We all want to be in control;control of our minds, bodies, situations, or life. Learning how to box puts us in that place. Being around this sport and in it reassures us that we are aware and in control. We are all beginners at some point. For you, that point is now. So, how do you get started in the sweet science of boxing? Let’s take a look at the Ultimate Adrenalist Guide for boxing beginners.
There are three pieces of equipment you will always use as a boxer: bag gloves, hand wraps and a jump rope. When you’re ready for sparring, gear such as a mouthpiece, cup and head gear, will be needed, but that’s only after you have mastered the sweet science enough to step into the ring. Don’t get ahead of yourself and don’t rush it. Rushing this sport only leads to a bad experience. The hand wraps that work best are 180 inches long, have a loop for your thumb, a Velcro closure and have elasticity to the material. Gloves are sized according to the size of your hands. It is an old myth that you use heavier gloves to improve your hand speed. Just think: muscle memory. If you throw slower with heavier gloves, then you will throw slower without. As for your jump rope, a plastic speed rope is best with a ball bearing handle so that the rope can spin freely. To measure the proper length for your rope, pull both handles up toward your shoulders and step on the middle of the rope with one foot. Handles should hit at the top of the shoulders.
Learn The Basics
Finding the right gym
First, look for a good boxing gym in your area. The gym doesn’t need to be pretty, but it does need to have functioning equipment (properly hung punching bags and speed bags). Contrary to what you see in movies, a boxing gym does not need to be dirty to be a “real” gym. Find a gym that believes in cleanliness.
Finding the right trainer
It is always best to learn from a trainer with boxing experience. If you step into a boxing gym and they ask you to get in the ring to spar within a week or two, find another trainer and/or gym. A good trainer will stick with the basics until you start to master them. Combinations will be added as you progress and your technique should face constant critique. The key to becoming a good boxer or even just being able to throw a great punch, is relaxation and throwing your punches from the core of your body. It will come. Slowly at first, but you will eventually get it with lots of practice.
Nailing the fundamentals
The fundamentals of boxing consist of:
Stance – Left foot one full step in front of your right foot and shoulder width apart. If you are facing 12 o’clock you want your feet to point at 2 o’clock with soft knees and pressure on the balls of the feet.
Footwork – Your feet follow your hands. As you throw punches, you take small steps forward; at the same time, you drag your back foot the same distance.. There are also pivots and step backs involved with your footwork.
Jab – This is your first punch and is thrown out straight with your left hand, while keeping your right hand up protecting your face. Keep the elbow in, rotate the trunk of the body and turn over your knuckles at the end of the punch. Make sure to step with this punch as it comes out and drag your back foot as you bring it back to your face.
Straight Right – This usually comes right after the jab. As the jab is coming back to your face the right hand is coming out. Same principle as the jab; elbow in, torque the core of the body to throw the punch out, and turn your knuckles over. Your back foot drags forward as the right hand comes out.
Left hook – This usually comes after the straight right and requires you to twist your left hip to the right. Your left arm will come out into an L-shape with fist about a foot away from your face and forearm right below your eyes.
Uppercuts – These punches come up the middle. Left or right, you will squat slightly with your legs and swing your body to the right (if you are throwing a left uppercut and vice versa) body shots as you thrust up with your legs. Your power comes from the floor up.
Pick – As simple as taking your right hand and cupping it in front of your face palm outward. This will pick a jab coming at you.
Slips – Twisting or side bend motion. You are moving your torso out of the way of a punch with the ability to come back with your own.
Bob-n-weave – Movement that gets you underneath a punch. You will twist your core and shoulders as you squat down and come back up in a U-shaped motion. This is great for that fight when you’re face-to-face with a guy who loves haymakers.
Etiquette and Rules
If you step into a boxing gym, you should know a little about the equipment. A standard boxing ring is 18ft by 18ft, punching bags are usually 100 lbs. and speed bags should be on a secure platform with a good swivel. If the speed bag is on an S-hook swivel, it is no good. There should be mirrors in the gym so that you can watch yourself shadowbox. The mirrors are important as a tool in boxing for practicing your technique properly. There should be a round timer at the gym, which is generally on a two-minute or three-minute round. The bell will ring at the start of the round, 30 seconds before the end of the round and again at the end on the round.
A two-minute round is what an amateur boxer will endure during competition and a three-minute round is what a professional boxer will endure. Although, recently, USA Boxing changed the rule for an Elite amateur boxer and they are now boxing three-minute rounds. Amateur boxers wear 10 oz. or 12 oz. gloves, mouthpiece, cup and headgear. USA Boxing has also recently changed the headgear rule and Elite amateurs do not wear headgear. Professional boxers wear 8oz gloves, mouthpiece and cup.
Watch Some Fights
Watching this mano-a-mano sport in action will allow you to appreciate these professional athletes and quicken your learning curve. When you watch a boxer’s footwork and body mechanics it will help you to understand what you are learning and the flow of movement.
So there you have it, boxing for beginners in one simple guide. If you are ready to DO:MORE, hit the gym today and before you know it you’ll be able to throw that perfect punch like a pro.
Reach out to us @DegreeMen on Twitter if you want to learn more, and stay tuned for our upcoming boxing stories this week.
Photo Credit: All photos courtesy of Cary Williams-nunez / Primetime Boxing