Boxing or Wrestling for Self-Defense
When we look at the history of gloved boxing styles, techniques and strategies have consistently changed in varying degrees. Ring conditions, demands of the promoters, a multitude of teaching techniques and the undeniable influence of successful boxers are some of the reasons strategies and styles continue to fluctuate.
You have the right to physically defend yourself. Exercising this right is known as self-defense and is legally applicable in situations where you suspect you are in danger of encountering violence or suffering force. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? We live in a world where self-defense techniques are universally accepted, marketed and encouraged. We have male and female superheroes continuously demonstrating their superior skills and strength in the never-ending conflict against evil while evil always seems to find a way to catch-up. Violent crimes (whether real of contrived) are everywhere. Movie violence has escalated to the point where the public is exposed to every detail of a heinous crime; the thought, the planning and the execution. There is an endless debate as to whether TV and media violence has a negative effect on viewers but, rest assured you’re not likely to see a popular movie without it.
On a personal level, regardless of your personal convictions, there is no denying the possibility of encountering a violent attack at some point in your life. The question is-will you be able to handle an assailant who’s got you in their sites? If so, there’s one of two ways to address the situation: you can try to amicably reason with them, talking in such a way that they change their mind about hurting you, or taking a physical stance and defending yourself with every fiber of your being. Can you imagine doing either? If you knew for a fact that talking to an assailant was 100% successful, we wouldn’t even be here talking about it. The truth is, violent crimes whether in the school, sporting events or the home are on the rise. Finding yourself in a desperate life and death situation is a reality of life. Ask yourself; if the unthinkable happens, are you as prepared as much as you can possibly be to defend your family or home against injury or theft? Or, are you interested in training your body and mind to handle such encounters? Are you willing to improve your physical strength and mental acuity in the event someone does confront you? If any of these scenarios provoke you into seriously considering self-defense classes, the next logical thought would be-which one? You have several choices in the genre of self-defense. Many people think their only options are martial arts classes. In addition to Karate, Kickboxing (Muay Thai), Aikido, Wing Chun, Jiu-Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Keysi Fighting Method and Krav Maga we shall also explore wrestling as well as boxing in terms of self-defense training.
Comparing Personal Preferences to Self-Defense Objectives
Wants vs Needs
Preparing yourself to be prepared is the issue here. Until you have a clear vision of what your goals are, you may waste a lot of time and money taking self defense classes that don’t meet your brief. For example, let’s take a woman who may be intrigued by the idea of taking a fitness class. She suddenly realizes that a self-defense class would help her stay physically fit while training her in techniques that could save her life someday. Why not start a list of wants and needs? Follow the steps listed below and see they help clarify your objectives:
Step #1: Personal Assessment and Training Objectives
x Men and women choose self-defense classes for a variety of reasons: fun, competition, exercise, self-protection, fitness, sport, personal time, artistic movement, hobby and/or therapeutic healing. Many people feel vulnerable from violent encounters that happened in their past. Others may want to focus on the necessary skills to have so that they can fight back when the time comes. Can you identify with any of these?
§ Being prepared in the event of criminal attack.
§ Competing in events
§ Muscle tone
§ Overcoming fear, intimidation
§ Teaching or advocating self-defense
Step #2: Spiritual Considerations
x Whenever a person begins to assess their personal self-defense objectives it’s a good idea to remember that many instructors incorporate ancient philosophies and rituals in their teachings. It would be advisable to inquire about:
§ Pre-event ceremonies
§ Lifestyle arrangements
§ Religious beliefs
Step #3: Worldview
x There are people in the world who are always looking for the easy fix. These are the ones who are usually looking for sprays or weapons to do the fighting for them. Many people are suffering from anxiety and feel vulnerable related to traumatic experiences in their lives-this can have a direct effect on their worldview.
§ Paranoia may result in collecting weapons, fighting accessories, gadgets, firearms and pepper spray.
§ Past experience with sexual assault may alter your worldview and cause you to question your self-worth, making you even more vulnerable.
x What is your commitment history?
x What is your assessment of the latest acts of violence in the world?
x How willing are you to use violence for self-preservation?
