This is the modern sport of boxing. It developed out of bare-knuckle and no-holds-barred matches in the 19th century, but it has deeper roots: the ancient Greeks boxed in the Olympics and the Romans featured boxing in their arenas. Historically, most matches were bare-knuckle - although the ancient Greeks and Romans wore the myrmex (p. 220) or cestus (p. 214) to inflict more damage! Before modern times, matches weren't timed; victory was by either submission or incapacitation.

Modern boxing stresses footwork, hand speed, and striking power. Permissible targets are the front of the torso above the waist, the head, and the arms - but only the head and torso count for scoring. It's illegal to grapple, kick, or indeed strike with anything but the knuckles of the hand. Boxers wear padded gloves to protect their hands. Because gloved hands rarely get hurt punching the skull, there's a heavy emphasis on head blows. Severe head trauma can occur from prolonged bouts (or prolonged careers!) and deaths in the ring occur every year. Today's matches typically have 10 to 12 three-minute rounds, but 15 rounds or even unlimited rounds were common in the past.

Boxing rewards defensive tactics and guarded movement. In game terms, boxers stick to Defensive Attack (the jab), Feint, Wait, and Evaluate until an opening presents itself for an Attack. This goes on until one contender is worn down, stunned, or otherwise vulnerable - then his opponent delivers a Committed Attack or even an All-Out Attack to finish the bout. Move and Attack is deprecated in favor of more cautious movement, and All-Out Attack is rare except to finish a beaten adversary.

Special tricks and techniques are common. Combinations (p. 80) are a favorite, the classic "one-two" being a straight left-hand punch followed instantly by a straight right-hand punch. Boxers learn to lean into the ropes that border the ring to absorb some of the force of punches (cinematic boxers might be able to roll with a punch anywhere, not just in the ring). Dirty tricks - blows to the vitals or groin, "accidental" head butts, and even gouging the eyes with the thumb - can cost you points or get you disqualified, but sneaky (or desperate!) boxers employ them nonetheless.

Boxing is a sport, but boxers hit hard and practice with full contact. All should learn the Boxing skill - although Boxing Sport is appropriate for amateur bouts, exhibitions, and purely point-based tournaments. Boxers who cross-train to become kickboxers or train to fight outside the ring commonly learn Low-Line Defense.

"Roadwork" - jogging and running - has been part of boxers' training since at least the time of ancient Greece. The Running skill isn't mandatory, but a PC boxer would need a good explanation for a trainer or gym that didn't expect him to run! Roadwork is the standard way to build up the stamina and overall fitness that are crucial for

The Sweet Science

Before the ring and gloves, boxing was a sport of the ancient Greeks. It never disappeared - although from the Middle Ages until about the Napoleonic period, fighters used the Brawling skill as often as the Boxing skill, and brute strength generally garnered more admiration than technique. Certain tactics common to ancient and modern boxing, such as sidestepping and slipping, fell into disuse.

Boxing Simplified

Boxing Simplified

Devoted as I am to popularizing amateur boxing and to improving the caliber of this particularly desirable competitive sport, I am highly enthusiastic over John Walsh's boxing instruction book. No one in the United States today can equal John's record as an amateur boxer and a coach. He is highly regarded as a sportsman. Before turning to coaching and the practice of law John was one of the most successful college and Golden Gloves boxers the sport has ever known.

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