There is no questioning that combat sports are a huge part of American culture. We watch the PPV shows on the weekend, follow our favorite fighters, and many of us are involved in the various sports on some level of training. One of the oldest and most well-known around the world is boxing.
If you want to get involved with boxing, or at least train like a boxer for fitness or other reasons I’m going to give you a couple things that are a must have in high level boxing gyms.
First, let me give you a bit of background on myself. I've been involved in combat sports since 1995 when I joined a local martial arts school near me. My main influence was a Jackie Chan movie I watched the previous week. I quickly fell in love with martial arts, and other combat sports in general. I had my first amateur fight at the age of 16 in Kickboxing, won 5 tough man competitions as well as a few kickboxing titles from my late teens on and turned to professional boxing when I was 23. Overall at the time of writing this post to the best of my knowledge I’ve had around 80 fights with my record sitting at 74-4 overall. I've trained with legends from Kickboxing (Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace) super stars in boxing (Johnathon Banks, Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte) and in the most famous cities in our country for combat sports.
I say all that to bring about this point, not all gyms are created equal! You can have a fantastic facility and be a lousy boxing gym or vice versa. In fact, for this review we are going to place very little emphasis on the actually area you training in. As long as there is a ring, some decent heavy bags, and its clean you can train for boxing.
1: The quality of trainers
2: The quality of participants (Fighters and regular members alike)
3: The atmosphere of the gym
So, lets touch on each of these points quickly.
The quality of the trainers at the boxing gym your thinking about attending is huge! Depending on what you would like to do in the sport determines the type of quality you need in a trainer. For example, if you want to learn how to box, get in shape, gain some confidence, and do a bit of sparring you are looking for a much different trainer than a professional fighter who wants to make his mark on the world.
Determine your goals and then pick your trainer based on how many likeminded students he or she has. Want to be a fighter? How many fighters do they train? Want to learn to box but not compete? Do they have a solid membership base of likeminded people? Then look at the history and experience of the trainer. What level of training and experience do they have? Who trained them? Do they still train? Each of these questions are easy enough to find out in person or with a quick google search. For example, your perspective trainer tells you they have 40 professional boxing wins, don't take their word for it.
Boxrec.com is the best source for a complete record of every professional boxer in the world.
Type in their name and follow that with Boxrec after, like this...
"Joshua Tufte Boxrec"
Boxrec will pull up any professional fighter that is or was active and tell you their actual record.
Now let’s touch on the quality of the other students or fighters. Once again this is based on what type of benefit you are looking to get out of training. If you want to be a high-level fighter at very least other high-level fighters should be accessible through the network of the gym your looking into. Do they come to spar regularly? Do they train there? Have they trained there before? Or if you want to have a more casual experience then ask around the gym or people you know who go there and see what they have to say about the gym.
It can be very telling who the current students are and what they have to say about the gym and trainers.
Lastly, we will touch on the atmosphere of the gym. Want to be left alone to train hard every day? You want to look around and make sure there are some likeminded people doing the same thing or at least the opportunity for that. Want to have some great social time or chat with your friends before, after, or during class? See if that’s possible by getting a feel for the gym.
Most gyms will allow you to come for a free trial or pay by class for a bit while you feel out the situation and see if it’s a good fit for you. Take your time and don't rush into signing any sort of long-term contracts. Any gym who wants your business will give you options and time to make a good decision.
Edge Fitness and Combat Arts LLC in High Point North Carolina (My Gym) can meet the needs of amateur, professional, and casual enthusiasts for combat sports. We also offer a free 7-day trial, so you don't have to take my word for it, come see for yourself! It's easy to get more information on us and set up a time to come and see the gym. Click the "Contact Us" tab at the top of the screen to get out deets : ) or send us a message!