Female Cadet Mandatory Boxing

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Padre101, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...e-top-stories-2_westpoint-715a:homepage/story

    WEST POINT, N.Y. — Army cadets Kiana Stewart and DeAdre Harvey squared off in a boxing ring at the U.S. Military Academy this month, circling each other with their gloves up. Watching classmates already had suffered bloody noses, but the women stayed aggressive, bouncing on the balls of their feet while delivering the occasional jab.

    The female cadets are part of a first at West Point: women who must box. Beginning this fall, West Point officials shifted from banning female students from taking the course to requiring it for all approximately 1,000 students in the Class of 2020. The move follows the Pentagon’s historic decision last year to fully integrate women into all combat roles for the first time, and allowing women to box marked the fall of one of the last barriers to women being allowed to do anything they are qualified to in the U.S. military.

    [In historic decision, Pentagon chief opens all jobs in combat units to women]

    Female cadets said they heard about the decision to mandate boxing as they were preparing to arrive on campus this summer, and were surprised.

    “At first I was kind of upset, but now I’m getting into it,” Harvey said, after the metallic clang of a bell marked the end of her match with Stewart. “Hitting is not something I want to do necessarily, hand-to-hand, like, if I don’t have to.”

    She added: “In boxing, you have to hit them while looking at them.”

    nearly 1 in 5 concussions at West Point occurred during boxing class, and that senior Army officials had discussed for months how to deflect attention from the issue before finally releasing the data.

    Army officials acknowledge that there is an ongoing discussion about whether boxing should continue in service academies. But, they say, that’s a separate debate than whether female cadets should be treated the same as male students and be required to take the same classes, including boxing. The sport, academy officials say, teaches leadership by testing how cadets react while they are under attack.

    Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland, who took over as West Point’s first female commandant of cadets in January, said that when she was a cadet in the late 1980s, she had a hard time understanding why she wasn’t boxing and her male classmates were. The course this year incorporates graded two-minute bouts in which women face women, and controlled sparring in which men and women can be matched up against each other.

    “The issue is men and women doing the same thing,” Holland said. “Now, whether boxing should be a requirement for anybody is a different discussion.”

    medical studies suggest that young women are significantly more likely to sustain concussions than men.

    Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., the superintendent and top military officer at West Point, said the academy’s boxing program has become increasingly conservative in how it handles suspected concussions, keeping cadets away from boxing until they make a full recovery. That follows warnings issued by medical officials, including some within the Army, that suffering additional concussions before a first one has healed can do serious damage to the brain.

    Caslen said he was approached last spring at the 40th anniversary celebration of female cadets attending West Point and asked by alumni to review the ban on women taking the boxing class. After receiving approval from the Army leadership at the Pentagon, he did so because he sees boxing as a way to teach future officers how to lead in trying situations.

    “Some people would say, ‘Well, can you teach cadets those skills — that tenacity and resilience — through other programs and other mechanisms?'” Caslen said. “Yes, you can. But boxing becomes the … one and only event for all cadets that pits one cadet against another in full-body contact.”

    That doesn’t rattle Stewart, a first-year cadet who played water polo and basketball while in high school in Hawaii. Upperclassmen have stopped her to ask about the experience, which she said was initially both “scary” and “pretty cool” to her. She’s already had her nose bloodied at least once but blamed herself with a laugh.

    “It’s because I put my hands down too early,” she said. “I thought he blew the whistle and I got clocked in the face, and that was just dumb on my part. It definitely teaches you to be on guard.”
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Boxing has been a required part of the PE curriculum for USNA women for a few years, since the late 90's, I think. There are women in the USNA Boxing Club. I took a boxing class some years ago to understand what it is like to get hit deliberately (different feeling than contact sports I'd played), and to grasp some mechanics of using my hands to defend myself. It was so foreign to the way I had been brought up, as a "young lady," that I found it eye-opening and empowering.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
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  3. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    As the mom of a female boxer, I say it's about time. Any officer should have at least the minimum skills to defend themselves in a fight.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Stand by for future A-N Boxing Smokers (on A-N football eve) with bouts that will have USNA and USMA founders once again twirling in their graves.
     
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  5. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    My plebe year was before USNA women took boxing like the men. I wondered then why my training had to be different from theirs. As a kid who took karate and tae kwon do, learning to take a punch was one of the things that helped me understand how to push through pain and to tell the difference between pain and injury. Regardless of their billets, every sailor, marine, and soldier should have that experience.

    The A-N smokers should be terrific!
     
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  6. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I'm very glad that everyone is not taking boxing at WP starting with the class of 2020. I think it's about time.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I was at USNA I think a few years after LongAgoPlebe. I took boxing, wrestling, judo, drowning or as most call it swimming all as mandatory classes. When I found out that it wasn't mandatory for women at USMA I was sort of surprised. USNA has it mandatory for 20-25 years now I believe.
     
  8. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Did the article say that?
     
  9. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Life outside those tall granite walls is difficult, competitive and deadly. Before boxing, females were required to take combatives. They would wear their digis inside out as not use the pockets as hand holds and rip them off. Some of the greatest lessons in my life were learned after a bloody nose.

    I remember a statement from a Cadet "dude your jab is wicked, take it easy on me" reply, "heck no, Im fighting for my grade!"

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
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  10. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Its a stupid write up from a journalist horrified by the violence of students boxing for a grade. The journalist has the idea of equality without effort.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  11. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    @Dixieland
    I am the world's worst proofreader! I meant to write 'now' instead of 'not'. I don't see a way to go back and edit my comment but if I figure it out, I will edit it. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

    What I meant to say was:
    I'm very glad that everyone is NOW taking boxing at WP starting with the class of 2020. I think it's about time.
     
  12. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Ah, okay. That clears it up. Yes, I agree, everyone needs to take boxing, no exclusions.
     
  13. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Please take note of the date of this youtube posting. Almost 3 years ago. Its not that big of deal to have females required to box. Its really an update.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     

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