Boxing Basics

So You Wanna Learn How to Box?

You’re in the right place. Welcome to Boxing Boot Camp.

NOW DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY!

Just kidding. Relax. This isn’t that kind of boot camp.

This seven part series was created to be the ultimate resource on boxing for beginners. Whether you’ve never thrown a punch before, or you’re an old hand in the fight scene, stick around, you might just learn a thing or two.

We answer all your questions, debunk boxing myths, break down boxing techniques, kit you out with the necessary equipment, and help you find a boxing gym.

After you’ve made your way through this seven part series, you’ll know all the basics of boxing and understand the theory behind the sweet science.

“What’s with all the book stuff?!?! I just wanna punch stuff!”

Whoa, take it easy there Champ. There’s plenty of punching coming your way. Right now it’s time to show some respect for the sport.

Learning more than just the rudimentary, physical side of boxing will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of the sport.

As they say, knowledge is power. And power leads to knockouts. Or at the very least, it helps you look good in pub quizzes.

Getting Started In Boxing

So you woke up this fine morning and decided you were going to become a boxer. Great! Desire is all you need to get started. We can figure out the why and how later.

But just how the hell do you learn boxing? What’s the quickest way to go from Newbie Norm to Pugilist Pro?

Timidly following Youtube videos in the safety of your bedroom while shying away from judging eyes? Or do you go full throttle and sign up to be someone’s punch bag at your local boxing gym?

And just how fit do you need to be to join a boxing gym? Do you need your own gloves? What should you wear? And what about boxing rules and etiquette?

If all of these questions has got your head spinning more than a hard right to the chin would do, fear not, we make learning boxing so simple, even a child could do it.

So, in true boxing for dummies style…

What Is Boxing?

Boxing is a physical sport, or martial art if you like, that only allows the use of the hands to deliver strikes and defend blows.

Footwork, upper body movement, technique, speed and power all come into play in perfecting your overall game.

The objective of boxing is to knock your opponent out or weaken them so that they are unable to continue the fight.

If this sounds cruel, you may find solace in the fact that modern day boxing is a vast improvement on the barbaric boxing practices of yesteryear.

Why Do You Want To Learn Boxing?

Maybe you’re sick of being the nerdy guy (and all the shit that goes with it) or you’ve watched Rocky one too many times, but the idea of learning to box is really starting to excite you.

Good, hold on to that passion and energy, you’re going to need it.

Boxing is a tough and challenging sport that will push you to your limits both physically and mentally.

We all have different reasons why we lay this gauntlet upon ourselves. Some are attracted to the image. Others are drawn to the health and fitness aspects. And a very select few are born fighters.

Whatever your reason is, there is one thing that I can promise you. Stick with your new “hobby” long enough, and it will become one of your life’s most rewarding pursuits.

You’ll develop the ripped body of a Greek God, the iron will of a warrior, and the self-confidence of Muhammad Ali.

Sound good?

Of course it does. Who would object to becoming fit, healthy, strong, ripped and confident?

But the advantages of learning boxing don’t stop there…

Benefits of Boxing

Who would have thought that trying to knock another human beings head off would not only feel good, but have so many physical and mental benefits?

Here’s what you can look forward to when you get into boxing:

  • Fit and healthy body with increased muscle tone
  • Development of a Jedi mindset – Ability to remain calm during intense physical and mental situations
  • Self-confidence that you can “handle yourself” in a fight
  • Learning a martial art
  • New friends and gym buddies
  • Stress Relief – there’s nothing more effective for lowering cortisone than smashing pads at the end of a long day

Where Can I learn boxing?

Although you could theoretically learn to box anywhere, there are three common venues where your training will take place.

Sports Hall

Boxing classes could be held in any sports or recreational facility such as your gym, town hall, school, or university.

The quality of trainers and difficulty of classes can vary enormously.

The classes are predominantly aimed at beginners, and they are useful for learning the fundamentals of boxing or if you strictly want to practice boxing for exercise (boxercise).

Boxing Gym

Joining a fight gym can be intimidating for a novice, but they cater to people at all levels.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to accidentally stumble into some underground fight club and be forced into a cage to do battle till death. Relax, boxing is a sport, and the instructors are almost all too happy to share their knowledge of the game.

