Boxing is Beautiful

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

Roadwork

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

De La Hoya/Trinidad

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

Amateur Competition

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”.

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp- Week 9

There’s less than two weeks before the first bell rings at the 2012 Ringside World Championships.  On August 1st, competition in the largest amateur boxing tournament in the world will get underway and with it, the celebration of all your hard work, determination and sacrifice.

You’ve been in camp for two months, and the prize is within sight.  The key now, in the

2012 Ringside World Championships

days leading-up to the big show, is fine-tuning and rest.  The objective of this part of camp is to maintain your conditioning and recover from the taxing workouts that constituted previous weeks of training.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 9 of your training camp.

Diet

Eat smart.  Eat Healthy.  You’re going to need all the energy you can muster for the upcoming competition, so don’t get off track now.  Continue to fuel your body properly.  At this point, you should be on or very near your competition weight.  This will give your body plenty of time to acclimate, and you won’t have to worry about making weight at the event.  This will allow you to concentrate on your opponent, not the scale.

Roadwork 

Continue your routine by jogging four miles, five to six days per week, at a nice, steady pace.  Feel free to throw in a few sprints here and there, but not as hard or consistently as you were in previous weeks.  Remember, the goal of this part of camp is to maintain and recover.

Gym Workout

Just like you did at the beginning of camp, insure that your fundamentals are solid in these weeks leading-up to the tournament.  Continue to work your obligatory four rounds at each station (heavy bag, shadow boxing, jump rope, mitts, etc.) at a consistent pace.  Incorporate your final two to three sessions of sparring into these remaining weeks to insure that your timing, distance and reflexes all primed for competition.

The difficult part of camp is over.  You’ve done it, but training isn’t over just yet.  Take this time to insure your fundamentals are solid, your technique is on point and your mindset is positive.  Maintain and recover.

If you missed Week 1, Week 3, Week 5 or Week 7 of training camp, click here.

 

-Never.Stop.Training.-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 7

T minus three weeks and counting until the first punch is thrown at the 2012 Ringside

2012 Ringside World Championships

World Championships in Kansas City.  Your victory is earned in the weeks and months leading up to the event.  It’s what you do NOW that insures a great performance then.

The tournament itself is the culmination of all the effort you’ve invested, all the hours in the gym, all the punches thrown, all the miles logged on the track.  It is where you showcase the skill you’ve developed and the conditioning you’ve built.  It’s a time for celebration.

To get there, it’s important that you stay focused and dedicated during the final weeks of camp.  During these next two weeks, specifically, we will make an all-out, final push in our preparations.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 7 of your training camp.

Diet

Continue to fuel your body with a healthy diet, the benefits of which are numerous.  It will give you the power to fight through these remaining weeks of camp, which means you’ll be in better shape for competition and more energized during the bouts.  It will also help you reach and/or maintain your competition weight more efficiently.  This can’t be stressed enough – don’t wait until the last minute to cut weight!  Preferably, you should be at your competition weight a week before the tournament.

Roadwork

At this point, you should be consistently running at least four miles, five to six days per week.  Your pace should be brisk and challenging.  Continue incorporating sprints or intervals into your routine.  During your bout there will be times of high and low output, relatively speaking, so your roadwork should mimic this pattern.

As an option, you can try alternating between distance and interval runs.  One day, run for your obligatory four miles, and the next day, perform an interval routine where you focus on giving spurts of 100% output.

Gym Workout

Your gym workouts should be intense and taxing.  Give it all you got, and leave it all in the

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero

gym.  Work at least four, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, mitts, speed bag, heavy bag, etc.).  While you’re training, picture yourself in the ring, at the tournament, with your opponent in front of you.  Imagine various situations and your reactions to them.  Having rehearsed the scenarios in your head, during training, you will be better prepared when the time comes to perform.

You should be consistently sparring two times per week for three to four, three minute rounds.  You can even incorporate a mock-bout by staging an actual competition match in your gym.  Have your coach wrap your hands with gauze and tape, just like he will at the tournament.  Wear your uniform, have your coach be the referee and sit between rounds.  The objective of this exercise is to get better accustomed to the atmosphere of an actual competitive match.

If you missed the tips from Week 1, Week 3 or Week 5, click here.

-Never.Stop.Training-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 5

You’ve committed an entire month of training to the 2012 Ringside World

2012 Ringside World Championships

Championships,and there’s no turning back now.  With the big dance only five weeks away, you’re about half way through camp, and it’s time to raise the bar even further.

By now, you should be in a set routine that incorporates a healthy diet, training and rest.  Establishing the regimen was the hard part.  With momentum now on your side, you’re on a path that leads directly to Kansas City and an outstanding performance.

