T Nation

Boxing


#1

I was considering taking up boxing as a springtime activity for myself, and possibly continuing through the summer and fall. I feel that it would be fun, and complement my wrestling background (and toughen me further mentally and physically). I like these whole individualist violent sports.

My parents are not all that supportive, basically due to the whole brain damage thing (who wudda thunk it?) I was hoping to get any information on this that you guys had to offer. I know that professional boxers suffer from brain damage (often), but at the level I would be doing it (I'm a junior in HS), I was hoping that the damage undergone would be minimal if at all. I value my brain a lot, and I wouldn't want to injure it, but at the same time I'm hoping that boxing (at my level) wouldn't hurt my head too much.

I'm 5'8, 162lbs, and kinda chubby (not really fat, but I've got a bit of a gut) if this makes any difference.

Also, I live right outside of Boston near Natick and Framingham, if anyone knows where those are. I'm actually located in a small suburb called Needham. If anyone knows any boxing clubs around this area, that'd be cool too.

Thanks.


#2

If your in HS, it should be amateur boxing. In amateur boxing, you wear head gear. So you will have less risk of brain damage (just be sure to take on the couch potatoes and you're safe).


#3

You won't be boxing/sparring at anytime without protection: headgear.

If you remain amatuer, i.e. Olympic style: you'll even wear headgear during a bout. Also, Olympic style is pretty-much very similar to "point" style boxing. That means, very little contact.

But then, I'm talking ahead of myself here since you haven't met a boxing coach yet and once you do, they'll watch over you closely before they even give you the go ahead to train for a match.

Your parents just need to relax a bit. Boxing training in general is terrific. Not everyone who takes it up goes right into a match or becomes professional. Besides, there are plenty of fighters out there NOT suffering from "brain damage". Your parents ever heard of George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield or "Golden Boy", Oscar DelaHoya?


#4

First off I wouldn't worry too much about brain damage at this stage. Pro fighters get most of this from heavy sparring, sometimes 12 rounds a day before a major contest and ovbiously the fights themselves. Plus the guys they fight and spar hit alot harder than amateurs. Brain damage is mostly cumulative in effect and some unfortunate people are genetically predisposed to develop related diseases - parkinsons, alzheimers e.t.c.
You don't get many amateurs with this problem, even guys with 30+ fights. You don't box as many rounds, you don't get hit as hard, and you don't spar as many rounds. (Also alot of pros have had an amateur career before turning pro).

Second lose the gut! Boxing is a sport of weight classes and if you want to compete then you don't want to be fighting someone naturally bigger than yourself just because you are a bit porky. Boxing requires tremendous stamina and conditioning, the fitter you are, the better you are, another reason to lose the gut.
So get your diet in order and let the boxing training take care of the rest, you will get fitter and leaner don't worry!


#5

The difference between professional boxing and amateur boxing is HUGE!
I've been into boxing since I was your age (I'm 26 now)and I even have a friend that was a top ranked amateur and promising pro boxer.
In amateur, youre wearing headgear to protect your brain and youre fighting for points.
Meaning the judges are just looking for blows that connect, not blows that do damage. So it's counter productive for a fighter to waste all of his energy trying to KO you while his opponent racks up points.
Another difference between the pros and amateur besides the headgear issue is the duration of matches.
Amateurs only fight for 3 round whereas a pro might fight up to 12 rds.
I'd do some research and find some stats of deaths or serious injury that has occured in amateur boxing. You won't find many occurences (if any). Then take that to your parents.
I think more kids break their necks and suffer concussions in high school football than in most other sports.
If youre a wrestler already, then you've probably already got a thick neck that'll serve you well in absorbing blows to the head. Now go shadow box and skip rope

So here is the summary of why amateur boxing won't injure your brain

  1. You'll be wearing headgear

  2. You'll only fight 3 rounds at a time

  3. You'll be fighting for points NOT for Ko's

  4. You likely won't fight anyone with serious punching power

  5. Your coach will not let you fight until you are ready technically and conditioning wise and then you'll fight someone at your skill level


#6

Hey

I ahve eben booxing for 2 yeerz noww. And I aint damigied.

