As we’ve mentioned in our previous posts in this series, any martial art you choose to pursue will have a positive benefit on your health; it merely remains to choose one. This time we’re taking a look at boxing.
The Sweet Science may not be as flashy as karate or kung fu, but what it lacks in showiness it more than makes up for in pure functionality. When you train to be a boxer, you learn many useful things, like how to properly throw — and receive — a punch, how to maneuver in such a way that allows for the most effective mobility, and how to analyze an opponent’s offense and defense in order to properly exploit any existing holes.
At the same time, there is an intense amount of cardio during every session. Though it may not seem tough, the constant upper body movement, the bobbing and weaving, the continuous jabs, hooks, and uppercuts all combine to create an extremely wearying workout. Don’t expect, however, that all of this exercise will automatically help you lose weight or tone your body by themselves. Most boxers add weightlifting to their regimen, to supplement the movement they learn. Strength training helps your punches land harder and keeps your posture from sagging as you fight.
Perhaps one of the best benefits to boxing, and it’s something that is frequently overlooked, is that it teaches you not to be afraid of getting hit. This is something that most martial arts should teach, but in boxing it comes to the fore fairly quickly; it’s nearly impossible to avoid getting hit, no matter how quick you may be. You learn that it’s unpleasant taking a blow to the face, but it’s not the end of the world. You discover a valuable resiliency that will serve you well in many aspects of life.
Boxing is also a great self-defense art, as it teaches you how to assume a compact shape and protect your head. You can practice the art in a very small space, which is something that arts like karate and tae kwon do find more difficult to achieve. Boxing is one of the few arts that I can honestly recommend to anyone, regardless of age, gender, size, or experience. It is simple enough to learn in its rudimentary form, yet offers enough complexity in its advanced stages that it can be pursued for the rest of one’s life.