When push comes to shove and you have to deal with aggressive assailants, your stress and heart rate probably won’t let you access your more complex motor skills and fancy techniques. That is when your basics come to play. Knowing how to box offers just what you need.
The very base of almost every martial art and self defense style are the boxing skills. You simply have to hit the other guy; ideally before he hits you.
Knowing how to use your hands in an offensive way then becomes the very foundation of your basic self defense gross motor skills.
Don’t let the movies fool you. Look at the footages from CCTV. How many people use advanced martial arts techniques? It all comes down to dragging, punching (the most common) and slapping; from time to time, some kicks or elbows are being thrown. But it is all basics altogether; nothing else.
Even though boxing is a sport martial art, its simplicity and easy transition to the world of reality based self defense makes it one of the most valuable fighting skills to have in your self defense “dealing with assholes” arsenal.
It has been proven throughout many fights, that the most effective techniques are the simple; easy to execute ones.
In boxing you have 12 punches from which you can basically take half out, because the difference is only in whether you are targeting the head or the torso of your opponent.
So we can kind of say that all you have to learn is 6 basic, very natural moves – jab, cross, two hooks and two uppercuts; nothing else. As “simple” as it can be.
If you support these moves with proper movement and body mechanics, you can make your shots really dangerous.
You know - many people are kinda sloppy when it comes to putting strikes and body movement put together. Because of that, they leave themselves open and vulnerable to attacks from the other guy(s).
Boxing will teach you how to align you body with your striking so you get the most out of it and make your efforts effective. By learning how to do this, you will not only make your punching efficient, but you’ll also understand and adopt many aspects like balance and body support, that will make you even better in everything else.
In boxing, one of the first things you will be learning is your combat ready stance. Although in reality self defense we tend to stand a little bit differently, the changes to it aren’t really that big.
With support of the proper stance, you’d be able to keep your balance while moving, throwing your strikes and also while taking care of damage coming your way.
The stance should keep you balanced at all times in all stages of the fight, so you don’t compromise your stability. That is why in boxing, you won’t see much of fancy spins and crossing legs (unless you happen to be flying like Muhammad Ali).
In boxing, all covering happens at the head level with the exception of blocking the hits to the body, which are mainly taken by elbows.
This cover concept is very effective and suitable for self defense purposes as it doesn’t really require you to know exactly the type of strike that is your opponent throwing at you. You just cover your head and let the attack crush in your defensive structure.
Also - short distance/low movement covers don’t leave you much open as it is for example with many traditional martial arts blocks, where your blocking hand moves in direction against the hitting limb of your opponent, paradoxically leaving you quite open.
Footwork and evasions will teach you how to incorporate proper body mechanics to your movement so you become harder to hit and catch and also to land your strikes from variety of motions and angles.
People may argue that boxing doesn’t cover any kicks and ground fighting strategies. My opinion is that people usually know how to kick - at least a little, and before you know how to kick, you should know how to stand. In Muay Thai and Kick boxing in overall, they also teach you how to stand and move first. Then comes the punching game and kicks come a little later.
When talking about the ground fighting abilities – if you are a newbie to the street fight training, I certainly don’t want you to appear down there.
If you happen to fall or be taken down, beat your way out and back to your feet as fast as possible. Forget fancy grappling moves and all that more of a sport stuff, otherwise you risk learning some Irish head stomping from all of your assailant’s friends.
If you have to fight, fight from your feet, not from your back.
Even though I think that sparring is NOT a type of training for reality scenarios, it sure has a positive influence on one’s mindset and skill development.
By putting your self in a fight against another human being you experience different levels of stress, which you may have never experienced before.
By going through challenging sparring sessions, you would have a chance to test your skills in a stressful and continuously changing environment. While trying to adapt to such a situation, you would not only gain faith in your own skills, but you’d also widen your comfort zone related to hand to hand combat and become more efficient in it.
Incorporate this way of fighting into your self defense training and develop really strong skill base that you can rely on.
IF you should train nothing else – train boxing and hone your punches (and/or open hand strikes) to perfection. Dominate your combat skills and become a believer in your basics.
If you are not quite familiar with boxing and also think that it should be included your basics arsenal, I invite you to move you attention to the Basic boxing skills article.
Go ahead; you’ll soon learn why Pierce Egan called boxing the "Sweet Science of Bruising".
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