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.