getting punched and getting insight.

Posted: October 30th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Due to illness, this was my first full week of sparring in the last 3. Early in the week, I was out of sync: my body was shaking off the ring rust and my mind was less focused, less in the moment than is required to both punch and avoid being punched. So as my mind was wandering and body was being beaten, I had a few of insights that I believe have a wider application than exclusively to boxing.

The first is the distinction between chasing and pursuing. When I found myself chasing, I inevitably lost my balance,  relaxed my stance and loosened my guard. And before I could reposition myself, my opponent would see the opening, hit me and knock me further off-balance. And then he would hit me again and again. He was pursuing, intelligently advancing his position by making the most of the opportunity at hand. In other words, he was capitalizing on my mistakes and weaknesses.

My second insight is embarrassingly basic; if you are going to stand still, directly in front of someone who is trying to hit you, you are eventually going to get hit. My innate style is to continuously move around. When I’m hitting the bags I practice punching while moving side to side, up and down and in and out. Never the less, on several occasions early in the week, I found myself squared off and just trading punches. A war of attrition may be advantageous in certain situations but it is not a productive, proactive long-term strategy. Even when you win you loose.

The last insight is not new, but frankly it probably enabled me to have to prior two. It is the duality of maintaining an unemotional composure so when something is not working, it can be clearly perceived and appropriate response can taken.  This is contrasted with the characteristic of continuously analyzing and understanding why something is working so the momentum of the situation can be maintained or even better, increased. Combined the 2 can be articulated more simply; being in the moment with out being overcome by the moment.

The real fight.

Posted: May 4th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

I enjoy boxing. More specifically, I enjoy actually sparring. While many consider it mindlessly brutal, dangerous and frankly stupid for two individuals to square off against each other in a confined space, I find it enlightening, expanding and remarkably calming. It has been my experience that you learn quite a bit about yourself while fighting. But you really get to know who you are, when you are under pressure; When you get tagged hard and didn’t see it coming. Or when your opponent’s punches seem to find their their target with regularity and precision, and your own body begins to slowly move out of phase with your thoughts. Your own punches seem to loose some crispness and you feel your focus drifting slightly, your attention going askew. That is when you begin to know who you really are. And more importantly, when you make the conscious decision to become better than when the contest began.

Sometimes our lives may progress smoothly but more often than not, we are engaged by one challenge or another. Some are unexpected, coming out of nowhere and stinging sharply. Others may be mere annoyances, almost insignificant alone but cumulatively taking a greater toll than previously imagined. Some of our challenges may not be so easy to define but the pressure is there never the less. It may begin to wear us down before we are even conscious of it. Regardless, at some point we do become aware and that is akin to being pressured in a fight. And there arises an opportunity to become real. To do something hard, perhaps even face something painful. To find our will, our strength and our desire in order to move forward. To take the opportunity to find out who we really are and what we can actually do. To honestly learn about our own weaknesses and faults and then work to correct them. And to provide us with an opportunity to exceed what we believed we were capable of, be it physically, emotionally or intellectually.

In my mind, fighting is never about my opponent. It is just about me. About my performance, my skills, my deficits and my growth. It is an opportunity to measure myself under a wide range of conditions so that I can improve, so that I can become better and perhaps one day, master myself. Removing external validation and keeping it only about ourselves, only about the momententary opportunity being presented, allows us to inch forward in pursuit of a singular goal, becoming a more loving, caring and empathic individual by understanding our own struggle. So even when others see only defeat, a victory is always assured, regardless of the circumstance and despite conventional judgements. Advancing to that point, that is truly the real fight.