1206 Boxing as a Sport

Mike talks about how he started boxing and why he chose it as a sport.


Erina: So Mike, I heard that you box?

Mike: Well I don't box any more but I was boxing, mostly kick boxing for a while.

Erina: Wow, that sounds crazy. How did you get into it?

Mike: Well, from a young age, from about the age of twelve, I started doing karate in Vancouver and I was training in karate for about seven or eight years and then once I graduated from high school I moved and I moved to Japan and there I continued and didn't have much time to do training but I got involved in the kick boxing circle with some friends that did a lot of kick boxing and different types of martial arts.

Erina: Wow, kick boxing, so I assume the training is pretty hard too, right?

Mike: Yeah, the training was brutal.

Erina: What kind of training do you do?

Mike: Well, I was never professional but I had a couple of amateur fights and I don't think people quite understand how much goes into one fight because leading up to the fight, a couple of months before the fight, a friend of mine and I would be training at least five times a week.

Erina: Wow.

Mike: And we would do really brutal sprints up a hill over and over again and we'd do interval training on the sand and in addition, of course, we were doing lots of sparring and lots of conditioning and stuff that would just really push your body to the limit and really test you.

Erina: Wow, that must have been very tough. So were you ever worried about head injuries?

Mike: Well, especially with boxing, you get a lot of head injuries and more so over time because unlike other martial arts, boxing is designed to keep you standing and taking hits and that's why you see a lot of professional boxers as they get older and near the end of their career or even after their career, a lot of them have severe brain damage. Their speech is impeded and you can tell that they've really done some damage to their head over the years.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

get into


How did you get into kickboxing?

When you 'get into' something, you either begin to like it or begin to do it. Notice the following:

  1. How do people get into ceramics and jewelry making?
  2. I was about 5 years old when I started getting into tennis.

kickboxing circle


I got involved in a kickboxing circle with some friends.

A 'kickboxing circle' is an informal association or group of people who like to do kickboxing. Notice the following:

  1. There is a women's reading circle that I meet with every week.
  2. Every place that he moves he quickly gets involved with the music circle.



The training was brutal.

Here, 'brutal' just means that the training is something that is really difficult or tiring. Notice the following:

  1. That workout video is brutal. You will be sore for days after doing it.
  2. I'm exhausted. Today was a brutal day at school.



We were doing brutal sprints up a hill.

When you 'sprint' your run as fast as you can for a short period of time or a short distance. Notice the following:

  1. Playing baseball doesn't require lots of running training, because all you do is short, little sprints.
  2. As part of basketball practice, we usually do sprints around the gym.



We were doing lots of sparring.

Two boxers 'spar' to practice their movements for defense and attack. Notice the following:

  1. They aren't really fighting, just sparring.
  2. Most of what we do in class is just sparring, so I don't know what it would feel like to really get hit.

push to the limit


You do lots of conditioning that pushes your body to the limit.

Doing an activity that 'pushes your body to the limit' means that it is very difficult and you get to a point where you can't do any more. Notice the following:

  1. Do you ever feel pushed to the limit in your job?
  2. Having a personal trainer will push you to the limit in your workouts.



You see a lot of professional boxers with impeded speech.

Here, 'impeded speech' refers to boxers talking in a slower manner because of the number of head injuries they have had.

  1. Older people have more impeded recoveries from injuries.
  2. Young children who are not given enough food will frequently have impeded physical abilities.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
into • circle • brutal
sprints • sparring • limit • impeded
  1. Today at practice we are just going to do drills.
  2. My body is really sore from running at practice yesterday.
  3. You may have slightly speech during your recovery.
  4. If you want to improve, you have to push your body to the sometimes.
  5. That women is part of my kickboxing .
  6. I started getting ice skating when I was about 8 years old.
  7. That exam was . I don't think I'm going to pass.