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How Boxing Gloves Changed the Sport

During a 150 year period of bare knuckle boxing there were only ever 2 recorded deaths, thanks to boxers avoiding punching their opponents in the face (because it hurt their hands). After the introduction of boxing gloves the number of deaths in boxing rings skyrocketed.

While the data for that time period is probably incomplete due to a lack of record keeping by newspapers and the media of the day, it is pretty clear that deaths from boxing were pretty rare at the time.

Fast forward to the present.

In the USA alone approximately 4 boxers die per year due to injuries sustained in the ring. Usually the result of head or neck injuries because boxing gloves paradoxically increased the number of deaths in the ring by allowing boxers to focus more on punches to the head without fear of injuring their hands. In other words a device meant to make boxing "safer" by protecting the hands of boxers actually causes far more deaths by causing more head/neck injuries.

Modern boxing gloves also play an important role in many boxers suffering brain injuries and eye injuries.

This makes in my opinion a good argument for why we should go back to bare knuckle boxing... In which case we would have more hand injuries, but less deaths.

The way boxing was conducted during the bare knuckle boxing period was also significantly different from modern professional boxing. There was a lot more punches to the upper torso, but boxers habitually avoided the face. Today it is practically the opposite.

After the introduction of padded boxing gloves when the Marquis of Queensbury Rules were drafted in 1865, and later officially adopted in 1892, they evolved over time. Originally they were nearly skin tight and weighed a mere 2 ounces.

Over time they have become heavier and more padded, with 8 ounce gloves becoming banned by AIBA in 1994, after which only 10 ounce or 12 ounce gloves were allowed (depending upon weight class and gender).

The very first padded boxing gloves were invented in 1743, but were only used for sparring and training, and not allowed in actual boxing matches.

Prior to that period "boxing gloves" technically did exist, but they were often fitted with blades or spikes, making them more like weapons of war than they were for boxing matches. The Ancient Greeks for example used leather wraps called Caestus.

There are also many different types of boxing gloves these days, produced by over 30 makers of professional boxing gloves:

  • Bag Gloves
  • Bag Mitts
  • Sparring Gloves
  • Competition Gloves
  • Lace Up Gloves
  • Weighted Training Gloves
  • Illegally Modified Boxing Gloves (see the Carlos "Panama" Lewis case for an example)
  • MMA Grappling Gloves (technically not boxing gloves, but listed here for reference)

As a boxing instructor I would say that I enjoy boxing as a form of exercise and I appreciate it as a sport, but I would never compete as a boxer because I like my eye balls and my brain in their current condition.

There is nothing wrong in my opinion in learning how to throw a proper punch. It can be very useful for self defense, and hopefully that never happens to the majority of people, but for the people who just want to exercise and learn an useful skill then boxing is certainly an option.

And wearing boxing gloves while you are training is definitely a necessity, even if they are more likely to cause deaths in the ring.

For now the genie is out of the bottle, the cat is out of the bag, and there's no getting boxing gloves out of boxing. It is too much a part of the sport these days. What I could foresee eventually happening is the banning of head punches, for the same reason why neck punches aren't allowed.

Ikigai and the Archer

About one year ago my colleague Steve Ruis wrote a blog post called "The Ikigai of Archery".

Ikagai is a Japanese word which means "live reason" or "reason to live".

Basically Ikagi is when you have something that helps you get out of bed in the morning and provides a purpose or meaning in your life is certainly helpful.

Can archery be a reason to live?

I believe so.

Sometimes we just don't want to get up in the morning, but we force ourselves to do so because we have to get to work - often to a job we dislike.

I am fortunate that I have a job I really enjoy and love to do. There are many people out there who wish they could quit their regular jobs and just do what they love to do.

Even so there are definitely days when I am excited to teach archery and do some personal practice, and then there are other days when I have to go to work and I would rather stay home if I had the choice.

I find the quality of sleep I got the night before is a factor.

Same thing goes with my students. I can tell based upon their focus and the quality of their shooting whether they didn't sleep well the night before - or worse, if they're hungover, distracted by something, stressed or upset, hungry, etc.

And yet they still got up and they came to their archery practice because it was something they wanted to do, because they deemed it important, and quite possibly they were excited about it.

Thus in this case I think Ikigai is an excellent word, and an apt word. If archery can be the crutch that helps people get up in the morning - and in some cases to strive and find purpose in their lives - then so be it. Sometimes people need a crutch to help them to keep on surviving so they can find other reasons to live.

I believe people can have multiple reasons to live, including an important one: Family. Speaking for myself then my wife and my son are two of my biggest reasons to live, but archery is another. As is writing. I have many reasons to live.

For my students who are curious about the more spiritual sides of archery I usually recommend two books:

1. Zen Bow, Zen Arrow
2. The Unfettered Mind

The 2nd book isn't actually about archery. It is about Zen Buddhism and swordsmanship, but also about being a good person who learns to manage their thoughts and emotions. So while it is primarily about swordsmanship, the principles described in the book also apply to archery.

Years ago I even published my own book of poetry on the subject, a book called "Dreaming of Zen Archery". (The ebook version is $2.99 if you're curious about it.)

So yes, I believe archery can be an Ikigai - a reason to live.

It doesn't have to be your sole reason to live however, but it can be the crutch that keeps you moving forward until you find other reasons.

Accepting New Archery Students for 2022

Hello Toronto!

Do you want to learn archery? Of course you do, you're here reading this aren't you?

Well, the good news is that I am accepting new students for the 2022 archery season.

Contact to book your archery lesson(s) today. When in doubt I recommend starting for 3 lessons for $200. See my archery lessons page for more details / discount rates / etc.

So what's so special about my archery lessons?

#1. I make them fun and informative. So you're learning, but you get to have fun while doing so.

#2. I have been teaching archery so far for 13 years (and doing archery for 33 years). Suffice to say I have been doing this for a long time and have learned some of the best ways

#3. I have published articles over the years in "Archery Focus Magazine", which recently released their final issue in November 2021. (My article "Gap Shooting: Aiming for Versatility" was included in the final issue.)

#4. Browse my Archery Lessons Plan to learn more about the how each lesson is different.

#5. One on one lessons. No group lessons. You get personalized attention from an archery coach and I tailor the lessons to meet my individual students needs.

#6. I also teach people with adaptive archery needs. So if you're in a wheel chair or have other difficulties, not to worry, you can still do archery. Just email me to discuss your situation.

#7. People over 65 get a 10% Seniors Discount and people from Canada's armed forces get a 10% Veterans Discount.

Merry Christmas from CardioTrek 2021

 Merry Christmas from CardioTrek 2021!

 And have a Happy New Year in 2022!


Jogging 30 Day Challenge: What Happened?

You may recall that earlier this year I embarked upon a "Jogging 30 Day Challenge" and then it suddenly stopped?

Well, I was about 20 days into it and injured my foot. I am not even certain HOW I injured my foot. I woke up one morning and my right foot was suddenly in a lot of pain, similar to a "Charley Horse" in terms of the amount of pain I was in.

But unlike a Charley Horse / foot cramps, it didn't go away after a few minutes.

It took months for my foot to start feeling like normal again, and even now I sometimes experience pain in my right foot.

So that's why my "Jogging 30 Day Challenge" ended unexpectedly.

I am hopeful to resume jogging sometime, but in the meantime I want to be fully healed before I do so.

I don't recommend anyone jogging when you have a sports injury in your feet or legs. Same with any other sports injury. If you have an injury it is your body telling you it is time to take a break.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


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