Foundation

The building of one’s foundation is the absolutely the most important aspect of training and in my opinion, living life.   You must be steeped in discipline.

On the daily, I see the importance of getting a simple, yet solid base in one’s stance, understanding of movement, and implementation of drills.  Every final drill has a series of movements that has to be built so we can perform it in the most efficient manner.  WE must spend time on the minute details so we are stable and strong at our core.  So that we move from the inside out, unmoved by outside influences.  It is this fact about life and boxing that make me wholeheartedly passionate about coaching, boxing and running a gym.

The foundation gives you knowing…..an understanding of exactly where you are, where your power comes from.  It allows you to risk and dare what’s seemingly impossible.  The foundation gives you stability….the stability to know that you are a fluid and malleable object.  One that can ebb and flow as you learn.

#BoxOn!

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PAIN

Pain is sensation accompanied by the motor intention to withdraw.  If you aren’t trying to get away from it, it isn’t pain, it is just sensation-  Thomas Meyers

This definition from Thomas Meyers woke me up immediately.  Mind blowing perspective really.  Immediately I pictured boxers that resist the incoming punch.  I see their flinches, coming up on their toes, chins exposing themselves to the air and impending doom.  I picture the attacking nature of sparring partners trying to obliterate something from their life but using you to do it.  We do all these behaviors just in the anticipation of pain or hurt and with the intention to avoid it.

Where there is no resistance, there is no pain.  I’m not so unrealistic to think that a punch to the face doesn’t hurt, but the anticipation of it makes it more potent.

We all struggle with hurts, and anticipated hurts.  We all find incredible ways to avoid the hurt.  But boxing, the great exposer, makes you face your pains.  If you have felt small and ineffective in your life and you are using boxing to avoid that, I have news for you…….be prepared to be royally exposed at some point in your career.  If you welcome the feelings of being small and ineffective, boxing can set you free.  You can use it as a vehicle to face your experiences, feel them, let them leave and make room for new experiences.

#BoxOn!  – cuz really, there is no better way to find freedom!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pacific Northwest Amateur Boxing

We box to feel free.  We enter the gym and start our day, or shed it.  We box for the feelings that arise and leave with each thud of the glove.  The sweat purges unwanted toxins, cleans our soul and for an hour we are a pure experience with music driving the cadence of our bodies.

Freedom… lay at the heart of all human experience…..I have no predefined nature at all.  I create that nature through what I choose to do.  Of course I may be influenced by my biology, or aspects of my culture and personal background, but none of this adds up to a complete blueprint for producing me.  I am always one step ahead of myself, making myself up as I go along.  –Sartre

Boxing touches us in so many ways.  For those of us who have entered the ring, we bear the burden of the stage….an exposure completely making us translucent to on-lookers.  There is no-where to hide as the lights display our shadows and spread them across the canvas.  On-lookers feel vicariously through the physicality being displayed.  They fidget and dance as if controlling the bodies moving around above.

December 2nd and December 16th in White Center and Tacoma respectively, amateur boxers from the PNW will challenge their training in the last of year boxing shows.  Connect to Arcaro Boxing on Facebook, twitter and Instagram, or the board in the gym for information on who’s matched up, locations and times!

Come witness freedom of expression and support your local Pacific Northwest Amateur Boxing Scene!

 

 

 

Posted in Community, competition, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This Kind of Life

We trained hard for several months to have 4 fights for 3 fighters.  All 3 trained diligently with focus and efficiency.  They didn’t cut any corners, and they all supported the other with a fierceness you expect when preparing for battle together.

We had 3 outcomes and each experience had it’s own particular resonance.  The amount of emotions cascading through feels a bit like getting dumped on by consecutive crashing waves.

In one fight, we experienced the heartbreak that comes from not living up to the expectations we set for ourselves.  We felt the shame as we had the face the folks who supported us in our preparation.  We had to come to terms that the space between our ears betrayed us and the impossibility of describing to others what that feels like.

In another fight, we came out guns a blazing because finally, we turned the corner in finding our fire.  But we found out that the pace we set was too high to maintain.  Again, how do you talk about your experience to those looking from the outside?

Lastly, we won a tournament, and were awarded best boxer for our efforts.  Winning is supposedly easier to talk about, but it really isn’t.  We can’t really describe what we are fighting for and what it means to have all of our suffering culminate in a win.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be scared to death, get in there, hit and be hit.  It’s hard to describe what the process is like.  What it feels like to be pushed on your runs, to be pushed to wake up and face another day of finding out who we really are.

We are thankful for our community in the gym, because they train beside us.  We see them dare to show up everyday and face their own battles.  We see them move from being curious about sparring to engaging their own fears.  We are thankful to come home after matches and have our community understand what went into our preparation.  We are thankful that our community holds the space for our wins and losses equally, because we do the same for you.

The wins and losses are temporary, the training is constant.  When an event ends, so begins the next step.

Our gym is in constant evolving mode because of these measurements throughout the year.  As we enter the last couple of months of an incredibly vibrant 2017, we look to end our year with a couple more matches that honor all we have been through and accomplished.

Come join us!

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coach's Corner, competition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leading up to it…..