Choosing from the Self-Defense Menu
Would you Like Boxing or Wrestling with That?
As you go through the process of defining your training objectives and self-defense goals, there is also the process of choosing the best method. After taking into consideration your goals, lifestyle, and possible threats that may be motivating you, the information below will outline features and facts about boxing and wrestling:
Step #1: Boxing Techniques in Self-Defense
x Boxing is one of the most brutal and competitive sports there is. Two extremely tough and extensively trained athletes have been preparing for this moment for a long, long time. Many since the time they were kids. Now the techniques previously reserved for the ring are taught in what is referred to as “boxing self-defense training”. Because boxers have proven themselves to be some of the toughest competitors on the planet, their methods of fighting are being taught online and in classes all over the world. The main goals in taking classes specializing in self-defense boxing are:
§ Quickly sizing up your opponent
Step #2: Boxing for Every Age – Every Level
x When you’re researching boxing classes, note the diversity in the curriculum and structure of the classes offered.
§ Are you able to train with people in your class that are close to your age?
§ Is the facility staffed with knowledgeable employees and instructors dedicated to both fitness and nutrition?
§ What are the fundamental teachings included with each class?
§ Is there a program for spouses’ and kids?
§ Can the facility accommodate combined training with other sports i.e., karate, kickboxing, wrestling?
§ What are the contractual obligations for membership?
§ Are there competitions planned for all ages to participate in?
Step #3: Boxing Techniques
x The sport of boxing compared to other combat sports offers fewer techniques. The advantage in learning the basics is the technical structure and the excellent application of distance, cover and position.
§ Boxing footwork fundamentals include:
§ Stand-up base
§ Cross footwork
§ Punching fundamentals include
§ Boxing blocks, parries and evasive techniques include
§ Side Parry
§ High front cover
§ Low front cover
§ Hook and side cover
§ Shoulder roll
§ Bob and weave
Step #4: Training Techniques
x Here you will find the focus is primarily on developing training methods related to the development and quality of specific techniques such as power, speed, stamina, agility and sparring by striking various bags:
§ Heavy bag
§ Double end bag
§ Speed bag
§ Focus mitts (training partners will wear hand pads for each other).
Step #5: Isolation Phase
x Boxing techniques may be practiced solo using bags and pads in order to develop your speed and power. Shadow boxing in the air is also an effective method, but some trainers feel the best results are obtained by training with partners; either holding focus pads or with isolated sparring sessions.
§ To isolate a specific boxing technique, choose a particular punch and defense routine and decide whether to have a designated attacker work the punches with the defender working the defense or, vice versa, alternating back and forth. For example,
§ the attacker begins by jabbing and the defender responds by defending with a simple catch. This routine can be repeated or, practitioners have the option of taking turns.
§ perform the same routine using the low jab, cross, hook, etc. in the isolation stage.
x The second step in working the isolation phase focuses more on sparring integration:
§ This routine will allow the offensive partner to use any punch they want to attack.
§ The defender has the choice of implementing any defensive technique to counter. These techniques include counter striking and blocks if desired.
§ An example of an isolation phase routine would have the attacker start by jabbing their opponent followed by the defender ducking and blasting back with a combination of strikes.
Boxing for Self-Defense
Know the Basics Before Doing it “Street-Style”
When we look at the history of gloved boxing styles, techniques and strategies have consistently changed in varying degrees. Depending on ring conditions, the demands of the promoters, a multitude of teaching techniques and the undeniable influence of successful boxers are some of the reasons strategies and styles continue to fluctuate. The idea behind street-style boxing is to adapt ring techniques for defending yourself in violent or threatening situations. It’s the type of boxing that is most useful when confronted in the street, on a sidewalk or in a back ally. In street boxing, bare fists are used and ordinary clothes are worn. The boxers usually roll up their shirt sleeves or remove the shirt altogether. Additional “sub-styles and categories include:
Step #1: The Counter Puncher
x The counter puncher exercises their knowledge of techniques that counts on the opposing boxer making a mistake, and then capitalizing on the error. An experienced and skillful counterpuncher will utilize various techniques such as winning a round with a jab or psychological tactic designed to tempt an opponent into using an aggressive fighting style. This tactic is great for wearing out the boxer, leaving him or her exhausted and vulnerable to counterpunches. Boxing in this fashion evens out the ratio of defense and offense but may lead to severe body or brain damage if the boxer using counterpunching techniques has poor reflexes or is not fast enough. Well known counterpunchers are Canelo Álvarez, Timothy Bradley, Andre Berto, Andre Ward, Charley Burley, Max Schmeling, Floyd Mayweather, Joe Calzaghe, Marvin Hagler, Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, Vitali Klitschko, Hector Camacho, Juan Manuel Márquez, Tony Canzoneri, Archie Moore, Jerry Quarry, Terence Crawford, Salvador Sanchez, James Toney Dick Tiger, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Azumah Nelson, and Wilfred Benitez.
