Yesterday a boxer asked me what kind of boxers could we expect heading up to Canada this weekend. I had to answer, “I don’t know.” I just gave him a big heaping pile of unknown!
At this level of amateur boxing and in the beginning pro levels, there is rarely access to video footage. You can anticipate styles and qualities a boxer might have based on their club or coach or region, but mostly you will not know. But, even with video, You have no idea how the interaction between the two personalities will play out during the rounds.
Being calm in the unknown is sometimes my worst skill and at the same time my best skill.
I am willing to put myself in unknown situations. Once I put myself there, I proceed to have epic anxiety, often resulting in lack of sleep and excessive head chatter. My goal for myself and my boxers is to more often hit these unknowns with more skill, poise and confidence.
For now I start with my roaring anxiety. Sometimes it will escalate for days, affecting my focus and attention. I will have a harder time being present and opening myself to others. My instinct is to withdraw and shut down. I can recognize these behaviors in my boxers as they approach their fights.
I focus on all the ways I want to squirm out of the discomfort. I try and make others alleviate my anxiety via their words or actions. I amp up my energy and try to rush everything. A lot of folks have experienced my bulldozer like behavior. I don’t reach out to others for advice as much and try to handle things on my own. I see boxers do similar things. They begin telling me when they are going to train and how they are going to train versus consulting with me and expressing their worries. They start coaching others trying to fix them. All pretty normal behaviors getting ready to give and take punches with an unknown entity.
Once I realize I should reach out to some type of corner person, I begin to be able to become more physically aware of myself and surroundings. I can actually recognize the things I do know. Once I’m there, I can relax a little. Once relaxation starts, I can get even more awareness, get more physical and less mental anticipation of the unknown. My boxers do this process by stating how they are in the moment. They practice not fixing it or changing it, just being exactly who and how they are. I instantly see the relief and relaxation in their bodies. Because, if you are heading up to the ring and can’t feel your legs, it’s not like you can call a time out until you can feel them, you have to be able to box just as you are, without feeling your legs.
I’ve a long way to go to reach my goal of relaxing into the unknown. I sure do appreciate that I have a built in community to practice this skill. All of us can learn a lot of one another. We all have some insight to share.
Feel free to share your most difficult unknown circumstances, you might be surprised what possibilities open up!