighter, in any fighting style that you want to do.”
This is what it all comes down to, guys. Here’s the amazing thing about boxing: it’s not the hitting that makes it so great even though everyone concentrates on that — it’s the MOVEMENT and FLUIDITY that you learn. Boxing teaches you the best movement and fluidity of all the martial arts, period. The great thing about it is that you can then transfer that movement and fluidity to the other martial arts you practice. That’s the real value of boxing.
Like Chris above, I also train in mixed martial arts (though I do not compete, unlike him) and think it’s very wrong to believe that other martial arts are not as scientific. There’s a lot of science to all of them and I strongly believe they should be used to complement each other. I love the striking versatility of Muay Thai but I find the movement in it to be very slow and rigid. So I also train the hand speed and fluid movement of boxing to go with the kicks, knees and elbows of Muay Thai and I think of it all as one big striking martial art.
To date, boxing is the only art where I’ve learned properly as a smaller person how to get in on a larger opponent and strike on the inside. Once I use that movement to get in I find that it helps with all the Muay Thai strikes, especially the elbows and knees which are also short range. That alone makes it worth its weight in gold to train.
You don’t have to go to the extreme that Chris does and actually compete in both but I highly recommend that you train some pure boxing to go along with your other martial arts and judge for yourself just how helpful it actually is.
Man went from my mma gym to a boxing gym because the mma gym cost 100 /month compared to 30/ month boxing…. its way different atmosphere, really poor kids there. But I got to spar ex pro boxer buck smith who is almost 50 years old …I hit him once in 2 rounds, he jab’d me to death and was. 10 tomes faster than anyone I ever sparred before
$30?? I thought boxing gym cost over $100 :O
Boxing gyms are usually much cheaper than MMA gyms.
Hey Johnny. Just found your website and am so thankful for it. It really inspires me as you seem to really have the passion and love for the sport. Thank you for offering the free training for those who do not have much money. I intend to explore your site further as well as begin my training. God Bless…
Just wanted to say great article. I think you’re right about how boxing is so much faster than other combat sports that include kicks. It really makes it exciting, and you can tell the difference in the reflexes between, for example, Muay Thay fighters and boxers.
Great write up.
Out of all Martial Arts, boxers have the best hands. Do not let anyone tell you any different. And, it is good to see that you caught my trainer Rodrigo Mosquer from Eddie Herredia Eastside Boxing Club at the Wild Card Boxing Gym.
Thank you teacher.
I agree that every fighter should train boxing. Im BJJ fighter but I train some boxing and muaithai and I have to say that boxing develop:
the fighting spirit, strength of mind, will to fight (it was a limiting factor for me but until i train boxing and muai thai i develop determination and power of will).
Sometimes I think about give up boxing training but when I stop to train boxing I notice that im starting to lose fighting spirit, will to fight, reflex and focus…. spiritual and mental side of boxing are very imoprtant for me as a fighter, I feel that boxing strengthens me mentally and physically
Johny I want to say that you have the best website about boxing training and You are very intelligent person with a lot of knowledge and experience not only about boxing but about fighting at all.
Any fighter in combat sports should always work on boxing and understanding as deep as they can about boxing to be versatile. There’s a lot in boxing that can easily transition into other combat sports. Even some of the most Legendary Muay Thai fighters have went off to compete in and focus strictly on boxing–even they recognize boxing’s importance.
As far as being able to attack simultaneously after defending kicks– It is actually certainly possible to defend and attack, or even counter before, during, or after defending a kick. The common defense people recognize about blocking leg kicks is that you use your legs to do it (checking kicks), but you have a huge variety and flexibility to defend back. You don’t even need to use your legs sometimes to defend kicks.
– (common kick defense) checking by lifting your leg to defend against leg, then returning with a counter.
—a few other possible ways:
– using the checking leg to change it into a push kick (can be done before, during, or after defending)
– using the checking leg to chain into superman punch (can be done before or after defending)
– using the checking leg to transition into a switch kick (done after opponent attacks)
– using a cut kick to take out their leg even before their kick (done before opponent attacks)
– using a kickboxing swipe to parry their leg to counter back with a punch (done during opponent’s attack)
– using footwork to pull away and counter back with kicks or punches (done during opponents attack)
– catching the kick to counter back with punches, kicks, or sweeps
kickboxers have tremendous variety depending on their style and preference.
Ducking an opponents jab and landing low jab to your opponent’s robs is an example of using defense (ducking his jab) and offense (landing a low jab on his rib section simultaneously).
Every kick you talk about defending and then attacking aren’t fine simultaneously, it’d a defensive maneuver followed by an offensive maneuver. It’s akin to blocking a hook and returning
With a cross….
What would it take for MMA as a sport to get more people fighting and less teaching or just learning?
I think it would help to have a big governing body to organize and oversee amateur MMA competition. The same way boxing has with USA boxing. Having an official amateur MMA organization would help the sport grow by allowing people to become exposed “safely” to the sport.
Hi well glad i took boxing ,but took JUDO first. got in to fight with boxing state Champ was hard to grab him he bounce around me .but once i grab him it was all over beat him bad, coach wanted to meet me. after that’s how i found boxing for 3 years just to learn how to punch right never was a bouncer i was a toe to toe fighter. Judo has help in all my fights i think its the best ,i watch UFC and see fighters fall between legs of someone down i Always get there head in arm for control, and kicking i don’t do because anytime someone tried to kick me they went end over end landed on there face then i was on then it was over after that .and why Judo over wrestling when you learn young there’s no weigh classes it go by age so u fight guy always bigger than you for me it didn’t matter still was AAU Champ ….
