Maybe you’re sick of being the nerdy guy (and all the shit that goes along with it) or you’ve watched Rocky one too many times, but the idea of learning to box is really starting to excite you. Good, hold on to that passion and energy, you’re going to need it.
Boxing is a tough and challenging sport that will push you to your limits both physically and mentally. However, stick with your new “hobby” long enough and I guarantee it will become one of your life’s most rewarding pursuits. You’ll develop the ripped body of a Greek God, the iron will of a warrior, and the self-confidence of Muhammad Ali.
But where do you start? Timidly following Youtube videos in the safety of your bedroom while shying away from judging eyes? Or do you go full throttle and sign up to be someone’s punch bag at your local boxing gym? And just how fit do you need to be to join a boxing gym? Do you need your own gloves? And what about boxing rules and etiquette?
If all of these questions has got your head spinning more than a hard right to the chin would do, fear not, Learn How To Box was created to be the ultimate resource on boxing for beginners. Whether you’re a complete newbie or an old hand in the fight scene, stick around, you might just learn a thing or two.
Benefits of Boxing
Who would have thought that trying to knock another human beings head off would not only feel good, but have so many physical and mental benefits? Here’s what you can look forward to when you get into boxing:
- Fit and healthy body with increased muscle tone
- Development of a Jedi mindset – Ability to remain calm during intense physical and mental situations
- Self-confidence that you can “handle yourself” in a fight
- Learning a martial art
- New friends and gym buddies
- Stress Relief – there’s nothing more effective for lowering cortisone than smashing pads at the end of a long day
Where Can I learn boxing?
Although you could theoretically learn to box anywhere, there are three common venues where your training could take place.
Sports Hall – Boxing classes could be held in any sports or recreational facility such as your gym, town hall, school, or university. The quality of trainers and difficulty of classes can vary enormously. The classes are predominantly aimed at beginners, and they are useful for learning the fundamentals of boxing or if you strictly want to practice boxing for exercise (boxercise).
Boxing Gym – Joining a fight gym can be intimidating for a novice, but they cater for people at all levels. Don’t worry, you’re not going to accidentally stumble into some underground fight club and be forced into a cage to do battle till death. Relax, boxing is a sport, and the instructors are almost all too happy to share their knowledge of the game.
Boxing gyms come in all manner of styles, from the state-of-the-art gyms, to the warehouse kitted out with a couple of worn out punching pads and some smelly, old pads. Joining a boxing gym is the best way to learn boxing as you’ll learn correct technique from boxing gurus with years of fight experience
At Home – Online boxing training has seen an enormous rise in popularity. Instructional workout DVDs, eBooks and boxing training videos on Youtube and are all credible methods to teach yourself boxing. However, don’t get suckered into buying hyped-up inferior products and remember to check the credentials of whoever’s behind the training.
Can I Actually Learn Boxing At Home?
Your closest boxing gym may be an hour’s drive away, or they may not be one in your town at all. Busting out a few combos while in the comfort of your living room seems like the perfect solution. I mean how hard can it be? Just do exactly the same as the guy in the video.
However, the major flaw I see with boxing training at home is that there is no one available to correct your mistakes. Digital sources are fantastic learning tools, but their training is only one directional.
It also leaves your skills untested. No amount of boxing training videos will prepare you to use your skills in a real fight. For that, you need sparring. Nothing else will teach you how to dodge, block and parry an opponent’s punches, how to take a punch and keep fighting, or how to remain calm while under intense pressure. Plus, what’s the joy in learning to cook if all you do is prepare the food?
However, there is nothing wrong with practicing boxing at home or using it to learn basic boxing moves and to get the body in shape.
Is boxing hard and will I get hurt?
Call it stating the obvious, but in case you weren’t aware, boxing is a full-contact sport. Expect to get hit in the chops a few times.
Now this rule doesn’t apply at a beginner level or for boxercise classes where technique is less of a focus and it’s all just about simple combos for cardiovascular fitness (cough, pussies, cough).
Stroll into a boxing gym for the first time, and your fresh, unmarked face will scream newbie to the instructors who’ll ask you about your previous experience. Now is not the time for macho bravado. Tell them it’s your first time or you’ve had a little practice but still don’t know your right hand from your left. That way you’ll be partnered with someone with a similar skill level, and you’ll not end the class eating the local champs glove.
At a beginners boxing class, you’ll perform stretches, exercises, simple drills on the pads and possibly some bag work. There will be little physical contact except perhaps blocking as part of a combination (tip: never with your face), or some very light conditioning.
Advanced classes will contain combinations that are more complex and may allow some sparring. The intensity of the conditioning will also increase. Expect to engage in torturous exercises such as taking punches to the gut, or having a medicine ball dropped on your stomach from height.
Fight training or sparring classes are offered by some gyms. When it comes to sparring sessions, you will get the occasional black eye or burst nose, and you’ll find yourself wincing like a little girl at times. However, you often don’t feel the punches in the heat of the moment and by the time you’ve reached fight training level, you should have conditioned your body somewhat.
How long does it take to learn boxing?
How long is a piece of string? Asking how long it takes to learn boxing is a similarly retarded question.
Many people would be keen to know how many hours, months or years it will take to become good at boxing. But all I can offer is a shoulder shrug and a non-committal “it depends”. It depends on how often and how long you train, your training methods, the intensity of training, who your instructors are, any God-given natural talent you possess and how hungry you are to learn.
Now it’s time for some sensei wisdom Mr Miyagi styles. Don’t be impatient – It will take as long as it takes. Remember that anything worthwhile in life takes time.
Learning how to box is a venture that could take years to complete. In fact, you never actually finish. Sure, you reach a level of expertise that you are happy with, but there’s always the quest to get better, faster, stronger.
Discontentment is a good thing. It keeps you at the top of your game.
However, what I can say with confidence is that the surest and quickest way to learn boxing is to immerse yourself in the sport completely. That means joining a fight gym and showing up six days a week whether you feel like it or not.
What Boxing Equipment Will I Need?
I’m assuming you’ve read all of this, and you’re not put off by the long road of hard slog that lies ahead? Good, now it’s time to get kitted out.
No warrior heads into battle without weapons and armor. However, don’t be that knob head that has all the gear and can’t box a dozen eggs. You know the one – he splashes out on the best of equipment for each new hobby that takes his fancy, quickly realizes he’s not cut out for it, or lacks the commitment to get good, and then ends up selling his pre-loved wares on EBay. “Boxing Gloves for Sale – Hardly Used”. Yeah, don’t be that guy.
Here is a list of the essential items that should make up your kitbag when starting out.
- Boxing Gloves – (well duh! You’re going to need a set of gloves unless you plan on using those wretched, blood and sweat stained gloves the gym provides) If you can only afford one thing, splash out on a decent pair of gloves (around $100). If you need help choosing a pair, check out our boxing glove reviews or select a pair from our top ten best boxing gloves below.
- Hand Wraps – Support the wrist and protect the hands when punching. Not just a pointless accessory for added color coordination.
- Water Bottle – Get a water bottle that is durable and with a lid that is easy to open with gloves on.
- Training Bag – There is no excuse for missing training. You bring your kit with you everywhere you go.
- Mouth Guard – Now this item could be omitted if you’re not planning on doing any sparring within the first few months. When it does come to buy one, go premium and select a mouth guard with excellent shock absorbing properties while that is compact and still allows you to breathe easily. The toothless hillbilly look is not cool.
- Comfortable Clothes – Shorts and T-shirt will do.
Everything else is surplus. You can add to your training arsenal in time.