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TITLE Boxing Blog

TITLE Boxing Blog

From inside the gym to around the world of combat sports, the TITLE Boxing Blog keeps you up-to-date with the latest MMA and Boxing news, training tips and fighting techniques. This is the kind of info you need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Author Archives: Doug Ward

After fighting as an amateur up until the age of twenty-one, Douglas Ward moved on to work in the boxing equipment industry, became a trainer, a fight manager and shares his passion for the sport of boxing at every opportunity. After spending over 30 years in various aspects of the fight game, he’s become an ongoing advocate for the sport and has touched nearly every aspect from corner to corner. After spending the past eleven years in the marketing arena, while running his own boxing company on the side, Douglas’ career has now come full circle, when he recently joined the Title Boxing Team as their Director of Marketing. This partnership creates the perfect combination of equipment design and development, historical insights and in-depth boxing training expertise. Douglas is also President of the Underground Boxing Company. Since its inception in 2002, the UBC has focused on preserving the integrity and respectability of the sport. The UBC serves a team of amateur and professional boxers through a comprehensive management/training system while striving to protect the financial, physical and spiritual well-being of its athletes. Douglas, the UBC and Title Boxing's FIGHTERS FIRST mentality is what the sport of boxing is all about. It is a philosophy they will continue to foster and promote.

  • Fight Like a Girl

    Fight Like a Girl

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    The Rise of Women Boxers

    Although the phrase fight like a girl has been used in a derogatory way in the past, there's value to doing just that.

    Just as they're the ferocious protectors of their young in the animal kingdom, women are just as as emotionally and physically wired for fighting as men. Men and women are both naturally-gifted with the fight or flight response mechanism. When confronted or put in a potentially dangerous situation, this complex hormonal response. triggered in our bodies, secretes over thirty different stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol; all having a collective, widespread effect on the body. This adrenaline rush can increase your awareness, physical strength, mental acuity and speed/response time, all in order to quickly and adequately handle the perceived threat. This chemical reaction in the human body is not gender-specific. In fact, women may even be quicker to sense, react and respond to her body's natural inclination to protect itself at all costs.

    In terms of basic physical structure, women also contain some natural physiological benefits for success in boxing. First, the female pelvis is larger and broader than it is in men, so women tend to have an advantage in where their natural center of gravity is. They also tend to carry extra weight/place their balance in their hips, unlike men, who tend to carry their weight in their abdominal area. This type of weight distribution allows some women to naturally sit down on their punches more thoroughly and maintain a more balanced center of gravity.  Dropping your center of gravity and sitting down on your punches adds leverage to its delivery.

    Another benefit that women may have is a lack of societal pressure that they should be fighters by nature. In some cases this may make women more "coachable". They're more open-minded when they enter the gym or a teaching/coaching environment, because there aren't preconceived notions as there are with men. The male ego and pressure from society that they should be natural-born killers prevent some men from grasping the basic principles of boxing. It stems from men believing they're too macho to start from scratch and be told how to fight. Some men are so focused on showing how tough they are that they skip over the technique and fundamentals needed to be an effective boxer.

    It may even be safe to say that most women who walk into the gym may feel a greater need to prove themselves. This creates a sense of willingness to go that extra mile and show everyone they can hang with anyone and everyone. That they are just as tough and just as deserving to train, box or compete as anyone else in the gym. There's a certain resolve or inner strength that comes from needing to earn respect from your peers, so they work harder, learn faster and don't give up near as quickly.

    Even though men and women are competing on different physical levels their abilities and capabilities are not that different. In terms of some slight anatomical differences, numerous intangibles and the desire/ability to learn, women may experience some small advantages when it comes to boxing.

    Of course, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to all men or all women. These facts are blanket generalities in some cases. There's still no denying there are a lot of women who can just plain fight, and they're making a distinct place for themselves in the sweet science…a place where fighting like a girl has a whole new meaning.

    Shop TITLE Boxing.