Awesome background, Ray. Thanks for sharing.
remember most of the ufc champs are from a wrestling backround . the only one with judo is ronda most of the woman suck . a olympian versus amatuer skilled opponents . i am not sold on judo
I was a first skeptical about Boxing back in the days when I did Muay Thai, I thought Boxing was a part of the game. How wrong I turned out to be. I ended up doing boxing a few years ago due to problems with my knees, and I’m glad I did. I’ve become a much better, composed and confident fighter since. Eventually I left Muay Thai because it became too hard on my knees, but I still do Boxing and thankfully its forgiving on my joints.
Every fighter should learn basic boxing, they’ll be amazed by the results.
I’ve trained in various martial arts for most of my life, but the one thing that struck me the most when I first entered a boxing gym was how friendly, respectful and helpful everyone was. There was none of the arrogant posturing or egotism you see in many martial arts clubs, everyone was willing to offer help and advice. One thing that sticks in my mind was a powerhouse young heavyweight whom I’d just seen hammer his opponent in sparring very politely asking me if he could borrow my spare water bottle because he’d forgotten his.
The gym was in a tough neighbourhood and run by a notorious local gangster. The boxers that trained there were mostly poor, some didn’t even own cars (in contrast to the long lines of Audis and BMWs you see parked outside commercial gyms), yet they were some of the most pleasant people I’d come across and the trainers were all really friendly, patient old guys. If I’m ever back in my hometown I’ll be sure to pay a visit.
Very funny comment but I agree with you completely, Johnny. Boxing gyms have so much respect and I feel this is in part to the fact that ALL BOXERS fight. But in other gyms…those dudes have so much ego because they don’t actually fight. And so it’s easy for them to walk around thinking they’re better than everyone else because they’ve never had the opportunity to be humbled.
I think after everyone’s been in the ring a few times, you learn very quickly to respect everyone. Not because it’s a sign of fear but because you know understand the courage and hard work it takes to get in there.
Thanks Johnny! On a more serious note, one of the main reasons I gave up martial arts and transitioned into boxing was that I was fed up with being injured and seeing other people injured by the aforementioned arrogant douchebags who would deliberately hurt you in training or sparring to show what total “badasses” they were. Most of them would fold like spaghetti against even a beginner boxer. Boxers don’t need to strut around bragging about how tough they are. They’ve proved it multiple times in the ring. This is not to say that there isn’t a fair amount of good natured interplay between the boxers in my gym – as one of the older guys I get a fair amount of ribbing from the young boxers. With gloves and headguards on I can hold my own with any of them and this is greatly respected. It’s also highly satisfying when self styled “Tough Guys” strut into our gym looking for a spar and get their asses handed to them by one of the quiet, unassuming guys there.
DITTO! It’s fun to witness so-called “tough guys” getting destroyed in boxing gyms.
How bad is Boxing on the knee’s, I only ask because I used to do TKD and ended up messing up my left knee and have had some problems with it years since then, I really am interested in learning a fighting art but I would first like to know how it would impact my body, I do weigh 375 pounds, would it even be possible to train in boxing with all of this?
Hahah I like your description of your first time in a boxing gym. The old guys telling you the same story everyday are definitely a classic part of training in a gym… its the same here on the east coast. This article was great. You really read my mind. While UFC fighters obviously punch just as heavy as us, they are very telegraphed… I often see them pull their hand back to load their punches before they throw it.
While I respect UFC-style fighters for being tough enough to get kicked in the head and having so many weapons at their disposal, the result is a fight that turns out to be surprisingly simple. An MMA fighter can’t do much slipping and weaving since they’ll get grabbed and thrown down right away. The lack of limitations and rules gives an advantage to the MMA fighter who goes for broke and throws wild haymakers and kicks. In boxing, you have to really outclass your opponent to get a first or second round knockout. It’s been said many times before… Boxing is like a game of chess. Every move has counter moves. Somehow, limiting striking to only hands creates a much more diverse fight.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, AJ. The skillset in boxing is relatively small compared to something like MMA. While an MMA fighter can use his feet, knees, elbows, chokes and holds to get him out of trouble, a boxer, limited to his fists, has to manoeuvre his opponent into a position where he can land effective punches, all the while his opponent is trying to do the same to him. Boxing is about mastery of a few techniques, not partial knowledge of loads of them. I firmly believe that boxing is far more skilled than MMA for precisely this reason. Guys like Kimbo Slice who can’t fight at all have had success in the UFC. I doubt if he could last more than a couple of rounds against even a journeyman professional boxer.
Yeah…boxing as a sport is more evolved, so many more systems and long-entrenched training methods. It’s definitely a sport that takes a lifetime to master. You have to do it for 5 years just to hang in with the average competitor….and then 10 years to be good enough for pro and then perhaps 20 years to be a great pro. And this is all sport-specific training. Whereas MMA guys can be a wrestler for 10 years, then transition to MMA and within 2-3 years, they’re fighting for the title.
10 years of judo/wrestling can bring you a great base to fight boxers. For example Fedor Emelianenko learned only sambo(it’s like russian judo) and then took boxing-lessons, and thats why he is the best in the world.
