***originally written in early 2019...still feels relative now as the gyms are just now opening up again in Ontario Canada after a long lockdown due to Covid19....
Boxing is the most replicated, studied and quoted sport I know which exists. Its’ theme and stories of great champions real and fictitious are characterized in movies and theatre, in music and in art. Right now in the fitness industry across major metropolis cities in North America boxing training has become trendy (again) with boxing infused and inspired classes. All over the city across the World people are taking in the boxing culture, replicating the movements and even speaking the language but do they really know why they are punching like Rocky and rhyming like Ali?
There is a knowledge gap between 1) boxing as a professional sport and 2) boxing as an activity simply to be replicated for it’s amazing health benefits. The bridge between the two is appreciation and education for what these athlete’s do, why they do it and how.
One of the most effective and efficient ways to build appreciation for the sport is to lace on the gloves and actually learn the fundamentals and fitness requirements, properly.
In all my 20 plus years involved in boxing, teaching for fitness and at one point training at the Professional level (currently active as a Professional ring announcer), I can see both ends of the spectrum and one observation remains consistent: people are curious about the art of boxing and want to understand it better to appreciate it more. Consequently, boxers themselves want to be better understood and appreciated for what they put into it. The great news is that this fitness craze or trend comes at a time when Professional Boxing matches and shows are at an all time high in particular here in Ontario Canada right now. (2019)
So now boxing fitness enthusiasts can also become legitimate fans of the sport. Now they can respect and realize what they are watching, because they've tried it.
I realize it’s incredibly difficult for a lot of people to accept and understand what they are watching when witnessing a combat match between 2 people. There is a perception that boxers are simply thugs off the street looking to act violent within the confines of a ring.
How about I shed some light on all the amazing aspects and benefits of boxing training and all the opportunities that the sport has provided and continues to provide these athletes, their teams and their families. In my circle, over and over again, year after year I hear ALL the time “boxing saved my life”. Saved them from addiction, from a criminal mindset, from being bullied, from financial despair, from extremely low self esteem, from a speech impediment, from advanced Parkinson’s symptoms, from suicidal thoughts.... the list goes on.
Boxing training is a catalyst for the incredible health benefits enjoyed by so many around the world by working through dexterity requirements, concentration, focus, coordination, improved cardiovascular health as a result which increases muscle tone and a decrease in bad cholesterol levels. The list of mental and physical health benefits is endless.
How about the immense sums of money raised for charities all around the world from white collar boxing events? How about the $10 million that Tyson Fury just donated directly from his purse to the homeless?
There is a wisdom found in boxing, a psychology, life lessons, inspiration, self-empowerment and a history from which we can learn about ourselves, our human spirit, our tendencies, the nature of conflict and combat, the involvement of politics with sport and the meaning behind rules of engagement.
The sport itself is very sensational. It’s very visual and dramatic. The intention of hitting another human for sport is completely unfathomable for some. But for just as many of those who don’t understand it, there are probably more of those who continue to want it on some primal level. It’s the nature of the beast: that is, us humans who participate in it and those who pay to watch it. What is it about society, the human condition and the drama surrounding the action that makes people want to fight or watch in the first place?
Boxing will continue business as usual. One thing is for sure, boxing as a sport and fitness activity deserves way more credit for how it contributes to society and personal development. Boxers themselves deserve way more positive attention for their inspiring stories, amazing accomplishments and incredible ability to inspire us all at a human level.
So here is my suggestion: get out to your local boxing gym and take a lesson. Attend a fight show and support the athlete's by showing up.
Don't knock it out until you try it, you might just love it.