Boxing As Self-Defense

Learning how to box enhances one's ability to better absorb punches, avoid punches through practical defensive maneuvers, and counter-punch with speed and power.  These skills can often intimidate thugs instantly, and end unavoidable physical altercations quickly and efficiently.  Grappling, submission holds, and ground-fighting are all valuable skills.  But if outnumbered on the street, it is far from ideal to be wrestling an attacker on the ground, giving other enemies the chance to stomp & strike while you are entangled & vulnerable.  The ability to fight on your feet, and to be proficient in striking is key to ending altercations quickly.  Boxing is one of the best ways to learn such skills.


Instructor Kevin (left) sparring with past client Tony who went on to compete at a Haymakers For Hope raising a lot of money for a great charity, competing in his first competitive boxing match.  This photo was taken at one of our former locations (before we had access to a ring, we sparred on Judo mats like these)

Our regularly meeting open sparring group consists of the instructor and past & present students of varying levels of boxing experience all working together doing full-contact sparring with a diverse pool of opponents.  These affordable sessions are the best way for students who have learned the fundamentals to have a chance to stay sharp and keep in shape, while developing more advanced skills, technique & conditioning in a friendly but competitive environment. 

Like pick-up games in basketball or scrimmages in baseball, sparring is competitively boxing with a real opponent, with the goal of improving both participants.  Sparring is the only way to effectively learn how to box, and no amount of punching bags or mitts, or jumping rope can yield the benefits of sparring for the student who really wants to learn to box.


Boxing Through The Years

Affectionately known as the "sweet science of bruising", boxing is a sport and martial art with ancient beginnings.  With evidence throughout history such as Sumerian relief carvings from the 3rd millenium BC depicting a fistfight, it is safe to say that boxing, at least in its most basic form, is not without deep roots.  Over the years, boxing's rules have changed countless times, and the form of the sport has evolved greatly.  A major development came in 1867, when the Marquess of Queensberry Rules were drafted, which are considered the origin of the modern sport of boxing, most notably the use of gloves.  The ring, known as the "squared circle of combat" is the modern stage for boxing as competition. 

In more recent years, greed and corruption in the business of boxing have made many question the integrity of the sport, at least at the professional level.  A few generations ago, the heavyweight champion of the world was one of the most famous & recognizable people in the world, thought to be the "baddest man on the planet".  But more and more alphabet soup organizations have been conjured, resulting in handfuls of "world champions" reigning simultaneously, the result being that most people wouldn't even be able to name a single reigning champion right now.  Even the records of many fighters are beefed up by managers' careful selection of outclassed opponents who have little to no chance of winning, making the word "undefeated" lose all integrity and meaning.

As many corrupt & unsavory changes there have been due to the business end of the sport, boxing in its purest form has not changed.  When 2 fairly matched boxers have trained their hardest, and give everything they have against each other in the ring with no teammates to turn to, with no one to share the blame or glory with, the result is amazing.  The blood, sweat and tears shed in the training and competition of a boxer is awe-inspiring, and as a result, boxing has been the subject of some of the greatest books, films, poems & songs through the years. 

At 13 Strikes Boxing & Fitness, we are among the biggest boxing fans around, and we seek to share our passion by teaching our clients everything we know about this sport that we love.  We take great pride in our boxing instruction, and our students can be confident that they will acquire strong fundamentals, great conditioning & advanced technique in boxing if they follow through with our program.

 Our Boxing Programs 

-Private 1-on-1 sessions allow the instructor to give complete, undivided attention to the student, with privacy eliminating any self-consciousness one may have about learning unfamiliar skills. 

-Multiple-client sessions allow clients to privately train in small groups of chosen partners, be it family, co-workers, or friends.  Having partners to train with can make training more fun, and can add some friendly competition into the mix.  Clients may train with as many as 5 total people in their private session.  Don't be shy!  Spread the word about our group rates, because for multiple-client sessions, the total cost per session just goes up $20 per additional person! 

-Open sparring sessions typically occur regularly when a group of 3 or more participants are available, involving light-to-full sparring between the instructor and this pool of past & present students.  Students are invited to the sparring group once they have demonstrated a high enough level of discipline, sportsmanship & fundamentals.  This sparring group is great because it offers more advanced students continued development in their boxing skills and conditioning at a much lower cost than private sessions.

-Youth boxing offers training & lessons to children, ages 12-17.  Children younger than 12 years old are encouraged to train along with their parents for total cost same as regular 1-on-1 sessions.  Boxing is an excellent sport to learn at a young age to teach a child practical self-defense and to build confidence.  Youth boxing lessons are private by appointment just like adult boxing lessons, and pricing is the same.  Parents/guardians of young students are always welcome to stay to observe the private sessions.


 Class Procedure

Each private session lasts 1 hour.  Every session starts with a warm-up (usually jump rope), and dynamic stretching.  Every session ends with cool-down and static stretching.  A boxing ring, shadow-boxing in front of mirrors, punch mitts, heavybags, speedbag, double-end bag, conditioning & agility drills are a few of the numerous activities & pieces of equipment at our disposal to utilize during sessions.  For students with no boxing background, fundamentals & conditioning are the primary points of focus in the beginning.  As students' basic skills & fitness develop, technique & strategy play a larger role in the program. 

When the instructor feels the student is ready, incorporating sparring into the program is strongly suggested, but is always optional.  Sparring with beginners always starts with very light, controlled contact from the instructor during the sessions, with the student being encouraged to throw as hard as they want, while making an effort to maintain their balance, as well as keeping in mind whatever fundamental lessons that are being focused on.  As the student improves, sparring will typically progress with harder contact as tolerated, and eventually even sparring with other students if desired.  Safety is our first priority, and all sparring is closely supervised, with good sportsmanship & improvement for both parties being the goals of every sparring session between students.

 Two past clients: Ron (left) against Craig, who went on to compete in a handful of amateur bouts.


 Kevin R. Gerstel, CSCS



John L. Sullivan, "The Boston Strong Boy" - widely recognized as the first Heavyweight Champion of the World, America's first sports hero,from nearby Lawrence, MA.