Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Is Boxing Viable for Self-Defense?

In this day of grappling's rise to prominence, some may question whether boxing is a viable tactic or style for self protection. I think that's why Boxing for Self-Defense and MMA has been one of our most popular posts. If you have any doubt as to whether boxing can be used in self-defense, watch this fascinating video.

You'll notice that the man defending himself against the mob in this footage is following the principles of defending against multiple opponents. He's constantly moves, never lets anyone get behind him, keeps his weight forward on the balls of his feet, and actually attacks the mob rather than waiting for them to come to him. What can happen in the case of mob attack is a swarm, where someone is overwhelmed by the clutching mass of his attackers, taken down, and usually stomped or beaten into unconsciousness, if not death. Using footwork and straight punches the defender prevents them from grabbing him, much less taking him down. See the hesitation in the body language of the attackers as the "defender" sticks and moves, taking the fight to them. I especially like how he drops one guy with a stiff jab, and floors someone who attempts a lame kick! Watch it!

See the Multiple Attackers category, and our recent, Grab releases critical versus multiple opponents post with video examples of preventing someone from grabbing you.
Hat tip to AirSoft Canada forum.

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Kouta said...

very nice man i work in boxing too and i know that this fight is very importanto and we get very toughther than we are this fight show us how to defend our selfs in the all ways never let anyone get behind you and never stay in the same place you need to get all the distance you can from all the others opponents that guy has a very good punch and gave than a very good lesson thanks for rating and have a nice weekend

Anonymous said...

Boxing is a very direct, practical and hands-on (pun intended) approach to fighting. Yes it is limited technique-wise (you fight only with your hands and boxing-training focuses on engaging one opponent under very strict rules) but boxers are pretty generally tough, experienced and determined fighters and with proper technique it’s relatively easy to score a knockout, especially against untrained street-thugs. On the street a knockout is one of your best options to quickly end a fight and even if there are more opponents if you’re quick on your feet and pack a good punch you’ll be able to keep your distance and take them on one by one. Once you knock someone out cold with one punch most people will think twice about attacking you. That being said it leaves quite a few rather essential aspects of self-defense and fighting out of the picture (grabs, chokes, weapon-attacks, kicks, ground-survival) but with boxing you’ll actually learn how to fight and hit solid objects instead of just air (boxers spar regularly and one of the main training methods is hitting the heavy bag and focus-mitts), you’ll build up stamina and endurance and you’ll learn excellent defenses and counters against the most common street-attacks (punches).

That is more than a lot of ‘traditional’ MA or mcdojo’s can and will teach you. A lot of people claiming to be experts and masters aren’t very knowledgeable and their techniques are doubtful at best, at least with boxing you know what you’ll learn is tried and tested (if it works in a full-contact environment against a professional fighter it’ll work against pretty much anyone). If you want to even out the weaknesses of the sport take some kind of respectable self-defense orientated art on the side but as far as fighting one on one goes boxing is and always will be one of your best options. There’s simply no better way to learn to throw hard, fast and accurate punches than to join a boxing gym and hand-attacks most likely will be your primary offensive and defensive option. Having trained in a classical art myself (ju-jutsu) I never realized how much I lacked in proper punching technique and defense against such techniques until I came into contact with boxing. I know this is not the aim of self-defense but if you’re a student of an oriental style (karate, kung-fu…) and you want to test your fighting ability I suggest you try sparring a boxer. If you can hold your own than you’ll know you’re good but even then it’ll difficult at best to take him out. That is how effective and practical boxing is. I rest my case.


Anonymous said...


I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. I trained in Kung fu for 13 years and boxed for 2, and I wish I would gone to boxing instead.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm by no means an expert but I can speak from my own experience. Traditional, asian MA are valuable and you can learn alot from them (under qualified supervision at least, too bad this is sadly lacking in a number of cases) but if your aim is self-defense sooner or later you'll have to acknowledge the fact that alot of the traditional stuff is fairly outdated and not very useful on the street (sometimes even quite dangerous, to you and not to the other guy). Boxing is a very practical art and a good base in it is a useful addition to any other art, for self-defense it's great aslong as you don't get stuck in the trading-blows, competitive mentality.

For me I'll never abandon my background: JJ is very cool and I'll never forgot the debt that I owe to my sensei but I'm not planning on getting stuck in the old patterns and I am trying to broaden my horizons (by studying other arts, including boxing, and by modifiying the traditional stuff to suit my needs and the reality of fighting in today's streets). I don't know alot about kung-fu but from what I've seen alot of it seems pretty flowery and acrobatic, wing-chung is a very effective, practical style though and very useful on the street.

