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Why you should learn the hardest sport in the world

By Rochelle E. Brenner

The results are in: Boxing is the toughest sport in the world. 

ESPN ranked 60 sports based on extensive criteria: endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination and analytic aptitude. 

Boxing ranked No. 1. Martial arts ranked 6th.

Back in 2007 during my competitive boxing days, the International Olympic Committee ranked all Olympic sports and came to the same conclusion: Boxing is number 1 

Whether or not you agree with the results, the analysis reveals why boxing training is so advantageous and desirable to people of all ages and abilities. Many professional athletes cross-train in boxing (and comparatively martial arts, which ranked 6th) because it’s fun and develops and enhances skills needed in other sports. 

One of the reasons for the high ranking is due to the risk of injury, or rather, the likely outcome of a miniscule mistake: getting punched square in the face. 

At Action Karate, I teach a boxing class for beginners that includes benefits of the sport – without the risk of injury. The strength, agility, technique, fitness, speed, coordination. The class includes cardio workouts, technique training, and sweet skills in between. However, no one gets hit. We focus on the imaginary opponent. Of course, if you take away the specter of getting hit, it would never rank so high, but pursuing the skills still result in a fantastic workout. 

Here are 7 benefits to boxing:

1- Fitness -Boxing workouts are renowned for their ability to improve overall fitness. The class incorporates footwork drills, shadowboxing, bag work and conditioning exercises that are accessible to all levels of physical ability. 

2- Stress relief - The focus required during training gives participants the opportunity to zone out of their problems. The class provides a mental break from everyday worries, and an outlet for aggression to burn through the stress by hitting a target.

3- Self defense - While boxing is a sport whose purpose is not self-defense, the teaching enhances awareness and maintaining a mindset to protect yourself at all times.

4- Coordination and balance - Footwork, coordination and timing use both sides of the brain to use the upper and lower body and left and right sides.  Drills improve agility, spatial awareness and functional strength needed for everyday tasks such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries and withstanding a fall. 

5- Confidence - The feeling of throwing a strong punch is pure empowerment. Learning new skills, pushing boundaries and increased knowledge improves confidence inside and outside of class.

6- Social interaction - The class is interactive and boxing students are given drills working with other people in class (without hitting them). There’s a lot of good bonding while adults smile, sweat and learn together.

7-Mental growth - The true Sweet Science is a mental challenge as much as it is a physical sport. Introducing the mental processes to remember how to hold and move the body for different circumstances is a constant challenge. The knowledge of the sport and intricacies of strategy make it fun to learn how to apply each lesson. 

There are two sessions coming up: 

-One- time Monday, March 11 - Boxing Balance 10 am to noon. $59. Pay at door. No equipment needed

- Monday, April 22 - Boxing Fitness in partnership with Mt. Airy Learning Tree. $89/ 4 Mondays 7 to 7:45 pm + Must purchase gloves $59. No outside equipment allowed. Register HERE

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