Boxing, The Purest Form
Boxing in the purest sense is the opposing skills of punching
and avoiding punches
. It’s ying and yang. Attack and defence. It’s both brutally simple and dazzlingly complex. From the raw power of one-punch knockouts to subtle moves to lightning combos to the defensive finesse of matrix-like evasions (think Floyd Mayweather
) to ballet-like footwork to infighting/outfighting to the walk-forward slugger/brawler to the reactive counterpuncher, it’s
wonderfully riddled with styles and opinions.
Yes or No?
So can you teach yourself this physically and mentally demanding sport that is so incredibly diverse? In short, the answer is no. Boxing cannot be self-taught. But punching can. Well, sort of. Fighting your own fight and tentatively grasping the basics such as punching, blocking and stance can be done through reading and watching, and applying that knowledge though shadow movements in the mirror.
Mastering the true ways of distancing, timing, accuracy — from both attacking and defending perspectives — however, cannot be done informally or alone. Only the watching eyes of an experienced other can identify holes or technique deficiencies in your boxing game. Solo slugging the heavy bag for example can be terrific for developing stamina and working up a serious sweat but in the absence of trained eyes, the benefits of working out solo can be outweighed with bad habits that can prove hard to undo and eradicate.
Also, be aware that poor punching technique and sloppy or no hand-wrapping can precipitate damaged wrists when working the heavy bag. And whilst it’s an excellent training tool, the bag poses no threat. It doesn’t hit back. Nothing you do solo can match or replicate the experience of getting the gloves on, making it real and exchanging punches. As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the head.”
It’s All In The Journey
It’s also important to appreciate that the boxing journey travels way beyond technique. It’s conquering your physical and mental weaknesses too. “Nothing drains you and creates exhaustion like fear”
. You need to be damn fit and confident to muster the nerve to overcome fear
and step in the ring competitively or even spar in a training sense. This cannot happen with self-guidance alone. We all need mentoring
to build our physical and mental fitness for the boxing battles that may lie ahead.
What’s in a Trainer?
A good trainer will walk you through the process and will slowly introduce the basics, building your confidence as your skills develop whilst keeping a keen eye for bad habits that can easily creep into your game. He or she will add small details to improve your game, identify weaknesses or faults and strategise solutions. Only though regular and formal training with the input and experience of others can you hope to build and develop a solid boxing game that is the best that you can be. Yes, it may start with YouTube videos and simple shadow jabs in the mirror but boxing is multifaceted and incredibly complex and you cannot possibly hope to up your game without the input of a coach or trainer. Nobody can. Happy Training!!
Yours in Boxing,