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How to Box… Getting the Equipment?
James Figg of England, "the father of modern pugilism" introduced the sport of boxing in 1719--thus the history of boxing stretches back into the 18th century. This said, boxing is, by far, considered the oldest sport in the United States. The general idea behind the sport of boxing is to "hit the opponent with out the opponent hitting you." The sport itself has been long heralded as a brutal game, but boxing--in all its brutality--is indeed a thinking mans game; thus over the years have morphed itself into an art, a dance and a science--aka, the sweet science. This hub serves as the first in many series of hubs I intend to write on the sport--directed at someone whose thinking of getting into it for both the health benefits and competitive aspects.
Boxing gloves serves as the most common pieces of boxing gear and is often the first things most think about when beginning to box—namely, before you decide “to get under the tent,” you need to purchase some gloves. Have you ever been given some training gloves as a gift? Well, now might be the time for you to take them out and throw them away—you won’t be using those. Those gloves might be fine for trading punches with your father, brother, or friend, but when you really take up the sport of boxing, you’ll need serious equipment: things like gloves will no longer be play toys. The proper gloves in the sport of boxing are designed to protect your fists thereby protecting your opponent from permanent injuries.
Types of Boxing Gloves:
There are several types of boxing gloves. You’ll need bag gloves when you first start learning how to throw punches. These same gloves are used on a heavy training bag or on the smaller, speed (or striking) bag. What do they look like? Bag gloves look like heavy mittens with elastic at the wrist, and they are made of leather, with foam padding across the knuckles. There is a metal-weighted palm grip on the inside of a professional quality glove. Less expensive, youth bag gloves are designed with palm grips of foam or other padding material.
Training gloves are made with much more padding than bag gloves. What do they look like? They look like small leather-covered pillows. In fact, most trainers refer to them as “pillow gloves.” They come in various weights of 12-ounce, 14-ounce, and 16-ounce. The extra weight is in the padding—an added safety feature when boxers are practicing blows and blocks. Just for the record, you’ll probably need some one to help you put them on and to lace them tightly but comfortably. The ends of the laces must be wrapped around the cuffs of the gloves and tied securely at the back of the wrists so they won’t dangle.
Before you put on a pair of boxing gloves, you’ll need to wrap your hands with bandage material. This serves as one more protective measure. The wraps cover the knuckles and guard against things like bruises and scraped skin. They also protect the wrists and prevent twisting and spraining. Hand wraps, made of cloth or elastic, can be wash; so, they should be washed regularly as a good health practice.
There are two types of head guards that most boxers use: one is called a training headgear. It, too, is padded and leather-covered to protect the head, temples, ears, and jaw. The other is called competition headgear and is used in most amateur contest.
Many coaches expect trainees to use a mouthpiece in practice but it’s an absolute must for A.A.U competitions. Mouthpieces are the least expensive of all your gears, this single vinyl mouth gear is used to protect both your upper or lower teeth
You cannot fight in amateur competition without a protective cup; therefore, it’s a good policy to use one while in training to get use to them in competition. Actually, one type fits into an athletic supporter, and is designed to prevent injury when a boxer is hit below the belt—so they are very important to use in both competition and training/sparring.
A pear-shaped striking bag, or speed bag, is a familiar piece of equipment in most boxing gyms. It hangs from what’s called a swivel on a round platform, and a boxer then practices repetitive punching movements—essentially hitting the bag as quick as one can. What does it do? It helps to develop a boxer’s rhythm, speed and most importantly timing.
Other types of wearing apparel you’ll need include: boxing trunks, shirt, athletic socks, and shoes. You can buy ten-inch-high boxing shoes or man-made leather. Boxing shoes aren’t required for you to compete—you can use both regular athletic or tennis shoes.
You should practice a routine of blows on the training bag, usually called the heavy bag. It can weigh anywhere from 25 pounds for the junior size to 80 pounds for the champion leather bag. Canvas bags, found in most gyms, are lined with nylon and foam and are stuffed with a filler.
Many young boxers will find that it can be a lot cheaper to start out with a homemade bag. You can probably make one with a canvas duffel bag. Just stuff it with some thick firm foam and maybe add in some sawdust, sand or foam. The bag should be plump and firm when full: tie it at the top, hang it on a hook and you’re set.
Another piece of equipment that you can use at home is a skip or jump rope. They come in a variety of lengths and you should be able to find one to fit your size—jumping rope is a very significant part of a boxer’s condition routine; so, choosing the right size is very important.
A leather-covered medicine ball should weight around 5 to 15 pounds. It’s very important to remember that you’ll need someone like a coach or trainer to help you use it to build up your stomach muscles. If you want to do the same thing, but don’t have a medicine ball, I’ve found that an old spare tire can do the trick just as good.
Some general rules:
Be sure to keep your mouthpiece clean. In order to do this you'll need to wash it in very hot water and keep it stored in a plastic ziploc bag.
It's advisable to have several pairs of hand wraps. Fold them neatly after each use and wash them weekly.
Also, wash your gym clothes regularly. Don't just roll them up and stuff them into your gym bag everyday.
Because of intense training and sweating you'll need to air both your gloves and shoes out.
Keep leather goods soft with the different kinds of oils.
In terms of the heavy bag, don't beat it up too bad (the bag's designed for both strenghting your body and for profecting your punching technique). Don't kick it, tackle it or swing on it.
Finally, use all equipment as it was made to be used.
Anyways, for anyone whose thinking of joining the world's oldest sport in boxing--whether its for fitness or competition--I hope this hub can be of some help to you--and I intend to provide many more.
Ya Boy Jack