Getting The Most Out Of Amateur Boxing
Professional fighting is a business conducted for monetary gain. Amateur boxing is a competitive sport or recreation. These distinctions should be kept in mind at all times.
We are directing our instructions, advice, and suggestions to the coach supervising boxers individually or in groups; to the boy who, motivated by a desire for competitive or recreational activity, wishes to learn the fundamentals of boxing; and also to the father who acquiesces to the urge to teach his son the art of boxing.
We intend to be very fundamental in our approach, and thus to enable even an inexperienced coach to put across readily an effective instructional program to his boys. We want to make it possible for the boy to whom personal supervision is unavailable to teach himself. We also hope to save the father lacking in boxing experience the ignominy of receiving a “shiner” as he attempts on bended knees to impart to his son the principles of the “manly art.”
We believe that too often the fundamentals of boxing are overlooked in favor of complicated punches, series of maneuvers, and fancy footwork. Just as fundamentals such as tackling and blocking pay off in football, so it is the properly executed left jab, straight right, and an occasional left hook that bring victory in the boxing ring.
Experience has proven that the methods of teaching and learning boxing employed throughout this book are just as adaptable to youngsters as they are to boys of high school and college age. We have found through years of work with “kid” classes that lads of seven to twelve years are often more adaptable to these methods than their older brothers who may have acquired erroneous ways which must be righted.
My personal enthusiasm for amateur boxing stems from my experience with the hundreds of fine young men with whom I have worked as a boxer, as coach at the University of Wisconsin, while in service with the Marines, and as a coach of the United States Olympic team. They have been the sons of poor men and rich men; they have come from the big cities and from the farm; they have ranged in weight from 90 pounds to 250 pounds; some have been timid, others bold; many had never boxed before. They have in no way been “typed.”
And when our active association as student and teacher ended each boy without exception was the richer for his experiences. Not a single boy has borne a mark that might not just as well have been inflicted in a sliding accident, in a friendly scuffle, in an accidental fall, in a football game, or in a basketball contest. And the poise, coordination, confidence, physical conditioning, and competitive experiences gained were apparent without exception. Many of these boys have since become lawyers, doctors, teachers, or businessmen.
One of our own Wisconsin boys — Woody Swancutt, who was a two-time national collegiate champion — distinguished himself as a B-29 pilot over Japan and was later selected in competition with thousands of others seeking the honor to pilot the plane dropping the first test atom bomb at Bikini. Woody’s foremost rival in college — Heston Daniels of Louisiana State University — flew one of the United States Army planes participating in General Doolittle’s first raid over Tokyo.
Here again the pilots were carefully selected from among the finest physical and mental specimens in the United States Army Air Force. The famed and great Jimmie Doolittle himself first gained prominence as an amateur boxing champion.
A Captain of Navy Air personnel who was in a large measure responsible for the selection of candidates for Naval Aviation placed boxing number one on the list of sports that best qualify a boy to be a pilot. He attributed this to the splendid coordination; to the lightning-fast timing and sharp reflexes; to the superb physical condition; and to the “will to win,” or competitive spirit, developed in a well-supervised boxing program.
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