Boxing gyms come in all manner of styles, from the state-of-the-art gyms, to the warehouse kitted out with a couple of worn-out punching pads and some smelly, old pads.

Joining a boxing gym is the best way to learn boxing as you’ll learn correct technique from boxing gurus with years of fight experience.

At Home

Online boxing training has seen an enormous rise in popularity. Instructional workout DVDs, eBooks, and boxing training videos on Youtube are all credible methods to teach yourself boxing.

However, don’t get suckered into buying hyped-up inferior products and remember to check the credentials of whoever’s behind the training.

Can I Actually Learn Boxing At Home?

Your closest boxing gym may be an hour’s drive away, or they may not be one in your town at all. Busting out a few combos while in the comfort of your living room seems like the perfect solution.

I mean how hard can it be? Just do exactly the same as the guy in the video.

However, the major flaw I see with boxing training at home is that there is no one available to correct your mistakes. Digital sources are fantastic learning tools, but their training is only one directional.

It also leaves your skills untested.

No amount of boxing training videos will prepare you to use your skills in a real fight. For that, you need sparring.

Nothing else will teach you how to dodge, block and parry an opponent’s punches, how to take a punch and keep fighting, or how to remain calm while under intense pressure.

Plus, what’s the joy in learning to cook if all you do is prepare the food?

However, there is nothing wrong with practicing boxing at home or using it to learn basic boxing moves and to get the body in shape. Just know that it should form part of your training and not all of it.

Is boxing hard and will I get hurt?

Call it stating the obvious, but in case you weren’t aware, boxing is a full-contact sport. Expect to get hit in the chops a few times.

Now this rule doesn’t apply at a beginner level or for boxercise classes where technique is less of a focus and it’s all just about simple combos for cardiovascular fitness (cough, pussies, cough).

Stroll into a boxing gym for the first time, and your fresh, unmarked face will scream newbie to the instructors who’ll ask you about your previous experience.

Now is not the time for macho bravado.

Tell them it’s your first time or you’ve had a little practice but still don’t know your right hand from your left. That way you’ll be partnered with someone with a similar skill level, and you’ll not end the class eating the local champs glove.

At a beginners boxing class, you’ll perform stretches, exercises, simple drills on the pads and possibly some bag work. There will be little physical contact except perhaps blocking as part of a combination (tip: never with your face), or some very light conditioning exercises.

Advanced classes will contain combinations that are more complex and may allow some sparring. The intensity of the conditioning will also increase. Expect to engage in torturous exercises such as taking punches to the gut, or having a medicine ball dropped on your stomach from height.

Some gyms offer fight training or sparring classes. When it comes to sparring sessions, you will get the occasional black eye or burst nose, and you’ll find yourself wincing like a little girl at times. However, you often don’t feel the punches in the heat of the moment and by the time you’ve reached fight training level, you should have conditioned your body somewhat.

How long does it take to learn boxing?

How long is a piece of string? Asking how long it takes to learn boxing is a similarly retarded question.

Many people would be keen to know how many hours, months or years it will take to become good at boxing. But all I can offer is a shoulder shrug and a non-committal “it depends”.

It depends on how often and how long you train, your training methods, the intensity of training, who your instructors are, any God-given natural talent you possess, and how hungry you are to learn.

Now it’s time for some sensei wisdom Mr Miyagi styles.

“Don’t be impatient – It will take as long as it takes.”

“Remember that anything worthwhile in life takes time.”

Disclaimer: These are not Mr Miyagi quotes, but I’m sure he would approve.

Learning how to box is a venture that could take years to complete. In fact, you never actually finish. Sure, you reach a level of expertise that you are happy with, but there’s always the quest to get better, faster, stronger.

Discontentment is a good thing. It keeps you at the top of your game.

However, what I can say with confidence is that the surest and quickest way to learn boxing is to immerse yourself in the sport completely.  That means joining a fight gym and showing up six days a week whether you feel like it or not.

Has this introduction to boxing been enough to whet your appetite? Still hungry for more?

Let’s get warmed up by learning the four basic boxing punches.