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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.

  • Old Habits Die Hard

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    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.

  • Burn the Ships

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Boxing Training: Learning Single-Minded Focus

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    In boxing, once that opening bell rings, there’s no turning back. You can change strategy.  You can choose to dig in and create a new outcome, but the only way out is to finish the fight.  You can go out on your back, out on your feet or by doing the unthinkable (quitting), but there has to be a conclusion.  You can’t take a break from the action or call a time-out to reassess.  The fight must go on.Sub01-BurnTheShips-Blog

    So before the action begins, resolve yourself to fight with all of your heart, no matter what.  Do it now.  Before the bell rings, make the decision to lay it all on the line.  This decision to give it your all will make you a better fighter.  It will make you harder to beat.  Your opponent will sense your determination. He will feel your unwavering strength.  He will know that he is in a serious game of attrition and a good ole’ fashioned game of chicken that you will not stray from.

    This decision also takes away your other options and will make the task-at-hand easier to accomplish.  You won’t have to fight an internal battle while a physical one is going on.  Your mind won’t be weighing the options because you have none.  You already eliminated those long before the fight started.Sub02-BurnTheShips-Blog

    It’s not unlike the situation that the Commander of the Spanish Expedition found himself in back in the spring of 1519.  Hernando Cortez and his Spanish Fleet of over 500 soldiers, set sail to the shores of Mexico.  He landed his eleven ships there to seek revenge and acquire riches from the ruling Aztecs. Realizing that some of his men were fearful, full of doubt and hesitant to engage in battle, Cortez did the unthinkable.  He removed the sails from all of the ships, except one.  He threw the compasses and all other valuables overboard and burned all of the ships.  “Burn the ships!” Cortez commanded as he took his men to a point of no return.  With a single order and decision to fight and win at all costs, he took away all other options from his men and eliminated all other courses of action from his own mind.  He left his soldiers with no other choice, but to succeed or die trying.  After a long battle, Cortez took control over the Aztec capitol city, Tenochtitlan and, on August 13, 1521, he claimed it for Spain. Tenochtitlan later became known as Mexico City.Sub03-BurnTheShips-Blog

    Boxing requires a single-minded focus second to no other sport. Its athletes have to be purposeful, uncompromising and willing to risk it all and lose everything.  Having the right mindset means that turning back, retreat is not an option.  Burn the ships and leave yourself only one path to success.  Soon you’ll find that it’s the only real satisfying option anyway because, even when you’re unsuccessful, you’ll know in your heart that you made a decision, carried it through and fought to the very end, without reservation.

    The next time you get ready to step in the ring; don’t just be ready for battle…be ready to “burn the ships".

  • There's More to Punching Bags than Punching

    There's More to Punching Bags than Punching

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    How To Hang A Heavy Bag

    Walk into any gym and you will see a variety of bags, hung in different ways, from varying heights, at a wide range of tension levels and anchor points. Most are mounted or anchored without much thought about anything more than being sure they are secure. In actuality the height at which you hang your bag and what you use to hang it with may be playing more of a role in your training than you ever realized.

    It's important to remember that each bag or work station in your gym is meant to serve as the opponent. Each real opponent your fighter will face has a personality or fighting style and whether you've ever really thought about it or not, so does each bag.Sub01-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The heavy bag, for instance, plays a central role in most gyms. Minutes turn into hours of training on this one piece of equipment and what you're doing on it each time you work out, is setting the tempo that you become accustomed to fighting at. It is helping establish the pace of your workout based on two characteristics, its size/weight and how it swings.

    If the heavy bag is hung from a taller ceiling and has a longer chain, its movements are longer, the range of movement wider and it requires less reaction time from the fighter. This style encourages more foot movement from the fighter as he chases down and counters the bag's movement and reinforces the style of fighting longer range, on the outside.

    On the other hand, if the heavy bag is hung from a lower ceiling, the swinging motion is shorter, it requires less foot movement and adjusting to counter the bag. The shorter swinging motion allows the fighter to stand more stationary and reinforces more inside fighting.Sub02-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The other bag that is greatly affected by how it is hung is the double end bag. This mostly relates to tension though and how tight your bungee cords are. The tighter the rubber cords, the shorter the movement of the bag will be. Having your double end bag tightly mounted encourages a greater level of intensity, requires greater hand speeds and faster reaction time.  Use more loose cords and the bag takes on a different personality. It becomes slower, moves in wider, more sweeping motions and reduces the pace the fighter is forced to work at.

