Martial Arts

Reader Article #2: Three Reasons to Learn Boxing

GUEST AUTHOR: Johnny Nguyen is a boxing aficionado and owner of He has been training with high level fighters for over 8 years. Throughout his training Johnny has developed an introspective and technical method of boxing training, learning and analyzing as much technique and concept as possible.


3 Reasons to Learn Boxing:

1. Functionality

Boxing at its purest forms is functional and brutal. By partaking in boxing, you very quickly learn what works and what doesn’t work. Fighting goes so far beyond throwing and defending attacks. It’s about learning how to fight without getting tired, how to minimize damage of landed punches, how to follow up after a missed punch, how to counter a counter, how to apply offensive pressure without striking, how to use defense as offense. Beyond on all that is how to let a fight unfold as it should.

While form and technique are important, destroying your opponent is even more so. This distinction is often lost when fighting arts take the route of being “less brutal”. All fight training by nature will become brutal if they dare to be functional.  There are few things as brutal as learning how to trade blows at high speed with an opponent only an arm’s reach away. The use of boxing gloves prolongs the beatings making it possible to exchange more blows without fight stoppage due to cuts.

2. Athleticism

While every fighting technique should emphasize the use of technique over physicality, athleticism is still of utter importance. Being athletic is what allows you to train at higher intensity, train for longer periods, and develop higher level efficiency. In reality, athleticism and skill go hand in hand. As you become more athletic, your skill and ability will rise, furthering the upward spiraling cycle of athleticism and skills.

Boxers are in incredible shape, there is no denying that. Boxers are however made of a different kind of athleticism. They are stronger, faster, have more endurance, and can take far more punishment. YET, they can do all this without really trying. They remain strong throughout an entire fight yet rarely fight above the 50-70% pace. This is a result of boxers learning how to fight while relaxing. In fact, it’s the only way to fight.

At some level, there is no excuse for not having superior athleticism. There is no excuse for being slower or weaker than your opponent. If you are athletically superior to other fighters, boxing will allow you to exercise that advantage. Moreso, boxing will help you develop that advantage to new levels. An extra inch of arm reach can help you win unscathed. A split second difference in speed will help you knock out opponents before they can respond.

3. Rhythm of Attack

I dare say that boxing is fought at the highest speed of attack. Why? Because the combatants are almost always in range of each other, in a style that is fought in combinations. When you have an art like kicking, it’s common to see distance used as defense. (Using distance as defense in boxing is unpractical because you spend more energy running than you do blocking.) With an art like grappling, smothering can be used as a defense. (Using smothering as a defense in boxing can be dangerous because you run into more punches.) The main difference is that grappling & kicking attacks are more easily thwarted with a single evasion.

With boxing, evading one strike still allows the attacker to threaten with many more. Not only will you learn how to fight at a higher pace, you learn how to defend at a higher pace.

For the best examples of boxing’s functionality, athleticism, and rhythm of attack, I suggest watching videos of:

– Pernell Whitaker

– James Toney

– Floyd Mayweather

– Prince Naseem Hamed

– Roy Jones Jr

– Mike Tyson

– Manny Pacquiao

– Sugar Ray Leonard

– Roberto Duran

I would suggest for you to watch their training videos and sparring videos. There are few other arts where you can see regular demonstrations of theory and principle being applied successfully on a regular basis.

Most people don’t know how to watch a boxing fight. Most people watching a pro see an even chess match. I would beg some to try watching a video of a pro fighting an amateur…two come to mind: