How to box without getting too much brain damage?

williamsdean02

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Lets say I still want to spar and learn to take punch. On the other hand, I don't want to end up brain damaged severely. What do I do about this? What is the safe way to spar? Is sparring safe? Should I not do competitions?


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williamsdean02

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I want to still be able to perform in a white collar career if you know what I mean.


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Dirty Dog

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If you are sparring full contact it is almost inevitable that you will have some degree of damage. If you're knocked out, then by definition you've suffered some degree of damage.
How much is acceptable? Good question. I don't think there is anything near an accepted answer though.
 

Danny T

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Learning to take a punch is much more about your determination, pain tolerance, and accepting that you will get hit.
Many verbalize they accept it however, that is only saying it. That is not acceptance. Accepting it is not only saying it is actually getting hit and just continuing as you haven't. No one really likes to get hit but one learns to use getting hit to fuel your desire. How much are you will to take to reach the point that getting hit is simply a part of getting better and your ability to not get hit is excellent.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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You can try "rhino guard". It can give you the most head protection.


In stead of thinking about how to deal with punches, it's better to think about how to "disable your opponent's punching arm/arms".


 
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JowGaWolf

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Lets say I still want to spar and learn to take punch. On the other hand, I don't want to end up brain damaged severely. What do I do about this? What is the safe way to spar? Is sparring safe? Should I not do competitions?


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Here's how I train kung fu when sparring.
Rule#1 NEVER LEARN HOW TO TAKE A PUNCH TO THE FACE.
This is like learning how to take a hit to the groin. All of your efforts and training should be based on not taking a punch to the face. When you learn how to take a punch learn how to take it to the body and not the brain.

1. Hitting the head hard is off limits. If a slow and less powerful hit can strike your head then a fast and powerful punch will make it there just as easily. If a fast and less powerful hit can strike your head then a fast and powerful punch will make it there with the same speed. There is no need to strike the head hard. The hits should only be hard enough to make you aware of them, at the most they should feel a little uncomfortable as in an impact that the opponent can feel. They should be so light that your opponent or you just ignores it.

2. Hard hits should be directed to the parts of the body that can actually be conditioned (anything below the neck and away from the groin). Those areas can take more punishment so it's possible to hit those areas without serious injury.

3. I tell students all the time. "You can't condition the face which is why it's such a desired target."
 

Craig Brady

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You are a fighter, if you train never getting hit when you do hit you WILL freeze up, It doesn't matter how perfect your blocks are, or how fast your techniques are thrown. You must always assume your opponent is faster than you and you are going to get hit to some degree. When training there isn't much need to spar hard all the time. Vary the intensity, don't intentionally try to get hit but don't shy away from it either.
 

Buka

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You should learn to bob and weave, slip, and use good quick footwork. If it's a good boxing gym they'll show you. You can look that stuff up on youtube to get an idea. You want to avoid getting hit as much as possible.

As for taking a punch.....no worries, you're going to get hit anyway. That's why you should drill the hell out of your defense.
 
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The art of boxing is to hit to your opponent without getting hit yourself. No one wants to get hit, If anything its probably a bonus that you are so concerned about it. I have never fought a guy who wants to get hit.
 

Andrew Green

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Join a club that has a mentality similar to yours. Some are going to spar hard, others fairly light. Some are going to focus on creating competitive fighters, others are more recreational.

There's lots of variety out there, just find a place that works for you and is a level of risk that works for you.
 

JR 137

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You can't "condition" the head, regardless of what some people may claim. As an athletic trainer (sports medicine, not personal trainer), I've easily learned that head trauma leads to more head trauma requiring less force.

There's no ethical scientific way to prove this though. To do so, you'd need to intentionally hit people in the head and measure the force required over and over again.

In the 15 or so years I spent as an ATC (most of them being NCAA Div I with collision sports such as football and hockey, and men's soccer), most often athletes who had a concussion had more than one in their career. I found the highest rates of concussions were ice hockey and soccer. Ice hockey was due to a combination of the speed of skating, the hard surfaces of the ice and boards, and the helmets were inadequate.

Soccer has the most relevance in this discussion IMO. That was most likely attributed to the repetitive heading of the ball. In highly skilled athletes, the ball itself caused very few concussions, but it took less force to cause a concussion from hitting heads, being elbowed, or hitting the ground.

All my findings are anecdotal, not empirical. There's no ethical scientific way of solidly proving nor disproving this. But seeing the same things over and over again becomes painfully obvious (no pun intended).

The best way to avoid brain damage in boxing (or any other collision or contact sport) is to avoid getting hit. Boxing teaches movement, defensive and offensive to avoid being hit. Not just keeping your hands up and moving away from what you see coming, but to move and not move certain directions before, during, and after an exchange.

