Hello. It is very good to hear about your desire to take up a martial art. My name is Tom and I am a full-time boxing coach. I also compete in Masters Boxing in South Australia. Before I moved to Australia, where I now live with my husband who is also a boxer, I owned and ran two boxing gyms in Oregon USA. I was also very fortunate to be able to travel a lot for the sport. I have done three big trips and many smaller ones. I call the three big trips my FightOdysseys. My first FightOdyssey was back in 2003, after I had opened my first gym in southern Oregon. I drove around the US for 3 months. I logged a total of 16,000 miles on that trip and boxed 42 guys. I left from Oregon, drove south to Los Angeles, drove east to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and then north to Boston. While in Boston I stayed with a fight bud. I also had my dog Rocky along with me for this fantastic journey. My friend in Boston kept Rocky while I flew to Iceland, London, and Edinburgh, and back to Boston. I then got back in my car and drove back west to Oregon. I boxed in many cities along the way in the US and I got to box in the UK as well. This trip was life-changing.
Since then, FightOdyssey II and FightOdyssey III have taken place. They were smaller than FightOdyssey I, but were still very successful. FO II was the southwestern US plus DC, and FO III was Chicago, NY, and DC. I have also organized many boxing events around the US during my time as a coach and competitor.
I have now booked FightOdyssey IV. It is going to be awesome. It won't be as long, time-wise, as FightOdyssey I, but it will be much longer, distance-wise. I am going around the world. I have organized boxing camps in London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, NY, Boston, DC, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles. This fantastic voyage will take place this coming December and January.
I wrote all of the above to simply say that boxing is in my blood. I love the sport. I don't actually consider boxing a martial art, but it is a sport that I have been involved with most of my life. I first experienced the desire to learn boxing as a kid in Texas. I didn't take formal boxing lessons until after my teenage years, but once I started, I never looked back. I believe that fighting is part of being a man. It is part of our genes. Many men will never actually fight, and many men will never even admit or know that they have that deep-seated fighting gene inside of themselves. And that is OK. But I wanted to write you to encourage you. The fact that you are reaching out for encouragement and/or inspiration tells me you have the desire to pursue this facet of yourself...through sport. And the fact that you say fighting is "foreign" to you tells me that you are at least thinking about it and wondering about it. So I strongly encourage you to start training, whether you end up fighting or not. I wager that if you train seriously and learn forms and techniques, you will eventually feel that deep need to engage.
Let me take a little detour here from boxing. I studied and trained intensively in Taekwondo for two years back in the mid 80s. I only learned the forms. I did extremely well. I won a gold medal in the Northeastern US Taekwondo Championship in form. I never took that particular sport to the level of combat. Even though I did not take part in actual combat, I felt I learned some incredible lessons about myself through having mastered the forms. I felt that, after having been a shy kid growing up and after having spent years being afraid of the idea of fighting, that I could take myself to the next level and experience what it feels like to fight another man. So...back to boxing. I did exactly that. And I have never been happier.
Boxing, on a very pure level, is not about hurting another man, but about finding a BOND BETWEEN two men. There is no tighter bond between two men than when they step into a ring and engage. If you learn one of the fighting arts, even WITHOUT the eventual intention of engaging in an actual fight, I can guarantee you that you will slowly but surely feel that desire come up from inside you. The desire to fight. The NEED to fight. You are a MAN, and once you have decided to allow that feeling to be a part of you, you will feel very complete.
But you don't need to start out with any fighting sport with the intention of taking part in a match or a fight. Just start training in a sport you feel drawn to, and train well. Train thoroughly. Train honorably. You will see where it takes you. Someone else in the blog talked about learning the art of a sport and that with that particular sport, the obligation NOT to fight, was included. I understand this fully. I do not believe in learning a martial art, or boxing, so that you will know how to go out and start picking fights. It is NOT about that. It is about learning the Manly Art of Self Defense. Then you will know yourself in a deeper, more complete way.
I feel very strongly about this, my friend. I have spent my life devoted to boxing. At first, as a kid, it was only a fantasy-like wish of mine to be a boxer. It was not until I was 30 years old that I joined my first boxing gym. But as I said above (way above...I write a LOT) once I started, I never looked back. My very first living memory is of me at age 5. My dad and granddad were watching Friday Night Fights in Port Arthur, Texas. I walked into the room and saw what was on TV. I IMMEDIATELY KNEW I wanted to do what those men were doing on TV. I felt it deeply and basically and it was a primal surge going through my young body. Granted...it was also my first hint that I liked MEN AND THEIR MUSCLES. And for many years...through my teenage years...boxing became a big turn-on for me. But when I started actually learning the sport I discovered that I loved it for the sport itself. Now...when I box, I box. There is NO eroticism experienced when two men are engaged in a real fight, be it a boxing match, or whatever. It is the real thing with me as it is with any two men who really engage in combat. And as I said before, engaging in sparring, boxing, or fighting, creates an incredible bond between the two men in the ring. There is nothing like it.
So, my friend, after all this writing I've done, I hope you will go ahead with your wishes. Get some training. Learn technique. Find out who you are.
I am Tom.