Haha only kidding dude. I really have been boxing for two years now and I have already had 5 fights including numerous rounds of sparring. Boxing is one of the toughest sports out there. Without a doubt you need to have an iron will and jaw if you plan to compete. However you can box in just about any white collar gym these days and never have to step foot inside of a ring. You can go through pad drills, speed bag work and of course the heavy bag in a circuit fashion if you are looking to improve your cardiovascular condition.

I have amounted some minor damage over the past couple of years in my arms as well as busting my snout a couple of times (I had a huge nose anyways).

You should make the case to your parents that it will teach you self control, anger management, keep you out of school yard fights (unless you have no choice of course), help with mental focusing, keep you away from crap like drugs and smoking (can't fight if you can't breath) and no one ever said you had to get in a ring!!

You do however have to spar if you really want to get good. There is NO replacement for a real opponent.

-Doom


#7

nothing to be alarmed, I boxed from the age of 12-23. I retired last year in august due to carpal tunnel on my wrists. A boxer of my size ashould never be as muscular as I was, which caused me to punch harder than limbs could take.

Anyways, no need to worry. You'll be just fine under a coach. Everyone has stated great points. The training is fun and it's a sport you can easily fall in love with specially since your ultimate sense or instinct is put into test whenever sparring.

I used to travel for sparring, almost every sparring session was like a match. No coach ever let the session get out of hand. You'll be just fine.

Have fun, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you. I'd definatley do it.


#8

"Your parents ever heard of George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield or "Golden Boy", Oscar DelaHoya?"

Uh Patricia. Evander IS brain damaged. His speech sounds like he's not just punch drunk, he's downright shit faced leaning over a toilet bowl! Bad example.
Lennox Lewis is a better example of someone that hasnt suffered from a long fight career.


#9

Actually, there is more damage, not less, when you wear headgear. not many people realize this.

If you and I get into a fight with bare fists, one of us will cut the other and the fight will be stopped. When you have gloves and headgear on there is no "apparent" damage to the face (as quickly), yet the brain is continually rattled with every clean punch to the head.

For an example look at the MMA fighters in the UFC or Pride. That style of fighting has been big for 11 years or so and you do not see any of the regulars with any sort of brian damage. It simply is not an issue. Why? Beacuse they have very small gloves (first few years they had no gloves), and when they strike their opponents cleanly, they cut them and the fight is usually stopped. Hnece, large gloves and headgear create more brain damage than bare fists and no headgear. Remember, we are talking about "brain damage" not "facial damage".

Smaller gloves create more opportunity to cut the face which prevents repeated blows to the head which eventually damage the brain. Whether you box or not is certainly up to you, and your parents as you are under the age of 18. If you were my son I would prefer that you get into Mixed Martial Arts. while the opportunity for injury is there,( cut lips, broken nose, loose teeth), the chance to avoid brain damage is far greater than with boxing.

In mixed martial arts you also have less of a chance of getting brain damage beacuse you have grappling involved which, of course, eliminates any striking to the head.


#10

Headguards, do they reduce brain damage?

There is actually hardly any refutable evidence that they do indeed reduce brain trauma to any significant degree. In fact there almost as much evidence to contradict this.

Some argue that a headguard increases the target area and increases the concussive damage because the energy of the punch is better transferred to the head i.e. rather than a glancing blow the punch directed at the headguard will have a higher impulse.

More than likely it is a political decision to appease boxings' detractors who seek to ban the sport. You can tell you parents that it does protect you from brain damage but it may make little or no difference. What headguards definitely do is reduce external damage such as cuts. Which make the sport appear less 'barbaric' to those civilised gutless types who probably ride horses anyway and are more 10 times more likely to suffer severe head trauma than you.
Which can only be a good thing : )


#11

"Actually, there is more damage, not less, when you wear headgear. not many people realize this."

I dont think anyone realizes this because it's not true.

"If you and I get into a fight with bare fists, one of us will cut the other and the fight will be stopped. When you have gloves and headgear on there is no "apparent" damage to the face (as quickly), yet the brain is continually rattled with every clean punch to the head."

