This is a great question to wonder about – not only from the answer you get but also from the fact that you may be considering boxing or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Both boxing and MMA are good hobbies that not only build your strength but also give you a workout, help you learn defensive moves for real-life situations, and, if you wish, make a career in these sports.
The answer is subjective and is based on what aspect you are looking at. If you look at ease – boxing could be simple and better because it does not require too much gear. However, for some boxing may be too much for the hands.
Let us objectively analyze what boxing, as a sport, and MMA as a practice has to offer.
What Should you Start Training – MMA or Boxing?
Boxing is a great hobby to pursue.
When you practice first, boxing hurts like hell. Then, as you practice more and get better gear, you start getting adjusted and the body is able to resist and tolerate pain.
Over time, start using a heavier bag and focus on building speed and accuracy. All this requires arduous practice, but once you have practiced enough, you’re a good boxer.
You shall be good at self-defense and matches if you are interested in those.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Mixed Martial Arts have become popular very recently, and they require much more than boxing. Mixed Martial Arts are about moves that would allow you to take your opponent down. The world has seen many martial arts forms like Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Taekwondo, among tens of others.
If you are keen on learning mixed martial arts, you need to be a lot more versatile in your mind as well as your body. The martial art moves are seldom straightforward. They need a lot of practice to get near perfection. Also, the martial arts are best practiced with a human opponent so that you may refine your “strategy.”
As the name suggests, MMA is an “art” where, despite knowing a lot of moves, being powerful, agile, and fast, you need to strategize – i.e., anticipate the steps of your opponent and then adjust your movements to counter those of your opponent.
Since every practitioner of martial arts shall have his/her own set of favorite moves and countering techniques, the spectrum becomes very broad when it comes to being good at martial arts against skilled opponents.
Aspects of Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Analyzed
Ease of learning
The answer is pretty straightforward. Learning boxing is simpler because practice is done best with a heavy bag. Boxing gear is inexpensive and widely available.
Martial Arts are far harder to practice because of the variety of moves. Since we are talking about mixed martial arts, there are a lot of moves that need to be practiced.
The wide variety of moves in martial arts may take a lot of time to learn since it is not only about the moves but about the body’s ability to stretch and twist to perform the move. Once the muscles are toned enough, it is then that you may start practicing and perfecting the movement. Boxing, on the other hand, presents no such challenges.
Apart from time, the immense number of moves makes the martial arts a very broad-spectrum of sport as compared to boxing. In order to face an opponent skilled at martial arts, you would need to know at least six to eight moves that help you dodge and fight your opponent.
Boxing is a set of moves that can be learned with relative ease. The need for a coach is often not required unless you plan to go pro. Once the endurance to pain, aim, speed, and agility are built, boxing practice is just keeping the learning going.
Consider the case of Martial Arts. The most significant factor in Martial Arts is the variety and the number and kind of moves. The Martial Arts vary by their place of origin and may have totally different moves.
If you want to practice a Muay Thai move, one from Taekwondo, and another from Jiu-Jitsu, you need a coach who knows all these. The number of combinations is enormous and you’ll hardly find a coach who is skilled at all the martial arts.
Once again, martial arts require better physical ability. Consider rotating half a turn and raising your leg till the toes are at shoulder level to knock out an opponent. This move may look cool in The Matrix, but when it comes to practicing it here is what you need – stability, balance, agility, accuracy, timing, among other factors.
For the martial arts, bodyweight and toning are essential. Individuals on the heavier side would have a harder time moving the limbs to positions as the leaner individuals do.
Surely, MMA is better for you because boxing is included in most of the martial arts. However, it is the practice that makes boxing much easier and martial arts exponentially tricky.
Protection or self-defense is the one area where boxing leaves you immensely vulnerable. If you are in one of those rare circumstances where the miscreant knows the martial arts, but you are a boxer, you are exposed to pretty much every move your opponent makes.
Kicks, grapples, or whatever you may imagine, the chances are that the opponent would beat you. People hardly want to learn martial arts only for self-defense. If, however, you are one of those, undoubtedly mixed martial arts is the way to go.
There is no shortage of professional scope in either of these sports. There are professional boxing associations and then there is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which is the dream and goal of every MMA fighter. Fighting and practicing in that ring not only brings you fame but also a chance to earn a lot of money.
In boxing, there are local fights that are fought for a purse – an amount that a fighters gets if he wins the fight.
This is another area where there is a significant difference between boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. Surely there is a warm-up and a lot of endurance to be built during boxing; the challenge is that only a specific group of muscles of the body get that vigorous exercise.
In martial arts, since the moves encompass the movement of the entire body, you may expect to have all the parts of the body receive immense exercise. So, from an overall fitness perspective, MMA is better than boxing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q) Which is better – boxing or MMA?
A) It is clear that martial arts are better in almost every aspect apart from ease of learning. For a beginner, ease of learning is essential and boxing can be a good starting point.
Q) Is boxing included in MMA?
A) If you look at this comparison, isn’t it a bit unfair to compare boxing with the martial arts, that have over a hundred specific forms apart from the combination of moves that an individual may have? Yes, it is a bit unfair because most martial arts encompass boxing in totality.
Q) My body is not flexible. What should be my starting point?
A) Boxing can be a starting point since martial arts require a lot of other factors like health and body aspects apart from challenges like finding a partner to practice with and a coach to train.
Once you are satisfied that you are a good boxer, you may choose to pursue the martial arts since, by then, the body would have received sufficient exercise and a good dose of flexibility to manage the MMA moves.
Boxing can be a good starting point towards pursuing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Boxing is relatively simple and does not require a human opponent to have a good practice. A heavy bag, gloves, and some other gear are all that is needed.
Given the lesser restrictions on being a boxer, it is the first step of the martial arts ladder because the latter provides you not only a wide range of moves but also the ability to protect yourself against the movements of your opponent.
It is advisable to start with boxing unless you specifically want to pursue the martial arts. If you want to go with the Martial Arts, we would suggest that you go with a specific form like Muay Thai, or Taekwondo before you start mixing the moves.
The martial arts have an immense psychological angle to them because, in an MMA fight, making the right strategy to fight your opponent and choosing counter moves is what makes the difference between winning and losing,
This blog has a lot of articles dedicated to the martial arts, their history, how they became mainstream, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and other exciting stuff. Besides, to make your job easy, we have reviewed a lot of boxing gear like hanging heavy bags, free-standing heavy bags, gloves, hand wraps and other equipment. Go through the blog to have more information about both MMA and boxing.