When we pay attention in a rigid, effortfull and thus stressed way, it is a drag on the entire mind body system: We are more likely to overreact in ways that are fearful, angry, effortfull, rigid and resistant. When we pay attention in a flexible way, we are more accepting, comfortable, energetic, aware, healthy, productive and in the flow. – The Open Focus Brain
Our brain is in charge of our mind and body. It dictates conscious and unconscious thoughts. Our brain dictates how our nervous system and muscles respond. Boxing puts our brains and body to the ultimate tests. We have to relax under the threat of attack. We have to be present to each thought, each feeling that moves through our consciousness. We have to override our doubts and find belief when there doesn’t seem to be any around.
I work the corner of so many types of boxers and I see and experience so many different responses to the stress of competition. I am always wowed by what happens in the heat of the moment. Boxers apologize to me, they panic, they are eerily calm, they say funny things and so much more. But mostly I experience their bravery, their willingness to be vulnerable in front of a crowd. They are willing to let themselves be seen, to let their subconscious be exposed in front of a viewing audience. They are willing to let others see what their thoughts are saying in a physical way.
I always believe a boxer has the physical skill if I am putting them in the competitive ring. It’s their mental response that I have no idea about until we get in there. It’s how they pay attention and how present they will be that I am unsure of until we go for it. I have to take a leap of faith with the boxer and risk with them so we know where we are and where we have to get to in order to be effective in the ring.
This weekend I watched a whole new group of fighters emerge. I watched their training be put to the test. Some of them hit the mat and got up with determination. Some started with belief then let doubt creep in. Some let pressure dictate their path. It was an incredible microcosm of the daily life we all experience. Each and every boxer this weekend sacrificed themselves to show each and every one of us what struggles in life we all deal with.
It is after all why we really love to watch boxing. These fighters demonstrated our bravery and our fear. They gave and took punches for the collective whole so we could all learn what it takes to interact in this life.
We watch boxing so we can vicariously experience in a brief physical moment the things we experience internally every day.
As a gym community, we will train once again in the fundamentals to prepare for our next matches……..life and competitive.