Tell me how headgear is more dangerous than no headgear. True that being hit with a gloved fist rattles your brain more but explain how NOT wearing headgear offers more protection from blows to the head. I'm not seeing the logic.

"For an example look at the MMA fighters in the UFC or Pride. That style of fighting has been big for 11 years or so and you do not see any of the regulars with any sort of brian damage. It simply is not an issue. Why? Beacuse they have very small gloves (first few years they had no gloves), and when they strike their opponents cleanly, they cut them and the fight is usually stopped." Hnece, large gloves and headgear create more brain damage than bare fists and no headgear. Remember, we are talking about "brain damage" not "facial damage"."

The reasons MMA fighters dont suffer from brain damage besides the issue of gloves is because MMA fighters take WAYYYY less blows to the head. The rules give them more options. If they are getting punched in the head, they can take a fight to the ground or retreat and throw leg kicks to keep someone at bay.
They can remain in a clinch a lot longer than boxing allows and can throw knees from there.
Thai boxers suffer less brain damage for the same reason. A sport that allows kicks, knees and clinching really help to cut down on blows to the skull.

"Smaller gloves create more opportunity to cut the face which prevents repeated blows to the head which eventually damage the brain."

Most of the cuts in MMA come from elbows and headbutts (I know they're illegal)


#12

regardless of the brain damage issue..you may gtep in there get spanked and never want to do it again. boxers aren't made, they are just people who are born "that" way. training just sharpens and organizes your natural god given ability.


#13

FrontFaceLock,

One of my points was that there is grappling involved in MMA therefore less striking to the face.

Secondly, which is better for the brain, to be struck five times with headgear on by a big glove, or once with no headgear on with a small glove?

Point being that if you are strike properly with a small glove (or no glove,) the chance for a cut is far greater, and consequently the fight is stopped and less blows to the head are taken.

I also think that MMA is more practicle for street defense. Although that was not an obvious concern of the original poster.

Hope this clears up the main point in my prior post.


#14

I'd definitely be willing to give MMA a try, but I don't kno anywhere around my town that offers it.


#15

Whats city you in? I can try and find a reputable school for you.


#16

One thing many tend to forget is that the first reason to wear gloves was to be able to hit harder, not to protect the opponent. A small glove might then be worse than no glove.

My first martial arts teacher had been boxing and claimed that too much sparring will make you dumb. His experince was from a test in school after an evening with 12 or 13 rounds sparring. He looked at the questions and just did not understand them. He quit sparring after that. Still, moderate sparring would hardly be that bad and for conditioning purposes it is probably among the best you can do, especially in combination with your wrestling.

As for mixed martial arts, I have always seen that as wrestling (slightly different rules though) with punches and some kicks (I may very well be wrong). Do you need more wrestling?


#17

Regarding the headgear, it's an ongoing debate.
It doesn't make a lot of sense that headgear should prevent brain damage, since the actual "cushioning" it provides is minimal.
ZEB is definitely right about no gloves being safer for the brain, yet less safe for the skin. The gloves and perhaps particularly the wraps protect the hands so you can hit harder, and reduces the cuts, so the hitting will continue for longer. Obviously I don't agree that small gloves are safer than large ones (for brain damage) unless they have external seems that can make cuts.

/Jacob


#18

David S
MMA is the same as Wrestling with punches and kicks? Big difference believe!
For a start you have submissions that is a big difference, then you have to put it altogther. There a vast array of strategy involved when switching between all the various techniques and styles at your disposal. Everything changes when you are fighting for real and getting hit or controlled. If any part of your game is weak that is what your opponent will capitalise on.
Clinch fighting is very important, stand up is very important. So are takedowns and submissions and position and control.
Wrestling will help alot with takedowns and control but there is a whole lot more to add than just punches and kicks.

As for the headgear debate well people still get knocked out with headgear on. And you still see the heads of boxers flying about when taking a heavy shot. The brain rattling around inside the cranium is what causes the damage and the resultant shockwave.