The most tiresome thing of being a coach is watching fighters hit that wall of fear and choose to walk away from it. It’s heart wrenching to watch from the outside and see it so clear. How do you convey the changes that occur when one walks through the fire without veering?
I was a hot mess in my late teens and early 20’s, but one thing that I clung to was sports and an insane work ethic. At one point, I was a senior in high school taking honors/AP classes, working night shift and playing organized school sports. I chewed a lot of gum to stay awake in class and had dependable workmates that would let me doze in between rounds.
Emotionally and mentally I was chaotic, dramatic, all over the place. Work and sports were my paved path. I couldn’t keep it together on the inside, so I made the outside a constant.
Stalking Wolf said that if we took our knives and camped in Hell for a week alone, we would never be afraid of anything again. He gave us strict instructions about what area we had to stay in and what trails we could use. – The Tracker- The true story of Tom Brown Jr.
Fighters disappear into their heads……they disappear into their own self pity. We all have that tendency…..but boxing and life are cumulative. Nothing stops and if you do, things pass you by. Nature constantly moves. She doesn’t have a bad day, disappear, pull back her wind and hide. She keeps moving. When we stop, when we don’t move through and face our troubles, then we will be out of synch and the work is 50 times harder than it was before. What used to be your solace now becomes a discomfort.
When we retreat and isolate, we cut ourselves off from nature and that is truly impossible. We have no choice but to be linked, each molecule of ourselves is part of world. We are all connected and our isolation is a violent act to the fabric that binds us.
A miraculous thing happened to me at that moment. My fear turned inside out and became maniacal rage. I was still there and I was still scared, but I was too mad for fear to have any effect……..I believe I must have chased it two hundred yards, well into the woods, before I fell down too exhausted to run or punch or stab another time. I stayed on my hands and knees, panting, with my head hanging. I did not care if whatever I was chasing turned and came back on me all teeth and appetite. I did not care. I had spent my rage. I had spent my fear……I confronted it and have not been truly afraid since.
I have come through many experiences and my best lessons were from looking into the lion’s mouth. I am thankful for the courage to feel pain, discomfort, insecurity, joy, success. This ability to feel and keep my balance is what put the walls up in the gym.