This great Italian novelist might be exaggerating just a tad! If you’ve ever tried boxing you’ll understand why, too.
If you want to become the best fighter, then you’ve got to train and take your workouts seriously: as in any sport, being serious and motivated counts almost as much as your other skills.
A boxing beginner – especially a beginner in Western boxing – must avoid skipping the early stages if he wishes to master the “noble art” one day.
Naturally, the training for a beginner is very different from the training of a professional boxer and begins with conditioning at the gym.
Let’s take a look at what new boxers will be looking at in the early days of their boxing adventure…don’t forget that every champion, from Rocky Balboa to Mohammed Ali to Mike Tyson went through this awkward phase.
Nature has many lessons for us. If the young shoot were not aided by the hand of man it would be stifled by weeds and give very little fruit.
The same goes for the body. It needs to be guided to reach its ultimate potential.
If a new boxer does not turn to a master in order to help him, he will no doubt be lost and confused. Instead start by training in the gym to get in shape and increase your stamina.
Abandoned to himself, the boxer will remain a boxer with gloves but clumsy with gestures which will get nowhere fast.
Should you box alone or with others? | Boxing with others will allow you to garner more experience and knowledge | source: Wikimedia Commons
If we box on our own, we will be learning the wrong moves, with no one to tell us when we are making a mistake.
Because of these many pitfalls, it’s important to find an instructor with whom you can grow and become better. Whether you want to learn Muay Thai or Kickboxing, the right boxing coach will help you on your journey.
Whether you are in a boxing club or with a private teacher that has a proven track record as a sportsman and pedagogue, there are numerous ways for you to avoid a KO in your first few weeks fighting.
To start in the ring, we recommend you subscribe to a sports insurance policy (before starting, ask your doctor whether you are a good candidate for boxing in general). It is also essential for an amateur boxer to have a minimum of equipment: good shoes, basketball-style shorts, a T-shirt, protective helmet and gloves – even, possibly, straps (bandages) under the gloves.
Your teacher will tell you what to do in order to prepare the fight.
It is a difficult combat sport – whether you want to engage in French or Western boxing. It is also an art in its own right for which you will need to have a lot of strength. Those who just want to beat others up, go your own way: this sport requires fancy footwork and great agility.
It is usually better to start boxing much later because early practice could be damaging to young developing brains. It’s true, a boxer takes many blows to the head, which can leave some aftereffects even with protection.
Before you really get into the sport, it is necessary to have completed regular physical activity that can best prepare your body for boxing’s efforts. Cardiovascular workouts will help you to get in shape and weights training will help you to build muscle mass and improve your strength. As you improve you can begin to practice boxing techniques such as shadow boxing to help improve your speed and dexterity.
Bodybuilding will definitely help you, but you might also want to look into general fitness and cardio, as you are first looking to eliminate fat (this is the challenge of categorizing boxers according to their weight, as in judo). Once you have accomplished this part of the challenge, you can rely on your muscles to be flexible, powerful, and effective. Jogging should continue in parallel to the boxing lessons, as well as skipping rope for those days where it is rainy and cold and you would rather train inside
The punching bag… | The most important thing for an apprentice boxer! | source: morguefile.com
It will be very helpful to you if you once played rugby or water polo. Martial arts are also essential for boxing later on.
Sports such as squash, basque pelota, swimming, or tennis have the advantage of being primarily cardio work. They are a good prelude to the ring when the time comes!
Also be sure to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, without ever forgetting to remain hydrated (by drinking water) during your sessions. A lot of sleep is also necessary, especially when you are engaging in daily sports.
An Olympic pro or amateur boxing champion has no problem placing all of his focus on the game and the fight at hand. We cannot say the same about most beginners, and it should not be asked of them.
The latter will have to perform much simpler exercises in order to make progress and one day reach a professional level of concentration and focus.
If we are to be truthful, the beginner’s journey is long and full of hardships. He has to discover the rules of a totally new sport and then learn to use them.
Until these rules and moves become a reflex, the beginner must be patient, even these days, when generation Y (or Z?) is used to getting everything right away: the victory, the glory, the money, the Olympic medal…
Here we are speaking about “training apprentice boxers” or “beginner’s training”. This can be more or less intense depending on the moment, but it is essential to practice basic punches every day without exception.
Any session obviously begins with at least 15 minutes of warming up, sometimes 30. Just run, get your joints going, and practice your moves without forcing them. Start with the well-known shadowboxing (do not be afraid to look ridiculous!) The principle here is simple: the coach will first show you the basic moves of boxing, which you will have to mimic and repeat an infinite number of times before you arrive at a real target.
The uppercut, the right hook, your footwork, your guard: all these things must become a part of you so that you deal them out without even thinking.
You will need to connect these elements to each other in sequences. As with chess, some sequences are basic, like the famous jab-cross technique.
Boxing experts teach “basic techniques” which are applicable for both experts and beginners.
The ideal is to be with an instructor who will play as your adversary, or in pairs with someone as your coach gives you advice and makes comments about your performance.
After a lesson, do not forget to stretch in order to maximize your recovery and allow your muscles to take on some mass.
Don’t forget that it is possible to learn boxing alone.
In addition to the budding boxer’s typical training session, which can be called a “beginner’s course”, there are traditional exercises that you can accomplish at various times of the day.
The list is long but let’s focus on the 5 most known boxing basics exercises for the beginner.
Endurance and resistance: the jumprope is not made only for children! It is a fundamental accessory already well known to high level athletes and bodybuilders, and it is not surprising that it has its place in any boxing training session.
Gradually, you can jump rope for up to an hour and a half! Add push-ups and abdominal work if you want to be at the top of your game.
This is how most beginners start a boxing session: fighting an imaginary enemy. It means you will be less sore, but it is more tiring than is commonly believed.
The best is to shadowbox facing a mirror in order to evaluate your performance.
At this stage, someone will be in your presence and receiving your punches as a moving target. The coach will be giving you a debrief on how you are doing.
You think combat sports are only reserved for men? | Think again! | source: visualhunt.com
For this exercise to be effective, it should last around half an hour. Its main objective is for the attacker to manage his or her breathing and to work on timing and techniques. A shortness of breath or early exhaustion will point to a deficient physical condition.
It is a variant of shadowboxing, which we have already mentioned. This one has an opponent involved.
The student spars for 3 to 6 rounds. He must touch his opponent, but without doing it too hard, and making sure the opponent is not hurt.
On the other hand, he must avoid blows. If you want to succeed in this exercise do the following: counter everything you can in the best way you can, and be swift on your feet!
It’s a classic: the punching bag is perhaps, more than the boxing gloves themselves, the symbol of boxing–be it English boxing, French boxing or Thai boxing.
The double elastic bag is one of the easiest to handle for a beginner.
So now let’s unwind and think about what we just learned together…