Warrior Women: Why More Women Need to Learn the Sweet Science and What It Offers You!
The Culture of Women & Boxing
boxing is very different from kickboxing
Amplified aside, I am an instructor for Impact Boxing, Calgary's most technical and bumpin' gym. A few years ago, a muay thai and kickboxing group partnered with us and I have kept a vigilant eye on the progression of the 2 sides of the gym. A few weeks ago, a woman came to one of our Saturday technique classes. As a side note, the Saturday classes we teach at Impact are very technically oriented for people who want to learn more about the sweet science. Back to the story, this lady, she did a fantastic job at grasping what I worked on with her: rhythms, timing, foot work, and strong, leveraged punch set-ups. She was the only woman amongst the group I taught, and she was the fastest to pick a number of the concepts and simple techniques I demonstrated. During the week, when awaiting a client for a private session, I saw that she came to one of the muay thai classes as well. Something she said struck me, and has had me racking my mind the past little while. She said, "Sorry, but you lost me to muay thai." I have noticed that, the muay thai, and kickboxing half, is comprised of mainly women, and that our boxing half is mainly men. Now, I have absolutely nothing against muay thai, nor do I wish to detract people from that sport, but, that experience has had me thinking about why women choose not to join boxing as opposed to your typical, mainstream, cardio kickboxing classes.
In discussing this with a good friend of mine, she told me that any time she tells her friends, classmates or co-workers that she boxes, everyone makes the assumption that she kickboxes. She then has to explain, "No, no, no, I box...as in the sweet science." or something to that effect. There are very distinct differences between the 2, and today's blog is not about those, today, I want to let you ladies know, why I know, that boxing is incredibly beneficial for you.
As that first lady joined my Saturday class, I asked her, "What brought you to this class." She said, that the owner, Louie, told her, "Do you want to kick like a girl, or punch like a man?" She said, "I want to punch like a man." and that was the initial reason for her joining my class.
boxing is viewed as a Gentlemen only club
I used to read a lot of Bruce Lee material when I was younger, and one of the things that really struck true to me about my passion in boxing, is when he said, and I paraphrase, that we as people, so longingly strive to find a way to express ourselves that when we find it, it is all we can really think about, because it is who we are. We express ourselves in ways that strike true with us. Painters paint because they find art to be a higher form of expression or language, dancers dance because they can express themselves through rhythms and movement, as they tell wordless stories, and every one of us feel what they say better than we can explain. Bruce Lee coined the term, "the art of expressing the human body". If there is anything that I have prevalently seen throughout my life, it is that we all have struggles, we all fight demons and wars inside ourselves, we all have weaknesses, and we all are warriors. Sometimes, we just forget and let the battles we face overcome us for a time.
As I have watched the women in the gym, I have watched them notice that boxing brings out who they really are, if they have conditioned themselves to fight, or if they have, up to that point, trained themselves to shrivel and run away. Boxing is innate. When a single mother has to fight off governments, family wars, and social inequalities, no one ever tells them, sorry, only men are allowed to fight. When an older sister, has to fend bullies off of a younger brother or sister at school, no one views that as weak on the girls behalf. When a woman undergoes physical or mental abuse in a relationship, people never look down upon her if she tried to fight out of it. So, why is boxing viewed as a gentlemen only club?
people think you will get hurt in boxing: It's the safest of all combat sports
Click here for a more in depth article on the safety of boxing. According to the statistical reports of the American National Safety Council in 2011, boxing ranked as 26th out of 37 sports for most injuries that required hospital treatment. Only 11 other sports were safer, including racquetball, archery and billiards. If you are honestly that uncoordinated to get injured in billiards, then I would have to say, your time for retirement came upon you the moment you picked up the cue, I mean, hospitalization?! The following, are pictures of exhibits A, B and C.
Included in the more dangerous 25 sports were: bicycle riding, basketball and football. Who tells their kids, "Sorry, you can't ride a bike because you'll get hurt."? Now I would imagine that you may find this perplexing, because of media portrayal and detractors saying that boxing is a sport of brutality. I would say that statement is true if we are talking about street fighting. Boxing has an outrageous amount of safety nets that even other big screen sports never get. The playing field and safety nets are far more level and safer than people see when two opponents step inside the ring.
the internet: women and boxing
Truthfully, I've never really watched much female boxing aside from what I saw at the amateur level at the fights and tournaments I competed in or spectated. As I was searching the web for pics, videos and such to post here, I came to the realization of what female boxing is seen as in the eyes of the world. All I could really find was women in bikinis or incredibly immodest apparel, posing next to heavy bags. That or professional boxers. I found this realization to be quite...disgusting and demeaning to women. Trust me ladies, women that actually come to learn what boxing is about, don't come in bikinis, ask any girl that has come before, that is straight up impractical.
