The Worst Thing About Boxing Culture – the Street Trainer Phenomenon

Boxing is filled—on every level—with questionable artists.  Perhaps it’s because of boxing’s mysterious nature.  Like many other martial arts, boxing do’s and don’ts can consist of a hodge-podge of hypothesis and myth, but for very few of boxing’s teachers across the world. Boxing is an artful science, and it lends way for hacks and fanboy buffs who are familiar with the surface of what goes into boxing’s endless valley of conventions and exceptions, fundamentals and preference, instinct and guessing.  Also, boxing is an art that chums alongside the street where wrong education flourishes regardless of the dominance of proof.  It’s why there are coaches who can yell in circles…

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The Boxing Identity of My City

“The City” should have the best fighters block for block for the logical order that we have always had the most fighters. We indeed have a pugilistic tradition of champions and fight minds richer than any city. New York City, by sheer number, trumps Pittsburg, outruns the Philly-fighter myth, and even beats-down the ridiculous notion of a group of states in the Midwest having some particular production of excellence besides old American cars. New York City arguably has the most sprawling demographic of fighters mile for mile than any other place on earth. The proof is in the numbers of champions, the size of its amateur boxing scene, the…

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The Hardest Art

Arguably the most transcendental art ever to be. An evolving condition of conflict, not a discovery. Not made up. Simple, yet intricately methodical. Climactic. That’s boxing. Romantic things can be said about ‘the manly art’ – more so than any other art that challenges its bravado – but what ruins the spirit of anyone involved in boxing is what drives its profundity. It’s just so damn difficult. Boxing will beat you down. The discipline, the demands, and the deprivation that makes fighters the best is not the life normal people choose. And for the small percentage of people who choose the life, the overwhelming majority of them end up…

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The Boxing Scores – What Are We Trying To Achieve When We Fight?

Boxing is widely recognized as being an art about “hitting and not getting hit,” but that’s obvious. And it’s also an insult. If that is all boxing is about, then anyone who threw punches in a fight has been boxing. Stripped down to its essence, boxing is about one of two things: damage and/or control (ultimately control means more, as good damage usually leads into control). The idea is very subjective and boxing used to be about scoring punches cleanly and effectively, but ‘clean and effective’ also brings subjectivity more greatly into the equation. USA Boxing recently changed the scoring from a ‘points’ game into the 10-Must system which makes boxing more…

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The Story in the Details

The boxing business, like any other business nowadays, is appraised through social media and is essential in building. As a coach, my absolute instinct is to be private about everything. But social media is a tool for constant marketing and contact and, more importantly to me, a learning tool for my fighters.  But I never, never aimed a message of attack at any one particular person unless I named him; if I notice a trend, however, I will probably note it whether or not one guy may have been a source of reproach. There has always been a method to my insanity, and I try to be precise with…

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The Line (prose)

“If everything is on the line, I wanna be right here at home. But I know I need to get off the line or be on neither side alone. When the blood is dry, the bandage washed, the leather starts to crack Like wrinkles ply with brandished scars, I weather the attack.  If everything is on the line, I wanna be right here at home. My body’s lying. My mommy’s vying for a place that’s not my own.  My daydreams rig my nightmares with a fear of open roads I wake to sprint and breathe on. Years, I’m racing to be slow. My labor is the mute complaints and…

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To Privately Train or Not To

There are two predominant kinds of people who train: the ones whose chief goal is to perform better and the ones whose chief goal is to be taught more. That was a difficult differentiation to make, but it is precisely designated, and I promise to explain.  Of course, there is an amalgam of sub-categories, but everybody falls under one.  Instinctively, I’d say there are two kinds of trainees: people who can follow directions and train alone versus people who need someone to hold their hands in order to train at all.  That is, however, a little harsh and unfair. As a coach/trainer, I am adamant that I am NOT…

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What Exceptional Boxing Coaches Should Do

As someone whose sporting history has tied in with an education background, I am continuously perplexed by the ubiquitous lack of sports coaching following the standards of scholarly pursuits. In boxing especially, fighters can only be grateful to have coaches who care and who communicate the art well enough – I’ve had very good coaches who did just that. But just that. What low standards that is in this age in which writing communication is a part of our everyday lives. It is already so that boxing coaches never had to be educated, but it should be obvious that great coaches should share the standards of great educators of…

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Pugilistica Dementia – Every Coach’s Burden

I recently brought my JO team to spar at another reputable boxing club that had a crop of great talent.  After watching the other kids, ages 9 to 12, I began noticing a problem that I had once believed was a problem solely of competition performance in amateur boxing — these kids showed zero defenses as they brawled mindlessly when they engaged in the pocket.  In competition, I’ve seen some decent guys stoop to low levels of throwing haymakers and getting hit with every dumb punch around. But I didn’t realize talented kids partook in the idiocy in sparring as though it’s done on a regular basis. It’s akin…

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A Month of Notes from Boxing

On Winning “Winning over” is sometimes the factor for success in the subjective nature of fighting. Does anyone know what winning a fight means? Even in street fighting, no one knows what winning is unless everyone says what “winning” is or someone gets knocked out. When I was a kid, I once watched a fight in which one boy was beating another boy up with punches—bloody and bruised, but not out. When the one kid who was beating the other kid got tired, they both fell to the ground and the bloody boy strangled the exhausted boy until adults came in to stop the fight. In all ways, the…

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