A week after my third lesson, I was still excited for my fourth lesson mainly because it was going to be my first time practicing with my own boxing gloves.
The first thing we did in class was spread out in a line across the room and face the giant mirror on the wall. We were instructed to look at ourselves in the mirror and practice looking like we were going to throw a punch with one hand but then actually carry out a punch with the other hand. This is a technique used to confuse your opponent into protecting one part of themselves while actually punching an unprotected part. I was really thrown off on how to do this drill because it did not feel right practicing without a partner. Also, I was looking at everyone else to see what they were doing which is something I always do to make sure I’m doing things right. However, this made the drill more complicated because I should be standing opposite of everyone else since I am a “southpaw” (more commonly known as left-handed). Aside from this confusion, my face was itchy so I went to scratch it. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem but it is absolutely impossible to scratch your face while wearing boxing gloves. This ridiculous problem left me wondering about the answer to one question: Who even designed boxing gloves?
I was intrigued enough to look into the topic though I didn’t think I would find the answer. To my surprise, I found out that Jack Broughton is said to be the creator of the boxing gloves we use today. Broughton also wrote the rules for boxing which did not include using gloves. This makes a lot of sense considering that he was most popularly known for bare knuckle boxing. I also found out that John L. Sullivan, who was a World Heavyweight Champion is said to be the one who made wearing boxing gloves popular in public fights.
Moving on, one drill we practiced involved one person in each pair throwing punches at their partner while the partner tried to keep moving away from getting hit. This drill, aside from helping us understand what a real fight would be like, also helped us practice staying in our fighting stance even while moving around. At one point when I practiced with the instructor, I realized I had my left foot forward. This would be correct if I was right-handed but since I am a “southpaw”, I was not in an accurate fighting stance for most of the drill. I quickly switched my feet around and took another swing at the punching cushion the instructor was holding. He noticed immediately that my punch was stronger after I changed my footing and said he did not even realize that my footing was wrong before.
My attempt at a “southpaw” fighting stance
Prior to this experience, I didn’t think about what a significant difference the way you stand can make when throwing a punch. After seeing personal improvement, I was interested in what exactly a fighting stance does for those who are fighting. I found that if done properly, it will bring you power, defense, range, balance, flexibility, security, stability, and mobility. Once I stood with my right foot forward, I felt that everything came to me easier; especially remembering to bring my fist to my face after I tried to punch. Although I understand the importance of the proper fighting stance, looking more into technique I realized I still have to improve. After reading some tips I found online about developing the proper fighting stance, I found that I have to improve on staying on the ball of my foot to increase mobility, keeping my weight on my back leg, and bending my knees slightly because it also aids in mobility.
Another drill we practiced with our partner included dodging punches. One person would hold their arm out and the other person tried to keep their face as close to their partner’s fist as they could and would duck from the left side to the right side of where their partner’s hand was and then punch their partner’s side. This was confusing for me because I didn’t know which side I was supposed to start the drill on. Most of the time I have to ask for clarification if I am supposed to do things differently or the instructor comes over and it takes him a minute to remember I am a “southpaw”.
Near the end of class, the instructor told us to spin around fast with our arms out and then when he said box we were to throw as many punches as we could as fast as we could. I’m actually skilled at spinning so I was highly amused. An employee then made a joke that we should try and say our ABC’s backwards while spinning. Normally I take classes as seriously as I can so I can learn as much as possible. However, I tried to make humor of the situation so I said “Z, Y, X, damn it” and actually got a few people to laugh. Although all of the lessons have been fun, I particularly enjoyed being able to say something which I thought would be funny because I learned I could lighten up and learn a lot in at the same time.
For those of you who’d like to find out more, here are my sources for this post: