Boxing is the sport to which all other sports aspire. –George Foreman
Boxing and I go way back. As a kid, I never aspired to play professional football, baseball or anything like that. I wanted to box.
I studied the sport like any nerdy kid would. I knew the particulars of every weight class. I read every book I could get my hands on (pre-Internet). I knew who held which belt and knew the 10 previous champions before him. There wasn’t a UFC yet, so boxing was it.
You see I’m old enough to have watched Muhammad Ali fight live, and there were no “boxing” classes growing up like there is today. If you wanted to box, you needed to step inside a ring and learn it the hard way.
But my parents, the responsible adults they were, found a way to talk me out of it and point me in other athletic pursuits. I guess they didn’t like the idea of their little boy getting the crap beat out of him by kids who were much tougher.
But as I grew older, the urge never left me. Sure, I skirted around it and took a variety of martial arts, earning a rainbow variety of belts, but boxing was my first crush. I just couldn’t let it go.
And while living in New York City in my 20’s I came across my first real boxing class. It was the first time I wrapped my hands, strapped on a pair of leather gloves, and learned how to throw a proper right cross and left hook. It was the first time I put any real effort into smacking a heavy bag or throwing combinations at coach with focus mitts. I was smitten immediately.
I took classes just about every day and dove head first into learning the proper technique. I asked real boxers a lot of questions. I practiced what I learned as I shadowboxed in the mirror in the elevator up to my office. I went to Madison Square Garden as often as I could whenever they hosted a pro fight. My crush as a kid was now love as an adult.
Eventually, I coached classes at that gym and even stepped inside the ring time and again to fight in Golden Gloves tournaments against guys who were considerably younger than me. Throughout my 20’s, and even into my early 30’s, boxing was my passion.
But after I left New York, for some inexplicable reason, I also left boxing. I tried other classes, but what I could find at the time was mostly some form of cardio boxing. That didn’t cut it for me. So I moved on to other things. I got into indoor cycling, I ran a marathon after a bunch of half-marathons, I got into CrossFit, and all of those things are great. But unfortunately for them, I always compared it to my first. I always compared it to boxing, and it always fell short. I never got the same satisfaction trying to do muscle-ups and power cleans.
For many of you, boxing is not what it seems. You might be surprised to learn it’s not some animalistic endeavor where you throw hands as wild as possible at your target. It requires skill. It requires grace. And as you stand there and apply those skills, even against a heavy bag, and empty out your soul and every ounce of energy you have, you will feel this rush. You will push your body to a level that you will constantly search for again after you reach it the first time. I pretty much thought those days were behind me.
And then recently I came across Tru Boxing Core and Tru BattleBoxing Express. I wrapped my hands and strapped on my gloves once more. I swung away, and although a tad diminished, I could tell the skills were still there. I worked over the heavy bag with my combinations, I dropped to the floor for plank and sit-ups, I flung the battlerope in all different directions, and I hit the bag some more.
I left both of those classes a total mess. My shirt sticking to my body. My hands shaking. And in the end, I had to admit what just happened. Boxing, where have you been?
I can’t promise your experience will match my torrid relationship. But below are five reasons it just might.
1. You get to hit something without being hit back or going to jail
It goes against everything we were taught as kids, but admittedly, it feels pretty darn good. I don’t care if you’re pacifist at heart or in need of anger management training, hitting something (like an inanimate object such as a heavy bag and not a person) is the perfect remedy for a long day. And getting to leave class without a black eye or a broken nose is a nice bonus.
2. You’ll learn a skill, which hopefully you’ll never have to use
Many of you may have taken cardio kickboxing or some variant at your local globo gym where you punch the air in front of you, swing wildly, with little time if any spent on technique. The boxing classes at TruFusion are not those types of classes. Because you’re making contact, you need to know how to do it properly. There’s skill involved, and when you see it, you’ll appreciate the beauty in it. There’s a fluidity to the motion that only comes with instruction and time, and I guarantee you’ll get both at TruFusion. You’ll learn how to throw a proper jab, a proper cross, and a proper hook. And there’s nothing more satisfying than when you hear the thawk, thawk of leather whacking the bag as when you’re doing it right.
3. You’ll develop a deeper appreciation for one of the oldest known sports
Boxing was written about in Homer’s Iliad, which means it dates back to at least 17th century BCE, and it was introduced in the Olympics in 688 BCE. The ancient Romans banned the sport though during the height of the gladiatorial era because they considered it too brutal (seriously), and it disappeared from record altogether throughout the Dark Ages. But as the wearing of swords fell out of fashion during the Age of Enlightenment (17-18th century CE), boxing grew in popularity again. And in 1867 John Chambers, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, drafted a set of rules that created the sport we have today. I got a few more nuggets for you:
– First heavyweight champion under Queensberry Rules: “Gentleman Jim” Corbett
– First case of film censorship in United States: 1897 when states banned prize fighting films from the state of Nevada.
What does this mean for you? I don’t know – I just love this stuff. But seriously, boxing has a deep and rich history. After you really get into the classes, I have no doubt you’ll get into the sport. And regardless of whether you believe boxing is barbaric or art, I also have no doubt you’ll develop an appreciation for what’s been called The Sweet Science. You’ll discover boxing is not about two people standing there and beating the crap out of each other. There’s skill and there’s strategy. And you’ll also appreciate what it feels like to be so tired you can barely lift your arms, but you do so anyway because of the most important aspect of a boxer- their heart.
4. Spoiler alert: You’ll get a great workout
Upper body, lower body, core, and endurance. Yes, you’ll work it all. A boxer’s endurance has been compared to that of a middle-distance runner. You’ll also get stronger, get tone, and improve coordination and agility. Don’t believe me? Read this article published in HealthBEAT from Harvard Medical School.
5. You’ll feel empowered
This is the result of everything written above. There’s a feeling you develop after learning and applying this skill. And don’t think for a second boxing is anything but a skill. Learning it takes time and patience. But then there’s this moment – when you’re throwing your combinations and it all clicks. You feel smooth and as nimble as a cat for once and not like you’re Frankenstein with a pair of gloves on. You’ll walk to your car at night and say to yourself, “Self, you got nothing to worry about because I’m a badass.” Whether you’re kidding yourself is not important. What is important is finally feeling that way.