  • All the Rage - Jake "The Raging Bull" LaMotta

    All the Rage - Jake "The Raging Bull" LaMotta

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Who was The Raging Bull?

    The complexities that made Jake LaMotta such an interesting character, so much so that Martin Scorsese made the infamous film about his tumultuous life entitled, "Raging Bull," also made him one of the most dangerous fighters of his era.

    LaMotta learned how to fight at an early age, while his father threw him into street fights for the entertainment of neighbors, passed the hat, took side bets, Jake began formulating his fearless fighting style. His natural transition into the professional ring saw him winning his first 14 fights in a row and it was the epitome of on the job training. Amidst a tough middleweight division and stiff competition, LaMotta developed a difficult style for any fighter to face. His chin was unquestionably unbreakable. His ability to roll with punches as easily as he absorbed them was uncanny. His instinct for infighting and drawing his opponent into a brawl was a strong suite.  And his unrelenting bullying, stalking and willingness to trade earned him a showdown with Sugar Ray Robinson in 1942.

    This confrontation with the great Sugar Ray Robinson would be the first of SIX meetings the two would have over the next nine years. Even though he only won one of their multiple outings, “The Bronx Bull” became Robinson's greatest nemesis. He became Robinson's defining adversary who brought out the best in Robinson every time they squared-off.  Their fights were highly anticipated and are, still today, a perfect example of the Bull versus the Matador ring scenario.

    LaMotta spent over 65 rounds and 169 minutes with possibly the greatest fighter of all time, and was still able to boast that "No son-of-a-bitch ever knocked me off my feet." Although that claim ended in December of 1952, when Danny Nardico dropped “The Bronx Bull” in the seventh round.  LaMotta fell into the ropes and went down for the first time, it was clearly toward the end of LaMotta’s career and well beyond his prime.

    There’s no question that, in an era of tough fighters and the stiffest competition, Jake LaMotta came up the hard way.  In a career spanning two weight divisions and 13 years, he fought the great Sugar Ray, the mafia, all comers and walked away in 1954 with an astounding 106 bouts on his ledger.  “The Raging Bull” lived a life worthy of recognition and would ultimately be immortalized on the big screen by Oscar-winning actor, Robert De Niro.  He is a legendary fighter who has created a Legacy worthy of a champion.

    Get your officially licensed LaMotta tees here.

  • Nothing to Fear, but Fear Itself - Understanding the Emotion

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Overcome Your Fear in Boxing

    LeadImage-NothingToFear-Blog

    Fear is something every fighter has had to deal with in his or her career.  Whether or not they will admit it, even the most intimidating, ferocious competitor has had to fight, forget, flee from or face their fear in the ring.  Its impact on performance and the role it plays in the sport is something that can’t be denied.  It has kept contenders from winning championships and has prevented bright prospects from realizing their potential.  Fear can’t be suppressed or wished away, but has to be embraced in order to harness the power it has and what its real purpose is.  Part of harnessing that power is understanding it.

    Fear, and the way that it manifests itself, is born out of self-preservation.  It was the way our ancestors were able to adapt to their surroundings, chasing down their prey for food or running from their food, their prey to keep from being “dinner.”  It was all about survival.  Out of this instinctual breeding ground, it became the human body’s fight-or-flight response.  It is a natural way of coping with stressful surroundings or a dangerous environment….your body’s way of preparing to do battle.  What is happening to the body, in essence, is the frontal cortex sends a message that releases a wave of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.  These hormones elevate blood sugar levels and release a quick burst of energy in preparation to fight. This release also causes the heart to pump up to four times the amount of blood, from 5 to nearly 20 quarts per minute, to increase oxygen and energy flow.  The blood also takes a different route, away from the skin, stomach and kidneys, because they are not necessary for survival at that point.  The blood instead is re-routed to the muscles and vital organs to prepare to mount or defend against a physical attack.  Blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rates increase to prepare the body for combat. The body’s nervous system kicks into high gear and every bit of glucose is converted into fuel, creating the perfect environment for a fighting machine. To call the process “amazing” would be an understatement.