You’ve put in the work and laid a strong foundation.  It’s now time to build on that and push your body even further.  Stepping into the boxing ring to compete can be one of the most strenuous, nerve-racking and physically taxing experiences anyone can go through (and consequently, one of the most rewarding).  It’s essential that you’re as prepared as possible when the time comes, so push your mind and body now to insure you’re ready.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 5 of your training camp:

Diet

Continue your healthy diet.  Avoid the temptations of junk food and fuel your body with nothing but the best.  It will show in your workouts and ultimately, in your performance.  We’re about half way through training camp, so if you’re trimming down for the tournament, you should be half way to your competition weight.  Don’t wait until the last minute to lose weight!  It will damper the experience and negatively affect your performance.

Roadwork

You should be consistently logging 3 – 4 miles, at least five days per week and at a healthy pace.  It’s now time to incorporate sprints.

Boxing matches aren’t static.  There is an ebb and flow to them, times of heated activity, as in the middle of an exchange, and times of lesser action, as you search for an opening.  The roadwork you perform should mirror the output required in the ring.  There is a wide variety of sprint routine options, so you should integrate the one that works best for you.  However, a good place to start would be to incorporate 20 – 30 second sprints, every couple of minutes, as you take your daily jog.  With time, you’ll find that you will be able to invest a greater amount of energy during the bursts and recover faster.

Gym Workout

Your gym workouts should be all about intensity.  Perform four, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, mitts, etc.), and concentrate on the intensity of each round.  Push yourself.  Remember that your eventual opponent is training too, maybe at the exact same time you are.  It’s up to you to train harder, sacrifice greater and focus more intently than him.  It will be worth it in the end.

Sparring should also commence now.  One to two times per week for three, three-minute

Sparring should be a learning experience.

rounds will be sufficient.  Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be fighting for your life when you spar.  It should be a learning experience.  Enter the session knowing what you want to practice and heed your coach’s instructions.  Eventually, your skill, timing, reaction speed and distance will improve.  For more information on sparring, check out John Brown’s Principles of Proper Sparring DVD.

If you missed the tips from Week 1 or Week 3, click here.

-Never. Stop. Training-

2012 Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 3

Two weeks have gone by since you made the choice to compete in the 2012 Ringside

2012 Ringside World Championships

World Championships.  This, in of itself, was a major decision, so congratulations.  You’ve cleared the first hurdle. 

As outlined in Week 1 of camp, you should have spent the last two weeks building a foundation on which to grow and improve.  Your regular workouts should now have you in a routine, a set pattern that you can continue all the way up to the day you arrive in Kansas City.  The key is consistency. 

At this stage, as you begin to increase the intensity of your workouts, it’s natural to question yourself, to lose focus and ponder whether or not all the work is worth it.  When you feel these emotions creeping up on you, step back and bring to mind your end goal, to valiantly compete in a world amateur boxing tournament, the biggest in the world. 

Remember that in less than eight weeks, you will be stepping into the ring and looking into the eyes of your opponent.  Remember that the work you put in NOW, the harder you push yourself NOW, the more prepared you will be when that day comes.  In the end, it will all be worth it.

With two weeks of training behind you, you should now start to feel some of the results.  Let’s build on that as we enter Week 3.

Diet

Continue to eat healthy.  This effort, coupled with the regular workouts, should be enough for you to start shedding the pounds.  Pace yourself so that you are on weight a week before the tournament.  This will give you adequate time to acclimate, so that you have plenty of energy for your bout.

Roadwork

It’s time to start picking-up the pace.  Push yourself so that you’re jogging a little faster.

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero

Begin adding distance incrementally so that you’re consistently jogging 3 – 4 miles, instead of 2 – 3 miles.  In the coming weeks, sprints will be incorporated into your roadwork routine, so it’s important that you’re ready for this next step. 

For the most benefit, you should consider your roadwork a separate workout, performed separately from your gym workout.  It’s a lot to ask of your body to run then hit the gym or vice versa.  Roadwork is traditionally done in the morning and gym workouts in the afternoon or evening.  However, if this doesn’t fit into your schedule, just be sure to allow as much time as possible between workouts so that your body can recover.

Gym Workout

Like your roadwork, it’s important that you start picking up the pace in the gym as well. 

Perform 3 – 4, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, speed bag, mitts, jump rope, etc.).  Try to throw more punches, on the average, than you did in the first two weeks of camp.  You can even go so far as to have someone count your punches, so that you know exactly how you’re progressing.  Always remember that the effort you put in now is directly related to how you will perform at the tournament.  So punch hard and punch often.

Sparring will be incorporated into your regimen in the coming weeks, and you have to make sure you’re ready for it.  Sparring should be used to improve your technical skills, not get in shape.  That’s done beforehand, now.

Continue your progression with more reps of sit-ups and neck exercises.  Make it burn.  You won’t regret it.

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to each individual athlete, these general tips will help you be ready for the 2012 Ringside World Championships.

 If you missed the tips from Week 1 of training camp, click here.

-Never.Stop.Training.-

Ringside World Championships Training Camp – Week 1

The 2012 Ringside World Championships is only two months away, and it’s imperative that preparations begin early.