    If you have a maize ball or slipping bag in your gym, even the length of the rope or chain used to hang this bag, encourages more or less movement from your fighter. If the rope is long, then the bag will take longer to swing back and forth and allows more time to react. If the rope or chain is shorter, the bag has a shorter range of motion; it becomes a faster paced exercise and is more intense.

    Of course the weight and size of the bag also plays pivotal role in how much the bag moves, how far it swings and the style of fighting it reinforces. The larger the bag, the less it will move and the smaller the bag, the faster and more mobile it will be. This goes for speed bags, heavy bags, double end bags or maize balls.Sub03-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The most important question in all cases is what are you trying to accomplish? Whether the fighter you are working with is more of a boxer, a puncher, an inside or outside fighter or whatever attribute(s) you want him to be working on, should factor into how you hang each bag. Of course you can adapt a specific fighting style to work with any of these scenarios. You can fight at a fast pace on the heavy bag or a slow pace on a double end bag, but there is an unmistakable natural inclination to fight a certain way when the bag in front of you has a distinct rhythm or movement.

    The bags in your gym are helping you become a better fighter. They can't tell you what you're doing wrong or shower you with words of encouragement, but they can develop certain aspects of your game. If you use them correctly and thoughtfully, you can make each piece of equipment work to enhance very specific skills. Just hitting the bag is like using the computer to only type emails. There are a myriad of other things you can get out of it that will improve your life and make you more efficient. So think about each bag's personality and what fighting style you want to improve while doing it, and then hang your bags accordingly. Determine what level you want your bags to hang and you'll be deciding what level you want to fight at.

    Shop punching bags here.

  • Protection and Power: Take Your Mouthguard Seriously

    Protection and Power: Take Your Mouthguard Seriously

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Best Mouthguards for Boxing

    When boxing's first protective gum shield (mouthpiece) was introduced in 1913 by dentist Jack Marks and was consequently made popular by boxer Ted "Kid" Lewis, his creation was purely intended to provide protection for the teeth and gums. Little did he know, his simple product would ultimately be altered and engineered to improve athletic performance. His basic design would also become a part of nearly all combat and contact sports. However, it wasn't until recent years that companies have put the research behind this piece of gear to enhance its protective benefits and, in the process, discover that a good mouthpiece can actually make an athlete stronger and faster. By providing a better fit and aligning the jaw more properly, your mouthpiece can actually add power to your punch and improve your ability to take a better shot. A better chin combined with the ability to hit harder...could that be true? It could be and it is.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub01

    More than the obvious benefits of just protecting your choppers from being punched-out, a good quality mouthpiece affects your physical ability and energetic output. It achieves this through positively affecting the position of your jaw by drawing it down, out and away from the base of your skull, so that direct impact to the brain is lessened. The proper placement of your jaw also affects the position of your head.  In turn, the position of your head affects your posture. If your jaw, head and body are all in alignment, then your body and brain are not wasting energy on trying to balance and counter-balance your head. Even though the adjustments are so small that they are in-perceivable, because you are constantly getting hit, constant adjustments are being made. The thousands of punches you take and movements you make during a six or eight round sparring session really add up and are distracting from your focus, even if you are not aware of it.  You may not sense the ongoing task that your body is subconsciously managing for you, but it's taking a small toll on your energy levels and focus.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub02

    Gaining power is a plus, because you have to wear a mouthpiece anyway, but the type of jaw-clenching that holding a mouthpiece in place requires, also improves blood flow to the brain.  This translates into more awareness and greater focus. Even without these added benefits, biting down on your mouthpiece is just smart. It helps protect you from getting your jaw broken and forces you to breathe through your nose, which also helps balance the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood, which directly affects your aerobic endurance.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub03

    Will getting the best mouthpiece money can buy suddenly transform you into a devastating power puncher? No, but it can serve as one piece of the puzzle that will make you are more complete, picture-perfect fighter. According to a Rutgers University study conducted in 2008, you can realistically expect an improvement of anywhere from 3-7% in power output. In this study, participants clearly demonstrated enhanced performance during short duration, explosive exercises, like boxing.

