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Spark+slag / april 2017
Carrie Anton, Contributor

Boxing Benefits Go Outside of Ring

Looking to get in fighting shape? Boxing – pounding the punching bag and jabbing your way through a workout – is sure to leave you down for the count.

While a fight-based sweat session can help you achieve the knockout body of your dreams, boxing goes beyond physical benefits by training your body and brain to go toe-to-toe with anyone who oversteps personal boundaries. dogpound-dara-self-defense-8

Boxing Beyond Fitness

Thanks to professional female fighters and social-media-posting celebs making the ring a more welcome space for women, boxing is growing in popularity.

Yes, getting in shape is a big part of why women are slipping on gloves, but some approach boxing class specifically with self-defense in mind.

Dara Hart  of New York City’s The DogPound, the choice gym of many A-listers, says women’s increased interest in boxing can be summed up in one word: “empowerment.”

“It’s about feeling empowered and strong and being able to hold your own,” says Hart. “It can feel so good to break out of what’s expected. Feeling badass and strong when you throw a punch is what makes women in a boxing class want to return.”

Self-Safety Techniques

In or out of the ring, boxing techniques serve as a solid self-defense foundation.

Punching: From the jab to the uppercut to the hook, the punches you learn in a boxing class can help if you’re ever in a dangerous situation. The more you practice, the more your body will grow in strength. Moreover, boxing techniques teach you where to aim your punches to deliver the most effective self-protection.

Space: While introductory boxing classes do not include sparring – fighting with another person in a contained space – individuals who progress to this advanced level learn that owning the space you’re in is key to a successful fight.

dogpound-dara-self-defense-7 “A lot of times women don’t want to take up too much space, and we apologize for things that we do as women,” says Hart. “But with boxing, when I’m taking up space and moving in that space it feels really good. I’m in total control.”

Defense: If the best offense really is a good defense, then learning how not to get hit may be even better than physically fighting an attacker.

“It’s about learning how to protect yourself from a punch so that you don’t get hurt,” says Hart regarding techniques such as slipping, blocking, dodging, and ducking as great ways to stay safe.

Footwork: Jumping rope isn’t just to get your heart pumping; its underlying purpose is to teach individuals how to stay light and balanced on their feet. In the case of a personal attack, the more balanced you are, the less likely you are to fall down while defending yourself.

Awareness: Staying safe in everyday life requires being aware of your surroundings at all times. It’s the same when sparring in the ring. Where is your opponent? How is he or she encroaching on your space?

Fatigue: The intense cardio training with boxing is intended to keep you in a fight for as long as it takes; in the event of an attack, having experience fighting while fatigued is more applicable than ever. The better your boxing skills, the more likely you’ll be able to wear out your opponent.

A Self-Defense Mindset

Boxing is sure to teach you physical techniques that will help to defend against dangerous situations, but of equal importance is getting your mind in shape.

“As a woman, finding yourself in a situation where you don’t feel safe or comfortable, it’s good to have an inner confidence that you know how to protect yourself,” says Hart.

But that confidence comes with practice.

Hart explains that when she trains new female clients they habitually get flustered.

“It’s because fighting goes against the grain of what we’ve been taught as females,” says Hart.

“Your whole life you’re told not to hit anyone or fight, so it goes against what we’ve learned,” she continues. “I hope never to use my boxing skills in everyday life but like with all aspects of fitness, I see the benefits of boxing being the positive effects it can have on our minds not just our bodies.”


Inspired to sign up for your first boxing class? Tweet @Reebok to let us know how it goes. 

Spark+slag / april 2017
Carrie Anton, Contributor