Boxing is one of the oldest and well known of the Traditional” martial arts. Its a huge spectator sport in the modern world and was, at one time, something taught as the go-to self-defence in many countries. It was taught in school in the UK and in the United States and has a great tradition in Ireland whether in bare-knuckle boxing or gloved.
But how is boxing useful as Self-Defense in the modern world?
If you can make time to train in boxing technique, it can be very very useful when defending yourself, because,
You train to develop concussive punching power
Boxing sparring is one of the most realistic forms of sparring available
In boxing, the emphasis is on training to improve speed and reflexes, crucial skills when you are under a violent attack
The development of good footwork in boxing training helps with balance, evasion and creating counter strike angles
Boxing training is one of the best ways to get fit
Most people training in any form of combat sports or Self-Defense systems end up taking part in sparring sessions. It’s an important part of training but very often it’s not really made clear as to why you are actually doing it in the first place. So let’s have a look at it and see what it does for you and how important it is to have it as part of any modern self-defense training system.
What actually is sparring?
Sparring is the process of ( generally ) two opponents attacking each other to test out their combat skills under various levels of constraints and safety procedures.
In boxing, sparring is usually done with larger gloves, head guards and groin protection. It normally has time limits and someone checking what is happening.
In martial arts, like the Kung Fu I trained in, we would wear gum shields, often shin pads and gloves.
What is common in both types of training, is that the levels of power and aggression are often checked back to avoid serious injuries. In martial arts training more so, normally, than boxing, but this can depend on the skill level and whether it is professional or amateur.
The reality of defending yourself against a knife attack
This is a common subject that comes up often and there are many different opinions. The question is…
What do I do when someone attacks me with a knife?
Let’s have a look at a class showing us the brutality of a knife attack. The instructor, Deane Lawler, states the situation very plainly and clearly shows the difference between “mythical” techniques and hard, ugly reality. An excellent piece of teaching.
So where does one start when it comes to knife defence?
In general, the starting place is trying to start well before there is an actual weapon. By the use of situational awareness. Which means that you have put yourself in a good position to see if the aggressor has a knifeor may have a knife. Both aspects are just as important as sometimes it isn’t obvious that someone has a weapon and this can be more dangerous than if someone shows you the weapon.
So how do we define striking? Hitting something, to put it bluntly. In this case, that something is someone who is physically attacking you.If you learn to do this well and as concussively as possible, you will have a better chance of surviving a violent encounter.
To strike your opponent you have certain natural weapons on the human body.
The arms which include, elbows, hands, and fingers
The legs ( feet, knees, and shins normally )
These are the main tools and if you train sufficiently in all of them you will have an effective arsenal that you can use to improvise, depending on the situation.
With good coaching, which is probably THE most important thing, the best way to train these tools is with a partner on the pads or on the bag, to help focus, condition and to develop technique. Once reasonably proficient you should try sparring scenarios and forms of pressure testing.
Each tool has a different approach and uses. For instance, if you used your fingers you wouldn’t aim for solid bone, but for soft tissue ( eyes for instance ) But you might well attack hard bone with your feet if done correctly ( a strike to the shins for example ).
All forms of striking have certain aspects in common
To use correctly they come from good balance and use of weight in execution
Speed and velocity are key to efficiency
The more relaxed the body is to execute a strike, the more efficient the strike. ( rigid muscles pull against the force of a strike and affect speed. A good example is a boxer executing a punch over a short distance that maintains its power from a relaxed position)