Step #2: The Southpaw
x Southpaw’s fight using a left‐handed fighting stance as opposed to the right-handed, (also referred to as orthodox) fighter. Orthodox fighters will lead then jab from the left side of their body, while the southpaw fighter will jab and lead from their right side. Orthodox fighters are known to hook more with their left and crossing more with their right. For southpaw fighters it’s the opposite. Some naturally right-handed fighters (such as Marvin Hagler and Michael Moorer) are known for converting to southpaw techniques in the past to offset and confuse their opponents. Famous southpaws include Tiger Flowers, Melio Bettina, Ruslan Chagaev, Manny Pacquiao, Zab Judah, Pernell Whitaker, Marvin Hagler, Joe Calzaghe, Naseem Hamed, Michael Moorer, Sergio Martínez, Tarver, Hector Camacho and Winky Wright.
Step #3: The Switch-Hitter
x A switch-hitter describes the method of switching back and forth between a right-handed (orthodox) stance and a left-handed (southpaw) stance. This is intended to confuse the opponent during the match. Right-handed boxers will train in the left-handed (southpaw) stance, while southpaws will train in a right-handed (orthodox) stance. A boxer practicing this technique gains the ability to switch back and forth after training for some time. An ambidextrous boxer has an easy time fighting in the switch-hitter style without having to train as much. Included in the ranks of successful switch-hitters are Carmen Basilio, Andre Ward, Marco Antonio Barrera, Terence Crawford, Kelly Pavlik, Michael Moorer, Marvin Hagler, Leonard Bundu, Winky Wright, Joe Calzaghe, Miguel Cotto, Nonito Donaire and Tyson Fury.
Boxing for self-defense is recommended as a great foundational base to build your skills on. It will teach you range, awareness, basic striking and discipline. For kids especially, it introduces good nutrition and eating habits that could positively influence them for the rest of their lives. Before purchasing any memberships, do some research on the instructor’s certification and experience and, take a tour around the gym. You want to ensure it is properly cleaned and maintained. Ask about available practice hours, time off for illness, vacations and schedule changes at work. Find a facility that has your best interests at the core of their mission statement and make absolutely sure they are up to date with all the rules and regulations for each sport. In a self-defense situation, you will most likely need to supplement your training with some kind of grappling and/or weapons training.
Punching Styles in Boxing
Learning the Four Basic Moves
There are four fundamental punching techniques used in modern boxing:
Step #1: The Jab
x The typical jab, as defined for boxing purposes is a quick, sharp blow especially with a fist.
Step #2: The Cross
x In boxing, the cross (also commonly called a straight) is a power-punch similar to the uppercut and hook. The cross counts as a power punch according to Compubox, a computerized punch scoring system. It is a punch usually thrown using the boxer’s dominant hand the instant an opponent leads with his opposite hand.
Step #3: The Hook
x The hook in boxing terminology is a punch. It is executed by turning the core muscles and back and swinging the arm. The boxer’s arm will be bent at a 90-degree angle in a horizontal arc into the opponent. The hook is most often aimed at the opponent’s chin, but it can also be utilized in delivering body shots and targeting the liver.
