Boxing is an exciting sport where two superb athletes square off in a ring and battle to the limits of human endurance. But while boxing is a brutal competitive sport, it is trully an ineffective method of self defense.
Boxers are some of the toughest athletes in the world, but being "tough" and simply being an "athlete" (even a combat athlete) does not mean that you are prepared for the chaotic violence of a street fight. Like all modern combat sports, rules, regulations, and big money have diluted much of boxing's destructive power. When it comes to real world self defense, the only thing that should be expected is the worst, and boxing as a fighting system isn't up to the challenge.
Some years back I was drinking in a pub in London, and I met a couple of local amateur boxers who had sparred with Mike Tyson when he fought in Ireland. One poor bastard suggested to Tyson that he should use more combinations instead of his power punch. Tyson promptly replied by completely lifting the man off his feet with an bone-crunching uppercut. You'd assume with all that power Tyson would easily win any street fight, but throughout his career he was often in the news getting hurt in fights with ordinary run-of-the-mill bar brawlers.
The truth is that the preparation for a fight will make a boxer tough, but they are only preparing for one match. Even in tournaments a boxer gets a moment to recoup, and never has to worry about an opponent's buddies jumping into a fight. A referee penalizes and controls techniques like head butts and biting, and gloves prevent deep eye gouging, effective grappling, and even striking properly. While banning those moves make for a clean, skillful match, they're all necessary for self defense.
Close combat founding fathers Rex Applegate and Anthony Biddle were both big boxing fans, but they recognized boxing's severe limitations on the battlefield. Before joining the Marines, Biddle was an active amateur boxer who even sparred with heavy weight champion Jack Johnson, but when it came to military combatives Biddle only used boxing for body conditioning and to teach the fundamental footwork of bayonet fighting. When Applegate taught his recruits hand-to-hand combat he told them to forget what they learned from boxing and to start thinking of self defense in more practical terms. Though both men loved the sport of boxing they taught their troops a deadly mix of Jujitsu and Judo for self defense on the battlefield.
Boxing takes an incredible amount of discipline, endurance, and dedication, but it is a civilized sport. A street fight is a fierce battle for your life and nobody will stop the fight if you're hurt. Boxing gives you bad habits like a sense of fair play and makes you believe the only lethal part of you body is your fists. A real fight is a dirty mess and you have to use all your aggression and power.
In a real fight you don't know who you're fighting or what their abilities are or a million other factors, but in boxing that has all been figured out for you. In a street fight you can't postpone things if you're tired or injured, and there will be no mercy. So enjoy boxing, but remember that just like all combat sports, it's only a small part of learning proper self defense. Perhaps heavyweight champion and World War II veteran Jack Dempsey said it best when he commented, "You're in there for three-minute rounds with gloves on and a referee. That's not real fighting."
For more information on Chris "Lt. X" Pizzo former soldier, cancer survivor, mercenary, barroom bouncer, educator, and hand-to-hand combat instructor, and his incredible FREE Accelerated Battlefield Combatives close-combat learning system, visit http://www.TopSecretTraining.com
Recommended Read - When The GLoves Came Off by Billy Walker