The Morals of Boxing

Martial arts

There’s no denying it – boxing can be a violent, dangerous sport. In a recent article, one rabbi does a fairly good job of summarizing the history of Jews in boxing. Medical conditions that have been known to result from frequent, intense boxing are also well fleshed out in the article. The rabbi also brings a unique spin by discussing the religious ramifications of boxing. He cites various sources to come to the conclusion that, according to Jewish law, boxing is forbidden.
The rabbi chooses to emphasize all of the negative aspects of boxing, which generally only happen in the most extreme cases. Not everyone gets into boxing to become a full-time professional, going from title belt to title belt and cashing large checks. Boxing can also be used for strength, conditioning, discipline and self-defense. For certain members of society, better they take out their anger and aggression in a gym than on the streets.
Cardio exercises in the form of boxing can be some of the best in the world, and they don’t always need to involve hitting another person. The training and regiment alone can put anyone into the best shape of their lives, without ever having to step foot in a boxing ring. Boxing-style workouts can involve punching bags, jump ropes and weight training.
And for those who wish to actually step into a boxing ring and face an opponent – protective gear can be worn to minimize the risk of damage. Facing a real opponent can teach people how to think on their feet and react to certain situations. Like with all things in life, a person can either learn to fail, or fail to learn.
For those that actually make it to the professional level, long-term injuries don’t have to be a guarantee. Each boxer has to know their own limits, and throw in the proverbial towel when it’s time to quit. Consulting with a medical professional on a regular basis, especially before even taking up a particular sport, is always recommended.
I’m no rabbi. All I can say in response to the sources that this particular rabbi cites is that those who hold by these kinds of traditions should consult with their own religious leader. Explain why they wish to take on a sport like boxing. Explain what they hope to gain from the experience. Nothing in the world is solely black or white. Perhaps their rabbi can help them to find a way to take on the sport, while still remaining in their religious comfort zone.

*Image courtesy of arztsamui/

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Martial Arts

TeddyBear[Picnic] /

TeddyBear[Picnic] /

Martial arts are a series of traditional combat practices embraced for many different reasons. It is practiced for health and fitness, for self-defence, for personal development and as a competitive sport. A martial art is more than just a sport, it is practiced to achieve long term mental, spiritual and physical development and it is a way of life. Although the sport is recognized throughout the world, there are some interesting and lesser known facts about martial arts – here are five of them.

  1. Martial Arts Develop the Mind
    A common misconception exists that martial arts are only about fighting. By taking part in this disciplined sport, strength of character is developed. Of course, it requires serious physical training and teaches students how to punch and kick, but, it also involves developing consciousness and morality. Respecting the opponent is essential in martial arts training and qualities like self-control and determination are developed in students. Advancement of imagination, observation and memory are natural by-products of practicing martial arts over time.
  2. The Origin of Army Hand-to-hand Combat as a Military Applied Sport
    Army hand-to-hand combat as a military applied sport, started in 1979 in Kaunas in Lithuania. It was created by physical preparation experts of the Soviet Army and includes elements of boxing, judo and wrestling. The first tournament was held on the 7th Guards Airborne Division troops’ sport base, and it has since grown to an annual event, as well as being included in the army basic training curriculum.
  3. Martial Arts Should not Only be Practiced in a Gym or Centre
    While most martial arts classes are offered in gyms or martial arts centres, the practical application of what is taught usually happens outside these areas. Self-defence, in particular is studied with the aim of providing defence against attack – something not likely to happen in a gym or centre. For this reason, it is recommended that students regularly practice in other environments.
  4. Most Martial Arts Dedicate Large Sections to Self Defence
    Many different types of martial arts are geared towards self defence. The Russian martial art called sambo is an acronym in Russian, literally translated to: “self-defence without weapons” A series of fast and accurate strikes, kicks or punches, is recommended along with continued training in the chosen field. A few classes in a martial art is simply not adequate to equip somebody for successful self-defence.
  5. Martial Arts are not Just Asian
    Despite the erroneous belief that martial arts are the fighting styles used in eastern Asia, it was actually used in Europe as early as the 14th century. The term “martial arts” is said to be derived from “arts of Mars” – Mars being the Roman god of war. Many countries across the world have their own martial arts. In Bolivia there is tinku and in Russia, army hand-to-hand fight, sambo and systema are practiced. Brazil has martial arts like capoeira and Brazilian jiu-jitsu while South Africa has a bare-knuckle boxing martial art called musangwe.