The last two weeks before a fight are a bit torturous. Your hardest training is over, so you are physically changing gears- downshifting the body toward recovery so you can peak in the ring.  You’re trying your hardest to keep your mind contained because now it’s louder than the physical exhaustion you were using to drown the internal noise.

As a coach, I still feel edgy, ready to pounce.  I have less patience for things that normally don’t cause a blip in my heart rate.  Everything that has nothing to do with my fighter’s preparation is an annoyance.  I love this state as it’s a short lived experience.  It makes me sharp, calculating, attentive and hyper-aware.

I keep an eye on my fighter to make sure their anxiety is manageable, that their sympathetic nervous system doesn’t take over and rob them of their intelligence.  I’m there for reminders in their preparedness, that it’s normal to feel nervous and that they are ready to go.  I’m also there to laugh and keep things light so we don’t get lost in the seriousness of what we are about to face.  I am a shield of protection, keeping them in the bubble of competence we have established over thousands of grueling hours.

I love my job, I love my boxers and I love this sport that elevates us all to higher levels of consciousness.

Fist bump Kevin when you see him, keep the conversation minimal and we’ll see you on the other side of the ring Saturday night when we can all relax and enjoy the outcome of our intense labor!

#BoxOn!

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are you fighting for?

What are you fighting for?

There are things that drive us, that propel our fight.  They can be to prove capability to ourselves, to prove people wrong, to defend from feeling previous experiences again, or a fight to see who you are.

Each interaction with another is influenced by this fight.  Whatever drives us is what lens we will perceive all interactions through.  Everything must relate to this fighting environment….it must be within the logical confines of the fighting system established.

Why is this important to a boxing coach?  Because you will watch your boxer expose their inner workings in training, sparring and matches.  They will be vulnerable in your presence and depending upon their willingness to handle the discomfort of this vulnerability, their driving fight will either make them a foe or they will hunker down, give you a space in the corner and they will do the work.

I’ve finally realized that I don’t really teach anyone to fight.  The fight is the boxer’s responsibility…….what they fight for, how they embrace it, that’s all theirs.  My impact comes from teaching fundamentals and technique in the physical realm.  In the mental/emotional medium, my job is to point out patterns, to give an opportunity for awareness.

I must do this with myself first and then earn the respect of the boxer to be able to ask them to do the same.

We all have patterns of defensiveness and they get in the way of our most free flowing form.  Just watch how a boxer starts out with skittish flinching, closing eyes, bullying, pushing, running…..and a million other actions.  These are all habits for protection.  We do them in the ring and we do them in our daily life.  We cement these responses in and boxing gives the opportunity for us to parse out and keep or change these responses.

Through the exposure of repeated physical patterns in the ring, a boxer then can relate the gym to their life activities and begin chipping away the tartar coating the surface.  It’s why it takes so long to be a competitive boxer.  It’s the most complete experience, marrying the physical to the unseen world of psychology and emotion.

We are approaching some significant competitive dates and these boxers have dug in and done their work.  All we do now is see what work is still left uncovered!

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mountainous Experience

This weekend a friend and I summited Mt. St. Helens.  It was honestly the hardest hike I have ever done.  Mt. Baker, Long’s Peak and one other peak in Colorado are close but not as horrendous as this one.

Every time I hike, I always hit some point where I hate it…..I don’t want to continue but I have no choice because I’m somewhere in the middle of nowhere and no matter what I have to return the same way from which I came.  But Mt. St. Helens, I hated it the whole way.  I was scared and pushed to my limit.  There were boulders, ash and snow.  There was a ridiculous amount of elevation gain in a very short span of feet.  We went from having to rest every 500 ft to having to rest every 250 ft.  The last mile was a painfully slow ascent to the top of our magnificent world. If you stepped wrong there was plenty feet to plummet and usually on both sides from where you were.  There were massive hidden gaps to sink into the snow with not so friendly volcanic rock to greet you.

I know it sounds like I don’t like it, but I clearly do.  I like being scared and making myself move.  I like being simultaneously mentally, emotionally and physically pushed.  I like the potential impossibility of what I am accomplishing.  It feels incredible to know that nature can backhand you out of existence with a gust of wind or one misstep.

Every time I hike, I am humbled back into the place I belong.  A grateful servant to the earth.  I need this experience at regular intervals so I can keep perspective of the daily.  I need nature and a break from the amount of concrete we have used to litter our planet for our convenience.  I need the feeling of the earth not being solid beneath my feet and to know that I can survive when I put my everything into each step.

Whether you are in nature, on stage, in the ring or just living your daily life, try and hang on to your insignificance for it will reward you with just how much you matter.

Boxing gives me this experience but there is something so important to have nature in the mix whenever possible.  In the ring, I’m protected by walls and out of the elements.  In nature I am the air, the infinite and the void.

Thank you to our National Parks Service for the incredible effort it takes to allow us to have this experience.  I gladly give my money to preserve these spaces.

#BoxOn!

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparation

12 Minutes.  That’s it.  12 minutes.

The training is at a minimum 60 minutes X 6 days X however many months.  We clock in close to 4000 minutes to complete 12!

