“Taking Punches is normal”

Boxing gloves closeup

It was training session number 3 when my trainer put my head gear on and told me that we were trying to practice “taking punches”. I was a bit nervous, but more so I was curious what it would be like to experience this. He was punching me lightly in the head and I thought that it was better than I had anticipated until the next jab hit me quite hard. What a challenge, to just stay present, in the game, keeping eye contact, not withdrawing, not going into confusion. Just taking the punch as it was and keep moving. A punch is not a sign of personal failure. It is just a punch, and what I am learning, I have to get used to it as a part of boxing – and in bigger sense, as part of life.

This training gives me a new reference to receiving feedback, for example. We take punches all the time in life in all sorts of ways – making mistakes, getting into conflicts, facing obstacles or disappointments. Can I stay present and functional without taking it personally, without indulging the fact that “I got punched” for a split second, that is the question. I can’t afford that in boxing, because if I do, the next punch will have already hit me. It is not personal at all, and recognizing that is quite liberating.

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