• Boxing and cognitive development

Boxing and cognitive development

Honestly, tell me your first thought. Boxing = brain damage, right? And you are perfectly right if considering professional players. But the same and maybe more counts for soccer. Head injuries occur in nearly every sport and some are dangerous and proven dangerous.

Cognitive development and danger do have a mutual connection. Both increase brain sensitivity. One through educational steps while the other uses the senses and emotions. Fact is that development and growing up need both to flourish into a stable human being. Fear of danger improves risk calculation of results, it improves senses and stimulates responsibility. Look at teenagers taking uncalculated risks and survive them.

Boxing can be used in a whole different way to stimulate real cognitive development without ever a need to take a punch or hit a person. Hereby I refer to the left / right principle. In boxing, most students now are thought to have a fixed front leg. Righthanded fighters stand left feet front while left-hand fighters stand in south pole meaning right feet front. Seldom trainers teach the mixture.

It is the mixture of left and right feet front which gives a cognitive stimulation that improves learning and other abilities. To understand this theory it is important to try yourself. First, try a left feet front position and make the different combinations used in regular training. Do not use any fancy movement. Next round we turn and take the right feet front position. Most will lose balance, feel insecure, loss of coordination and often a strange sense of being completely uncomfortable in the position.

When using the change feet per round combination the brain is stimulated to combine cognitive with physical coordination and concentration. It is a mind over body matter. In the brain, you switch from the right and left brain and promote a faster connection and bridge function between the two hemispheres. Instead of damaging the brain you develop it.  Sparring (training competition) is not promoting this cognitive way of development but has other functions such as fear control, sense of reality and reflexes.

How do you test results? Rather simple. Have two same level mathematic equations ready. One to start with before the training and the other to accomplish around 30 minutes after the training. Be surprised about the results.

Arnaud van der Veere 

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Boxing and cognitive development

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