    Now, as a fighter, how could you look at that process and not be in awe of how perfectly it fits your profession?  It is an entirely natural instinct, passed down to you from generation to generation, that specifically prepares you to fight.  Most people don’t have an outlet suited to let this play out in day-to-day life.  They don’t have a need or way to release this physiological reaction so they usually create undue stress, hate their boss, get irritated with their neighbor,  yell at other commuters on the way to work and create heightened anxiety/stress in their lives.  Now, that’s unnatural!  Yet, many fighters, struggle with this fear.  The physical reaction, alert nervous system, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, etc. all feel “foreign” because they are not an everyday emotions, but they actually couldn’t be more natural.  Properly-channeled fear is one of the most powerful tools a fighter has when he’s entering the ring.

    Fighters all deal with these feelings of fear in different ways.  Some listen to music to take their mind off the anxiety, others surround themselves with friends or peers to serve as a distraction, some fighters even talk themselves up in an attempt to project confidence instead of feeling stress, while others might quarantine themselves off in seclusion where they can quietly deal with their fear on their own. None of these methods or tricks is particularly right or wrong, they are just methods to cope.  The important thing is to fully recognize fear for what it is, embrace it and feed it.  When it comes down to fight time, don’t try to suppress it and bottle it up.  Use it. Let your mind fire on all cylinders.  Feed the adrenaline monster.  Enjoy the fact that your body is fully preparing you.  You can even let the fact that these feelings make you uncomfortable, make you mad.

    Legendary trainer, Cus D’Amato once said that “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It's the same thing, fear, but it's what you do with it that matters.”  So the important thing is what you do with your fear.  Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist because then you’re lying to yourself.  Don’t ignore it because then you’re not embracing it and able to use it to its fullest.  But, most importantly, don’t let it consume you.  Everyone has it.  You’re not alone and any fighter who says he doesn’t get scared is lying.  Maybe he has learned how live with it, maybe he enjoys the adrenaline rush and even fully understands the mental and physical benefits of the fight-or-flight mechanism, but everyone feels fear.  The key is how you deal with it.  Cus D’Amato’s protégé, Mike Tyson struggled with fear throughout his career.  He was very open about his own feelings of anxiety from his amateur days all the way through the pros.  His trainers spent hours consoling him and helping him come to terms with his fear.  Tyson even said himself, “I'm scared every time I go into the ring, but it's how you handle it. What you have to do is plant your feet, bite down on your mouthpiece and say, 'Let's go.'”  Without question Tyson learned how to harness his fear and it ultimately became one of his most powerful weapons.  He entered nearly every bout being the one doing the intimidating and allowed his opponents’ fear to do most of the damage before he even threw the first punch.

    We may have evolved as people, but those same basic instincts that kept man alive, before technology and sophistication took over, still dominate human physiology.  They are innate in us.  Whether we are swinging clubs or throwing punches, survival is still at the core of our existence.  This especially applies to fighters, who seek out the experience to go toe-to-toe, expose themselves or their opponent and square off in front of hundreds, even thousands of spectators.  Those that succeed, discover that the greatest challenge wasn’t an opponent at all, but their own emotions…headlined by fear.  That’s what makes winning that much more powerful, because once you’ve conquered your own, unbridled emotions, everything else is child’s play and fear…just another toy.

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    Shop at TITLE Boxing here.

  • Jump to It - The Art of the Jump Rope

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Why Do Boxers Jump Rope?

    Boxing and the outcome of a fight is not always determined by the big things you do in the gym, but sometimes it is the attention you give to the details that really make the difference.  One of those details is the jump rope.  Aside from the obvious cardiovascular benefits, jumping rope can improve your agility, quickness, leg strength and it has the same ability to raise your heart rate and keep it elevated as roadwork does. According to information provided by the Cooper Aerobic Institute, 10 minutes of jumping rope is the cardiovascular-equivalent to running for 30 minutes. In addition to the aerobic benefits, the jump rope also helps strengthen the calves, the ankles and muscles of the legs, all of which play a crucial part in footwork and movement in the ring.

