Arcaro Boxing gym is magic. The gym has a constant hum of energy, echoes of all that activity and intention, even when there is no one there, and the bell is silent. Everyone seems happy at the gym, despite the sweating, the muscle fatigue, twinges of pain, people are quicker to smile in Arcaro, I think everyone feels it. This is where we go to become who we always wanted to be.
It is an in-between place, because 100% of all people who walk through the door are Becoming. We all go there to make something of ourselves. That’s a lot of concentrated intention. We go to make ourselves boxers. We go to make ourselves feel safe. We go to make ourselves stronger. We go to become professional boxers or Golden glove champions, or we go to become nicer looking, healthier, or just stronger. Everyone who goes there is in between one thing and another. Becoming. We are all of us, in transition. We go to this temple and we pray to our best self, our highest self, our future selves, stronger, and wiser than we are in this moment. That is what all the sweating is for, a sacrifice of sorts, to ensure a bountiful return.
Combat sports have always been spiritual experiences throughout human history. In ancient tradition, those who sought to become enlightened, often engaged in martial arts to Become their best, most enlightened self. “Spirit is defined as the principal of conscious life; the vital principal in humans, animating the body or mediating between the body and soul.” https://www.dictionary.com/browse/spirit?s=t It is a healing path. The training is prayer, brings our bodies, minds, and spirits into perfect balance, all 100% of you focused on one singular purpose. Intention is powerful. Almost every culture has some kind of martial art, and many of them are linked to religion or spirituality, because it is a spiritual practice. It gives us constant rewards in strength, and skill, self-confidence and self-esteem, in other words, lifts our spirits. You can feel yourself getting stronger, better. When you practice martial arts, when you are boxing, you aren’t fighting a heavy bag, and you certainly aren’t fighting another person. You’re fighting to become the best you. You’re fighting a world that doesn’t believe in you, doesn’t believe you can become a better you
In the ancient times, Sumerian word for “battle” translates to, “Dance of Inanna”. Inanna was the goddess of beauty, love, and battle. Humans think highly of skill in battle traditionally. It’s written like fan fiction all throughout our history books. There are countless variations of “God of war, goddess of war” in nearly every culture’s history. Monks train in kung fu and tai chi famously spiritual martial artists. Martial arts are everywhere on this planet. Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Greece. It’s a common experience amongst humans, even though we are a culturally diverse species.
Humans are in a spiritual transition at all times, the transition from child, to adult, to elder, to death. We have a need to grow, to learn, to become stronger. In this way, we are all fundamentally the same, and we cannot change it. When we were children we wished for the authority and agency of adulthood, and many adults miss their childhood at some point in their lives. When you are boxing you wish for nothing, because you have everything you need, and there is only NOW when you have to watch for punches aimed at your face. Mindfulness meditation, a Buddhist practice which is great for helping with anxiety, cannot match boxing for keeping you grounded in the NOW.