Step #4: The Uppercut
x The uppercut is a vertical, upward punch thrown with the rear hand. The boxer shifts from the guard position, moving their torso slightly to the right, they will then drop the rear hand below the level of the opponent’s chest while bending both knees slightly. From this position, the boxer thrusts their rear hand upward forming a rising arc in the direction of their opponent’s chin or torso. At the same time, they will straighten their knees pushing upwards quickly. The body and hips rotate counter‐clockwise, turning the rear heel outward, following the torso’s movement of the cross. The strategy behind using the uppercut depends on the boxer’s ability to “lift” their opponent’s body and getting them off‐balance in successive attacks.
Boxing for self-defense is a good place to start in your preparation for street fighting. You have probably deduced by now the decision to engage in boxing as a means to defend yourself is a complicated and intense endeavor. In order to handle the number of violent scenarios a person may encounter in their lifetime, states have developed and implemented rules to determine when self-defense is permissible and how much force a victim can use to protect themselves when confronted. You may want to discuss the laws, rules and penalties with an attorney or your instructor.
Wrestling Techniques for Self-Defense
Folkstyle vs Freestyle: Transition, Tactics and Delivery
There is a definite difference between folkstyle and freestyle wrestling techniques. Folkstyle wrestlers concentrate their efforts on controlling their opponent, while freestyle competitors put more emphasis on exposure and is considered the best way to prepare for wrestling as a method of self-defense. Along with Greco-Roman, freestyle is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. As a wrestler, you are in better physical condition than most people and have an athletic advantage. Also, possessing the ability to single-leg or double-leg an opponent and then taking them to the ground and controlling them is a great asset as a fighter. It is not recommended or wise to only depend on one discipline when it comes to facing real life combat situations. You also want to have knowledge and experience in striking, hand to weapon defense and submissions. In folkstyle wrestling the goal is to escape from the bottom position. The goal in freestyle when in the bottom position is to avoid being turned or exposed. In freestyle, your goal is to pin or expose your opponent’s shoulders to the mat. Obtaining knowledge and learning the various features of these wrestling styles will equip you with crossover opportunities that will help you as a wrestler become as complete as possible. Take the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the various wrestling techniques below:
Step #1: Grappling
x When engaged in hand-to-hand combat, grappling is a close fighting technique a wrestler may use to gain a physical advantage such as improvement in their relative position, or when causing injury to their opponent. Grappling covers many of the techniques used in disciplines that are practiced when engaging in both combat sports and self-defense.
x Grappling does not usually include striking or the use of weapons. However, some styles of fighting or martial arts that are specifically known for their grappling techniques will in fact teach tactics that do include strikes and weapons either alongside grappling or in combination with it.
x Grappling techniques can be subdivided as follows:
§ Clinching: Also known as clinch work, takes place with both competitors standing on their feet using different clinch holds applied to the opponent’s upper body. Clinch work is generally used in setting up or defending against throws or takedowns.
§ Takedowns: Used by one grappler to manipulate the opponent from a position where both start out standing, to a position on the ground. The grappler completing the takedown aims to finish on top of the opponent in a position earning them relative control.
§ Throws: A throw is a wrestling technique where one grappler lifts or off-balances their opponent while maneuvering them forcefully through the air or onto the ground. The purpose of the throw technique varies among the different disciplines of grappling with a few emphasizing throws that have the potential for incapacitating the opponent. Ultimately, this leaves the thrower standing, or in the position of taking down the opponent.
§ Sprawling: A sprawl is a defensive technique done usually when the opponent is attempting a takedown. It is performed by shifting the legs backwards and spreading them out in one fast motion. If executed correctly, the wrestler will land the opponent on their back and gain control.
§ Submission holds: Generally, there are two types of submission holds:
§ Those that have the potential to strangle or suffocate an opponent by choking.
§ Those that can potentially cause injury to a joint or other body part (locks).
x In sport grappling, a competitor is expected to submit when defeated either verbally or by tapping the opponent when they are caught in an inescapable submission hold. Competitors who refuse to “tap out” run the risk of unconsciousness or serious injury.
§ Securing or Controlling Techniques: A pin involves holding your opponent on their back in a position where they are unable to attack. In some styles of grappling competitions, the wrestler may claim an instant victory if they pin their opponent. In other styles, when the wrestler accomplishes a dominant position the technique is rewarded with points. Other controlling techniques are used to successfully hold an opponent face down on the ground or on all fours in order to prevent them from escaping or attacking. Either one of these controlling techniques may also be used in advance of a submission hold.
