Boxing for actual sparring is a serious workout. Unlike the cardio type of exercise, this is a slightly different mind set. It has elements of grace and beauty and well as elements of hardcore training with mild doses of controlled aggression.
I would recommend an individual, especially in his or her early thirties without previous experience, to spend a minimum of two years getting fit, having a real understanding of footwork, and honing skills on the focus pads before he or she attempts any sparring practice. You would need two years to get a good understanding of distance or range when you throw a punch and there is an element of basic footwork involved to get the correct distance right. This system is applied in Kaizendo Fitness and it has worked successfully. I also teach this to my Taekwondo students.
It is common to be fearful to some degree about sparring, and everyone goes through this rite of passage. But with a structured system that builds progression slowly, a good coach, a sparring partner that you are comfortable with and the proper protective equipment, the risk of injury should be minimal.
Even the first forays into Boxing must be prearranged and carefully managed in order for the individual to develop confidence in a step by step manner. If you heed this advice you will lessen the fear and intimidation when you venture into even light contact boxing.
Go back again and read the last paragraph. Really get to know it. It will save you tons of grief. Spend at least a bare minimum of six months, yes folks, at least six months before any full on sparring, learning how to slowly build both your confidence and your physical ability at the same time, because Boxing is tough and types of sparring are tough. It tests physical, emotional, and psychological attributes. It puts your character in the spotlight when ego kicks in or when self control is required. To become effective at boxing, you must put in a lot of repetition. It mostly favors one side of the body, as all the effort goes into becoming as economical as possible. Discipline, patience and resolve are tested. If you are an advanced student, progress can be slow and the margin for improvement is small compared to when you started off training. The fall off rate increases. It can become boring as you hone the same techniques over and over again just for some tiny improvement to your lead jab or your footwork.
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You can have a few weeks of sparring very well and in one encounter you can get caught with a bad punch and become upset in both body and mind. You will find some weeks where you seem to be going backwards instead of making progress. So the higher you go, the more you train, that improvement margin becomes very tight. All this is a very high price to pay to be a decent Boxer or a good standard of Black Belt who keeps in consistently good shape in relation to your age and other life challenges.
The payoff for going through this is massive psychologically. This process of change is very difficult to relay through the pages of a training manual. All hard and slightly uncomfortable training will be worth the investment. Because you emerge from this type of training with a strong spirit and your Black Belt will have more meaning. Your perseverance and tenacity becomes built into your character for years to come. When any type of sparring is managed well and safely, your instructor can keep your sessions at just the correct level of challenge for your ability and age.
The massive unseen benefit of good martial arts training will enable you to use these tough physical and equally tough psychological lessons from boxing and sparring training and adapt them to other aspects of your life. Again I would strongly suggest that a good two years are spent on the focus pads for the ordinary individual who wishes to undergo this type of training.
I hope you enjoy this blog and find it beneficial to your Taekwondo training.