Mental Toughness – and Relaxation

M Ali quote and picture

Boxing is my lifeline right now because it is the one thing that pushes me so completely beyond of what I think is possible, physically and mentally. And I am not even close to talking about a fight here, just the training aspect itself is kicking my butt.  I hate it because it throws me against the deepest fear and resistance in myself towards the super-effort that I have to make in every training again and again. And, I love it at the same time. For the same reason. Because it gives me the opportunity to step into a whole other domain of power and energy than the one I usually operate on.

The other day I had to do 100 punches as fast and hard as I could into the heavy bag. I couldn’t lift my arms after 60 because I stopped breathing altogether. Complete contraction in the face of survival. I realized that when I am being pushed beyond limits I automatically contract and start breathing like those were my last seconds to live. There is no power without relaxation. As my trainer commented: “You have to catch your breath faster”.

How powerful I am (and how I think I need to breathe) is a mental concept. And what is needed is a much faster recovery time. 8 seconds to completely calm down in order to move on to another drill that is even more challenging.

There is a moment of choice. I either panic – or relax, move through resistance and step into a new realm of energy that opened up for me in the training a few days ago. This is “mental toughness”, to not give my mind a chance, to just not go with it. Stay focused. “Suffer now”, as Muhammad Ali said.

I will not be the heavy weight champion of the world. (I hope not…)  I aim for being the champion of my mind, instead of the slave of my mind. And I am boxing my way there!