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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.

  • 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.

    Sub-NothingToFear-Blog

    Shop at TITLE Boxing here.

  • How to Wrap Your Hands in 10 Easy Steps

    How to Wrap Your Hands in 10 Easy Steps

    How To Wrap Hands for Boxing

    Boxing Hand Wrapping Tutorial

    A good hand wrap should accomplish two things.  First, it should protect a fighter’s hands and give him a sense of security in knowing that he can punch with full force and not hurt his fists.  Second, if it is executed properly, a quality hand wrap job should also secure a fighter’s fists in a way that will allow him to punch with full force and not feel it in the bones and joints of his hand.  The amount of confidence that a fighter has in his ability to punch, injury-free, is critical. This all starts with a good, basic wrap.

    1. Begin by unrolling your hand wrap to reveal the thumb loop on the end.

    hand wrap 1

    2. Place it around the base of your thumb and pull the wrap across the back of your hand.

    hand wrap 2

    You begin by going across the back of your hand so that when you make a fist it "clinches-up" the beginning of the wrap just enough to make it more secure when you make a fist.

    3. Wrap around your knuckles three times.

    hand wrap 3

    Be sure to wrap up high enough, roughly just under the first knuckle so that when you make a fist, the punching surface is padded, not just your knuckles.

    4. Cross over the back of your hand and wrap around your wrist three times.

    hand wrap 4

    hand wrap 4-1

    5. Come up and across your palm and loop the wrap halfway around your thumb.

    hand wrap 5

    6. Go back across your palm again, over that back of your hand and loop the wrap halfway around your thumb from the other direction.

    hand wrap 6

     

    This has secured the thumb from both directions.

    7. Wrap back around your wrist and using your thumb as the "anchor" begin wrapping between each finger, starting between your pinky and ring finger.Keep your thumb fully extended so that the wrap is coming up from the base of your thumb.

    hand wrap 7

    hand wrap 7-1

     

    You're wrapping between each knuckle to help maintain the proper and natural separation that exists between each knuckle. If you mis-hit from the side, this will help maintain the proper cushion and space between the knuckles. It helps prevent them from smashing together if you don't strike the surface of a bag or your opponent directly.

    8. Once all three spaces between your knuckles and fingers have been wrapped, use your thumb as the anchor one last time and come back up around the outside of your knuckles and wrap them together, again three times.

    hand wrap 8

    hand wrap 8-1

     

    This also helps maintain the proper distance between your knuckles by not allowing them to separate upon impact. The wrap between the knuckles, maintains natural spacing. Following that up with wrap around the knuckles, holds them in their proper place.

    9. After that, cross over the back of your hand and wrap at least three more times around your wrist.

    hand wrap 9

    hand wrap 9-1

    10. If you have a lot more wrap, you can cross back and forth over the back of your hand, making an X pattern.

    hand wrap 10

     

    If you can't complete three or more final wraps around your wrist, your wraps might be too small and you should consider getting wraps that allow you full protection. On the other hand, if you have a lot more extraneous wrap, you might consider getting shorter wraps. Too much hand wrap will prevent you from making a good, tight fist. Otherwise, if your ending point is somewhere close, make a fist. Be sure that your wrap is snug-enough to stay in place, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation.

    There are many ways and styles of wrapping hands. This approach plays into and protects the anatomical structure of the human hand. It’s designed to protect the 29+ small bones you use to make a fist and hit things with. Hand protection is one of the foundations of your craft. Your hands are your livelihood. Take care of them, so you can take care of business.

    hand wrap final

    To check out the hand wraps available from TITLE Boxing, click here.

  • TITLE Boxing Joins the Fight Against Heart Disease with American Heart Association's Life is Why We Give Campaign

    TITLE Boxing Joins the Fight Against Heart Disease with American Heart Association's Life is Why We Give Campaign

    American Heart Association Supporter

    The American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, has enlisted the support of corporations in raising funds for the cause. When consumers purchase TITLE fitness gear from TITLE Boxing, they will have the opportunity to give to the American Heart Associations via the Life Is Why We Give™ fundraising campaign.

    TITLE Boxing is one of the businesses helping the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke - the number one and number five causes of death in America. While TITLE is headquartered in Kansas City, the fundraising campaign will span the nation.

    Avid gym goer and two-time heart transplant recipient, Chris Williams, is one of the many excited about this partnership.

    "I survived two heart transplants because of research funded by the American Heart Association. It's amazing how much smoother my second transplant was, even though they only happened three years apart. I'm living proof of the advancements made and I'm thrilled to see TITLE Boxing's commitment to the health of all Americans," said Williams.

    TITLE Boxing's Life Is Why We Give™ campaign includes a 10% donation from the following at different phases throughout the year:

    1. TITLE Fitness Gear purchases
    2. limited edition "Got Heart" tee
    3. TITLE Fitness Bundle purchases
    4. limited edition AHA-branded hand wraps
    5. limited edition AHA-branded boxing gloves

     

    TITLE Boxing joins a number of national companies, including: Barrett Jackson, Bourbon & Boweties, Brahmin, Brighton, Brita, Citi, eBay, Everything ORGO, FabFitFun, Fifth Third Bank, Ford, Healthy Human, HP Papers, Kroger, Land's End, OfficeMart.com, Pilot Flying J, Spirit Fitness, Stein Mart, The Knot, Wheels Up and White + Warren.

    "Together we are fighting heart disease & stroke to create healthier communities for all. This partnership will help to create a culture of health while laying a foundation that will help the American Heart Association reach our goal of improving health and reducing death & disability," said Laura Lopez, Executive Director for the American Heart Association.

    As the leading source of non-government funded cardiovascular science, the Association has invested more than $3.7 billion in scientific research and discovery since 1949. The organization trains approximately 2 million high school graduates in CPR every year and has reduced cardiovascular disease mortality by 70 percent since 1968.

  • 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.

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