The truth is, when grappler take you down, you don’t have any chances, but for grappler is 2-3 years of boxing enough, to understand the meaning of distance, speed, etc. That’s why there are so many wrestlers in mma.
wrestling is a form of fighting . 10 or 15 yrs of experience isnt enough for you. and mma is more realistic . because of the gloves it only takes a few hard shots like in a street fight to ko your opponent!
hey johnny, im 20 years old, and i’ve been boxing on and off, like a total of a year and a half (training mostly due to wearing glasses) but i was wonder hypothetically, do u think i could maybe make it into the pros circuit if i spent the large amount of time i have left in my youth to train solely in boxing.
especially since i also train in lethwei, and mma, along with boxing. i LOVE boxing because of it’s solely striking attitude and that it doen’t involve so much grappling, aside from the clinch and i prefer any sriking style, wheater it be in the form of different boxing styles or other unorthodox striking styles, over grappling, especially when it involves street fighting.
oh i also forgot, i am a fast learner, when i really focus on the task at hand, depending if i want to learn it, but i wonder if my fast learning along with some other natural talents could boost me into a better boxer in less time than it takes the average person to completely and properly learn anything,
i only say this for i feel that i have wasted so much time doing other sports, (football, rugby,wrestling etc.) instead of boxing and so forth.
i also wanted to note that i quickly picked up on the corkscrew punch, you were explain in the advanced boxing techniques, thanks for the tidbits, it really came useful.
I’ve been an MMA guy for 5 years and this article is spot on. An MMA fighter should box with boxers, not just MMA guys. All boxers do is punch and do it better than anyone of there.
Hi, i’m from Singapore and I love the comments and article written in this website, and I also think Boxing is the Best ,,, Peace !
i’m 41 and have start learning basic boxing,,
I think girls should learn boxing as a form of self defense
First off, thank you so much for all the effort you put into providing such a useful and unique boxing guide. My background is mostly kickboxing but I’ve been using the advice in your guides a lot in my training as some of it translates across. For example your guide to beating southpaws has been really useful for me as one of my sparring partners is a southpaw.
Anyway I joined a boxing club a couple of months ago, and you’re a huge reason for that. Your website has taught me a lot about boxing, and showed that I could learn a lot from actually giving the sport a go. So far I’m really enjoying it! It’s a fantastic workout, good team atmosphere, and my kickboxing coach has already started commenting on improvements in my sparring, especially my footwork. I hope many other people will read this article and give this great sport a try.
Keep up the great work Johnny,
All the best from Exeter, UK
Every enthusiast Boxer dream would love to see a great match between Boxing vs Muay Thai ,
with eventually Boxing winning the fight !
if anyone has a link pls share it here…
Hey I’ve been reading these articles for awhile now and really appreciate the info you share.
I spent most of my twenties partying too hard! I also severely injured my left elbow when I was 20 which meant that I could not take part in a lot of sport. Ill be honest I was shy and very very skinny and a little scared of boxing. A nasty breakup and turning thirty were catalyst I needed.
So I joined an mma gym a mate went to. The staff were fantastic and as I was only initially after a workout, it suited me fine – I went to more exercise oriented classes with pads, not sparring or anything, and really enjoyed thai boxing and boxing. After six months or so of getting extremely fit I decided Id attend the advanced classes and learn some proper technique. Did those for five months and whilst the technical side was amazing, I didnt feel I was getting any closer to actually sparring. It was expensive too and people in the advanced classes had had private lessons something I couldnt afford so were miles ahead……..I was a fish out of water esentially because they didnt cater to beginners.
With reluctance (I met some cool people there and did like the trainers) I changed to a boxing specific gym. Walk into a small room with nowhere near the facilities of the other place, theres two guys sparring in the ring, everyone is drenched, theres only like six boxing bags, people are skipping, a guys had his rib broken week before but still wants to attend! the class is 2 hours long, the warm up involves 30 minutes of sprints, stair running and jogging then we are told to put in our mouthguards and headgear and partner up. Im nervous as hell have never sparred before. But we start with basics, just jabs first ten mins and blocking. Then move up to jabs and crosses. Then just bodyshots. Then freestyle. After an hr or so with one partner you then go around the room.
In 2 hours I learned more than I had done in the previous year. The importance of footwork shone through, while although I knew how to hold my hands in the stance I didnt know how to hold them when at close ranges (and duly got clocked!). Ive been going three months now and I feel so confident!! I have long way to go, but am so happy I made the change. Thats why your article resonated, this is a combat gym Im attending you are expected to spar (albeit lightly at first) as soon as you join. My footwork has improved dramatically and Im getting better at feinting. I got in the ring the other night to spar (we normally spar but just round the room and less rounds) everyone had to watch, I was so nervous. But as soon as it started I forgot about everyone and just lived in the moment. The trainer stepped in occasionally and gave advice (advice I would never have received if Id carried on not sparring) and when it was all over man I had so much adrenaline I just wanted to get in again!!! Seriously one of the best feelings Ive ever experienced and itll stay with me for the rest of my life. After my injury I never dreamt id be able to do push ups again, so boxing has given me so much, Im not daft Im prbably too old to get amazing at it, but just sparring is a dream in something I always loved and respected but never had the balls to do.
Thank you for this article it was one of reasons I joined my gym and gave this whole thing a crack
That’s cool man sounds like the opportunity I might have at this gym but w mas costs like your first gym. Maybe my local town ath club might have something like what you have now, I have to see. I too am kinda freaked out to start the first sparring and I prob need to work up to/into it like you. I’ve been working out mma/boxing type workouts on my own at home on my bag and have gotten into decent shape, but I can relate. Feels like sparring is the soon next step. Best wishes
Really happy to read your story, Matt. I’m really glad you finally got to enjoy the excitement in sparring. There’s no feeling quite like it.
