A coach’s job can be very uncomfortable.

We are sherpa’s of the soul…..of that which lies deeply hidden.

We watch from the outside what the body reveals. Holding secrets just like the heavy bag.  All we have is our perception, interpretation and your feedback to describe what we witness.

In the beginning, I was terrible with other’s discomfort…..hell, I couldn’t even deal with my own.   But to grow, there is pain and the pain pushes you.

The ability to watch somebody, wriggle, avoid and finally succumb to the truth takes having gone their oneself first.

As coach’s, we embrace the ugliness as the most beautiful thing we have ever seen.  We see no separation between a you and me.  What you do, I do or have done.  What you feel, I have felt or continue to.  I am a decision away from your experience.


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Mobility is a systemic thing.

The more mobile our bodies are, the more mobile our brain and thinking is.

Mobility gives you options and vision.  It gives you the time you need to respond and adapt to ever changing moments.

The further we are away from nature, from understanding ourselves, the further we get away from our maximum range of motion.  The more sedentary we are, the more difficult it is to expand your thoughts and beliefs.

Coaching is an ever evolving profession.  I think all professions should be this way…..from bagging groceries to being a CEO-  if we aren’t expanding, we should go and find something different to do.  We must be in search of all the places we are lacking in our movement in our lives….whether that be via bio-mechanics, learning, thinking patterns, or daily life activities.

To move your body differently, you have to attack your dysfunctional movement… think differently you have to attack your dysfunctional thinking.  There is no other way to grow other than through discomfort and difficulty.

Get mobile, #boxon!



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As a kid in the Colorado mountains, I loved running around the fields, in the woods- anywhere outside.  I’d come in at dusk after a long day of play, clothes drenched in tree sap, with dirty hands and face.

I talked to the squirrels, birds, trees and pinecones.  I’d gather up injured animals and take them to the local vet.  I was immersed in my world and it was me.  There wasn’t a separation from me to nature.  I was connected to all people, the lakes and every sound that could be heard for miles

These windows at the gym connect me to the outside.  I peer out them at each person that passes by daily.  I’m still connected.  Boxing allows me to express my feral side in a civilized manner as an adult.  #coachesdowntime connects me to where I came from.  Barefoot in Volunteer park or by the chapel at Seattle University…..I remember how alive I feel being able to express my physicality connected to nature.

Boxing gives me the same feeling inside the gym.  Coaching taps into my connection with others.  It’s been a sweet 5 years.


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Giving Space

Giving space is an active state.

A boxer stays out of range- relaxed but actively engaged so they can change directions, speeds, recover, whatever they need……They see everything across the gap.  The slouch of shoulders or the aggressive intent and all between……they have time to see everything that is coming across the space towards them…..
A boxer uses this active state as a way to eventually get in.

Giving space isn’t always removing oneself from situations entirely.

A boxer must learn to fight on the inside and have room.  Room for the other’s actions and room for theirs.  They must stay relaxed, poised, at the ready.  Microcosm movements are read in fractions of seconds, resulting in clean or missed punches.  A boxer has to be able to not fill the gap with useless movements that cover up the discomfort inside.

Giving space is the ability to know oneself in the instant in order to have intentful and efficient movement.  We feel all our impulses, the ones that take over and the ones that we can redirect.  It’s almost as if what we are doing is happening right in front of us giving us time to make better decisions.  Giving space is this vacuum that you enjoy and want to flee all at the same time.  Relaxation and terror competing for the final say.

Giving space is an action.





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The gap

It’s not that you always want to be in the gap, it’s that it’s the hardest place to stay calm…..It’s why we practice so much on getting more aware of how we get to, move in, stay or flee the gap.

Small steps, gestures of fakery, rhythm, timing, aggression, and so many other skills need to be intrinsic when under duress.

The gap is about listening.  You can feel your tension and theirs simultaneously……you feel where you are confident and all the while you are acutely aware of what isn’t connected……The missing links are what tug at you deepening your doubts.  It’s in this place that curiosity and enthusiasm must override any desire to succumb to what you don’t possess.

Coaches strive to listen……they listen to themselves and others.  The learning is in the discovery of what one is teaching.  We don’t really teach…..leaders lead…lead by example…are real in their experiences and actions.  When we fail, we model responsibility and excitement for our next opportunity……we take responsibility for our place in the ring.


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We put so much of our fear and trepidation on the shoulders of others.  We blame them for not being able to speak the truth.  We say they are intimidating, unapproachable-  a multitude of reasons to justify our silence and withholding.  There is no one to keep us from crossing the gap but ourselves.

It is up to us to dictate our own actions.  We cannot control the other’s response, we can only control our own.  It’s taken me most of life to feel as if I can even partially back up this belief.

In boxing, often times a person will determine their efficacy based upon a landed/missed punch.  This method of feeling effective results in fleeting moments completely externally based.  It’s not tangible and cannot accurately be measured or felt accurately-  it is entirely ego based and not from within the body.  Fleeting efficacy cannot be built upon for future experience.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods


You must stay in your own rhythm.  That doesn’t mean it can’t change, but it has to be yours.  Each and every moment there is opportunity to be swayed…..if you do sway, it should be because it is right for you……because you choose it and it will bring you more of yourself.