    Boxers have incorporated skipping rope into their workouts for centuries because it is one of the best stamina-building exercises you can perform in the gym.  Hard-hitting heavyweight Sonny Liston was one fighter who became synonymous with skipping rope.  He used to jump round after round to his favorite song, "Night Train" and switched back and forth between Jimmy Forrest's original 1952 version and James Brown's 1965 version.  He even appeared on the Ed Sullivan show to demonstrate his prowess on the rope.  Liston jumped with unusual grace and dexterity, the exact opposite of his stalking, physically imposing ring personae.

    What skipping rope provides, that other lower body exercises do not, is that it is perfectly suited to the demands you meet in the ring, more than any other leg work you can do.  For instance, when you are jogging or sprinting, which are both great for endurance, you are engaging the larger leg muscles.  You need this type of training to build leg strength, but what you get from jumping rope is an intense focus on short, compact movements.  It requires intense and explosive bursts of movement. When you compare the two…large powerful strides used for running versus quick, side-to-side movements, which one best describes how you move in the ring?

    TITLE Wooden Handle Leather Speed RopeThis type of training also helps you to get used to moving your feet instinctively and constantly for a full round.  When you require yourself to stay on your toes, perpetually moving, for three minutes at a time, that’s when moving non-stop in the ring becomes second nature.

    Jumping rope also helps to develop your lower body strength proportionately.  Everyone has a dominant leg, just like your hands.  You’re either right-handed or left-handed and the same holds true for your legs.  One leg is always stronger and more coordinated, so by jumping rope regularly, requiring the same or similar amount of output from both legs, this helps you even-out the demands so that you are able to move in either direction with equal ability.

    Many use the jump rope and approach it like it is just a warm-up or cool down, but it should have a regular place in your workout and become an integral exercise in your training routine. Like any other exercise, it should be approached with a sense of intensity.  It’s not a piece of equipment to use casually and to methodically skip.  Use it to set a fast and furious pace to your workout routine and get the full benefit from it.   Approach it this way, with purpose, and the rope has its own distinct rhythmic that can improve your sense of timing and total body coordination.  How many times have you heard a fighter say that he “just couldn’t get his timing down or couldn’t find his rhythm?” Engrain your own natural pace through regular use of the jump rope and you’ll never find yourself dancing to your opponents tune.

    Boxing, at times, is about doing the little things - giving time to the details that your opponent isn’t paying attention to or is just not dedicated enough to spend some rounds on. The jump rope has become so commonplace in the gym that it can be easily overlooked or taken for granted.  It is a simple piece of equipment, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it doesn’t hold the key to gaining some crucial advantages, ones that your opponent may choose to skip.

     Using Your Jump Rope Properly:

    • Measure the ideal length of jump rope for you by stepping on the center of it with both feet - The ends of the handles should reach your armpits.
    • Pick a rope that is has some “weight” to it, but is not slow. A little density (and a good ball-bearing design) will add to the speed you can rotate it at.
    • Only jump high enough to clear the rope (about ¼”) and rotate the rope quickly. This is not a leisurely exercise.
    • Keep your knees bent and your legs moving constantly.
    • Land on the balls of your feet and do not let your heels touch (except for variations on the basic skip).
    • Use your wrists to rotate the rope, not your entire arm.
    • Keep your elbows to your sides and close to your body.  Do not let you forearms drift out and away or it will shorten the rotation and you’ll miss the skip.

    Get your jump ropes here.