§ Escapes: Generally speaking, an escape is achieved by maneuvering yourself out of danger or out of an inferior position:
§ For example, when a grappler who is underneath side control performs a move to guard or
§ Gets back to a neutral standing position or
§ When a grappler is able to maneuver out of a submission attempt and back to a position where he is not in any immediate danger of being submitted.
§ Turnovers: Usually used to manipulate an opponent who is on all fours or positioned flat on their stomach to their back, in order to score points, the wrestler should prepare for a pin or in order to gain a more dominating position.
§ Reversals or Sweeps: These moves occur when a grappler who was underneath his opponent on the ground succeeds in positioning their body so that they gain a top position over the opponent.
Really, what you want to do is exploit the similarities that folkstyle and freestyle wrestling techniques offer. When inexperienced, unskilled fighters get caught up in combat, a common reaction is to physically grab hold of their opponent in an attempt to slow the situation down by holding them still. This is a futile action that usually results in a chaotic struggle that depends on brute force. In contrast, a skilled fighter will be able to perform takedowns as a stepping stone to a superior position. Ultimately, the wrestler will attain such positioning a Mount (grappling), side control, clinch holds and ground positions to set up multiple strikes, choke holds, and joint locks. A grappler who has been taken down to the ground may incorporate the use of defensive positions such as the Guard (grappling), which guards against being mounted or attacked. If a grappler is capable, strong and utilizes leverage to their advantage, a takedown or throw itself can render an opponent unconscious. On the other hand, grappling also offers the opportunity to control an opponent without seriously injuring them. It is for this reason that most police staff receive some training in grappling. Additionally, grappling sports have been improvised so that the participants can compete using full physical force without injuring their opponents. Training and competing in freestyle wrestling puts the competitor in positions and in experiences they are not normally exposed to during the folkstyle season. It will help you deal with various and unexpected kinds of pressure. It will also help you develop a new set of skills that perhaps your opponent doesn’t have-and if it turns out they do, it will give you the experience in countering different skills that future opponents may be using. This is the time to get inspired and treat yourself to something new. Freestyle is a great way to advance as a wrestler while including the skills in your self-defense regime.
What does it mean to you personally to be equipped both physically and mentally for self- defense? Are you starting with your overall health and stamina should you have a violent encounter? Do you have the balance, strength, speed and flexibility to cope with an assault on your family or self? They are indeed tough questions. When and if the occasion presents itself, and you have to fight back in order to survive a violent attack, you must start thinking in terms of removing the threat and rendering the attacker harmless. You can choose to talk peacefully at first, watching their body language and listening to their tone of voice but, when it becomes obvious that there is no negotiating possible, be ready, willing and physically able to stand your ground. You can utilize boxing or wrestling techniques, martial arts or fighting unarmed. You may have as part of your personal amenities pepper spray, mace, a club, ball peen hammer, knife, or gun to use in case of emergencies. Your particular method of self-defense should depend on the type of attack perpetrated towards you and whether or not the opponent(s) are bearing arms. As a general rule, self-defense is only justified when used in response to an immediate threat. The threat may be verbal, providing it puts the intended victim in an immediate fear of sustaining physical harm. Offensive words however unless accompanied by a threat of immediate physical harm does not justify the use of force in defending one’s self. In addition, the use of force in self-defense generally loses justification once the threat has ended. For example, if an aggressor happens to assault a victim but then ends the assault indicating there is no longer any threat of violence, then the threat of danger has ended. In the event of a life-threatening situation, don’t worry about the legal ramifications of your actions, just do what you have to do to survive.
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/violence.html Violence in Society
Kerby Anderson 1995 Probe Ministries
http://modelmugging.org/self%20defense-training-objectives/ Personal Objectives for Self-Defense Training?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_styles_and_technique Boxing styles and technique
https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2014/March/18/Making-the-Transition-from-Folkstyle-to-Freestyle Making the Transition from Folkstyle to Freestyle Matt Krumrie March 18, 2014,