Every Martial Artist Should Cross-Train In Boxing Part 5 (Conclusion)

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        Boxing has been extremely beneficial to my martial arts training and I am satisfied with the skills that I picked up in these 2 months. Taking another martial art style is a humbling experience. Anyone who is considered an expert in their own respective martial art will have a huge transition moving into another style. Boxing is a tough sport and is not for the average person. Boxing fitness or working out can be for anyone, but the actual combat and regular sparring is not for a typical person. It takes a lot of toughness and a different mentality because of the constant stress of combat and taking beatings. Boxing fundamentals are a very necessary part for a person’s self defense. The coach told me I know enough to defend myself on the street and no one will be able to hit me with my defenses and my boxing will take someone out. It is good to know I have at least this basic knowledge that will benefit me on the streets if I need to defend myself.

        I personally believe such sparring is important to do, but the downfall is over the years there is the probability of brain damage. You get rattled a lot during sparring and without proper rest between sparring, and if at your gym every sparring match ends up turning into a fight somehow then you have a risk of obtaining brain damage. This is why you must be in tune with yourself on what you can and cannot handle. Never get into the ring unless you feel you can do it that day. No proper coach will force you into sparring if you do not want to and he will not look down on you either. In my experience the coaches do not take note of how hard you got rocked one day to another and it is your own personal responsibility to take care of yourself. I do believe if boxing coaches toned down sparring and taught their students to work softly with new students more often, then a lot more people would benefit. Of course it is boxing and you will get hit. The boxing culture is a lot different from average martial arts styles’ cultures. It can be indifferent and less than encouraging at times. It is a tough guy’s sport.

        I am proud of myself by taking on training in a new martial art to better my hand striking training. I feel I have gained a ton of skill in these past 2 months I did not have before. So much of my punching technique and defenses have been corrected and made better. Every martial artist should cross-train in boxing at some point and pick up some very important, yet basic skills. So many people do it wrong, especially MMA fighters who end up looking very poor and sloppy and never progress well in their punching. my coach says you cannot learn boxing from an MMA gym and do not let a Karate guy teach you boxing. You need a certified USA Boxing coach.

        Throughout these past 2 months I have realized how much I love Taekwondo. There are pros to boxing, but there are also cons. Not being able to use my full body for martial arts is one of them. Boxing limits you greatly and only expresses one area of your body, which is the upper chest and shoulders and lacks any grabbing techniques. It is strictly rules based and the rules limit options extremely. You have no freedom to use other defenses but the ones allowed by the rules. This does not allow for much creativity in combat. Even if boxing itself is very important to now for your self defense, relying only on boxing will ruin your other self defense techniques if you never get to practice them much. If you are spending so much time boxing and less on kicking and grappling you will eventually untrain yourself out of very good habits in self defense, such as lifting the knee or maneuvering in a way that turns your back to counter strike such as spinning backfists or elbows. Boxing coaches will see your habits you have from Taekwondo or any martial art and try to “untrain” you. I think you need to be aware that their goal is strictly making you good at sport, not reality based self defense. It is the same as how Olympic Taekwondo is strictly a sport with rules as well. Another con is that so much focus is on the arms and there was absolutely no stretching in the gym. There was no warmup stretching to work on flexibility, just aerobic activity and anaerobic activity. Jogging, jumping rope, jumping jacks, pushups, situps, speed bag etc. I feel over these 2 months my legs feel stiffer than they should because I have spent less time stretching and less time kicking. Less time in stances and less time moving all around in other blocks and strikes. The great thing about Taekwondo is that it is a full body martial art. Every single muscle and bone is moved in positions and there is a lot of flexibility training which helps your body stay healthy and soothing. Taekwondo also works both sides of the body, whereas a boxing coach will make you only focus on one side of your body, the dominant side. If boxing is 1-dimensional the emphasis on working your strong side only makes it even more so. Taekwondo works the right and left hands, right and left feet, right and left stance. Boxing only will have you work either your right stance or left stance depending on if you are right or left handing, orthodox or southpaw. I have missed Taekwondo greatly and realize how much I do love it. I will train my boxing techniques with my Taekwondo and have a good kickboxing game. I do think Taekwondo is my preference over boxing any day of the week.