Hi, got a few questions. I’m 45 kinda old to be starting this and I’ve never been in a fight before. I want to learn self defense and how to fight and it seems like boxing is a good start. I’m currently at a boxing gym I just started a couple weeks ago, but got in on an online coupon deal for first month. But now after this first month the prices are going up significantly and I can’t afford past this intro month right now as Ive been unemployed and looking to find work. Going up to $85/mo w 30 canc policy and that is just gym time w a few basic classes, actual lessons are in the $100/hr range. Others are taking those lessons and are more experienced and I’m not, and I’m really nervous just to get in the sparring for the first time. I just watched the sparring for the first time a couple nights ago and it was pretty intense they seemed like they were going really hard and I need time to adjust to that and start slow. I’m willing to go in and brawl if needed but as I’ve read in some of your other comments I don’t know if I’d really learn much from that other that to go hard and take punishment. I’m in ok shape but not great and these younger guys might wear me out or worst case mess me up. I can be humble enough to know that. So I want time to gradually build up my skills and sparring but idk if I can afford it at this gym I feel a race against time and money. I wonder if it’s worth it or if I should try to find a cheaper gym or just train at home on my own bag for a while. I don’t know how to find these cheap boxing gyms I hear commenters mention, do you know of any in Longmont CO or nearby Boulder etc? I have my wife and two teen sons who could kind of be light sparring partners , but I could build up to letting them punch me harder and harder while I only do light counters. I have a heavy bag at home and a wresting mat and I could continue doing my home training and as I mentioned light play spar at home. But as I know and I’ve heard on your site today, sparring in a gym w real sparring partners is the only way to get real and overcome the mental anxiety and tension of getting in a fight. Any ideas? Thanks, sorry about the wordiness of my post , and sorry I posted this twice, I forgot to put my email first time
Ask the guys at the gym to go slow. If they can’t go slow enough to make you feel comfortable, work with somebody else.
This article has inspired me to start training boxing again! I love the way you put everything, great stuff. Learning a lot from you.
I just wanted to thank you for all the time you put into this website. Absolutely incredible, you teach in a quick, simple and effective manner. It is difficult to fight and VERY difficult to find a good teacher. I know what you mean about just being a number in the BJJ gym. I started Muay Thai at my local university from a fighter and trainer who was a Masters student who trained a few guys for fun. Fell in love with Muay Thai and striking instantly. He was also an amateur boxer and we focused on hands more than some traditional Thai schools. After I switched to a bigger Muay Thai club I noticed I had a HUGE advantage in the hands category with some of the Pro MMA fighters and pure Thai Boxers. It was really surprising because I changed clubs and didn’t know what to expect haha. A few things these comments brought to my mind though: 1. Boxing technique is truly lacking in some of the MMA schools out there (not all have prue boxing coaches) and a kickboxer with good hands or grappler with good hands always has a huge advantage 2. The arrogance for strikers and grapplers is pretty even. I only compete in grappling and now only train boxing but a grappler can usually beat a boxer and a boxer who can grappler will beat the grappler all things being equal so there shouldn’t be much of a debate there 3. I actually quit grappling and competing in tournaments because of serious injuries (double kene surgery), getting yanked and slammed seems to effect me more. When boxing and thai boxing I get punched but the guys I train with are respectful enough to not try to take my head off thankfully even when it gets intense. I feel like boxing is not as hard on my body as a hobbyist (not a fighter obviously) so that means more to me. Anyway thanks again for the site. Really helped my cross. Throwing the shoulder back and thrusting the hips with the leg not so close behind my lead leg helped in spades. Cheers.
Kind of disappointed so many people seem to think traditional martial artists can’t punch properly. When I started boxing I found my karate was worked quiet well. I found I was able to hit novice boxers, and intermediate with my jab and straight pretty easily, I could avoid being hit pretty well just working from the outside and moving around keeping off the ropes and I found I had a powerful enough punches to put people down as well. They put me in with more experienced guys pretty quickly and I found out I had a lot to learn it took some time for me to get good at/ used to uppercuts, and hooks, as well as adjusting to fighting under boxing rules, but I always found my jab and cross worked pretty well for me. I think using makiwara boards helped, we didn’t use hand warps so everything had to be aligned properly or you’d know.
Not trying to say any martial art is better then an other, I love boxing been doing it for a few years now it is useful that’s for sure, and what this article details is true; if your goal is to be a complete martial artist or mixed martial artist good boxing is a must. Also, as far as pain threshold, durability, and sport specific skill boxing is possibly toughest sport on the planet.
Thank you for the article Johnny, you run a great site here and are very knowledgeable about your craft. Looking forward to reading more of your articles in the future!
Four years ago I was taking shito-ryu karate and the punching skills I only learned was a backfist and reverse punch. I had a friend that was a boxer and he showed the basics. I sparred with other karate students and I won. Boxers got better hands than karate dudes.
I turned 24 last month I went to my first boxing session about 3yrs ago it only took 1 lesson then I gave it up, the training is so unreal and pure only the toughest & strongest would last & thats mentally & physically not saying im anything but I gave it up for rugby league a sport im very familiar with .. Im going to join very soon especially with a article like this it gives me confidence
I’m going to start learning how to box after i get my knees checked. I can’t wait!
