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TheSavageBean

Getting punched in the face.

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So I've decided my martial art will be boxing.

My reasons are that

a) Boxing is a basic fighting skill used in some way in all forms of combat,

B) It requires aggression and toughness and a strong mental attitude

c) There's no formalised grading/seniority system with belts and such, you just fight

d) A former pro who's trained a national champion has a gym down the road from me.

e) Most aspects of boxing training appeal to me.

There's one real caveat though... as the title suggests, I'm a little nervous about getting punched in the face. Plastered all over the wall of the gym is a montage of people with bruised and battered faces underneath the motto "MOVE YOUR F***ING HEAD" and another montage is people with broken noses with the phrase "Breaks make you stronger!"

It's all somewhat intimidating. Is there any advice on the subject? Is it like a rollercoaster? As in, does it get easier the more you get punched in the face?

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Boxers suffer long-term consequences from repeated head injury, including facial disfigurement and brain damage. But you certainly become more accustomed to it. Fighting experience will make you more capable at fighting through injury and pain.

There's a reason I like learning martial arts where the primary thing they teach you is avoiding injury, then dishing it out. What boxing I've taken has been very offense-oriented.

If it's attractive to you, go for it. But remember that face punches are just plain awful, and that there's a reason they're banned in almost every other form of competitive fighting. They're very painful, VERY likely to cause irreparable damage, and mess your face up something awful. Also, on the downside for the attacker, you're pretty likely to mess your hands up punching somebody's face. Seriously, the human mouth is full of tiny knives, and you're sticking your fist in it at what could be hundreds of pounds of force. Not smart. In general, avoid face strikes unless you have a serious advantage and can get your attacks exactly where you want them.

I've been hit in the face. It actually only really hurts for an instant. What sucks is the immediate follow-up of delirium and numbness and exaggerated feeling of swelling. It's like someone stuck a hose into your face and is just pumping water into your head.

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Unless you box end up being a competitive boxer, I wouldn't worry much about the accumulated trauma of getting hit in the head.

My experience of getting hit is that it's just a bit of impact, like bumping your head on something. You might temporarily lose your balance. Overall nothing scary. That said, I've never broken my nose and you should do like the posters say and avoid the same.

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I respectfully disagree with rbw. There are a great number of full contact competitions that allow head strikes, some of the most popular right now being MMA and Muay Thai (and they allow elbows and knees to the head, which are much worse). The long term damage from boxing has more to do with the gloves and fight duration than specifically the blows to the head (padding being the same reason American Football players suffer more serious injuries than ruggers).

I'd look at the club to see what kind of safety measures they have in place. Also see how the on board newcomers (do they give you time to learn the techniques or throw you in against a beast off the get go?)

Recognize that in any martial art you can (and if you do it long enough, will) get hurt. You do need to accept that risk if you want to get into martial arts, moreso than some other styles with boxing.

To your specific question, being hit in the head affects people differently. I've been hit in the head, hard (I fought a lot in high school and have done martial arts and contact sports for a long time). I was thrown into a railing and smashed my nose at 7 and was fine (the surgery to fix my face sucked though). For whatever reason, it doesn't really hurt me that badly. I'd honestly much prefer being hit in the head to a solid shot to the gut, solar plexus, or kidney. Heck I'm a tremendous baby when it comes to getting kicked in the shins (don't laugh, it HURTS damnit) but shots to the head are fine. Some people have a really bad reaction to it though (not like life threatening, just really REALLY don't like it). I think you'd have to try it out and see for yourself. Good luck!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia_pugilistica

I'm going out on a limb here, but this condition is rare and seems to mostly occur among the heavyweights and light heavyweight divisions (there are exceptions of course, I'm going with the commonality). Also, boxing styles seem to determine what types of injuries are likely to occur. Ultimately I wouldn't stress over this too much since you would have to start fighting professionally and suffer many subsequent injuries to the head for this to develop.

That said, you WILL be hit in the face. It is never fun, but you grow used to it. Even better, you grow able to avoid it. Accept that with doing any sort of martial art (or contact sport at all) there is a risk for injury. I've had my nose broken in wrestling and gotten a number of cauliflower ears and I've gotten the head spins from taking hits to the head (my inner ear bones got rattled and it made my sense of balance all jacked up) in Karate. You should not let the fear of pain stop you from taking on a sport that would bring a lot of satisfaction and pride to you.

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-shrug- can't vouch for the medical side but my spar partners and I used much thinner gloves then boxers used for getting punched in the head. It doesn't hurt the worst ever, to be honest (I'll take getting punched in the face over a jiujitsu hold any day of the week) but as it is contact, it hurts -enough-. You learn pretty fast to move or get hit.

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I think I would have to follow the poster's advice. "MOVE YOUR F*%&ING HEAD!"

i've written a quite extensive paper (27 pages) on the subject of MMA vs TMA and one of the first things i discuss is the physical damage. the good news for you is that, even with repeated significant punches to the head, you are in less danger of suffering long term damage than an MMA practitioner.

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I've been boxing for two-plus years and have just recently begun sparring--and therefore being punched in the head. The first time it happened it kind of kicked me into a higher gear, and I was able to draw on some reserve of energy and fight back more effectively. After a while, though, it's just a matter of learning to defend properly. I'm way better at defending the hook and jab now, whereas before I didn't have the incentive of preventing my opponent from punching me in the face. 

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Years of MA experience  and I have to say that training competitively for boxing was, all in all, the most valuable.  Learning that, yes, you can get punched square in the face, and that, yes, it'll hurt, but that, yes, you can shrug it off and keep coming, is just a valuable life skill. 

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Depends what sort of boxing you want to learn.  Amateur boxing is a different beast to professional boxing.

 

It will take you a good while to work up to full contact sparring. (I would suggest at least a year) As you're sparring with your gym-mates, you don't really want to smash their nose in. You will wear a mouthguard, head protection and spar with 16oz gloves. There isn't actually a lot of room left to hit you clean in the face. Getting a hit around the head, even with all the protection does smart and can leave you a pretty dizzy, but you quickly learn. 

 

With amateur rules, there isn't really much of an advantage in hitting someone really, really hard. It about skill, speed and tactics.

 

I wouldn't recommend trying pro, unless you don't have a day job and want to go pro! You will get smashed in the face.

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It's not bad and you get a little used to it eventually, but that phrase is up on the wall for a reason.  Keep your head moving or you'll see nothing but the opponent's glove.  Doesn't matter what style of boxing you or the opponent does.

 

That being said, I'd rather get whacked in the face than take one straight to the gut while relaxed.

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My .2 cents.

One your reasons for joining are awesome, and if its a local former pro coaching great, plus if its easy to get to it will make you less likely to skip out on training.

As for getting punched I'm assuming you haven't done a lot of martial arts before, but feel free to correct me. When you start sparring it should be light and controlled. You can also spar with punches to the shoulders and below ( this is great if you are nervous/forget your mouth guard). However at the end of the day if you go in going 'I'm going to get punched in the face' and accept it you are probably not going to find it that bad. At light levels it should be like a solid cushion whacking you. If you dial up the power it's going to hurt but that's why you need to move your head and you should start out light. Simply tilting your head forward so the punch is hitting the top of your brow/skating over can make a difference.

If your nose gets hit solidly or straight on... It sucks. But start light and build up. You will be surprised what you can handle when you start light and build up. Wear a mouth guard! If you don't expect to chip/crack/lose teeth. Also you line yourself up for nastier injuries. Did I mention wear a mouth guard!

Play nice and have fun.

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Thanks for the bonus responses, someone did a little thread necromancy on this.

 

The boxing's going really well, I found out that my trainer's not only a former pro but he competed in the olympics as well and he's really inspiring and friendly at the same time. They ended up taking the montage I spoke of down and replaced it with some Muhammed Ali posters. I've really fallen in love with it as a sport and I like watching both pro and amateur styles, but as mentioned I'm way below the proper fitness level for full contact sparring. I'm probably at least a year off for that.

 

It's actually turned me into one of those crazy people who train several times per day.

 

As for getting punched in the head, I've only had light taps so far and it's really not that bad. My first time was actually me hitting myself because I brought my glove back to my face awkwardly in a combo.

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I remember the first time I really got tagged on the chin. My legs went fuzzy and I stumbled, but then I caught myself. My sparring partner referred to it as "getting my bell rung," and that's pretty accurate. My face turned bright red and my eyes started watering (the punch had landed square on my chin and then moved up and slapped my nose as well). Super embarrassing.

 

I took a minute to get some water and came back for the next round. Now I know that if I get punched in a fight or a mugging or something, it's not going to lay me out and I'll be able to fight back.

 

The other posters in this thread are right, too - you'll likely never be at a place where you need to worry about chronic head trauma. I'm glad boxing is working out so well for you!

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Truth is if you fight you're gonna get punched in the face and other places too. That being said as long as you train yourself to properly dodge, block and move you won't become a punching bag. That's where the real damage happens.

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I got knocked out a couple of times. And in the dojo, we had a rule: "One knockout, one week out."  - meaning, light sparring only from that day, for a week. Look, accidents happen, but rarely - if you are in a good gym7 school/ dojo / dojang. Your teacher will know the level you are on, and will not let you get into the situations where you'll get a level 90000 opponent hit you full force in the face. Light sparring first, and a lot of exercise. And taking care of yourself and your fellow students. And in time, you'll become that level 900000 opponent. :)

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Truth is if you fight you're gonna get punched in the face and other places too. That being said as long as you train yourself to properly dodge, block and move you won't become a punching bag. That's where the real damage happens.

 

The real damage happens when you dodge straight into a preemptive punch. 

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