One of boxing’s greatest attributes is that it constantly challenges you. Whether you are in it to just get fit or get to fighting, the appeal is in the challenge that there is constantly more to learn.
As a boxer, you need to know now that you will never be done. You will always have another move to learn, a basic fundamental to perfect or an experience to have and overcome. Whether the prospect of that excites you or discourages you provides great insight to how far you will go in this sport. If you can be honest with yourself, the answer to that question will tell you whether you will stick with this fitness program or career goal or just give up when it gets too tough. It will tell you if you really want to compete or if you just want to have bragging rights to being a boxer.
Because it is progressive, boxing inherently has various levels that you have to experience throughout your training process. These are built into any good program and they will lead you down a path that will test you every step of the way. You are only able to move on, physically and mentally, when you fully grasp each level. You should experience the process something like this…
Gaining a physical understanding of how to properly deliver punches and adhering to exact technique is the first step. Learn the basics. That sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many guys are tossed into a sparring session without even knowing how to defend against a punch or how to throw anything other than a big, power right hand. In many ways, this first step is the most critical level, because if the basics are glossed-over and a proper foundation is not set, bad habits develop. Bad habits are hard to break so if they’re not addressed and corrected early on, they become a part of your boxing personality. This first phase should be about perfecting technique and helping you gain an entry-level appreciation for the intricacies of boxing.
Next, comes learning how what you’ve been taught so far applies…understanding why you do what you do. There’s a lot more to boxing than just scrapping. If you know why a specific counterpunch works or the philosophy behind shifting your weight, then it makes sense and when it makes sense it will come more naturally. There is a counter to every move, a defensive component to every offensive move and a reaction to every action. If you were playing kids games, the first phase would be like playing Lincoln Logs. This second phase should begin to feel a little more like a game of checkers. You should begin to be able to see how every move affects the next. This level should include more interactivity with mitts and partner drills, even light sparring.
Natural athleticism is one thing, but coordinating the mind and body to work in unison, doesn’t come easily to everyone. Natural athletes take it for granted, but that’s not necessarily the majority of people out there or even fighters. Some fighters have to work at connecting the mind and body, really focusing on doing and thinking together. You can know what to do, understand why you do it, but executing it is what makes you a fighter. Overcoming the fear to commit, relaxing enough to let your mind and body interact and trusting your instincts in the ring can collectively make or break that connection. Fear, stress and uncertainty interrupt the natural flow. If you can keep these negative emotions from interfering with what is otherwise, a natural process, your natural born fighter will come out and take over.
These are the first three basic levels to grasping the sport. They are the fundamental building blocks that everything else will depend on. Get these three steps taken care of, even if you have to pretend like you are starting over.
First, get to know the basics.
Second, understand how they apply.
Third, put the two together.
The what and the why lay the proper foundation for the how and that will come in part two of the Seven Dynamics of Boxing…