During our training,  I’ve asked my fighter to suffer physically and embrace it mentally so they will be ready for the discomfort that lies ahead.  I have remembered every moment I prepared and the incredible anxiety that precedes.  They are my fighter, not out of ownership, rather out of immense responsibility.  They are my fighter, because I have agreed to guide the preparation, to listen as much as construct.

We have spent the 4000 minutes picking apart skills, drilling them, and testing.  We’ve spent this time getting to know how the other works, and how each of us communicate.  Every interaction is practice for the ensuing duress.

Just writing about the training and fight, I get chills and experience palpable excitement.  My heart races a little and I sit a little taller.  I am imaging the coming training for the week, wondering how will I put the finishing touches on so that they feel fully prepared and complete.  This science consumes and overwhelms my psyche and senses still—-just as much as a coach.  I feel as physical in my planning and preparation for the corner as I did getting ready to slide along the canvas.

The last two weeks are agonizing and long.  The wait feels like an empty and sterile room with just a clock ticking each pass of a second.  You sit alone as the fighter in this loneliness.  Even your coach cannot always pass the time with you- though you find ways to be around the gym and them whenever you can.  It’s the comfort of being  around the gym energy.  People sweating, pushing themselves in the moments when you must rest.  It’s the feeling of accomplishment as you sit there satisfied with what you put in throughout the day.  It’s the knowing that your coach has your back and is putting in their time too.

Then you must go home alone and try to rest.  To quiet the mind, and to feel the weariness of your body sink into the sheets.  Sleep comes only to repeat another day…..until The day arrives.

I love this sport, and I love the fact that you, the gym community have embraced Kevin as he prepares for October 28th.  I love how those of you that cross paths with all the amateurs and pros contribute to their preparation…..how each of you put in your time to improve right along side those entering the ring.  I love that each fighter takes their loneliness and all of you as they step through the ropes to hear the bell.

They don’t really ever fight alone.

#BoxOn!

 

Posted in Community, competition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Paradox

This blog is inspired by coach Jen all the way in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

But one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion:  a mediocre fellow”   Kierkegaard

Boxing is the most beautiful paradox.  You have to risk, and put yourself in harm’s way if you are to have any chance at besting your opponent.

We often error in our desire for impossible perfection.  For, who has ever gotten inside that ring and never been touched?  We must want and not want to be hit simultaneously.

In Kierkegaard’s quote above, he is referring to thought and goes deeper into describing the passion of thought.  To paraphrase:  this passion is when two opposing forces encounter one another.  In physical terminology, this is the place every fighter lives.

The paradox is the willingness to be hit and the desire to not be touched.  What a beautiful place of impossibility.  For both aren’t really true.  You don’t want to be hit, but without that willingness, you cannot control your body’s movements.  Without the desire to not take any shots, you would simply be a punching bag.  It is in the place of the paradox that the art of fighting takes place.  Where the passion lives and expresses itself.

The ring is the place where you don’t have to prove yourself anymore.  For proving oneself can be the death of passion.  Proving oneself has already been accomplished.  It happened in moments when you wanted to quit, when you couldn’t catch your breath, when your legs felt rubbery and when your coach asks for one more and you didn’t want to answer.  In the ring, the paradox is the void, the place where pure action takes place.  Where straying thoughts should be suspended.  There are split second adjustments and minimal instructions.  It is time to exercise the paradox for all to see.  To represent a microcosm of humanity that resides in us all.  It is the time to lie proof down and demonstrate what you know.

I know of no other place like the ring.  It is interesting, it is terrifying and it is pure joy.  It is the highest form of paradox and passion.

 

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Possibility

I see possibility everywhere.  If I want something then I know it is possible.  I trust my goals and abilities to reach them.

Sometimes a million things come at you and it seems as if you may not get what you want.  I still see only possibility.  I don’t see deterrence.  I am willing to accept any consequence to reach my desires.

When my end goal seems elusive, it occurs to me that I am most likely looking in the wrong direction, taking a step in a way that isn’t effective.  Possibility keeps me searching, it keeps me doggedly determined and unable to be swayed.

Never, ever have I wanted something, made a plan, and been able to stick to the plan as outlined and achieved it.  Every single time that I have wanted something and orchestrated an outline, I’ve watched how it  gets completely obliterated.  Once I’ve accepted the dismantling of my proposal, a whole new way is illuminated and only then have I experienced reaching my desired outcome.

I’ve felt moments of futility, failure and hopelessness yet always, possibility rises to the surface, instigating action and achievement.

This is what it takes in the ring.  You are rarely ever fighting another person….you are fighting your desire to continue to persevere.  You are fighting to believe possiblity until the bell signifies the end of the competition.  If your jab isn’t landing, you have to believe you will find a way to land it.  You have to keep your eyes open to see where it is possible and where are you creating an impossibility.  You have to shut out your past, and the idea of the future and you have to wholly commit to the moment so you may create more moments.

You have to leave attachment out of the equation.  There is no time to admire your work………there is no time to doubt your work……there is only time for possibility and the action that comes from your determination to actualize possibility.  When one way doesn’t work, there is another and another and another.

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Coach's Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment