i cooked and molded my mouth guard tonight. i'm starting to box again and you need one, even if you only plan to train, not fight. one of the guys i work with belongs to a boxing club and i went with him last week to work out there. it was cool to get into it again. i've done the boxing thing before a couple times, (the last time about 8 years ago) but i've never done more than a little controlled sparring. it is an excellent workout though. boxing is one of those sports that you can't cross train for. it works unusual muscles and works them with such intensity that you could be a triathlete and still come away sore from a hard workout. i'm no triathlete so i was pretty sore for 4 days.
boxing is a really primal sport. on one level it's all about raw instincts, rage and toughness, but on another there is an actual science to it. a very smart, skilled boxer will destroy a brawler by picking him apart. it's a bit like martial arts in that sense, that you learn defenses and counters to various attacks. if you get two boxers that are technicians the bout becomes a game of chess, with each making moves while thinking ahead to countering the counter-attacks. the kind of boxing you get at small local clubs is usually just a couple guys flailing at each other though, with the guy who can windmill his arms the fastest winning. i can remember one time at a house party in high school, a friend of mine and i thought it would be cool to lace up the gloves and box a little. i was thinking that we'd just play around and see what it was like, but he immediately came storming at me swinging his long lanky arms furiously and there was nowhere to back up to in the cramped bedroom we were in. i wound up having the laces of his glove leave a scuff across my forehead after one punch got too close for comfort and before i convinced him to chill out with a couple retalitory shots to the ribs. a lot of things seem like a good idea after a couple beers that wind up going south quickly when you actually try them. friendly boxing is definitely one of those things.
anyway, the two things that i'm hoping to get out of trying this again are to get into better shape, and to explore the primal part of me. there is something very focusing about being in a confined area with someone who is trying to knock you unconscious and you learn quickly how tough you really are. i'll let you know how i stack up when it comes to that.