        Even so, boxing has given me confidence on stand up hand striking I did not have before. I feel I can handle a lot more punches directed at my face than I could before. I still have a few things to work on and I will keep practicing. This training really is going to help out my Kickboxing and Taekwondo game. Boxing has really humbled me and helped me to be a better overall martial artist and a more complete fighter. I am not ashamed that as a martial arts instructor I still have to be humble and admit I am not the best fighter in the world and still have tons to learn. I believe my attitude is the proper one to take in any serious and honorable person’s martial arts journey.

Here is my last training log:

Week 8

Monday–        45 minutes on the elliptical, 5 rounds of shadow boxing with some various ab work on a fitness ball, 3 rounds on the speed bag with 10 push ups in between rounds, 1 round on the heavy bag, then the coach yelled at me and told me to spar. He had some guys sparring and said, “Hey what are you doing standing over there not doing anything while we are sparring! Get in here!” It was funny. He said I am hiding. It was kind of true, but then I got to spar for 4 rounds. Tonight each guy was very cool and able to work with me and work on technique and not try to just knock me out like some of the other guys. This kind of actual sparring (not literally fighting) helps me learn a lot. I sparred 2 different guys, one of them was the assistant coach who sparred with me 3 times out of the 4. What is funny is the head coach said, “We are just sparring. Now don’t kill each other. We are not out to hurt each other but just work.” I am glad the coach said this, but it did not keep 2 of the guys at one point to start whaling on each other way too hard and one guy ended up with a black eye and huge shiner on his face and blood. They got carried away and angry and started throwing multiple hard shots at each other and the newer guy ended up getting smashed with bruises and blood with a lot of swelling. He had to stop and put ice on it the rest of the time there. That was pretty stupid, losing control is dumb. I hope I do not end up with an idiot who will do that. I am smart enough to calm down and quit if it gets too crazy with a partner, then find another guy to spar. What was pretty funny was the coach began to tell him that his headgear was too small and did not protect properly and that’s why he needs his “own damn headgear!” He was using the gyms. He then told him that when he explains it at work he will be a hero and everyone will talk about his boxing and think he is cool. Haha! After sparring I did one more round on the heavy bag and was tired and called it quits for the day.

Tuesday–        Today i did 1 round of jump rope, then a functional training class for about 15 minutes doing jumping jacks. burpees, crunches, pushups etc. It was very tough. After that I did 5 rounds of shadow boxing working on form, then 3 rounds on the speed bag. After that I sparred an amateur fighter for 3 rounds. That was really fun and hard work. The guy is cool and works with me. I was able to hit him a couple of times but of course he hit more way more. I feel more confident. the coach told me I am improving and gave me and the guy pointers on stepping with punches and covering distance to connect with a straight right. Dragging your bag foot helps as you step forward with your left. After that I did 2 rounds on the heavy bag and called it a night. I hung for a bit and we talked boxing and martial arts because he used to study Ishin Ryu. Cool guy!

Wednesday–        Wednesay I came in later than usual at night. I had to tech Taekwondo and then come in. The coach said I am late and I need to make my workout quick because he has to leave and do things. Wednesday are the slow days for the gym as most people do not show up that night, probably Wednesday night church for a lot of people. I immediately came in and started using the heavy bag to get a workout done. The coach said I should not do that and never to go on the heavy bag before using the speed bag. if no speed bag then shadow box first. Always warm up or else you will get injured hitting the heavy bag, you need to get the blood circulated in your shoulders. So I did 1 round of speed bag, pushups, then shadow boxing a couple rounds, then I went on the heavy bag 1 round before the coach said he had to go. The coach told me to stay late and lock up and he gave me the key to lock up and he left. I was surprised. He is a cool guy and seems to trust me so wow. So I was able to work on technique do some shadow boxing and hit the heavy bag for about 45 minutes longer then I locked up and took off.

