Boxing or wrestling for self-defense

Boxing or wrestling for self-defense Boxing or wrestling for self-defense

So you are sick and tired of being pushed around.  You have considered eastern martial arts but you find them too difficult or you just don’t want to waste that much time in training to be actually good in them.  There are European alternatives that can be just as intimidating as a roundhouse kick. Ladies and gentlemen, we present you boxing and wrestling! We did some research and gathered enough facts to introduce you to both of these sports. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have made up your mind about using boxing or wrestling for self-defense.

History of boxing


The first written accounts about boxing come from the Mesopotamian region and are dated to 2nd millennium BC. This ancient discipline was pretty much similar to its modern counterpart. The only difference is in the equipment: Mesopotamian boxing gloves were much smaller but heavier and were built from calf skin. Needless to say, there weren’t so many rules like today so grave injuries and death were a common thing in the ring. The sport was later exported to ancient Greece where its popularity soared through the sky. In fact, it was quickly introduced in the Olympics. After the fall of Roman Empire, boxing lost its popularity as sword carrying (for self-defense, of course) became a norm.

Modern boxing


Boxing resurfaced once again but this time in the beginning of the 16th century in England. However, this form of boxing was extremely violent and bloody as the fighters didn’t wear any protective gloves. It took a couple of centuries for boxing to develop as a sport that we know today. In fact, the rules changed so much over the centuries that if you showed them to an ancient Greek, he would be appalled. Nowadays, boxing is a professional and well-respected sport with a lot of money in it.

History of wrestling


Wrestling, on the other hand, is a much older sport than boxing. The first historical evidence about wrestling can be found on the drawings in French caves that are around 15 000 years old. This is pretty much the oldest record of any sports humans have participated in, excluding hunting because in old days hunting wasn’t so much a sport but an activity for survival. It is widely believed that every ancient culture around the world has a variant of wrestling.

Modern wrestling

Photo by Tim Webb

The roots of modern wrestling can be found in the Greco-Roman style of wrestling. This style was used for establishing basic rules of wrestling that are accepted worldwide. Although this form of wrestling is the most commonly practiced, some countries have kept their specific forms of wrestling such as Sumo in Japan or Varanasi in India. Now, while on the subject of regional differences, many people think that what they see on WWE is wrestling. Let’s make one thing clear: WWE is not wrestling. It isn’ and it never will be. If it wasn’t scripted and staged it could be a competition in various fighting styles but wrestling is definitely not one of them.

How to choose

There are many different and equally important things to consider when deciding which sport to choose. We have gathered here a couple of factors that should influence your decision.

  1. Body type. People are not the same. Not by a long shot. Some of us are short and stocky, others are tall and thin. There are people with more muscle mass than others. It all comes down to genetics and what you inherited from your ancestors. Boxing, for example, is ideal for agile people as it requires constant movement. A boxer has to have his core muscles developed as they play an important part in avoiding your opponents blows. Wrestling, on the other hand, is more suited for those who are well endowed with muscles as it requires a lot of strength
  2. Reflexes. Do not go into boxing if your reflexes are not good. Just avoid it. Yeah, you can train your reflexes, but by the time you get any good you will take a lot of beating. Wrestling doesn’t have to do so much with reflexes as with strength. So remember, if you are fast, train boxing, if you are strong, wrestling is a better option.
  3. Money. If you train long and hard enough, you can try boxing professionally. If you are really good at it, you can earn top bucks as the box is one of the most popular sports in the world. The amounts professional boxers earn just for endorsing a product would make your head spin. On the other hand, wrestling is only for the enthusiasts. Forget about making a living out of wrestling
  4. What kind of fight is it? This is crucial. It would be insane to wrestle somebody while he or she is holding a knife. On the other hand, trying to punch your way out of a firm grip is also not recommended. Different styles have different applications so find out which discipline would be the best for dealing with encounters with unpleasant people.

Before you decide

If you are still undecided, try visiting your local boxing and wrestling clubs.  Don’t be shy about it: many coaches will be happy to let you watch as this will help you to get a basic idea what you’ll be training.  Apart from just watching, you can also ask the coach all you want to know about the sport, he will be more than glad to help you out.


We are living in a dangerous time and self-defense is still very highly regarded. The best thing about it is that, apart from a physical condition, it also builds your mental strength and confidence.  Knowing a thing or two about fighting is always appreciated. Yes, you can run or call the police but, let’s face it; there is nothing dignified in that. Before starting with anything, carefully wage your options; see which body type you are and which sport you like better.

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