Starting Up Boxing

Hi friends,

I have been doing BJJ 3 times a week for about a year now. Im still pretty shit at it, but a lot better at it then when I had first started.

Now Im thinking of about learning how to box. Goals for this would be just to learn the proper technique of punching and having somewhat of a stand-up game. Im not looking to compete at boxing or MMA, but I just like the idea of having the ability to throw a punch, and the know how of how to dodge one as well.

I have found a boxing gym and I am thinking of doing 2 group sessions a week, and maybe the occasional one on one session initially to get me up to speed on things.

Im wondering how long it will take me to throw a decent punch? Is it harder to learn than BJJ? From what I understand the stamina and fitness involved with boxing is a lot more intense? Any tips/ideas?

Uncle Bird


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I took up boxing a few years back, and got to the point of sparring at a decent level. It is a lot of fun, but definitely takes some time to get to the point to do be able to be pretty good in the ring.

Some advice:

I learned by training with an amateur boxer. There were only 3-4 of us that met and practiced 2-3x week, and we did a lot of drill work and guided sparring exercises prior to opening it up to real sparring. It takes a lot o foot work practice and throwing punches/defense drills to get them instilled to the point you can use them in a real sparring match. Our practices were geared towards learning how to box, and not just “getting a workout”.

In group training classes I have taken since, they are more geared towards fitness by boxing. You do drills and hit the bag with some basic form, but the goal is more to get a workout and not worry about exact technique. You’ll get better if you are new at it, but it’s not a way to learn if you want to be “bout ready”.

As for comparing it to BJJ, I have only taken a couple BJJ classes and it wasn’t my thing. I’d say it’s certainly much different, but I can’t really say which is harder to learn since I never become proficient at BJJ.

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Hi Bird,

Cool that you have seemingly been fully bitten by the Combat Sports bug and are looking into learning striking now; definitely also a good skill to have if self defense is a concern.

To answer your questions:

How long it takes before you can throw a decent punch can vary quite a bit depending on several factors such as the proficiency of your coach regarding his/her coaching/teaching skills and methods, your “natural” striking propensity (some people are more natural grapplers, some are more natural strikers), and of course how much time and effort you put into learning.

It also depends on whether you mean while under low pressure/stress and timing demands (like hitting bags/pads), or while under high pressure/stress and timing demands (like in a sparring/match or self defense context).

If you mean while hitting pads, then I’d say that a good coach should have you hitting decently hard (at least compared to the average untrained person’s punching power) within a single hour long session (I can get most people there in about 5-10 minutes many times) and a really good coach should have you hitting harder than 95% of people out there within a few months. This is of course supposing that a person isn’t completely athletically inept or a weakling.

If we are talking about in an actual fighting/sparring context though, then that is a different story, and I would expect to spend at least 3-5 years of serious training before you are realistically able to develop the timing, accuracy, and judgement necessary to actually start to apply real power to your punches and be able to KO most people in a real combative context.

As much as timing plays a huge role in higher levels of grappling, the lack of constant contact while striking makes the timing demands and perceptual speed demands in striking even more challenging in striking than those required for grappling.

Regarding conditioning demands, I would say the two activities are pretty equal in intensity, just different. Take a super high level striker (even a professional boxer) and force them to wrestle or grapple on the ground (especially against someone who knows how to use their weight and pressure) and they’ll be toast within a round or two. Likewise, take a super high level grappler and force them to strike with an accurate, elusive striker who knows how to control distance and set point and they’ll be smoked within a few rounds. The demands between the two activities just don’t translate all that much to the other. You need to develop the specific conditioning for both of you want to do both well.


IMO, most of the basic movements in striking, especially boxing, just aren’t as complex. Once you have pivoting, know how to twist the feet to slip/strike, and don’t drop your fucking hands all the time, it’s not a whole lot of shit, just combining it in a fuckton of ways.
Grappling is mechanically a little more complex, and often, the ways you get from position/submission are not very obvious even after seeing the technique. Kickboxing generally breaks down to at most, some kind of feint/footwork.
However, actually sparring requires faster reflexes (you can feel in jiu jitsu), potential to ACTUALLY get hit, management of fear, etc. Striking tends to be mentally more stressful for people.
As far as physical endurance goes…equal but different. There’s a lot of variety in bjj, but it tends to be less explosive and have more grinding. Striking has more light movements, foot movement, and rapid explosions, but more time to relax. Once you become mentally calm enough to use as little force as necessary at both, and control when you want to ratchet shit up, both become much less physically demanding.
Even if I haven’t been training, no noob will ever gas me kickboxing. Their too jittery, I’m too relaxed. Jiu jitsu…not so much lol

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