Thursday–        I was tired today, but I trained anyway. I wanted to do some more workouts instead of punching since my wrists are so sore today. I did 30 mins on the elliptical, a push up drill consisting of over 120 push ups, then lifting dumbells doing overhead presses and curls and doing crunches, then I did 2 rounds shadow boxing, 1 round on the speed bag, and 2 rounds on the heavy bag. I worked a lot on my stepping right punch to cover distance and use a left hook combo. I talked some with the coach about my form and stance and also when i was leaving i talked some about how USA boxing works with golden gloves and the regional championships and how fighters keep records etc. Interesting stuff. The coach wants to give me a tshirt of the gym. Pretty cool!

Friday–        Gym closed. No training today.

Saturday–        No training today. I had to teach Taekwondo today and I am so sore from all those push ups and really sleepy today.

Sunday–        2 minutes jump rope, 3 rounds shadow boxing, 3 rounds speed bag. After that I was able to do a mitt drill twice with one of the amateur fighters, we took turns holding the pads too. So I did 1 round then he did 1 round, then I did another and he did another. I find both hitting and holding mitts fun. After that we sparred and i fought 3 times. It was tough because I only know the 1-2-3 punches and some blocks and have terrible head movement. Without kicks it makes fighting difficult. I got some good hits on one guy and he of course got me enough. The other guy I did okay with but I kept getting hit in the corner or on the ropes over and over and had difficulty facing the guy and not turning away. One time I lifted me knee up to protect myself and keep him away but of course that was illegal and the coach yelled at me for it. In a street fight I could do that and counter. It is just an instinct I have and in Kickboxing it would be smart to do it. Boxing is tough and it really does limit your overall body for fighting. The last round I got rocked pretty hard with an overhand right. I was caught against the ropes and trying to protect myself and just kept getting hit and one moment I was smacked real hard but I stayed on my feet and then the coach said stop and that I was done. The guy fighting me apologized for going too hard but whatever. I felt confident fighting but I notice it is hard to keep explosive power going for a long period of time, and when I got caught with blows and rocked it is discouraging and I feel I have to go back to the drawing board. But at least I did not give up or fall. Hmmm…

(Half Week) Week 9 my last week

Monday–        We had severe tornado warnings and a tornado just missed our area so I did not go out to train today.

Tuesday–        More tornado warnings today, but no tornado. I did not go out to train. I guess there went my last half of a week to end the final month. Maybe I will train tomorrow.

Wednesday–        My last day! I did 3 round of jump rope before the coach said I need to make sure I spar today since I am leaving, and that is the most important thing for me. Honestly, I was really tired and did not eat enough food and was hoping I would not have to spar, but yes he was right I need to spar. I went in anyway and was hoping I would not get rocked too hard. I did okay and sparred 3 rounds with 3 different guys. 1 guy was not very good and I took it easy on him. The other 2 guys are very good but they took it easy on me. One of the guys was the dude who rocked me on Sunday but he was real cool with me and I did okay. The person running the sparring session was none other than the other guy who i think acts like a jerk and likes to bash people hard. He is an assistant coach and after I was parring he said to me, “You did really good. That was a really good sparring session man.” Wow, I got praised by a guy who is really rude and mean so I guess that means something. I felt the guys just went easy on me but hey it was ok. After that I did shadow boxing for a bit, then a few rounds on the heavy bag. The coach gave me 2 free t-shirts of Golden Gloves Boxing so that was pretty cool. The coach also said I could some in anyway later if I want to work out before I have to go on a trip I have planned. I have very sore wrists and hope to rest them for a bit from impact because it hampers my other martial arts, especially doing stick work.

I have now completed 2 full months of boxing training at an actual USA Boxing certified Boxing gym! Success!

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

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