Hi, I am 6ft3 bout 205 pounds I have a 70 pound bag but I am used to a 100 pound bag I feel it moves less then the bag i got now which is not as heavy.Should I upgrade to my usual 100 pound bag? My normal daily routine on my heavy bag is I basically attack it nice hard fast combination impact hits for 3 minutes then after 3 minutes is up I walk over to my fold out chair sit down but sitting up straight regulate my breathing swish a sip not swallow Gatorade spit it out and rest for 1 minute. Basically I do 3 minutes a round 1 minute sit down but sitting up straight rest in between rounds.Then start my second round I like to do 4 of these rounds a day I feel 12 is to much for an every day work out for me. Is this an ok safe strategy for a work out ? My friend seems to think you are supposed to constantly be moving after a very hard fast combination hard impact hitting heavy bag work out. I would like to know which method is best/correct because I do not wanna over do it.
I guess what I want to know is after hitting a bag nice and hard for 3 minutes in between rounds should you sit down and rest or just stand around with mild movements?
I’m 15 years old and a female. I wanted to start self training myself but I don’t know where to start. Where can I start if I wanna do this?
Have you tried looking for a boxing gym?
I have been able to take some martial arts lessons ( BJJ and taekwon do) and I used to believe that they were superior to boxing because it’s just a sport. But I have been facinated with boxing since 2008. I like watching 2 guys beat each other in the ring, no more no less. For me it was just like watching gladiators and I wanted to see heads roll. 2 years ago I got invited to a boxing gym and I was at awe! I loved the sound of punches hitting the mits and heavy bag, the sound of shoes squeeking with each foot step, and I loved to see the dedication and heart of each trainee. I immediately decided to have a walk in lesson and my first lesson was how to throw punches by shadow boxing. Then they brought me to the mitts and so on. Boxing teaches you how to fight. Each day I went to the gym I learned how to fight more. It’s not merely a sport! It’s a martial art and a beast in a whole new level. I love your article because it captured the true beauty of boxing. Unfortunately I had to stop because my work demanded me to be out of town. I can’t wait to go back to the boxing gym.
I came across your article while researching something else. It is well written and well reasoned, great job! I completely agree with you. I would argue that if you took a student that studied any traditional martial art that is kata(form) based and a boxing student that had both trained for 3 years and them put them in the ring, the boxer would win most of the time. This is because boxers train to fight (period). Most martial arts schools get caught up in all kinds of other nonsense that has little to do with actual fighting.
To further push the point one only needs to look at the MMA landscape. The vast majority of the striking is boxing based. No spinning backfists, no knifehands etc. Why? Because the striking in boxing is the simplest and most efficient way to fight.
I have over 20 years of martial arts training so I have a pretty good idea about how the martial arts industry works and what works and what does not. There is no replacement for fight training that constantly hones your distancing, angling and timing.
Just to endorse what you have said above.
Bruce Lee was supposed to have said something along the lines of what’s mentioned below, when he first came to the USA.
“A person with just a years training in Boxing & Wrestling could easily beat a life long martial artist who has done traditional martial arts”
Nuff said 😊
Bruce lee fan
I like Bruce lee he good
What about chuck Norris
Its interesting to note that Bruce Lee was a boxer before he learned Ving Chun. He always felt that the conditioning, coordination, strength and punching power he learned as a boxer was critical in the development of his own style of Jeet Kuen Do. I started out in MMA but left and transitioned into boxing because I kept being injured and a lot of the stuff I learned in MMA has held me in good stead – not relying on headguards, blocking punches with the elbow etc.
Where did u get your info from? Because I could’ve swore that Bruce Lee learned Wing Chun first as a teenager, then he later learned boxing and incorporated it into WC.
Does it really matter, Bri?
I do feel that martial arts has negatively influenced boxing in many ways. Many gyms now teach in the form of a karate class – structured, choreographed moves so that everyone learns at the same pace. it just means that the better guys get bored and the worse ones get left behind. That’s not the point of boxing as everyone has their own style and learns at their own pace. in my gym we have seasoned pros training alongside rank beginners, helping them along the way. The structured classes are better for kids IMO
Hi fds my name balasankar ,I am 21 year old ,I interest in boxing so not to any material in boxing my father is farmer so any body helb to give me a boxing banch material pls contact number 9788255955
Great article. i start boxing afew months ago and i love how simple, basic and effective it is on street. No one is gona go full throttle on u with karate high kick or white crane stance on the street. That only happen in movie. If ur down in the back alley u wont even have space to move properly. Dodge + 1-2 combo + add an extra left hook usually knock out or push off opponent instantly.
I can say most tradition martial art now lost its edge because people are prevented to spar or try out those ‘deadly moves’ they learnt. While sparring is part of boxing and it puts u under pressure when u spar, it trains ur reflex and pushes ur natural ‘fight or flight’ instinct, few tradition martial art allows that, that why most people doesnt know how to react when the real thing happens.
Every art is awesome & focus different stuff. Some on health, some self discipline , body conditioning, some just pushes ur limits. Its pointless and endless to compare whose better, because everyone will be as awesome as the other if u put all ur time and effort to perfect it.
Most importantly is find something that works for ur body and reflexes. If anyone wants basic, simple effective and practical art, boxing is the one. No unnecessary fancy moves, no wide low stance, simple natural & straightforward. 🙂
Johnny, I started boxing 1 month ago and I have learned an immense amount of information from your site that boosts my confidence in learning and applying what I have learned. I have started sparring and this is my dilemma as a newbie: I don’t want to throw my right cross because I feel its to far away, and my left hook because I feel it’s telegraphing punch. How does one overcome this? I would guess the answer is to continue to practice until my confidence is built up. So I guess I would ask alternatively is what advice could you give me in this?
