Boxing is a very tough sport, but not only for the physicality of it…..not only because of the actual punches. Boxing is a tough sport because it exposes you to yourself. Boxing is tough because you meet all your internal foes reflected in the boxers that agree to stand across from you. I am in love with this sport because I am driven to know more about myself, driven to see what depths I can access and to see how I can come back and share what I’ve learned in these places. Boxing helps you to really understand how you operate in all kinds of scenarios and it gives you the chance to constantly practice and improve your responses.
I like the back and forth from daily life to the ring. It helps me to feel connected to our human race, to all of our plight to belong to something bigger. Boxing is that something bigger to me and I want to pass it along to anyone who will listen.
Nelson Mandela used boxing to access his inner strength and to provide himself with even more strength during times of duress. You and I can do the same thing. He did it on an international level. You and I can do it right here. Get in the gym, put on the gloves, get to know yourself and share with others. It will be the best gift you can give yourself and your community.
Box On Nelson Mandela! And may we all keep your legacy alive!
Quoting from his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, perhaps the correlation was not lost on the great man himself:
“I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one’s body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced onself over a match.“
Mandela goes on to describe his conceptualization of the sport’s underlying principals of competitive fairness & the positive impact training had on him & his mental state during the years of the struggle against white minority rule in South Africa.
“Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant…I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter. It was a way of losing myself in something that was not the struggle. After an evening’s workout I would wake up the next morning feeling strong and refreshed, ready to take up the fight again.” http://www.esnewsreporting.com/nelsonmandelaboxing/
A thank you to Matt Hamilton of esnewsreporting for all the Nelson Mandela quotes and connections to boxing.