Can Boxing Help You In A Real Fight?
Some folks are under the misconception that because boxing is a "sport" it is not an effective method of defending yourself. That's just not true, here's why:
As a youngster, I got into a fight with a skinny kid who beat me up, even though I was the bigger kid and studying Kung Fu! He was very elusive, slipping, and blocking my strikes easily. I even tried to clinch him so I could take him down, but he would just pull away explosively. Obviously, I lost that fight.
Embarrassed at how he beat me so easily, I asked around, and found out that he trained at the local boxing gym. When I went down to check it out, I noticed that almost all of their training was hands-on. They were either punching a heavy bag, doing mitt work, drilling techniques with a partner, or sparring. Additionally, they were all about competing, and like it or not, competing against others makes you better!
Boxing was completely different than what I was doing in Kung Fu: Learn a technique, or form and practice it in the air slowly. Sometimes we would spar, but it would be robotic, and only using certain techniques taught.
Boxing is a more fight-specific system than Kung Fu
Kung Fu is a beautiful martial art. It is a complete mental, physical, and even spiritual system of training, but fighting is not the main goal. Some folks train in it to enhance their health, physical fitness, and even self discipline.
Boxing on the other hand, is all about out-striking the other guy to win the match, basically beating up the opponent. I started training in martial arts for the sole purpose of defending myself in the dangerous streets of New York City, and Chicago where I grew up, so I started training in boxing.
Which training would you like to have under your belt, if you are attacked in the street?
Think about it, most street fights start with the combatants throwing punches before escalating to kicks, clinch fighting, or grappling. If you can end the fight quickly with a few good punches, then there’s no need for anything else. Additionally, with boxing, even a smaller, weaker fighter can end the fight immediately BEFORE he/she is grabbed or taken down to the ground.
Having some boxing skills will make you a better stand-up fighter, grappler, and self-defense practitioner. Being a no holds barred competitor with a boxing background, there were matches which I won quickly using basic boxing combinations, and without needing to use kicks, takedowns, or submissions. Additionally, boxing techniques and tactics allow you to hit an assailant and get away to avoid getting grabbed.
As a result, for over 30 years I’ve made it a point to always teach basic boxing techniques first, before teaching more advance techniques like kicking, and grappling. All of my students who competed were successful in their kickboxing and mixed martial arts matches because of their boxing prowess. Additionally, those who were involved in street self-defense situations (including myself), attributed their boxing skills to saving their lives.
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