The first order of business is simply to make the decision to participate.  At first glance, it

2012 Ringside World Championships

would appear to be a fairly easy question to answer, but in reality, it’s a very important choice to make.  It’s a goal, a commitment you’ll be making to yourself that will directly affect the next two months of your life.

If you’re willing and choose to accept the challenge, then I congratulate you and assure you that it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.  A significant portion of the challenge is mental, and since you are now armed with the necessary psychological fortitude and determination, you’re already half way to the finish line.

Now to tackle the other half.  With an expected 1,400 athletes at this year’s tournament,

Where Victories Are Earned

there will be no shortage of competition, and each athlete will be striving for the same objective – a world championship.  The victory is earned with the work you log in the weeks leading-up to the tournament, in the sacrifices you make now.  The sport of boxing doesn’t allow for last minute cramming. 

Although a specific training regimen should be tailored to the individual athlete, there are several general items that should be incorporated into Week 1 of your training camp:

  • Diet
    • Waiting until the last minute to lose weight is ineffective and dangerous, so don’t do it.  Begin eating healthier now.  This, combined with the increase in training, will help you lose any excess weight more gradually.
  • Roadwork
    • Start laying the foundation for the harder running routines that will come in the following weeks by running 2 -3 miles, at least five days a week.
  • Gym Workout
    • Experienced and novice boxers alike should take the time to insure that their fundamentals are solid.  This will decrease the chance of bad habits forming as workouts increase in intensity.
    • Perform three, three-minute rounds at each station (shadow boxing, heavy bag, double-end bag, speed bag, jump rope, etc.).  At this point, intensity should be moderate.  The goal of these early days is to get the body back into a routine and to lay the foundation for what’s to come.
    • Start doing sit-ups and neck exercises to strengthen these important parts of the body.

Like building blocks, it’s important to lay a strong foundation for the camp, and by incorporating these components into Week 1 of training, you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come. 

-Never.Stop.Training.-

Deadly Hookers

Shame on you if the title of this piece evoked images of “dolled-up” prostitutes parading

Frazier Connects

their wares up and down the red-light district.  If, instead, you pictured Joe Frazier’s lethal power punch that deposited “the greatest” on the seat of his pants in the 15th round of their first meeting in 1971, you’re on the right track.

 Although the straight right hand is traditionally known as a power punch, some of the most devastating knockouts have materialized as a result of the hook. The hook connects on the temple or the tip of the chin and snaps the head around.  When thrown properly, it’s a beautiful punch to witness.  It can be fluid, graceful and reflect the awe-inspiring images of a ballerina’s dance.  When thrown improperly, it’s a horrific and almost comical sight that is easily countered.  

 To throw a proper hook, begin from the basic boxing stance.  Dip the right knee slightly and square your hips toward the opponent.  Transfer your weight to the ball of your left (front) foot as you begin the pivot and throw the punch.  As the pivot is continued, rotate your hips and shoulders from square to sideways toward the opponent.  The pivot and rotation in this stage of the punch generates significant power.  Once extended, the arm should be parallel to the floor, with the elbow bent at a ninety-degree angle.  Be sure to keep your chin “tucked” throughout the punching process.  Once the punch is completed, quickly return to the basic boxing stance.  Keep in mind that each segment of the punch delivery should be combined into one movement so that it is fluid, and this is only accomplished through practice.

The hook shouldn’t be thrown indiscriminately.  Use other punches to set it up so that your distance is correct.  You don’t want to throw it from too far out, which dramatically lowers the chance of it connecting and opens you up for a counter.  From too close, the punch will likely miss its mark and fall behind your opponent’s head.

Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Frazier are but a few of the boxers that have utilized the hook

Felix Trinidad

effectively.  Who can forget Felix Trinidad’s devastating left hook that put Fernando Vargas on his back and changed the course of the fight in the first round of their meeting?  What about the tight, almost unnoticeable, left hook by Diego Corrales that dropped Angel Mandfredy?  Although the lead, usually weaker, hand initiates the hook, the power that the shifting of weight generates is enormous.

Beautiful, poetic and surgeon-like, the left hook is an elegant weapon that can turn the tide of any match.  With the right amount of practice, it can be a devastating addition to your arsenal.

For more information on the left hook, check out John Brown’s Training DVD entitled “Punching Logistics” or read previous posts to learn more about the jab or right.

Official Equipment Supplier of the National Golden Gloves

The National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions is the most well-known

Golden Gloves

competition in amateur boxing.  Winners of the tournament earn the recognition of being the best-of-the-best and have their names etched in the record books alongside past champions, such as Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.

This year’s tournament begins Monday at the Casablanca Resort Casino in Mesquite, Nevada, kicking-off six days of intense competition between the best amateur boxer’s in the country.

Ringside is proud to be the official equipment supplier of the National Golden Gloves, and contribute to the success of this prestigious event and the athletes taking part in it.  Ringside representatives will be on site with a full equipment showroom to assist you, and tournament merchandise is now available on ringside.com.

Follow along for updates on Facebook.com/RingsideBoxing and onTwitter via @RingsideBoxing

Good luck to all participants!