Tommy Morrison had a great quote after he was KOed by a nobody - "Give any fighter who's over 200 lbs a clean shot at your head, and they're going to knock you out cold." He was criticized as having a "glass jaw." It wasn't his jaw, it was his lack of defense, more specifically his poor movement away from punches and his hands being down at key moments.

Anyone who actually knows how to throw a punch will KO you with a clean shot at your head every time.

As others have said, learn to move, and spar with people who'll hit you light enough to remind and point out your mistakes.

Without any solid scientific proof (again), the most effective way to reduce head trauma (including not being hit in the first place) is neck strengthening, theoretically speaking. The neck will act as a break, slowing down your head from a whiplash-like effect, reducing the frequency and severity of your brain bouncing back and forth inside your skull.
 

zzj

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Unfortunately if you box, you are going to get hit in the head regularly, whether or not you want to, or how good your defense is. A good bare knuckle punch to the face would knock someone out or seriously disorientate and in a self defense or street fight situation it would be decisive... In the ring however, the game continues and more punches are traded instead of What should have been the ending of a confrontation.
 

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Mephisto

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I'm not sure how many who have commented here actually box, I'm sure some have if I recall correctly. I've seen some good advice so far. Im not going to argue but share my experience as someone who has been training for two years and has competed.

At my gym we spar once a week, there's no rules on light contact, it's pretty much 100% as in no one is ever corrected for using too much power. We might spar with light contact specified on other days but we only go hard once a week. That being said other than the newbs most of the fighters amp up and tone down the pace as the fight progresses. Not every shot coming at you is 100%. Still though injuries are rare, I have yet to see a ko but have seen some matches stopped so perhaps a tko. But no one is getting layed out regularly it's really pretty rare. The coach has you sparring guys at your level so more often than not nothing dramatic happens and both fighters neutralize each other's attacks. Even when I competed I came out unscathed, no bloody nose, no black eye, it's not that bad. I'm sure experiences very and the attitude of the gym has a lot to do with it but at lower levels I don't think its going to affect your ability to function in a white collar job, of course their are no guarantees. I'd recommend you try it out, don't jump in the ring and spar too soon, that's where I've seen guys get hurt. If it gets too intense dial it back or try something else.

Most physical activity comes with some risk of injury you have to decide if it's worth the risk.
 

Mephisto

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You can try "rhino guard". It can give you the most head protection.


In stead of thinking about how to deal with punches, it's better to think about how to "disable your opponent's punching arm/arms".


The linked videos don't appear to be working but I've seen the rhino guard before. I think it's a decent approach for self defense but against an experienced fighter I think it's lacking. The high guard makes you vulnerable to body shots, takedowns, and low line attacks. I like that's it's pretty simple and can probably learned quickly and used reliably, but I for dealing with experienced fighters it has its weaknesses.
 

Buka

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I'm not sure how many who have commented here actually box, I'm sure some have if I recall correctly. I've seen some good advice so far. Im not going to argue but share my experience as someone who has been training for two years and has competed.

At my gym we spar once a week, there's no rules on light contact, it's pretty much 100% as in no one is ever corrected for using too much power. We might spar with light contact specified on other days but we only go hard once a week. That being said other than the newbs most of the fighters amp up and tone down the pace as the fight progresses. Not every shot coming at you is 100%. Still though injuries are rare, I have yet to see a ko but have seen some matches stopped so perhaps a tko. But no one is getting layed out regularly it's really pretty rare. The coach has you sparring guys at your level so more often than not nothing dramatic happens and both fighters neutralize each other's attacks. Even when I competed I came out unscathed, no bloody nose, no black eye, it's not that bad. I'm sure experiences very and the attitude of the gym has a lot to do with it but at lower levels I don't think its going to affect your ability to function in a white collar job, of course their are no guarantees. I'd recommend you try it out, don't jump in the ring and spar too soon, that's where I've seen guys get hurt. If it gets too intense dial it back or try something else.

Most physical activity comes with some risk of injury you have to decide if it's worth the risk.

The problems don't manifest in the gym or the days and weeks that follow. Years down the line can be an entirely different story.
I run into guys from time to time that I knew from boxing. Haven't seen them in twenty years or more. Some of them are just fine, but others are not, they can hardly be understood when they speak. Makes me want to cry sometimes.

Don't get hit in the head too much. Especially if you box.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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The high guard makes you vulnerable to body shots, takedowns, and low line attacks.
The "rhino guard" serves only one purpose, That is to protect your head from being punched. It doesn't protect you from body shots or take downs. But when your opponent uses low line body shots on you, his head will be exposed for your "head shots" (since both of your hands are so close to his face).

The mindset is "I don't want you to punch my head but I want to punch your head".

 
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