Read my guides on boxing stance. There’s a good chance you’re standing too sideways and putting your right hand so far back that it can’t reach. When you’re running around, sure, being able to reach with only one arm is ok. But when you’re in fighting range, you need to square up a little more so you can reach with both hands. Notice how inside fighters square up and outside fighters are more sideways. So learn how to find that delicate balance and adjust. Each fight and opponent is different.
Much appreciated man! That’s exactly what my issue was!
Personally I’m a southpaw street fighter I want be better all round fighters
MMA is more advanced and includes boxing and many more Martial Arts don’t write a one sided argument. I do respect boxers so don’t take that as an insult.
MMA is more advanced than boxing? Is football more advanced than just plain running? Is gymnastics more advanced than just plain weight-lifting? Is water polo more advanced than just plain swimming? Is color photography more advanced than black-and-white photography?
Surely if something has more elements, than it HAS to be more advanced right? It makes sense but not always. Boxing is more refined. If you spent any amount of time in the sport, you would see that. But you don’t have to take it from me. Many MMA training teams all have resident boxing coaches now. They see the benefits and they use boxing to train MMA fighters to be the BEST MMA fighters they can be.
So that takes me back to the point of the article. Nowhere in this article was there to be a statement saying boxing is better than MMA. At best, boxing can only be better in some elements of MMA. And this article was written precisely to talk about the elements of boxing which can be used to improve all other fighting arts.
The argument is one-sided because I don’t know enough from the other side. What things can MMA or other martial arts teach boxers? I don’t know. If you have some thoughts or think boxers should employ MMA coaches, you let me know.
This was a great article and I couldnt agree more. No disrespect to the Asian martial arts but I think they are quite overrated. I have huge respect for karate, tkd, judo, muay thai, bjj (I know it’s Brazilian) Krav Maga (yes I know it’s Israeli), but I think as Americans we tend to seek out fighting arts from abroad thinking they will instill in us some kind of mystical abilities we can’t get at home. Soccer moms and white collar guys are drawn to them because for them they are exotic and unfamiliar. Sadly in seeking out such things we miss out on great art forms in our own culture. Watch any kind of full contact fight and see how often good boxing is the deciding factor. Yes you do see head kicks, some knockout slams and submissions, but go on YouTube and watch most street fights as well. You can watch boxers laying out their attackers sometimes 3 at a time and sometimes much larger almost like in the movies. How often do you see that from any other art? It’s funny with people that train martial arts but so many of them can’t fight to save their lives. They will justify not being able to fight stating that they are more spiritual than boxers whatever that means. At the end of the day all that stuff about spirituality is really masking the fact that those people got into martial arts to learn how to fight better. I’m sure there are a lot of people will never admit this but deep down they know it to be the truth. I know because I used to use this reasoning as well for many years. If all I wanted was spirituality then I could have just joined a church. You can learn to break boards that are cut along the grain or stand meditating under a freezing waterfall. You can do round after round of fancy thai padwork. You can do all kinds of fancy parlor tricks but in the end everyone eventually needs to put on the pads and spar to get better. This is one of the reasons I like boxing. It’s simple, direct, and to the point. Boxing cuts past all the bs and gets right down to what people are really there for: To learn how to fight better and nothing more.
With a 99% agreement on everything you said, I just want to say that I respect other arts…just not always its practitioners or its culture. Surely if you take any martial art, even the most seeminly non-threatening ones and established a culture of constant sparring and competitive progression, surely you would have before you a whole new standard of dangerous fighters.
Yeah I kinda see your point regarding the overall culture as opposed to the arts. For instance, I really liked the idea of putting my son in Tkd. I see there are some schools where they have really good coaches training the kids like Olympic athletes. Unfortunately it’s near impossible to find a school that trains this way. It’s all day cares and birthday parties as if they have to dumb everything down to keep the kids engaged. He’s almost 4 but I’m seriously thinking he might enjoy boxing better anyway.
Thank you I mean you need to be more rounded in mma than boxing but I agree with Johnny N and you wrote a one sided argument George Batton
Sorry didn’t read your last comment
boxers havent done well against jiu jitsu i am so sorry. boxers must learn jiu jitsu or judo or mma. dont forget that muay thai is the mother of all boxings in the world
Fantastic article – your passion for the sport comes across so well; I took great enjoyment and pride from the way you describe this fantastic sport and art form. I’m only 4 months into boxing, having trained in a number of martial arts systems over the years, and this has been like starting all over again. I can’t get enough of it. So impressive to watch, so hard to master. I’m hooked! I wish I’d found it years ago.
Boxing is indeed a fighter’s sport. Just 30 minutes of lessons and training will get you far in a fight.
I agree with the article 100%.
There are armchair fighters out there who will tell you that boxing isn’t a real combat sport and that a boxer will lose a street fight if it goes to the ground or a boxer will lose to an MMA/UFC fighter. A good amount of ignorance floating around out there.
Most people are ignorant to the fact that their favorite UFC/MMA champs are actually crossover boxers who are cleaning up their divisions and trained small pieces of other arts to complement their boxing ability. Most people won’t recognize it because they haven’t trained in boxing, to them they’re just watching an “MMA fighter”. To those who actually box they can tell right away who is a boxer. Just from footwork and a couple punches alone.
