by Christian Duque
Slap boxing is an extremely bizarre passtime. I have no problem calling bodybuilding a sport, despite the fact many people have misgivings about it. A lot of people think it’s just a pastime, a pageant, or a hobby. Ok. Well, if that’s so, then I’m sure these same people wouldn’t fault me for, perhaps, being overly-critical about slap boxing. This is a situation where two people face each other and take turns slapping the hell out of the other. There’s judges, cameras, and fans. That last element is key.
People can’t get enough of these matches. You’ve got men and women, of all ages, from all parts of the world, throwing their hats in the ring. What’s truly different is that this phenomenon has gone from being a totally underground situation, to one that’s got the likes of Logan Paul and Arnold Schwarzenegger turning it onto the mainstream. For someone on the level of Arnold to want to get involved in this, means that it’s got the potential to be really popular, and more importantly, really profitable. Just look at what Dana White has been able to achieve with MMA in 20 years. It’s bigger than boxing, it’s not dependent on any state or country, meaning they could have a UFC in Seattle or Singapore, and everyone will attend and buy Pay Per View. What other sport can you say that about?
If the fans can’t get enough, you’re going to have vendors, licensing, and residuals. At its core, it doesn’t seem all that exciting, but that’s because I’m looking at it with a certain degree of skepticism. That’s why I’m a writer and not a promoter. To me, there’s nothing all that exciting about people exchanging slaps, but if we look at the sport’s reception in Europe and Asia, then it stands to reason it’ll be huge in America. There, I finally called it a sport.
Of course it’s a sport, it’s just SO weird. For starters, there’s an undeniable strength component. While this isn’t a physique-based sport, it requires a lot of full body power. The competitors have to have excellent hand-eye coordination, the ability to hit on a number occasions, and do so with a great deal of accuracy. Much like boxing, it’s not so much about the quantity of hits, as much as it’s about the quality. The key would be to produce the maximum amount of force possible. They’re not trying to tickle each other. This is an aggressive, violent sport. Folks can’t really knock it for that, then go watch MMA.
Mixed Martial Arts is probably the most violent sport out there, from local fight nights to the PPV options. People can’t get enough and not only can’t they get enough, but they want to participate as well. Just look at how many MMA gyms have sprung up throughout the country. Who knows, maybe we’ll start seeing Slap Boxing dojos in your hometown gyms. Afterall, if the demand is there, someone’s going to capitalize on it. And you know, maybe my initial skepticism is simply based on the fact I’ve never heard of this before.
To be honest, the first time I saw all of this slap boxing stuff, I had a flashback to Kali Muscle’s Slap City. That’s a little different though. There you had a yoked, juiced to the gills ex-con slapping young punks on the back after taking pre workout powder at big fitness expos. That’s not a sport – it’s just weird. Slap Boxing is pretty weird, too, but maybe not that weird. If you slap these people, they’ll slap the hell out of you, back. It’s also organized around rules, referees and so on.
That said, from the looks of the strikes, I’d imagine some of these folks could easily have broken cheekbones, noses, maybe lose some teeth and/or maybe even suffer concussions. While it’s not closed fist punching, you have a person standing still while another uses an enormous amount of total body power, all channeled through one slap against the still person’s face. There’s no telling what kind of injuries could result. And I mean totally beyond swollen lips and eyes. TBI’s, or traumatic brain injuries, require MRI’s and CT Scans in order to become known. There’s no telling if the harder slaps could cause these types of very serious injuries. Also, unlike boxing and MMA, all the hits in Slap Boxing go to the head and unlike those other sports, the person receiving the blows can’t even put up their guard. They just stand there and take it. It just seems like a really bad idea, but I’m just a writer; I have to report on what people are doing. With guys like Logan Paul and Arnold now involved in this sport, it’s bound to get a lot bigger, in no time.
Besides strength, whoever does this sport will need to have a very high pain threshold. This is common in aggressive, violent sports like wrestling, boxing, football, hockey and most definitely MMA. Another sport that also requires an incredibly high pain resistance, would be armwrestling. Athletes don’t just have to endure the pain involved with training for meets, but they have to be able to ignore very uncomfortable situations, persevere, and be able to employ strength through that pain, in order to best the competition. I don’t know that that’s something just anyone can do. In fact, Slap Boxing might be a sport for those few freaks who don’t feel pain. Maybe there’s people that do these meets that not only don’t feel pain, but might be able to laugh at it. There are such individuals out there, crazy as it may seem, who don’t feel pain. That said, I’m pretty such that they’re the exception.
In addition to strength and the ability to take and ignore pain, there’s an undeniable level of strategy and precision that’s required. Much like how a boxer has to connect, either with single punches or combinations, there’s a science to how these enthusiasts strike, what part of the face they aim for, and when and where they employ different variations. To an outsider, this could be explained as nothing more than two bozos, relying on brute strength, swatting each other till one falls down. Maybe that’s all it is, but maybe that’s all it takes for a guy or gal who easily gets knocked out. If you’re wanting to be the best, you’re going to budget your strength, take only as many hits as necessary, and best your competition as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
The more I think about it, the more Slap Boxing is definitely a sport, it just seems incredibly dangerous. I also think people probably dig seeing everyday, normal folks pull that switch and become maniacs. I mean, you have to have a screw loose to be able to do this. That said, imagine how crazy it would be, if a competitor didn’t get angry. Like imagine if they were all smiles before, during, after slapping the hell out of another person’s face. That’d be a complete psycho, right? But that, too, would probably get peoples’ rocks off. Who doesn’t love an absolute nutcase? Geez…, I could see this getting really big, I just can’t believe ARNOLD of all people is involved in this, but then again, he’s always been a trendsetter. By the time I get it and accept this anomaly as being a sport, he’ll probably have made a billion dollars off of it. It’s just how it is, folks. It’s just how it is.
What’s your take on Slap Boxing? Is it a sport, a freak show, what? And do you think Slap Boxing will get big in bodybuilding (e.g. as an add-on at bodybuilding show expos [like arm wrestling and powerlifting] and/or – at huge international fitness expos [like the Arnold or Olympia]?).