Boxing's Benefits Are Fit For Females
empowerment and will power & confidence
If there is anything that I have seen women gain when they train in the sport of boxing, it is that they, no matter their shape, weight, issues, nationality, etc. always are empowered by the sport when they stick to it and not only condition themselves like a fighter, but really learn the art. I think the hardest moment for women to get by, is hopping in the ring and exchanging blows with other people. That is the moment that everything becomes real. I have seen women overcome abuse or leave abusive relationships, I have seen them take on fears they never thought they would get over, I have seen them go for dreams and aspirations that they otherwise didn't have the confidence to pursue. That was really all they needed, confidence. From my personal observations, females are hard on themselves, and they always have the question of, "Am I good enough?" on their minds. The physical approach of hitting a bag, of facing an opponent and personifying their fears in that opponent, really brings out a sense of confidence when the bell makes it's final call and they realize that they survived, that they can do it.
problem solving skills
I know that we fighters are perceived as being brutes. I hate that outlook. I always feel like I have to prove myself to people after telling them that I am a fighter. I demonstrate that I can speak 3 languages fluently, that I have always aced my tests, that I am heavily engaged in my religion, that my morals are high, that I strive for education, that I play a few instruments, I dance, heck, even that I was an eagle scout! If there is one thing I wish people would really understand, it's that boxing, is an incredibly intense chess match. You have split seconds to observe your opponents, to initiate movement patterns, to set up your feet to land blows that will give you advantages so that your opponent cannot land a punch at the same time. You play mind games, you glance at his stomach, watch as he covers the body and then throw to the head with a smile on your face, letting him know you set that up. It's go go go, and it's just as fast paced as life. You train every aspect of the game, and then when you step in the ring, the time for preparation has ended. You now have to solve the answers to your opponents questions, you have to overcome your own fears and nerves and sometimes bite the bullet to land a better combo. If anything, you become an incredible problem solver.
a very applicable science
One thing I've heard time and time again is that boxing, is most applicable on the streets. When fights break loose, you don't see kicks flying in the air, you see fists. Point in short, if you want to know how to protect yourself AND have the conditioning to do it. Hit up your nearest boxing gym, they aren't going to treat you like an aerobic kickboxing princess.
Why Women Make Great Warriors
Something my coach says all the time to women when they come to the gym, is that women pick up boxing better than men. I would have to agree with this statement, they do seem to pick it up better than men. Here are a few reasons as to why I think this plays true.
women are better dancers
Boxing is known as one of the most rhythmic oriented sports alive. I believe it is hands down the most rhythmic sport. See where I am going with this?
Women, as a gender, hands down, kill it when it comes to dancing. They practice all the time in their rooms whether they are 2, 10, 16, 25, 40, or 60+, and all us guys seem to continue to practice are the Carlton moves.
Coming from a Latin background I have noticed that women need to adapt quickly to each man they dance with as the men lead the dances. Heck, women even dance with women all the time when guys are too gun shy to ask a lady to dance.
Today for example, I had a little girl join the Little Champs Boxing course I teach, and man, the girl picked it all right up. To make matters awesome-er, she went straight to the heavy bag after the class and just worked on what I taught her for the next 15 minutes, until her dad had to drag her out of the gym! Double jab, straight right, or jab, right combos were flying out with incredible accuracy, and exact timing. She's just 10!
Please, ladies, I am begging you now, come to the gym! Guys have no rhythm and they take too long to prepare for anything!
great listeners and pupils
Do I really need to say anything about this subject ladies? We all know that you are great listeners! That's all a coach really needs, a pupil that will listen and do. You have been gifted with this ability, let's put it to good use and hit some things!
You know, I think when I was younger, I was more scared of my Dad, not that he beat me or anything, but, you know, he had the muscles and the stern voice as the man of the family. As time progressed however, I quickly realized, the people I NEVER wanted to mess with, was my mom, or my grandma. Ya'll are fearless!
they can punch just as hard as men
I definitely have first hand experience with this. Louie, my coach, loves to tell girls a good story from when I would spar Canadian champion Erin Woodrow. I tend to bleed pretty easily from the nose, and I got a real good bunch of blows from Erin while we were sparring that made me have to get out of the ring and go clean it up. He'll never let me forget that. Another good story was from when I first stepped into the ring with a girl. Oh, boy, I was maybe 13 or 14, and she had already had a number of fights. Anyway, I definitely held back because she was a girl, and not only that, but I had no clue what I was allowed to hit. I was used to having the liberty of hitting anywhere in the torso, and now, I felt incredibly restricted! I saw it in her eyes, the moment she realized that I wasn't going to really do anything, and, well, she took advantage of that, I felt. All, I know, is that Louie was standing there howling with laughter at this 14 year old kid having a can of smack down opened up on him because he felt it morally wrong to hit a girl. Trust me, ladies, you get to have a lot of fun when you spar with your male counterparts.
Here's a 10 min episode of Sports Science talking about the science behind a woman's punch vs. a man's. I think you might be surprised about the results...
Now ask yourself, do you want to kick like a girl, or punch like a man?