In regards to the street fighting scenario – boxing is probably your best bet. It’s a street fight – that means going to the ground is something you should avoid at all costs. There are no rules in street fighting so naturally one would want to dispose of their opponent quickly while remaining standing. You go to the ground next thing you know you’re gettin’ gang stomped, eye gouged, shanked, shots to the groin, etc.
If you rush a well disciplined boxer said boxer will work angles on you and their footwork will evade you easily. On top of that a disciplined boxer will most likely land several effective shots on you as rush in. Let’s say the fight goes to the ground, it’s a street fight – said boxer will most likely employ tactics mentioned above to get out of the scuffle on the ground and back on their feet.
Point is – boxing is much more solid than people give credit for and street fights are highly dangerous and foolish, disposing of your opponent whilst standing is the safest option – avoid going to the ground at all costs no matter what technique you employ for combat.
I’ve studied between 2-5 years the following arts and earned two black belts. . Kenpo, shaolin kung fu, wing chun, TKD, hapkido, judo, boxing. I’m at an advanced age now and only train at a boxing gym. I can’t kick anymore, and don’t want to throw or get thrown. Boxing is a great way to stay in shape and sharp. Boxing is a great complement to any martial arts and their punching power skills are second to none. I spar but against people at my level and it gives me confidence that I can defend myself in a self defense situation. Boxing has a lot of complexities at the advanced levels but a simple 1-2 can damage another person in the streets because of its directness, speed and power.
Of course MMA gyms teach a blend. Anyone who thinks that there is no fear factor in judo wrestling and jiujitsu has never been slammed full force, had a bone broken or hyper extended, or coked until they pass out and wake up with strangulation marks. The gyms I’ve been to have very aggressive grappling training. It hurts way worse to get choked and slammed then it does to get punched many MMA fighters would agree with me. In a street situation judo and submission grappling are just as dangerouse if not far more dangerousness than boxing, as a slam to the concrete will kill someone quite easily. Imagin getting thrown or duplexes onto blacktop, your head hitting first. Oh and btw many of the toughest ppl I’ve ever trained with several who have made it to the ufc and bellator are primarily grapplers. My MMA gym is 65 dollars a month. Mix of poor and white collar people. While boxing for years is probably more damaging, I think that if you put a pure boxer up against an MMA fighter, the MMA fighter is going to smash the boxer. So to me that makes MMA a more applicable more deadly art. Boxing is beautiful tho
And let me add that boxing is a huge fundamental in MMA fighting and yes it is possible for a boxer to win in the octagon. A fighter would not be developed if he haven’t any boxing in his arsenal. But a lot of guy claim that a boxer would never let an MMA guy get a hold of him but boxers do lock up all the time. This would be bad in the octagon. Boxing because if it’s purity is a finer art. But to say that it is more deadly and surprising, more intimidating, more effective. With that I have to disagree
Hi Guys I am very new to all this and looking to get advice please my 13 year old girl is doing teakwon-do for a few yours now I Ireland and going for her red tip next month she would love to join boxing for fitness and to become better over all and keep both going. do you think it is wrong to join boxing before black belt ? and i dont know how taekwon-do trainers would feel about her also doing boxing we are all grown ups so hope they understand what do you think ? thanks
I personally don’t think boxing will hurt her tae kwon do training (assuming she’s not training at the Olympic level or anything like that). Try only one or two days a week and see how she does.
Thanks for your reply.
she started boxing 2 weeks and loves it the fitness is very good and meeting lots of new friends so she is going to keep both going and see how things go.cheers
Just an Average Striker
These are just my thoughts from someone that has trained in boxing/muay thai/wrestling/grappling in mixed martial arts.
Boxing is an amazing sport/martial art/self-defense style, but this does not mean that boxing is the ultimate answer. However, a muay thai/wrestler/grappler practitioner may be severely disadvantaged or beaten by a boxer if they do not understand how to do with the speed, accuracy, timing, and movement of a boxer. Having sparred with strikers from may different backgrounds (tae kwon do, muay thai, karate, boxing, etc), there is no superior art. The winner will be the fighter that is able to impose their fighting style and use their skills to their advantage. This may seem like common sense, but style comparisons often seem to devolve it: a) “my kick/elbow/knee is better than your punch;” b) “you can’t punch if you’re dragged to the ground;” “you can’t kick/elbow/knee/grapple with me if I move out of range;” or “my punch will knock you out before you can kick/elbow/knee/grapple with me.”
To understanding the effectiveness of boxing, it is important to look at two aspects which are both its greatest strengths and weaknesses:
1)Footwork – Boxing has the smoothest, fastest, and most evasive footwork I’ve ever dealt with. However, the biggest weakness is the bladed stance. To move around smoothly (step/pivot/lunge) the lead leg supports 50-70% the boxer’s weight. Planting the lead foot to move makes it very vulnerable to being kicked or grabbed by a wrestler/grappler to drag the boxer to the ground. Boxers that have success against kickers/wrestlers/grapplers must learn to protect the lead leg from kicks/takedowns.
2)Head movement – Boxing also has the most amazing head movement, and landing a clean shot to the head of an boxer is tough. Against knees/kicks, too much head movement will result in slipping/bobbing/weaving right into the opponents knee or shin. In pure boxing it if safer to use head movement because you only have to account for the higher and mid-level angles, along with the shorter reach of arms, when using head movement to defend against punches. Once knees and kicks are factored in, there is the are two additional risks from the lower striking angles of knees or kicks, or the extended striking range of kicks. Just like a boxer cannot become predictable in using the same pattern of head movement, against kicks/knees a boxer must learn to deal with the additional angles and distance.
