The Joe’s Boxing Methodology – why boxing ?

Of all the martial arts I settled on boxing or as the bra’s say “thug life chose me”.

The answer to why is best summed by a quote from Bruce Lee “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I was at a course at the AIS a few years ago and the presenter said there are only three techniques in boxing, straight punches, uppercuts and hooks so i traded literally over 100 karate techniques for just three.

My karate teacher from New Zealand had been a judo champ before he switched to karate and there are more than 20 throws in judo but as he said the best judoka will know them all can defend them all but concentrate usually on just three to win them 80% of their contests.

Of course you may come up against another skill like grappling or someone that does say Muay Thai and has kicks. It takes years to be proficient at grappling and kicking whereas it is pretty easy to learn how to defend against kicks and common take-down moves especially in a stress situation where it will be harder for them to execute their moves or risk missing and being off balance when kicking.

The reason I mention a stress situation is that as the following slide indicates is that once a heartbeat reaches 150 BPM fine motor skills disappear quickly so grips, wrist-locks and even chokes will become difficult to administer.

Research shows that a person with a knife who is closer than 2 metres can stab or cut you before you can stop them with a gun. Most police officers, even with the gun already in hand, cannot hit a target twice before the assailant can cover 3 metres. Again it sounds counterintuitive but consequences and heartbeat come into play. Most police officers don’t draw their weapon in their whole career and suddenly they are thrust into a situation where they have to decide, does this situation warrant me drawing my weapon and using it then even if you decide to the person could be rushing at you while your heart is exploding outside your chest. When it comes to weapons it would seem that the knife is the king of the jungle. A dear friend who recently passed away but had been a very successful karate teacher taught a knife defense/attack system called Amok which has been taught to special forces around the world. He and all the other teachers of this art say “no matter how good you get you could be ‘blue veined’ by a seven year old.

Although I had trained in judo in my teens at boarding school, I started martial arts seriously at 19 because of two things one where i had been put into a couple of situations where people had tried to intimidate me and two I wanted to travel and extend my world and my boundaries. I had also got into a skirmish with a guy while i was defending a lady’s honor. I didn’t know what i was doing but warded him off pretty easily but was caught with a punch that grazed my eye with a steel watch he was wearing and gave me a black eye. I was vacation working at the local dairy factory from University and my battle scar caused a lot of mirth amongst my bosses. I think they were secretly a bit proud that i had stood up though.

I have coined the phrase “puncher’s chance” to outline my philosophy on self defense by limiting the number of techniques to worry about and instead rely more on your wits and presence of mind to understand what the stress will do to your body and mind and hopefully be present enough to be able to react accordingly. I think I wasted a lot of time in karate doing prearranged self defense moves which I never used in the 3-4 times that I was put in a situation because real self defense situations are never prearranged because if they are, that’s called a fight. Real self defense situations happen when you are not ready, are in a foreign land, happen when you are vulnerable and most often when you least expect it.

My karate teacher would say “under pressure we resort to what we know best” so having a punch that could fell an elephant is what I aim to give each and everyone of my students. The other reality that has to be experienced is being hit and i don’t mean a punch in the tummy, i mean a hit in the head that makes you see stars because the first time it happens you are highly like to panic and the flight/fight mode while descend into freeze/nothing. Along with seeing stars you will experience tunnel vision which one of my friend’s, a doctor and I referred to the “The little room”. When you get hit bad you go to that little room and in that room is a nice comfy bed and all you want to do is go lie down on that bed. The trouble is your attacker is now coming for the kill. This is another reason that Boxing is so good as you get to experience the little room along with your attacker coming to finish you off. With standing 8 counts and referees this can lessen the chance of getting seriously hurt but plenty of people have died in the ring so as they say you don’t play boxing. Once you have experienced this once you realize it will pass if you just fight through it and say in 20 seconds you will come right as long you are not hit again when in the “little room” state. That’s why in professional fights you see the boxers holding and running around the ring to avoid their opponents follow up punches usually till the end of the round when they get a decent rest in the corner to recover often helped by some smelling salts.

To a lesser extent getting a blood nose and keeping going or getting winded and getting back up are important parts of your journey. They will allow you to fight through a pain barrier and will demoralize an attacker. I say again a fight or a brawl is different to an attack as there will be a preamble or lead-up most of the time with a fight so there is time to get ready. An attack will come in an instant because the attacker will want to use the element of surprise as their weapon. So confronting you with a weapon or just menace may happen but even more likely you are king hit from behind then if you fall kicked on the ground and robbed or possibly raped but if you have experienced the “little room” before you have a chance of going I know what this is I can fight through this.

I see videos on YouTube or elsewhere where people take tremendous hits that i think should be knocked out cold and they aren’t. Getting knocked out is dangerous both for your current situation as you have then lost all control and then the risk of brain damage but i do believe learning to take a hit and not panicking when you go to the “little room” can save your life. These are skills that other martial arts do touch on but in boxing it is at the forefront and for me is the most valuable experience to have had if confronted with a life threatening attack.

So whereas most other martial arts are in effect stopping the attack before it hits, boxing can start after you are hit with a 4by2 across the back of the head from behind in a totally unexpected unprovoked attack.

Now in my next chapter we will explore the sixth sense you know the one where the hairs stand up on the back of your head and how boxing develops peripheral vision combined with other senses that will give you that Sam Kerr / Nathan Cleary ability to read the field and hopefully see that 4by2 coming before it has a chance to hit you. Next Installment –