Is Boxing Good for Self Defense? Pros and Cons of Boxing

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Self-defense is designed so that everyone, regardless of their physical stature, can use them effectively. Self-defense techniques are specifically designed to ward off aggressors that are larger or more powerful than the defender.

With this in mind, how does boxing stack up as a self-defense technique? Is it a viable self-defense technique for you to learn? Let’s take an in-depth look at the art of boxing and find out if it is a reliable fighting technique to learn for those who want to learn how to defend themselves from would-be attackers.

The Science of Boxing

Unlike MMA, boxing is a technique that exclusively incorporates one’s fist in combat. That means you won’t learn any elbow strikes, knee strikes, or kicks with this fighting technique. That’s not precisely a shortcoming though. One’s fist, when used accurately and adequately, can stop an aggressor just as fast.

Boxing incorporates a variety of punches that will be extremely effective in a close to a mid-range combat situation. Punches like jabs and crosses can push back an attacker or even knock them down and out if it manages to connect with the sweet spot (i.e. the chin).

Punches such as jabs, cross, hooks, and uppercuts are not the only strikes you can do with your fist, but these are the critical weapons in boxing. Each punch has its specific uses.

For example, jabs are quick and easy to throw but not very powerful. That’s because jabs are not supposed to knock anyone out, it was thrown to keep the opponent at bay.

The cross and uppercuts are the punches that are akin to ballistic missiles; these are the punches that you throw intent to hurt.

Learning these basic punching techniques is essential. While they may seem simple to execute, in an actual dangerous situation, your opponent won’t be sitting idly by as you try to throw punches. Your attacker wouldn’t give you a second chance if you missed your opportunity to turn the tables.

What’s great about boxing is that it can be learned and mastered by anyone, of any shape and size.

Age is not even that big of a factor as long as you are not aiming for a career in the sport. The fundamentals of boxing have proven itself time and time again to be an excellent way of self-defense.

Just understanding the basics of boxing can significantly help you in dangerous real-life situations.

Speaking of the basics, boxing is a combination of three elements – striking, weaving, and footwork. A technical boxer is an excellent example of the full potential of this technique.

Take a look at Muhammad Ali, his “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” is a perfect example of the sweet science of boxing. It is striking your opponent while avoiding damage yourself. That’s the goal of boxing.

Now, apply that into self-defense, and you will see how boxing can be an excellent tool in this situation.

How Effective is Boxing for Self-Defense?

When it comes to effectiveness and reliability, boxing self-defense courses is one that we highly recommended and is definitely among the top-ranking self-defense courses you can try out.

However, before you take on a self-defense boxing class, you need to remember a vital aspect of this course – it is purely for self-defense. If you can avoid conflict, avoid it. Use whatever self-defense technique you’ve learned as a last resort.

Remember, what you will learn is for defense, do not go around looking for a fight. Being responsible and disciplined is the first lesson you will need to learn here, and it is a crucial one.

Once you are a few lessons into your boxing course, you will start noticing the difference between a trained boxer and an amateur. Amateurs and brawlers will swing wide while boxers throw precise and short punches.

As you can imagine, the advantage of knowing how to throw punches can be quite a lifesaver if you are attacked on the streets by an untrained aggressor.

What do You Need to Remember When Using Boxing to Defend Yourself?

Sparring and being in a situation where the other person in front of you wants to legit hurt you are two extremely different things. There are five crucial elements you need to keep in mind when you find yourself in such a situation.

  • Don’t Get Knocked Down Yourself

Staying on your feet helps keep you mobile and allows you to keep out of harm’s way.

Also, since boxing is a purely striking technique, you can only imagine how hard it is throwing a punch on your back. You should also note that punches do not center on arm strength alone.

A proper straight cross will incorporate your whole body, starting from your feet, to throw correctly.

  • The Keep Away Game

In self-defense, the most important aspect is keeping your attacker at bay. The point here is creating distance between you and the aggressor as you don’t know whether they have any concealed weapon, such as a knife.

In this regard, jabs are incredibly useful in disrupting the forward momentum of your attacker. As in the actual sport of boxing, the jab is an excellent way to throw your attacker off-balanced.

  • Be Strategic When Dodging and Ducking

Never underestimate your opponent/attacker, you can never truly gauge their skill level until you’re actually in a fight with them. With that in mind, be careful where you swing your head to dodge incoming attacks.

In a real fight, your opponent will be throwing everything at you, not just their fists. Don’t just focus on their hands and learn to read their body movement. The last thing you want is ducking low only for their knees to greet you on your way down.

  • Don’t Be Stationery

As in the actual competitive sport of boxing, being always on the move is vital. This is doubly more so in a real dangerous situation. Keep moving, and your aggressor will have a hard time taking you down.

  • Precise Punches Lowers the Risk of Damaging Your Hands

There is a reason a boxer tapes up their fists and use boxing gloves. Throwing a punch will damage the recipient, but it will also damage your hands. This is where boxing training comes in handy.

With boxing, you are trained to be accurate with where your punches land. You will learn to target specific areas of the body that maximizes damage to the opponent while mitigating the damage you deliver to your fists.

For those who are not 100% confident that they will hit their target, I highly recommend using open palm strikes as a solid hit from one of these can still stun an attacker.

Incorporating Other Self-Defense Techniques

Boxing, in itself, is highly effective in regard to self-defense. However, in the event where you are taken down by your attacker, all the lessons you were taught in boxing goes out the window.

It is best to combine the practice of boxing with other martial arts to further maximize your ability to defend yourself in most situations. If you are already learning how to box to protect yourself, you should also invest in other classes that will cover a broad spectrum of cases.

Pros and Cons of Boxing in Self-Defense

There is no one self-defense course that you can consider as 100% effective. This is why a lot of self-defense classes tend to teach a combination of different techniques. This helps in accentuating the positives of each technique while simultaneously patching up its shortcomings.

This holds in boxing, especially once you have an understanding of the basics. Once you do, you will be able to see its strengths as well as its weakness when applied in real-world situations.

The Pros of Training in Boxing

The advantages of boxing training for self-defense goes beyond the usual methods of protecting yourself from an attacker, as you can see from the following:

  • Great conditioning and cardio.
  • It improves your stability and balance.
  • Strengthens discipline and focus.
  • Builds up a solid work ethic.
  • Builds up your confidence.
  • The ability to handle yourself when confronted by an aggressor.
  • You will know how to defend yourself from punches.
  • Learning how to throw compact and precise punches.

As you can see, there are a variety of advantages to learning how to box. That being said, in real-life situations, knowing how to throw and defend from punches can only get you so far if your opponent manages to take you down to the ground.

The Cons of Training in Boxing for Self-Defense

As for the shortcomings of boxing in self-defense, here are the things you can expect:

  • Focusing primarily on this technique will leave you vulnerable in the instance your opponent throws a kick or goes for a takedown.
  • Your hands will most likely take damage in the event you find yourself in an actual street fight. It is recommended to end the conflict quickly as continuous physical impact on your hands will cause severe damage.

Final Thoughts

Learning boxing for self-defense is a good idea. Knowing how to defend yourself from someone taking a swing at you will give you a significant edge in most situations.

Also, the discipline ingrained into practitioners of this sport is a welcome addition to build your character.

Just remember that the aim here is to avoid getting hurt. If you can run away, run away. If you see no other options but to duke it out with the aggressor – well, now you know how to throw a good straight that will have them seeing stars and thinking twice about coming at you again.

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