    Knowing that a mouthpiece can have so many far-reaching implications gives you one more reason to consider what value you're placing on your boxing pursuits. Why spend two dollars on a standard, boil-and-bite mouthpiece only to turn around and splurge hundreds of bucks on a pair of gloves? Just as important as protecting yourself at all times, it is equally as important to protect yourself at all costs. In today's economic climate, everyone has a budget, but if boxing is your business, then invest your hard earned dollars wisely and put your money where your mouth is.

    Shop mouthguards here.

  • 5 Slip Cord Exercises to Work Into Your Training Routine

    5 Slip Cord Exercises to Work Into Your Training Routine

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Boxing Slip Rope Training

    When it comes to boxing training, there isn't a more basic piece of equipment than the slipping cord. Made up of rubber cord or a simple piece of rope, it is simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use, yet it has dynamic applications to boxing.  There are numerous ways it can be incorporated into any workout that can add sound technique to a boxer’s training routine.

    First, begin by hanging the cord/rope approximately chest high, across any area spanning at least ten to fifteen feet. The cord should be strung tight and secured at both ends.

    From that point, there are a variety of exercises that can be done with a basic slipping cord, beginning from the ground up.

    1 - The most basic use of the slipping cord is to practice footwork. Have your boxer position himself at one end of the slipping cord, assuming a proper boxing stance. With the cord resting lightly on his or her left shoulder, he should move down the cord making sure to step with the left foot first and bring the right foot behind it. This helps the fighter to get used to stepping correctly, with the front foot first and back foot secondly.  This is also a good way to be sure a he gets used to staying on his toes and also driving off of his back foot, not dragging it.

    2 - Another lower body exercise that can be incorporated into use of the slipping cord is practicing proper technique when rolling under punches. A fighter should assume a proper boxing stance and not move his feet, not step, but roll under the cord, simulating the movement of slipping under a left hook or looping right-hand. When it's done properly a fighter will be shifting his weight forward as he rolls under the right and shifting his weight back (over the right knee) as he slips under the left hook.  It is important that the fighter bends at the knees, dropping his butt towards the ground and does not bend at the waist, looking down at the floor. He should shift his weight forward and back, working the leg muscles and developing the habit of placing the majority of weight on the side of his body that he would naturally counter from.

    3 - Building from there, a fighter can then also work in a variety of punches. A good one to add onto the basic movement of rolling under the cord is the uppercut. As a fighter rolls forward, onto his left leg, he is in a perfect position to throw a left uppercut. Be sure to throw is at the opposite side of the cord. This accomplishes two things. It puts the fighter in a crouched position, out of the center line of fire and teaches the fighter to throw the punch across his body, not straight up and down, which would leave him more exposed. Slip left, throw a left uppercut. Slip right, throw a right uppercut. The uppercut can be a devastating punch and throwing it from a lower center of gravity, turning on his hips to landing it on the opposite side of the cord, constantly slipping forward and back, will generate even more punching power and better technique.

    4 - Another variation is to work down the cord and throw punches on either side of it, stepping and throwing in succession. Then, for added difficulty, pivot outside the cord occasionally and throw punches toward it. Standing outside the cord (facing it), throwing punches above and below it, changing your height and distance from the cord quickly, will help instill an awareness of range and levels of engagement.  It also helps incorporate side-to-side movement into, what is otherwise, a linear exercise. Working up and down the length of the cord incorporates the best of both worlds, working inside and outside.

    5 - Without hitting it hard, an important aspect of working the slipping cord is not to be afraid to make light contact with it. The cord can be used to gauge speed of movement as contact is lightly made each time a slip is completed. From a defensive standpoint, the cord is a measuring stick to be sure that a fighter is not over slipping or under slipping, just by making gentle contact. While on offense, a small amount of contact can be made to keep punches sharp and combinations fluid. Maintaining proper distance is also easier to practice because there is somewhat of a stationary target to punch at.

    Some of the most beneficial pieces of equipment in boxing are those that are the most basic. It is when they are approached with an understanding of how they apply to what happens in the ring, that they take on a new life an added significance. The slipping cord looks about as simple as it gets, but as they say...looks can be deceiving.

    Shop slip cords here.

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