At the time, the image-improving counter-draft, embodied by the gentleman boxer Henry Maske, had already stepped out of the polished boxing ring. Now, for many years, the old patina with smudges on the facade has returned, and the big battles have been relocated from the grand arenas to the smaller provincial dance halls. However, beyond metaphorical or other theatrical descriptions of boxing, there is much more to say than what the “ballyhoo” and stereotypical thinking often convey. Anyway, only those who struggle with the physical and mental aspects of the sport, if they cannot discover its intrinsic honesty, resort to such hand-blown and substance-lacking definitions.
The drama, the shirts soaked in blood, sweat, and tears, the broken noses, concussions, and jaw fractures remain to be feasted upon by the onlooker and boxing skeptic. The most honest authority in boxing, Germany’s youngest boxing world champion Graciano “Rocky” Rocchigiani R.I.P. Champ, unfortunately, can no longer chip away at that.

„Boxing is real easy. Life is much harder.“ Floyd Mayweather

Depending on the perspectives and perceptions used away from the ring, many ‘recreational boxers’ have stuck with the pure sport without theatrics. The “White Collar Boxing” tournament is an example of this. Developed in New York in the early 1990s, it’s a form of competition for latecomers (over 30) without prior experience, for which men and women from all professions train and compete.

The popularity outside of professional boxing rings has indeed increased! However, those who have never put on boxing gloves to cleanse their mind with punches, who have never subjected themselves to the discipline of this training, the value of which can only be preserved through constant repetition, cannot have an objective view. Be that as it may! It’s the honesty in this sport’s soul that fascinates so. When screenwriters, producers, musicians, and actors, scientists, and law professors—people with insight, social competence, and a wealth of humanitarian capital—dedicate themselves to this sport, there must be more to it than mindless brawling.

Boxing is a virus that can bring heart and mind together. And the mind, where the mental control center sits, must be strong. If it’s not, it will become so, especially when anger or fear confuses the mind, causing the chain of mistakes to lengthen and knockouts to be processed. A learning effect just like in life. “In anger, the human being loses their intelligence,” said the Dalai Lama once. He’s not exactly known as a boxing expert, but the clichéd parallel between boxing and life is unmistakable. In the ring, as in life: for many it’s about going the distance and sometimes even about survival. Anger is not helpful in either scenario.

The body achieves whatever you think of in your head!

The mentally enriching component in boxing is a treasure trove filled with respect and regard for others, willpower, perseverance, frustration tolerance, and belief in oneself. Through stress compensation following intense boxing training, a boxer becomes more peaceful because negative energies are released. This aspect is increasingly important today. Also used as a therapeutic tool, boxing is excellent for learning to control anger, aggression, and ‘depressive moods’.

By the way: patience is crucial in boxing training! The aforementioned are all qualities, virtues, and skills that hold great value in life and shape one’s character. The mind must learn to deal with unpleasant feelings if punches are to be absorbed and avoided, in order to then tactically and intelligently go into the offence. It’s important to know that success in boxing lies more in avoiding punches than blindly and recklessly trying to deliver them.

The athletic and physical aspect is no less interesting and demanding, representing another central aspect of practicing this sport in one’s free time. An explosive punch begins in the foot, and is then delivered forcefully to the target, hands and feet working synchronously in the direction of the strike. Herein lies the difficulty, as all four limbs have different tasks to perform simultaneously. Distance work is also crucial, as it’s a prerequisite for the proper timing of a specific punch. There are six basic punches with countless variations, struck from different angles and movements. Practice involves punching in front of a mirror to check posture, shadowboxing with an imaginary opponent, working with equipment like pads, and sparring.

„I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.” Muhammad Ali

The more combinations of punches a boxer trains and has access to, the larger their repertoire of strikes. The so-called lead hand, usually the front left, is an essential tool for combat setup and tactical maneuvering. A good – meaning versatile – lead hand gauges the distance, feints, and disrupts the opponent’s setup. Often, this leads to a combination of different punches, during which a heavy punch (the rear hand) is aimed at the target. Priority targets are the so-called knockout points of the body: chin, temple, solar plexus, liver, and spleen. Strikes to these body parts have the greatest impact on the opponent, often resulting in said knockout.

In all offensive actions, maintaining one’s own defense, evasive movements, and a sensible division of space in the ring are indispensable. A boxer must never be a fixed target during the fight and must constantly change their position if they want to be difficult to hit. All of this can only be achieved with good footwork, which alone could fill an entire book. Sustaining this throughout the entire fight requires enormous cardiovascular endurance, which allows the boxer to maintain a high ‘work rate’ and keep the opponent constantly engaged.

As mentioned, a hard, explosively powerful punch originates not in the arm or shoulder but in the foot! The rear foot pushes, like to the leap of a cat, in the direction of the strike, while the front foot is often used to retreat. Constantly moving in a dancing, bouncing, and stepping manner on the balls of the feet to be ready for the “takeoff” requires a lot of foot fitness.

For this, skipping rope is an indispensable training element. The overall athleticism required for boxing is immense and comprehensive, achieved through specific strength endurance training. The crucial core of the body, including all abdominal muscles, must always be the focus of fundamental training, as it serves as a counterbalance during dynamic movements. And here, indeed, only the essentials about boxing as a sport have been mentioned.

A change in your habits starts with a change in your heart

No other discipline offers as many diversity in training as boxing and martial arts. It’s like learning how to play an instrument. Those who are continually learning new things develops new neuronal connections and capacities in their brain. All these are excellent reasons to start training. And: do you want to give it another shot, champ? soulboxer🥊🙏❤️