THE ART OF BOXING

    One of the world's oldest, and most celebrated sports, Boxing, has proven to be popular among many people, for a variety of reasons. From its emergence in ancient Greece, through early 18th century England where it was considered the "Gentle Art" of self-defense (albeit a bare-knuckle form of defense), and an introduction of the Marquess of Queensbury Rules (1866; scoring system that required gloves), Boxing has continually been refined and perfected. In the 21st century, professional Boxing attracts major sponsorship deals and makes fighters millionaires.

    Amateur Boxing is also growing exponentially, with those looking for a challenge attracted by the allure of the benefits to be realized. Indeed, Boxing is increasing in popularity almost daily, with movies like "Million Dollar Baby," etc., and massive pay-per-view events attracting millions of watchers. Boxing has become a global phenomenon with tremendous cross-over appeal - the fitness industry has latched on to the Boxing popularity with box-out classes and the like. Why has Boxing become immensely popular and how does one become proficient at its practice? The following article will shed some light.


BENEFITS OF BOXING

    Boxing provides many benefits and challenges. For example, it has the potential to turn lives around by providing focus and an outlet for pent up aggression. Boxing's greatest benefit might be in the training and preparation needed to reach the fighting level. Indeed, the actual fighting aspect need not be emphasized to realize Boxing's many benefits, which include:


THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT

    The typical Boxing training session stimulates all muscle groups, and provides the perfect combination of aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (short-burst, without oxygen) exercise. Indeed, the boxers' workout is guaranteed to get anyone into the best shape of their lives. To perfect the basic Boxing skills while developing the stamina to survive, three-minute rounds of sparring (actual fighting in a controlled gym-setting to prepare for the real thing), one needs to be supremely conditioned and strong enough to throw powerful punches from round one (1) through to three (3).

    The Boxing workout improves every type of physical capacity: strength, power, coordination, aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness, and endurance. Exercises that are emphasized include, heavy bag, speed-ball, spring-ball, medicine ball, skipping, running, weight-training (calisthenics mainly), and wind-sprints. Exercises are shortened and combined to form a circuit or performed independently over a longer period. In short, Boxing improves one's reflexes, endurance, flexibility, coordination, speed, power, and cardiovascular fitness.


CONFIDENCE

    Possessing the skills to look after oneself gives a significant amount of confidence. Contrary to popular belief, boxers typically do not seek confrontation as their skills, and confidence, convey an inward belief that there is nothing to prove - and if one has nothing to prove they will be less compelled to prove it. However, if the boxer needs to protect themselves in a self-defense situation, they will be more adept at finishing things quickly and cleanly, due to heightened confidence levels and skill. When one is confident of their ability to defend themselves physically, this often translates to a psychological benefit of self-contentment and peace of mind.


STRESS RELIEF

    Boxing is the ultimate sport for countering stress, in my view. The combination of strength training and aerobic work provides the best of both worlds in terms of feeling a muscular pump and stimulating the cardiovascular system - both of which enhance psychological well-being. After a hard day, hitting the heavy bag for five (5) to six (6) rounds serves as a tremendous stress release. Boxing (particularly concentrating on the focus mitts) enhances the ability to relax, which helps one to keep calm and poised under pressure. In this sense, Boxing might help one to manage their life more efficiently.


PROVIDING THE ULTIMATE CONTEST BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE

    Boxing allows for a direct competitive experience between two (2) people in a controlled setting. Depending on one's disposition, this can be a great self-esteem boost. Full contact sparring, which is optional in many Boxing classes, provides the perfect platform to refine fundamental Boxing skills, and a great test of physical capability and courage.

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