Introduction to Boxing
What is boxing?
Boxing is a martial art and hand to hand combat sport. The aim of boxing is to weaken, out score or knock down your opponent for a count of 10 (knockout).
Boxing is an amateur, Olympic and commonwealth sport as well as a professional with its own world championships.
Choosing the right gym
There are three types of boxing gyms, hard-core fight club, fitness clubs and hybrid clubs. Depending on your reason for joining a boxing club, will depend on the type of club you should select.
Reasons for joining a boxing club can vary from wanting to compete (fight), release aggression and de-stress, to build confidence, to learn self-defence, to learn discipline or to improve fitness.
It is important to have a look around a number of boxing gyms and also speak to members and ex-members. Ask how much attention the coaches dedicate to their members. Boxing coaches tend to provide more attention to members who are consistent in attendance and the more advanced boxers, especially those who are competing or have up and coming fights. Other members may receive little or no attention.
Boxing is a tough sport and the training can be very demanding so do not expect conversation during the sessions as they can be very challenging. Boxers with fights lined up will remain focused and in no position for conversation.
Who is boxing for?
Anyone can attend a boxing club, a lot of boxing clubs run classes for children, mixed classes, seniors and woman only. There is also circuit training and boxercise (a form of exercise class based on boxing training) for all levels of fitness irrespective of your size, shape or sex. Ideally you should attend at least three times a week to work up a good level of fitness.
No gym will allow any member to spar (fight an opponent in a short bout or practice session) without wearing a head guard, mouth guard, hand wraps (a strip of cloth to protect the hand and wrist against injuries induced by punching) and boxing gloves.
All boxing gyms will proved both heavy and light punch bags; heavy punch bags are used to improve punching power and body shots and small speed bags are used for reflexes and repetitive punching skills.
Other common equipment in boxing clubs includes free weights, rowing machines, jump ropes and medicine balls. These are used to build strength, speed, agility and stamina.
Pads are hand held by an instructor, who shouts what different types of punches (shots) to hit the pads with.
Most boxing clubs will also have a boxing ring, where boxing matches and sparing takes place.
What to expect
Do not expect state of the art equipment or the cleanest of facilities. Although the standard of facilities has improved over the years and most boxing clubs have been run by the same people for years. They normally depend on “subs” or fees paid by the boxers to use the facilities, fund raising events, money and equipment from current and past successful fighters. A lot of ex-professional boxers now run their own boxing gyms. Some newer gyms have better facilities than some of the older gyms however it is a personal choice on which environment you would prefer to train in.
Most gymnasiums that provide classes, now offer boxercise classes. If you are looking for a modern gym then health clubs also offer these classes, however the facilities are reflected in the price and you also tend to be a member of the club.
Boxercise in an actual boxing club as appose to a health club will tend to be much harder and the session will be taken by actual boxing coaches, sessions are hard and intense, therefore you will benefit more from these classes and achieve your goals quicker.
If you are looking to build confidence or train to compete then a boxing club is where you need to consider joining. There are now new boxing franchises in the US which have plans to open in the UK such as Title boxing club and 9 rounds however your local boxing club is more likely to be the traditional gritty old school type facilities.
The cost difference between the two clubs will be reflected in the price.
Boxing training is one, if not the most demanding training session you can take. A large percentage of sports people take boxing training to improve their fitness and performance in their chosen field. You can build up your fitness levels during your first sessions, as the classes will consist of body weight exercises so you can go at your own pace, this will prepare you for the more demanding sessions to come.
If you are going with the goal to compete you will be taught to punch and how to take a punch. You will learn basic skills such as how to jab, upper cut, hook, footwork, core strength and agility. You will then be given the opportunity to “spar” against another gym member. This will be agreed between you and the instructor. No creditable gym will ever pressure you into a spar or fight.
A typical class will consist of a circuit 3 minutes’ rounds followed by 1 minute rest. An example circuit
Stretch - 5/10 mins
skip 3 x 3 mins??Shadow box - 3x3 min rounds (2 rounds are with small hand weights??Bagwork, various bags - 6x3 minute rounds??Circuit training - 6x3 minute rounds??Finish up with sit ups, press ups etc - usually for around 10-15 minutes.??Technique a few times a week and also pad work. Boxing training also incorporate (road work) running to build stamina.
Boxercise is an exercise class based on boxing. A typical format may involve shadow boxing, skipping, hitting pads, kicking punch bags, press ups, shuttle runs and sit ups. No class involves hitting an opponent.
What are the benefits of boxing?
Boxing improves cardiovascular health, which protects you from heart disease and helps maintain weight. Boxing improves your hand-eye coordination. Improves all over body strength. Reduces stress. Boxing can build confidence, develop self control and improve self defense skills.