“Only Boxing Prepares You For Boxing”

Today I had my first training session after five weeks. Since I returned from my trips I have been practicing, working out, running, doing my jump ropes. But there is just nothing like actually boxing with someone. As my trainer said, “You can’t prepare for boxing. Only boxing prepares you for boxing.” From my experience, that is true. I work hard during the week before my session so I can make use of the training and so I don’t have to take breaks all the time to catch my breath. But having to respond to someone, moving around constantly, taking punches, keeping my hands up, paying attention, and most importantly relaxing, is just not something I can really prepare for. It is always so much more challenging than I can possibly imagine….

It takes a crazy commitment to box because it seems impossible in the moment. And like in life you can’t prepare yourself to live. I try to be authentic and real in my relationships and bring presence to what I am doing  – but life is always fresh in every moment and I have to jump in with “Beginner’s Mind”, like Suzki Roshi said, a great Zen Master, who brought Zen to America in 1959. I can’t prepare myself for life, but I can practice to meet every moment with openness and vulnerability. Actually listening, not assuming I know already, really considering the other person and daring to not know – as terrifying as that might be, and as bad as I might look bad!

Well, one moment of “jumping in” like that happened just recently, when I had forgotten to bring my boxing shirt. I had two choices – not train and go home, or, train in what I had. This happened to be a dress. So, I boxed in my dress. Yes. I tried to roll it up over my pants which resulted in a sausage-like ring around my waist. And of course it fell down every two minutes. I let it hang and kept on boxing. You just have to have priorities 🙂 . Luckily, nobody was around watching me, and if so, it wouldn’t have mattered. With my dress I was bringing a bit of the feminine to the rather masculine boxing world where either Eminem or the Rocky theme song were blasting in the background.

And today, coming back to “training” – my trainer had me put a thick rubber band around my hips that he was holding on to. We worked on “explosions”. That means we were working on strengthening the explosive power in legs and core. That was after 30 minutes of boxing. I had just started my period – yes, if you are reading this blog, you have to read it all – and so there were a lot of inner explosions going on… Physical and emotional.  But, that wasn’t what was of interest in that moment and so I put my mind on running as fast as I could while he was holding me back. Even if this is not preparing me for boxing it puts me in the condition where I can meet the challenge to box. With great explosion!

To freshen up your memory – The Rocky Theme Song!


Taking Both

MA 3 risk

I don’t think I ever mentioned this: I am not learning to box as a new interesting way to spend my time. My goal is to win a boxing fight. I don’t have a vision for how and where and when, but that is what I am training for. That is surely one of the biggest risks I have ever taken.

How is the training going? The running is getting a bit easier. I run now three times a week. I started at 0.75 when I first put my shoes on. That was the first time I ran since I was 15 years old. I stay with what I can do for a week and when I notice that I am getting used to a certain distance, I increase it by 0.25 miles. It has been four weeks now after I began doing this and I currently am at 2 miles. In “Girlfight”, one of the boxing movies I recently watched about a young woman training to become a boxer, her boxing trainer told her to run three miles three times a week. That is the goal right now and I am moving towards that.

I definitely notice a big difference in my endurance when I am boxing with my trainer. When I had to stop because I was running completely out of breath in training before I can keep going now for much longer.

Practice is definitely paying off. But I have to pay attention to take it a bit slower than I want to. I have been boxing five or six times a week to practice what I learn in my lessons and to get ready for the next one coming. I am getting much stronger and faster than even four weeks ago. But especially my shoulders and elbows have to keep up with the intense workouts. So, I am learning that I am not invincible. When I first got some aches and pains in my shoulder my mind wanted to get depressed and fearing that I have to stop boxing. But, nothing is ever “either or”. I can’t do this as a machine. I work out six times a week, running, jump ropes, weightlifting, core exercises, rowing machine, footwork exercises, but I have slowed down the actual boxing to 3 or 4 times week.

There is the progress, the strength and satisfaction that come from feeling more and more physically fit and strong. That of course translates into how I feel in general about myself. But that is just one side of the coin. It is about taking both – the positive things and the hard, challenging, painful things that come with it. It is about including and accepting any pain that comes along with it instead of getting all freaked out by it, worried and depressed. Now it has become more like the juggling of what is the right thing for each day, adjusting to what is needed and at the same time keeping the bar of training high.

Here we are at relaxation again. Since I remembered that there is never a linear way in anything – and surely no linear way in becoming a boxer –  I see that I am  in charge of my training, listening to what my body needs. And, I can relax again.