In any case boxing is a very good skill to have and while I do not consider it the ultimate in MA (if such a thing even exist), in large part due to it being too limited, I do feel it augmented my fighting-potential enormously (in offense and defense). Before I learned some boxing I was always doubting the value of my technique but now I know if things go awry I can always fall back on a few good boxing-combo's and proper striking-defenses (based on proper attacks and not the old karate lunge-punch you see coming a mile away) I feel alot more confident and able.

As I said I've got nothing against traditional MA (I'm schooled in one) and there is alot more to training than just learning how to beat a guy into submission but you need to adapt and evolve your art and if someone else has a better solution to a certain problem than you (e.g punch-defenses) than why not copy it and integrate it into your system? That's at least my point of view.


Anonymous said...

Well all the guys here are praising boxing for being a very effective fighting style foe self defence... Which i dont doubt at all. It has all it takes to end a fight very quickly..But most of the guys here are looking down on traditional asian martial arts. They should know that tradirional asian martial arts were designed to cope up with war situations..Soldiers were trained in those hand to hand combat in case they loose their weapon in the fight..if they worked against armed opponents then it will also work now..surely they wont stand against guns but boxing wont either..the only difference between boxing and traditional martial arts are the applications of the techniques in boxing is very direct and the applications of techniques of traditional martial arts are hidden in the so called flowery forms...and anyone who thinks kungfu is flowery has never seen real traditional kungfu.they have seen sports wushu only..if anyone has studied 5 animal shaolin kung fu they will know how deadly the art is..that is why those techniques are foebiddarn from being used in point sparring...only the student needs to unreveal the techniques hidden in the forms & that needs a good teacher to teach..also practical selfdefence related martial arts like kravmaga & MCMAP uses techniques that are taken from traditional martial arts..

McGee said...

Um to share some facts about traditional Gong Fu, it was never intended as a fighting art. It was intended as an exercize to enhance their fighting art which is now referred to as Sanda or Sanshou. Which looks a lot like standard kick boxing. The traditional Japanese styles were designed with your opponent wearing armor in mind not that he was armed. It was considered stupid and careless to attack an armed opponent if you were unarmed. Hence why all of the throws and ground fighting is so relevant in the older systems. It was more practical to get your opponent on the ground because he was wearing from 60 to 100 pounds of extra weight, which is really hard to stand up too quickly in. The grapple was then followed by a type of weapon stab in a place where armor isn't covering. If your foot work and stand up game is solid (which can come from boxing) you'll be able to handle most any situation in a real setting.

SenseiMattKlein said...

I believe that boxing is very effective for self defense. Its ability to chain-link rapid, powerful punches is unmatched in the martial arts. The realistic training that boxers endure make them tough as nails and able to last a long time.

That said, they don't target the vulnerable areas of the body like traditional martial arts. Boxing also does not address the issue of a fight going to the ground, which would leave them vulnerable.

In combination with a grappling art and a traditional art, boxing skills are invaluable.

Anonymous said...

@Matt: "they don't target the vulnerable areas of the body". Yes they do: the chin, jawline and temple are vulnerable points that will result in a clean knock-out if hit properly. The liver, spleen and solar plexus are weak points too and if you've ever been hit there you know how much it hurts and how compromised you are afterwards. Sure there are rules that dissallow some tactics that might be useful in a streetfight but overall a good, clean knock-out punch will serve you nicely in almost any situation. All in all boxing's a great sport that doesn't dabble in eastern mumbo-jumbo and that works without having to rely on complicated moves and the 'he does this, you do that' formula used in traditional MA. It's just a few proven moves trained to perfection and honed through countless hours of sparring. I'd rather know 20 moves well than hundreds half-assed.

Anonymous said...

Boxing is truly very effective. I'll add even Wrestling. So if you have someone whose fully trained in both Boxing and Wrestling, then you have a pretty good fighter!

Unfortunately, MMA has done alot to either damage and/or spread more quickly false information regarding 'what is' and 'what does' work in actual street situations.

Boxing and Wrestling also add realisim by actually sparring, full contact and allowing full contact sparring between two fighters. Unlike 'most' of the traditional arts, Boxing and Wrestling train more realistic and are not just more effective, but simple, and direct.

I personally have done both Boxing and Wrestling. I can tell you they both came in handy on more then one occasion! (and I'm also LEO Defensive Tactics trained and Martial Arts trained!)

Alexis Moore said...

Without a doubt, boxing is viable for self-defense. It's important to learn how to counter-attack, and to quickly avoid attacks. Generally, learning boxing is a practical way for us to defend ourselves.

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rebeka christy said...

Thanks for sharing this nice blog..

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Anonymous said...

Boxing is great contact sport for fitness and discipline. I really a found of boxing, UFA and Fighting. It such a interesting sport game.