The ba­sics

Sunday Star-Times - - ESCAPE -

Off the back of ‘‘The Money Fight’’, and as New Zealand’s own heavy­weight champ Joseph Parker pre­pares to de­fend his ti­tle, box­ing is the sport on ev­ery­one’s lips. The art of bat­ter­ing your op­po­nent has an ex­ten­sive his­tory: from its sig­nif­i­cant place in Greek ath­let­ics to 16th­cen­tury bare-knuckle and Sylvester Stallone punch­ing meat in a meat locker.

While the cur­rent ver­sion is more sparkly shorts and gi­ant cheques than fight­ing to the death, it re­mains a highly tech­ni­cal com­bat sport that re­quires su­per­nat­u­ral fit­ness and dis­ci­pline.

Giv­ing it a bash

Be­fore even think­ing about en­trance mu­sic and step­ping foot in the ring, there are fun­da­men­tals to cover. For­mer pro­fes­sional boxer Bruce Glozier prefers train­ing from the ground up, sug­gest­ing the feet and legs should be con­sid­ered with ev­ery punch. He ref­er­enced a con­nec­tion to the art of fenc­ing and the de­fen­sive abil­i­ties of Floyd May­weather Jnr – who was barely dusted with a fist in his ca­reer. It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re blessed with nat­u­ral force, if you can’t work the feet in uni­son with the hands you won’t get any­where in the ring.

Build­ing en­durance to last the dis­tance is also a core fo­cus of this par­tic­u­lar class. Gloves on, we be­gan with a warm-up fo­cus­ing on foot­work. We com­pleted side­steps in a cir­cle on com­mand. Some burpees were thrown in for good mea­sure; I copped an ex­tra 10 for side-step­ping in the wrong di­rec­tion.

In pairs, we moved to the bag for con­di­tion­ing. One at a time, we com­pleted 30 sec­onds of fast-paced jabs be­fore an­other 30 sec­onds of left and right hooks. The first two rounds passed with­out bother; it wasn’t un­til the third that hold­ing up the gloves be­came more of an ef­fort. Dur­ing a short rest I reached for a drink, dis­cov­er­ing that it’s near im­pos­si­ble to open a bot­tle with gloves. No drink.

Set two in­volved a 1-2 combo and two left hooks on the bag. We ro­tated with our part­ner who was stuck lunge­ing and squat­ting un­til our set of 12 was com­plete. An­other rest passed, this time with hy­dra­tion, and we com­pleted the same combo with the ad­di­tion of three power punches. The con­di­tion­ing ses­sion ended with an­other two 20-sec­ond rounds of re­lent­less punch­ing. My up­per body had al­most given up.

We were only half­way through the ses­sion. A fel­low class mem­ber re­vealed that she threw up dur­ing her first class, which made me feel much bet­ter/con­cerned for what was ahead.

The drill sec­tion of the class con­sisted of fur­ther foot­work and body weight train­ing. We com­pleted speed lad­der drills, bear crawls, weighted squats and burpees. To pre­pare for fu­ture body shots, we ended with the core. There were sit-ups, side crunches and a never-end­ing regime spell­ing out the al­pha­bet with our legs.

Why you should try it

The high-in­ten­sity train­ing that comes with box­ing will leave you gasp­ing for breath and drenched in sweat. The con­di­tion­ing and body weight ex­er­cises can be ben­e­fi­cial for in­creas­ing car­dio en­durance, func­tional strength and flex­i­bil­ity. Time spent punch­ing the bag is great for stress re­lease and the group cul­ture of class train­ing makes it so­cial and sup­port­ive. It’s a men­tal and phys­i­cal dis­ci­pline.

Time spent punch­ing the bag is great for stress re­lease and the group cul­ture of class train­ing makes it so­cial and sup­port­ive.

Risk rat­ing

Ob­vi­ously, get­ting punched is a ma­jor risk with box­ing. Pre­lim­i­nary train­ing doesn’t gen­er­ally re­quire you to hit an op­po­nent so the only thing to worry about is get­ting through the ex­er­cise regime it­self. Be­fore sign­ing up you should con­sult a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional for a health fit­ness as­sess­ment – par­tic­u­larly if you have his­tory with heart prob­lems and back pain. Mus­cle fa­tigue should be ex­pected af­ter the first few ses­sions.

Find out more

Box­ing train­ing is avail­able at sev­eral gyms across the coun­try.

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