  • Old Habits Die Hard

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    How To Become A Better Fighter

    Although there are certainly life lessons and traditional rules of etiquette that apply to all situations, there are a handful of seemingly good habits that can work against you in the boxing ring.  What you do in life, how you conduct yourself day-to-day, doesn’t always mesh well with what you need to practice in the gym in order to properly protect yourself.  When you break it down, you might be surprised how many of the good habits you were constantly reminded of as a child, just don’t apply to life in the gym.  The good habits you worked to perfect actually translate into bad boxing technique.  Some of these physical traits and mental beliefs you have worked so hard to follow are now the very ideals you need to leave at the gym door in order to become a better fighter.Sub01-OldHabits-Blog

    1.  Stand up straight…don’t slouch.  That was great for attending Sunday school, but in the ring, correct posture is not good.  Although you were taught and constantly reminded to stand up straight, shoulders back and chin up tall, that’s a like putting out an “open for business” sign on your chin.  Instead, keep your shoulders rounded, your chin tucked in and your head behind your hands.  Too many times, you see guys bending at their waist to try to avoid punches.  They duck and slip punches with their backs straight and their shoulders back.  Their posture is great, but their movement is horrible and they get hit with EVERYTHING. Your arms and shoulders are like your own personal shell.  Roll your shoulders over and get in it.Sub02-OldHabits-Blog

    2.  When you walk, you do it heel-toe, but when you move in boxing you should always stay on the balls of you feet.  Anytime you find yourself on your heel, you are vulnerable to be hit and knocked off balance.  You can’t move from your heel.  You need your toes to push off with, so anytime you have to move from your heel, you first have to shift your weigh onto the ball of your foot and then move.  That means you have to make two movements to get into a new position instead of just one.

    3.  If it hurts, avoid it.  Boxing involves pain - in the gym, in training and in the ring.  That may sound pretty basic, but for some people changing their mindset and becoming okay with facing and embracing that pain day-after-day, requires some re-adjusting.  It’s not all that natural to seek out and actually look for ways to create pain in your workout or thrive on it when you enter the ring.  Pain comes with the territory, so if you want to become a fighter, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.Sub03-OldHabits-Blog

    4. Be nice. Don't get angry.  Don’t lose your temper.  Those are all valuable in the workplace, in school and in social gatherings, but in the boxing ring, a little anger can go a long way. That’s not to say you should let it get away from you or that it’s okay to lose your cool in the heat of battle.  You have to keep it under control, but some well-placed aggression is necessary. That’s one of the appealing aspects to competitive athletics is that you can blow off a little steam and it’s not only accepted, it is admired.  Again, that’s not to say that pitching a fit or outwardly abusing your sparring partners is good, but sometimes a little fire (under control) gives off the kind of heat you need to keep the competitive fire burning.

    5.  Don't be egotistical.  Actually a little ego is good. Arrogance is bad.  Don’t get the two confused.   Your ego is what your idea of your own importance is.  It is your self-esteem and it doesn’t have to be at an inappropriate level.  Arrogance is feeling or showing contempt or disregard for others and having an inflated self-importance.  It’s important to not underplay your importance, your skill set or potential. Its part of what makes you want to compete and achieve.  It’s only when this escalates into feelings of superiority over other people that your views and the way you treat others fighters or coaches become out of balance.Sub04-OldHabits-Blog

    6. Fear is a bad emotion.  When harnessed, fear is actually good.  Your brain is hard-wired to respond to danger, to send your body and mind into overdrive so that it can physically and mentally cope with pressure. Your body's natural response induces sweating, speeds up your heart rate, heightens your awareness and increases blood flow.  Don’t these all sound like good traits to take into the ring with you?  Your mind, feeling fear, works faster and more intuitively than your conscious mind and can jump into action instantly when it senses the slightest bit of danger.  This emotional skill allows you to act quickly and instinctually, without having to take the time to process new information.  The only time fear is negative is when you allow it to consume you and inhibit your ability to think and react naturally.  Embrace it and this won’t happen.

    Although breaking some of these traditionally good life habits may feel unnatural or be difficult at first, working to correct them could mean a better life in the gym.  These changes may not make your mommy proud, but as long as you still don’t talk with your mouth full or put your elbows on the dinner table, ignoring some of these minor rules of etiquette will help protect your face...even if it is one only a mother could love.

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