No – this is not going to be an article about which art is the best, I’m not going to say Boxing is better than Wrestling, or whether Muay Thai is better than Jiu-Jitsu. I firmly believe each martial art has its positives and negatives and that each person has an art they personally ‘fit’ to and are suited to. It is not always the art which makes you a great fighter, it is most often the person themselves which makes the art great.
In this article I am going to give my views on why I believe every fighter, whether they are kick boxers, wrestlers or karate experts, should learn to box. Everything has a foundation, and the foundation of fighting is the stand up game which is Boxing. If you add boxing to whatever martial art you are practising, it will make you a far more accomplished and complete fighter. For the record, I will say I have dabbled in roman greco wrestling, Panantukan and Muay Thai in the past.
Let’s face it, the majority of fights begin in a punching distance, often toe to toe, face to face. This makes boxing the perfect art to fight within close quarters. How many fights have you seen? I am willing to bet if you have ever been involved in a street fight or seen a street fight take place, the majority of the time the first attack involved a punch. The fastest and quickest route to a destination is a straight line, a boxing punch is that straight line. Whether it is a stiff jab or a lead right, boxing punches are the most effective form of attack, let’s not argue that kicks are superior to punching in close quarters, by the time someone attempts a kick in a street fight, a boxer can throw three or more punches. A boxing punch will also carry more power in short range and be followed by more punches than a kick which is most useful at a longer range.
I touched upon this above, boxers do not throw one punch at a time, they throw punches in bunches and with punching being quicker than kicking or other attacking moves, that means a whole pile of punches coming your way in just a few seconds, professional boxers can throw 4, 5 even 6 punches per second, thats a whole lot of pain coming your way before you’ve even had the chance to see what is coming. Boxing technique for punching is also by far the best possible for hand combat, other arts may use punching but none of it is comparable to boxings ability to teach technique to maximise punching power and speed and nothing else is as versatile as boxings use of hand combat. Try ending a street fight with wrestling you may hurt yourself in the process falling to the ground or you are at risk from other attackers if you choose to take it to the ground, boxing is the most efficient form of self defence by keeping you on your feet in the stand up position.
3. Counter Attacking
Boxing is not just attacking and throwing punches at your opponent. Boxing has in built defence and counter attacking opportunities. Many boxers throw punches with their off head centre or move their head after a punch ie using the slip or the roll, this means if you manage to throw a punch back at a boxer there is a good chance their head isn’t where you last saw it and their new position is perfectly setup to fire a punch back at you. Jab, cross, slip, cross is just a basic method of applying this.
Not just is boxing the best when it comes to hand to hand combat, it is also the best when it comes to footwork. Boxers are accustomed to fighting on the move and attacking opponents on the move which means they are always balanced to throw their shots from a solid base or use their footwork to throw a punch from a change of angle. Very few fighters outside of boxing have had the silky footwork moves of greats such as Muhammad Ali, Willie Pep and Vasyl Lomachenko. The pivot used by boxers enables them to also fight in close and still be able to change angles to land their biggest and hardest punches. Look at Mike Tyson for an example of this as well as Ricky Hatton who used the pivot to set up his monstrous body shots.
Is there a sport whose sparring is as intense and fast paced as boxings? Boxing is arguably the hardest sport in the world burning the most calories, this means it is also performed at a much higher tempo than other arts. You need to not only fight at a quicker pace but think at a faster pace too, other sports in comparison do not require you to think on your feet as quickly as boxing teaches you to and the tempo of the fight is much slower than that of boxings. Boxing is also the sport which best allows you to spar at full intensity, all you have is your two hands, a mouthguard and perhaps a headguard which makes for a better all round fighter. There is no other sport whose sparring makes you more fight ready both physically and mentally as boxing does – Boxing is tough.
It’s not all about attacking, with its array of defensive moves, using the arms to block, slips and rolls there is nothing which uses defence as efficiently as boxing does. As mentioned previously in the counter attacking point, these defensive moves all lead to another attack, little else trains the reflexes as well as boxing does and there is not a fighting art which can combine offense and defence simultaneously – if you are defending a kick chances are you cannot then return with an attack because of the defensive position you have had to enact to block the kick, with boxing the reflexes and defensive moves enable you to attack just as quickly.
So those are my top reasons for why every fighter should learn to box. Boxing is most likely to be the oldest fighting sport in the world, I am sure the first time two guys had a problem with eachother the first thing they did was use their hands to throw a punch at their rivals face. Boxing is the best when it comes to using your hands and in a world where most fights are won or lost with your hands, you would do well to learn the art of boxing. Whatever your art, if you take it upon you to add boxing to your skill set, you can guarantee you will become a much better more rounded fighter.
Boxing Coach Strength and Conditioning Coach Boxing Writer for the Ringside Report Boxing Author of: (Available for download on Amazon) The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit! Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle