“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Muhammad Ali
Women’s boxing is an art, at least as much as age-old Karate or Jui Jitsu. This discipline is distinguishable from men’s boxing and has specificities of its own. From its history through to its techniques and current practice, here are all the secret’s of women’s boxing, a discipline of the mind, body and spirit!
England Boxing, the national governing body for boxing, has seen a significant increase in the feminization of boxing following a new craze for the discipline. Beginning in 2008, after the movie Million Dollar Baby was released and since then, with the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics in 2012, registered female boxers in the UK has jumped from 900 in 2009 to 35,000 in 2017! Women now make up 21% of England Boxing’s participation overall.
Coming from the practices of pankration and pugilism, dating from many centuries ago, boxing is an ancient sport that is a part of martial arts, just like aikido, judo or taekwondo. A boxer must have full control of his gestures (his foot, leg, arm, fist), to perform precise and effective movements.
It’s not enough to just hit in boxing, you must always have a goal in mind.
Practice boxing to let off steam and sculpt your body (Source: Pixabay)
Given that intense effort is needed in women’s boxing training, boxing for weight loss can also be considered a goal. Why? Simply because, even if you are a beginner, boxing enables you to add muscles very quickly, thanks to strength training exercises, including weight lighting. Better than Pilates, Zumba or going to the gym, boxing allows you to lose weight quickly, but also to lose weight in a sustainable way. With muscle and strength building, you gain flexibility, ab exercises allow you to be more resistant to the punch of your partner, stretching helps you to improve your punch. With three sports activities mixed into one, it’s worth an hour or two in the ring to sculpt one’s body, right?
In truth, boxing has many virtues:
With some variations, you can focus on a training program adapted to weight loss, with for example Sweatbox which, as the name suggests, will make you sweat!
All in all, boxing will help you get in shape: between warming up, stretching, free fighting or training on punch bags, your body is quickly subjected to intense activity!
Practising boxing to lose weight is like everything else: it’s all just a matter of mind over matter! This is something that every dojo master might tell you.
Between strategy, tactics and aggression, you will probably be wondering what distinguishes women’s boxing from men’s boxing. This is normal because men’s boxing is more often shown in the media than women’s boxing: it is easier to name a men’s world champion than a professional female boxer. This is why it is important to know the advantages of practising women’s boxing, especially as compared to men’s boxing. Sports disciplines that are similar, but have different histories and goals.
Women VS Men in the ring: the same passion (Source: Pixabay)
If boxing is considered a combat sport, it’s for a good reason: apart from a few variants that can be practised with bare hands, most are done with specific boxing equipment for men and women. We find, for example, the following unavoidable components:
Practitioners are predominantly male (79% of those registered in England Boxing), but it also depends on the type of boxing. Women’s boxing and boxing men each have their particularities.
Men can be very competitive, one might think of famous boxers such as Mayweather or Mike Tyson, heavyweights who go full-out on their opponent. Kung fu, kickboxing, UFC- many men seem to prefer intense contact sports.
For these types of sports, an intense physical preparation is necessary: weightlifting, bodybuilding, diet; every arena is tackled in order to become the best among the competitors.
Women can also be very competitive: such as with the UK champions Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams who won gold in boxing at the London Summer Olympics in 2012. This was the first ever Olympic medals awarded to women for boxing and two of the three gold medalists were from the UK!
However, for most women, 80% say they prefer to practice educational boxing or boxing training, that is to say, focusing on other aspects, such as fitness, self-defence or getting into shape.
For many men, with boxing, the end goal is to be victorious in the ring, whereas for women, the victory often lies elsewhere: from losing weight, toning, refining, becoming more dynamic and flexible, but, of course, these are also beautiful victories, obtained in the ring!
Being more rhythmic, athletic or gymnastic, it is difficult to know which boxing to choose when facing the wide choice of traditional boxing options and variations. Women will often hesitate between combat boxing and fitness boxing, the first emphasizing technique and strength, the second, rather on overall goals of health and well-being.
Knowing the type of boxing options available for women is essential in making the best choice for you! (Source: Pixabay)
Among traditional boxing rings, women remain a minority, but this does not stop them from practising:
There is a variant to full contact, called light contact, which focuses more on global play tactics and not on the effectiveness of hits. To vary it up and progress quickly, or for improvement, if you do boxing competition, some boxing variations may interest you:
They each focus on one part of the body, or have a specific goal. Self-defence courses are very popular in larger cities: they are self-mastery disciplines, where you learn to defend yourself against an aggressor.
Other boxing variants are dedicated to female participants. They sometimes help you to gain in endurance, by working on cardio, sometimes in flexibility, thanks to an improvement in footwork. Among the most trendy disciplines, we find:
Give your chosen class a trial run before you commit, because once inside, your coaches will be focused on only one goal: to help you perfect and improve.
Faced with all these variations, you may already want to take a women’s boxing class near you. For that, you still need to know where to go, and how to organize a boxing class. Luckily, because of the diversity of boxing clubs and courses for women, you can practice your discipline in many places:
These days, practising in person and in groups are not the only ways to practice boxing. In fact, you can find women’s boxing classes online. For online courses, it’s easy to subscribe (and often free):
These courses may also include physical training, perfecting boxing sequences, or how to master the glove-to-glove combat between athletes. It is not uncommon for a former champion of the UK to become a coach, to give group lessons or private lessons, on the Internet or in-home.
Practice boxing by taking tailor-made classes for women: find your perfect class
Finally, you can also look for a boxing coach through platforms like Superprof, which allows you to find a teacher near you: if you find yourself getting tired of over-crowded gym classes, an in-home personal trainer is the solution.
They could be an independent instructor, sometimes a personal trainer or a former boxing champion, who will come to your private or group boxing lessons. Being coached individually offers the advantage of a personalized approach, and enables rapid progression!
Whether it is to tone up, gain self-confidence or simply because you like contact sports, women’s boxing can be practised at any time, anywhere, and for all purposes!
I’ll be waiting for you in the ring, no excuses!