Overall boxing is an amazing sport/martial art/self-defense style, and a person cannot go wrong with this a person’s primary style. However, just like sparring against different boxing styles is the only way to become a proficient boxer, is important to experience different fighting styles to understand the strengths and weaknesses of boxing as a style.
A good boxer should not “depend” on one strategy to beat different opponents… and just like many other sports….having different approaches to various styles based on how ‘they’ are attacked is……extremely important.
Fluidity and movement is extremely important and learning to NEVER stand still, especially in corners.
AND… REMEMBER the most important thing….you only have a very limited amount of time… to display your skills to the judges and officials, “so get to it” and …..don’t make the big mistake of waiting till the last round.
It is OK to have a specific style BUT you MUST have the ability to adapt under pressure and this a very important thing for all fighters to learn NO matter what style they choose to maintain.
I had over 300 fights and only lost 21 and most of them where usually only when I broke something.
One thing I definitely….100 percent agree with is, is in your last paragraph, is that a “variety” in sparring is critical….
BUT one addition to this….which is a very…. very important thing that most clubs don’t add to their training….is how to fight a SOUTHPAW and this is critical as not many fighters ARE southpaws and they only count for about 10 or 15 percent of fighters ….. BUT in tournaments YOU NEVER know when you may have to fight one….and if you are not prepared for this…..BELIEVE me it is a totally different experience.
Well I hope my two cents worth helps someone out there….but as a Canadian even two cents is not worth as much as it was last month…
I have found stepping back into the boxing ring a great help. My father was an ABA champion and I boxed as a kid. I have been practicing karate for some years now, but wanted to get back into boxing. I’m so glad I did, and having been back in the ring with some youngsters , my hand speed has improved. My fitness has gone up too. I do get knocked about a bit, by the youngsters, I’m 51, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed by. It’s doing me a world of good, as I’m there to improve myself, not win fights.
This site has been great, as I was doubting, a little, as to wether or not taking up boxing again was going to effect my Karate. I do feel less of a fake now too, having done more contact sparring, and discovered I have a really good chin! Case of having to have one, as I have much to learn!
Many Thanks Ryan
And the life experience part is why I let my children do it. “If you are crazy enough to put on gloves and step into that ring you are welcome”.
I like it being all about attitude even though, this is old school, they’d never call it that.
I like it being no-nonsense, no glib talk.
I like it for being hard core while still accepting and expecting people to learn.
My daughter was fat, slow, awkward and shy. Went to boxing three years ago because “it did look like fun”. Positively suffered the first year. By the end of the second year, coach said to another coach “I sure like her technique”. Had her first fights this year and told me: “it’s the first time, I actually feel that I am where I belong”.
So happy for you and your daughter. Congrats.
In my experience (mostly as a boxer, but also fighting in MMA Events, & therefore training in Muay Thai, Wrestling, Kickboxing, & w a Green Belt in Kenpo, a Blue Belt in Judo, & a Ppurple Belt in BJJ), I would agree with the Sweet Science, Boxing, being the single most difficult sole discipline of all of the martial arts. To me, Boxing is Chess, and MMA is Checkers. MMA is a firework show, and Boxing is a structure on fire. What I mean is, in my experience in MMA bouts, even though rules exists, it feels like…well, what it is…a 25 year old sport, developed by selectively mixing rules from various martial arts. Whereas Boxing is HARD! You only have 2 weapons, and your opponent has the same, and there are centuries of knowledge for how to hit while not getting hit. MMA is a baby that is still trying to figure itself out. For example, the very 1st UFC Event was catered for BJJ. The prime example (most importantly bc it was started by, and the rules were created by a Gracie) & in the fight between Gracie vs. Shamrock 1. Gracie won by using his Gi (the BJJ competition gear) to choke Shamrock, whereas Shamrock was not allowed to wear his wrestling shoes. Gracie used his clothing to choke Shamrock. But Shamrock was not allowed to Don his wrestling gear. In the beginning, it was tailored to BJJ. Then the Wrestlers learned how to defend it, and they took over. As shown at UFC 60, when Matt Hughes utterly demolished Royce Gracie. They say that they try to make it as close to a real fight as possible. Well I was a bouncer for several years, and if fights went to the ground, it is nothing like MMA ground fighting. You go to the ground in a real fight, you’re either going to get stood up (more like Pancrase), if the crowd wants the fight to continue; or someone is going to get their head stomp and kicked (more like Pride FC Rules). I’ve been asked to spar (in boxing) against many UFC Fighters, looking to sharpen their stand up game. I wish I could be more modest, but since I’m hiding my identity, I can say that I tend to destroy these “hybrid fighters” in a boxing match. I hit harder, I’m harder to hit, I can take a punch better…and so on. So while I’m an advocate for learning as many martial arts as you can, I still say that Boxing is the King of them all!
Interesting insight, Jonathan! I do think that theoretically MMA should be the hardest as it allows for the most amount of skills…but in a way, because there are so many things to work on that you never truly truly master any of them. Not surprisingly, many of the top fighters actually rely on just 1 or 2 main foundations and then round off the rest…none are truly experts are all the disciplines in there.
Boxing I think is so incredible because it’s been around for so long and has evolved over hundreds of years. We will see in time. For sure, I think MMA does a fantastic job keeping boxing alive as all MMA fighters have to work on their boxing.