I think boxing is beautiful. For the general population, however, this may be the polar opposite of what they envision the sport to be. As a matter of fact, there are most certainly people who feel boxing is too brutal, too barbaric, too violent even to be considered a sport, much less beautiful. Honestly, I can understand their point of view. On the surface, and from a casual spectator’s perspective, they simply see two guys unnecessarily putting themselves in harm’s way, fighting in an attempt to incapacitate one another. If you’re one of these people, I hope that by the time you’re finished reading this, you’re able to look at boxing differently and appreciate it for what it truly is – simply beautiful.
Let’s start with the basics, the mental and emotional fortitude necessary to train and
compete. We can all relate with the concept of general physical fitness and what that, even at its most basic level, requires of us. It requires dedication. It requires focus. It requires discipline. It requires sacrifice. Now multiply that by one-thousand, and you will begin to get a sense of the level of commitment necessary to become successful in boxing. Many of us can only imagine the mental and emotional strength needed to first of all generate these attributes, and then maintain them for what amounts to years upon years.
So far we’ve discussed only a few of the mental and emotional elements required of the
sport, but there’s more. The ability to step into the ring and face your opponent one-on-one requires an element of courage and self-control unique in the world of sport. There is an element of danger and risk involved that can’t be duplicated. Mind, body and soul must be more focused and in-the-moment than at any other time. Being able to harness and control the title wave of emotions, including anxiety, excitement, anger and fear, is a task most are not up to but which a boxer does every time he steps into the ring.
Let’s move on to the physical demands of the sport. No other activity taxes the body more comprehensibly. Jogging, weight lifting, sparring, jumping rope and countless rounds on the bags and mitts are a part of what boxers must fight through. A significant portion of this preparation is repetitive, where the same movement is made (the delivery of a jab, for example) for weeks and even months until the movement is second nature, until it can be made without having to think about it, until it becomes instinct.
Boxing routinely pushes the body to its limits during training, thereby continuously raising the bar and providing the athlete with an ever-raising benchmark. When every fiber of the boxer’s being wants to quit, it’s then that he pushes through and battles to the finish.
The apex of all the mental and physical training is competition. It’s a celebration of the work already accomplished, a fight in-and-of-itself. Although most never actually witness the preparation first-hand, it’s clearly evident as soon as the first punch is thrown and the dance begins.
There’s subtle, almost unnoticeable movements used to gain the advantage. There’s the
instinctual reactions so deep ingrained in the boxer that they require no thought. There’s an intrinsic understanding of the science that provides glimpses into the future, allowing boxers to react to maneuvers that have yet to be made. There are adjustments to technique that make it as much about strategy as strength. There is masking of injury, as to not show weakness. It’s a war of will, strength and heart, unique to the sport of boxing.
To me, boxing is art, like an elegant ballet or finely-tuned orchestra. It encompasses countless positive attributes, many of which can’t be seen, only felt and experienced. It discriminates against no one, equally applicable from the 12-year old amateur to the hall-of-fame world champion. That’s what makes boxing great. That’s what makes boxing beautiful.
———————————————- Holiday 2012 ———————————————-
Experience the beauty of boxing for yourself and save big this holiday season. Ringside’s holiday store is now open, and with gifts for everyone on your list, there is only one place to go – ringside.com, “The Best in Boxing”.