Some people see boxing as an egregious display of violence; and an unnecessary one, at that. Others appreciate the sport's long history, the conditioning and training such athletes undergo and the mental fortitude to step into the punch rather than turning away from such an assault.
Indeed, most who are not enraptured with boxing simply can't wrap their head around the idea that people would willingly subject themselves to a possible pummelling.
Of course, in its purest sense, boxing is about landing the punch while avoiding getting hit, not setting oneself up for a royal tarring.
But, more importantly, boxing is about being fit - both mentally and physically. Being able to plan and execute a strategy with split-second timing, recognising an opponent's weaknesses and flaws and targeting them with precision.
If an opponent is so vital to boxing, how can one learn to box at home alone, without anyone to box with?
That's what your Superprof talks with you about today.
Why You Should Learn How to Box
Let's set aside the notion that boxing is about violence and, instead, view it as a time-honoured athletic pursuit. Like all such pursuits, boxing involves rigorous training and eating healthy - more than eating healthy, actually. Boxers maintain the same diet as any other high-performance athlete.
However, unlike other performance sports save for (maybe) Parkour, boxing calls for an enhanced mindset.
When athletes train, the overarching goal is to be the best in their discipline. This is proven out by the many contests they compete in - 'compete' being the operative word. This is true for both amateur and professional athletes. It's also true for boxers... but the enhanced mindset in question has nothing to do with striving to come out on top.
It's not human nature to attack or willingly submit oneself to a possible attack. Boxers must overcome the natural instinct to flee in the presence of danger and, instead, cultivate their instinct to fight.
The ability to control your self-preservation instinct calls for a remarkable level of mental discipline and, once you master the needed skills to do that, you'll find that such conditioning is useful in every aspect of your life.
So, boxing fosters mental conditioning and being supremely fit? What a 1-2 punch that is! Could there be more? Oh, indeed!
- boxing is a great stress buster
- boxing makes for stronger bones
- boxing is a great cardio workout
- boxing does wonders for core strength
- boxing is the best workout for your shoulders
You might think that any thorough fitness routine could deliver all of that... but which fitness routine requires both Type 1 and Type 2 muscle contractions? Even rowing, considered by most to be the supreme shoulder builder only calls for slow-twitch contractions (Type 1).
And you could bust your stress with a vigorous vinyasa yoga class but, sometimes, isn't it more rewarding to punch a bag - especially after a most frustrating day?
You could name a sport or fitness routine that would work each of those points individually but you would be hard-pressed to name a single sport that does for you everything that boxing could.
If you know of one that can help you develop hand speed and precision as well as boxing does, please let us know.
If you're aiming to step into the ring, maybe go a few rounds, you have to have a fairly decent level of conditioning and, hopefully, some professional training. If you're looking for a boxing coach, a Superprof boxer will be happy to help you...
However, if you're looking for a new and interesting way to get fit - maybe you want to take your fitness regimen to the next level, what you've got going on now will be more than enough to learn how to box at home.
And if you're thinking about boxing as your path to fitness, meaning you've let your physical conditioning slide over the past year, learning how to box at home could be just the ticket.
If you are among the many who've relaxed their fitness standards over the past year, don't beat yourself up too much. It's been a rough year for everyone and, besides, good on you to break out of that unhealthy pattern.
So, what do you need to learn how to box at home?
It would help if you had bags - both a speed bag and a heavy bag but, if not, no worries. You can always improvise, maybe by tacking a thick, heavy cushion to your wall at shoulder height, if only to get your aim right.
Do you have a jump rope? Sure, it's a child's toy but if you've ever seen any films about boxing, you know that skipping rope is an integral part of a boxer's training. Among other things, mastering the boxer's jump rope skip will help you develop your footwork - another vital skill that every boxer must develop.
Beyond that, you really don't need anything but enough space to practise in. By that, we mean enough floor space to do crunches and push-ups, enough room to manoeuvre in and enough clearance so that, when you do start throwing punches, you don't accidentally demolish your gran's fine china.
If you've got all that going on - and a decent internet connection, you're ready to learn how to box at home.
Learning to Box at Home
A decent internet connection?
Well, you can't go around, throwing punches willy-nilly and call that boxer training! What you need is a bit of guidance, especially if you're just starting out. Sure, you could learn all the moves and even how to skip rope on your own but unless you get some sort of specialised instruction, you're likely going to pick up on all the wrong moves.
Whatever you do, don't copy the moves you see in most films; they're more for effect than from actual boxing.
Luckily, these days, it's easier than ever to learn anything, thanks to the vast troves of instructional videos available online.
Olympic bronze medal boxer Tony Jeffries has a YouTube channel, as does American boxer and powerlifter Mike Rashid. And the list of channels goes on: Precision Striking, FightCamp, Battle Labs...
These channels and others can get you started on a warm-up routine, the basics of boxing footwork and strikes, and proper nutrition. If you want to learn how to box at home simply to get fit, that should be enough to get you going. On the other hand, if you want to become a boxer...
Now, for the downside of learning to box at home: at some point, you should have an opponent to box. And, even if you have a bag at home - speed or heavy, you should get feedback from a boxing coach on your technique and how to improve it.
If you happen to be gym-shy, at this point, you'll see the benefits of private boxing lessons...
Tips to Help You Learn How to Box at Home
We're so lucky to live in such a technologically advanced age, when things like virtual reality are science fact - not science fiction.
If you have a VR setup at home, consider yourself lucky, both for the fact that you have such a gizmo - making you the envy of all your pals! - and that you only need to plug in the right cartridge to start boxing your VR opponent.
If you happen to live in or near a big city, you might find a VR game room where you could virtual-box. Provided they have a boxing programme, of course.
If any VR setup is out of your reach, you might still luck out if you have a game console with gesture recognition built-in.
The earliest - and some maintain the best version of such is the Wii. Nintendo's 2006 release made it to store shelves just in time for Christmas and, man! What a delivery it was! Wii's motion-sensing controller made it possible to ski, play tennis and even box.
Since Wii, other game consoles have incorporated motion sensing/gesture recognition, namely Kinect from Microsoft and Sony's PlayStation Move. Still, for many, the Wii Sports bundle of games remains the killer app.
In fact, so popular is Wii sports that Amazon lists Wii consoles, highlighting that Wii Sports is included in the deal. If you don't have such a game console, you might pick up a used one; Amazon lists them for as low as £40.00. You could also luck into a deal at your local thrift shops or secondhand stores.
Learning how to box at home will only take you so far. Beyond learning the basics, you will have to face an opponent - whether virtual or actual. Also, if you're serious about boxing, you will need real guidance, beyond what you could get from a video series.
And even if you don't intend to ever step up as a contender, you still need to know if your boxing workout is effective, i.e., that you're executing all the moves right and you're not in danger of injuring yourself.
A few sessions with a Superprof boxer might help with that.
Now, join the conversation: how is virtual-boxing on a game console or VR unit like shadowboxing?
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