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The Empathy Engine
What is the Utility of Boxing to Armed Combat?

Boxing teaches the fighter:

-how to stay close without wrestling,

-how to dominate the combat space from the near angle

-how to move in knife range

-how to maintain potential punching leverage in each hand at the same time

-hones eye-hand-foot coordination necessary for accurate and leveraged striking while in motion. This boxing attribute is more effectively applied with weaponry than with the fist.

-develops time and measure, without which any blade fighter is a dead man

-to avoid, deflect and indure blunt force trauma, particularly to the head

-to look at incoming weapons rather than turning away

-to gain an instinctive feel for an antagonist through rhythm, peripheral vision, center-point focus and proximity under stress

-to concern energy on before, during and after impact

-to tolerate facial contact

-to impose will

-to resist the imposition of will

-and most of all to identify with the antagonist as a counter-part, not a hated thing, but a partner in a contest for supremacy. This helps limit psychological trauma as combat is joined, conducted and retired from. In the short term it permits relaxation just before hostilities in order to be limber, ready and able to act and react, teaches relaxation at the point of contact, which is clutch to surviving more lethal forms of fighting and above all teaches the skill of learning about and from your opponent while in combat, rather than conducting oneself rigidly against an objectified foe, which, in essence, helps inure the fighter to the twin temptations of underestimation and irrational fear in the face of another man.

The ancients conceived of boxing, not so much as a useful form of self-defense or a preparation for shield and spear fighting, but as a tool for psychological development in their perpetual quest to father stronger, braver and more militarily dominant sons. The U.S. Navy has long assigned boxing this same value, the utility of adaptive focus and resolve under adversarial pressure and in the face of injury.

The Punishing Art

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