Sound Off: Is Boxing Too Dangerous for Training Exercises?



The New York Times published a investigative report this week about West Point’s longstanding requirement that cadets take boxing as a class for academic credit, a requirement shared by the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy. Military officials believe there’s no better way to toughen up cadets and midshipmen and give them the grit required for combat.

Unfortunately, data obtained by the Times clouds the equation. Boxing accounts for 20% of the concussions at West Point, almost 25% at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy (where it accounts for twice as many concussions as football).

If a cadet is too concussed to pass the class, he or she is required to repeat until they pass. In an era where we’re far more knowledgable about the damage caused by traumatic brain injury, there’s a question as to whether any benefits are worth the damage done to men and women who are training to lead our military.

Blame Teddy Roosevelt for the tradition. It was the president’s love of boxing that led West Point to add the requirement in 1905.

Should the service academies look for other ways to toughen up their students? Or is boxing a valuable way to build character? Sound off!


  • Bronson

    The media wants the military to go easier and easier on recruits. If we sissify the military, how can we keep strong enough to defend this nation. While they are still cadets, they are the next generation of soldiers and civilians, and they’re going to need that grit to survive bootcamp, but that’s just my thought on the matter.

    • DBM

      Basic training is a joke now. At Jackson and Leonardwood they give them a weekend pass from BT on their 4th weekend. The Drills are supposed to be their buddies, mixed male/female platoons etc Its day camp.

      • Martin

        Yes, leave boxing alone…let it stand…ensure these kids learn to become hard core soldiers.
        Obama and his liberal allies have been successful in decimating our military. Tragic consequences for America. The military, especially the Army, has been delegated as the organization to introduce social engineering and more. Hello females who want to wear men’s pants, homosexuals, trans-genders and more. Like the late Roman Legions who lost their punch, the enemy could smell their perfumes long before encountering the effeminate legionnaires. The Pentagon and higher command have lost it. They are much more concerned with retirement and income, than being responsible military commanders.

      • Leon Suchorski

        Thank goodness that the Marine policy of NO PASS OR LEAVE UNTIL YOU GRADUATE STILL STANDS. Back in ’66, I knew guys that were in boot for over 10 months. Me, I busted my foot during monsoon season, and caught pneumonia, so I spent 6 months there. I know that my DIs gave me very high grades for attitude. The only down side that I had there, was that I lost a buddy to pneumonia. They found him hacking his lungs out @ about 23:30, and called the meat wagon. After they did a thrach on him, and figured that they had him stabilized, they transported him to Balboa. But he arrived DOA.

  • Jim

    Train like you’ll fight and be tougher than anyone else. The tougher the better!

    • galloglas

      The men in that picture look tough enough to take a boxing course.

      • Leon Suchorski

        When I was in boot, in the Marines, I stood 5’8″, and weighed 170. When it came to inter platoon competition in hand to hand, I was rated as 4th best of all of the guys. Maybe that street fighting paid off for me.

  • JohnD

    I worked in Cadet Health Bldg 606 and saw many concussions and related injuries due to boxing. The soldiers do learn combatives later in their army training but at this stage, there is too much money invested in these cadets to blow it all on a bad hit to the head! If they get a skull fracture, no flight school, certain other injuries may keep them out of other jobs. There are enough things at West Point to build macho so losing boxing isn’t a big deal. The cadets used to learn fencing but they don’t anymore? Has the academy suffered? If you have to go hand to hand with an enemy, you didn’t shoot well enough!

    • JohnD

      You big brother types really stink!!

    • galloglas

      You can get a skull fracture falling off the airplane and let’s not forget ejection.
      Pilots are the type who if they do not go out of this world screaming with their hair on fire they will enter Heaven unhappy. Or they were at one time.

  • Calen Legaspi

    Switch to Muay Thai. Less head injuries since target is whole body, not just head and torso.

    Been practicing both Boxing & Muay Thai for about 15 years, and my total martial arts experience is over 30 years. Got most of my head shots during boxing but not so much in Muay Thai.

    • galloglas

      Boxing has as it main target the head.

      • mhpr262

        That is what he said.

  • galloglas

    Well they are training for Close Quarters unarmed combat after all.
    Which if I’m not mistaken is dangerous.
    They are training with fellow service men and women who are their buddies and who will not kill them or injure them, capture them and torture them.
    It is the Military which has the mission to seek out, close with and destroy by fire and manuver the enemy with any weapons at their disposal.

    I recall the mid 70’s when the recruits at Army Basic were not allowed to yell “Kill” during bayonet practice because it was too brutal on them.

    Perhaps more collage and macrame classes are needed.

  • If you are in the military you might need to fight. It’s best to know something about it.
    Fighting is mostly in your head though. Your either tough or your not.

  • DBW86

    Another attack by the Liberal establishment on Military training. I wonder if they’ll “organize” combat so you only fight a soldier your own size??? I’m 74, I was a Marine Gunny and Army NG 1stSgt as well as retired Police Officer. I’ve been in countless fights, boxed as a boy in Golden Gloves and was 5-10 160 lbs. It never hurt me! While Director/Commander of a Police Academy and observing physical defensive tactics class one day I was disturbed. I stopped the class and asked every recruit officer if they had ever been hit, or hit anyone. Only 2 answered yes, and they were both prior military! I went out and purchased 16 oz. boxing gloves and protective head gear. The next day in that class I paired the recruits off and put them on their knees at relaxed bent arm length apart and told them fight for 3 minutes. I also informed them if they didn’t hit hard enough I’d put one of my instructors in against them, or myself. That only happened twice before all recruits were hitting as hard as they could. There was no way I was going to put a police officer on the street who had never been hit, nor hit anyone to be confronted with the shock of that in a potentially life and death situation! Boxing instills an understanding of how much fight you have in you and how you can overcome pain. Even in defeat you can instill a lack of will to fight you again and that in itself is a victory!

  • Apache Blue

    We need new political leadership to save the armed services. I boxed amateur and pro prior to joining the Army. One class is not going make a difference. Just make sure they have helmets when on a bike and don’t allow them to have guns.

  • John Frierson

    Better to get hit in that controlled environment , than get hit for the first time in the real world. And you will eventually get hit. Go military.