As I move into the 5th year of the gym, I realize that I am accomplishing more with less time.  I am creating little moments of complete calm by making opportunity to be barefoot in the grass….walking the dogs, taking the trash out, vacuuming the canvas, organizing the gloves, straightening the jumpropes, talking to other business owners, collaborating with coaches…..and many more……

These things are in my rhythm…….they are my experiments and my outcomes… one else holds my experience in their hands.

3) Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.

I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it.

There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.

4) Most of life is imaginary.

Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it.

We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things.

David Cain

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Timing and rhythm

Boxing is so much more than hitting.  In fact, to only focus on hitting is a detriment.

Their is a space between fighters where all the answers of attack and defense are found.  If we are quiet enough to feel our apprehension and how it affects our body, we will know how to fill that space.

The person before you is attempting to assert their will and you are determined to do the same.  How do you accomplish this through waiting, trying to land the perfect punch, seeing what they do first, and thinking?

You don’t.

You must risk in the right measure to be first and control the rhythm.  You must assert yourself through the gap with certainty.  You must be brave and afraid all at the same time in a manner that allows for movement without thought.

Your movements have to be without plan and only based upon your senses—movements the body knows because you have access to every bit of muscle, fascia and bone……movements that allow you to access all your leverage.

Until you reach that point, then I think training must address all of that inability.  Your movements must occur with efficiency giving you the ability to transition without loss of connection.  Until then, then training must address where you are lacking.

Boxing is about the pursuit of leverage….it’s an interesting task to take on and it’s so cerebral that there isn’t a moment of boredom.





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I don’t spar very much these days so I have to get my testing in daily life via conflicts or intense situations to see how much of my training holds together.

This morning while driving to the gym I was driving in a moving lane going about 35-40 while the lane on my left was at a complete stop.  Suddenly from that complete stop a car jutted out diagonally into my lane.  I hit the brakes and veered to the right narrowly navigating between the car and the retaining wall on my right.  I came within a few inches of both.  I handled the immediate moment well but afterwards I was furious and felt like leaping out of the car and annihilating the person.  That feeling stayed with me for about 3-4 minutes.  Complete adrenaline and shaking and loss of emotional control.

As I reflect, I’m pleased with my ability to stay present, calm and focused during the duress but am completely disappointed with the aftermath.  My structure and focus fell apart after and I could imagine if it was the ring that might mean I would have inconsistent rounds………

That’s not good enough for me.  It’s not that I expect to stay entirely calm, but I do expect to feel containment of my energy….to not have it spill out all over the place in some disconnected mess that keeps me from effective engagement.

I think of animals that go from being hunted to then calmly grazing in a field.  They contain their energy in each moment and that is key to their survival.

In conflict, in situations like traffic and other daily activities, I know it’s not necessarily key to my survival immediately, but long term it is because each and every chemical reaction within me affects my structure, it affects my movement and competence.  I’d like to operate at a high efficiency level for as long as I can.


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There are some days that discomfort is immense.  Walking around wanting out of this skin, wanting to be anywhere but right here facing every dysfunction we have in our life.  There are some days where the timing is off.  Every activity is short or longer in exponential minutes.  Sit in the pocket as often and long as you happen.  Sit there growing space between you and the stimuli.  The vortex of sound, clear as the train blaring in the night……the slow-motion scene unfolding in front of your eyes as if watching a perfectly concocted by a movie director.  Let all that happen.

Our answers sit in that pocket, revealing themselves in milliseconds of potential action.  Feel every single pull of fight-flight and freeze and stay right wind blowing so fierce you want to close your eyes.

A couple of years ago I did a 30 day experiment.  I had to train 30 consecutive days no matter what……absolutely no excuse, no circumstance could alter training every day.  The 30 days was going to be my constant….the place my measurements would be produced.  Each day I trained I logged how I felt before and after training…..

I learned to connect my mind and body to gain awareness rather than live in an enculturated state making decisions based on the external.  I learned what was true fatigue versus a lack of desire to deal with disquiet.  I learned to train for something in me and not for the visage.

Being uncomfortable is a skill-  one that boxer’s have to hone and perfect.  One that people should be compelled to improve in daily life.


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Intentful speaking is extremely important to me.  I am constantly listening to my word choices and evaluating if what I’m saying is what I mean.  And if not, why?

Last year I heard myself saying “I’ll let you do that” to folks and I heard others say it to me.  I started thinking of the implications……To let someone do something is to say you have the power….you are giving them permission……allowing…..

So, was that really the case in each instance I used the phrase?  Or was it my way of passively and subliminally controlling the situation?

It may not seem like much but our words reveal our subconscious thoughts and intentions……..

Lately I’m paying attention to the use of any phrase that starts with “I”

There’s nothing wrong with using “I”, It’s that I want to know if I’m intending to put the focus on myself or am I intending for the focus to be on the person I am speaking to.

When coaching, these subtleties matter.  Our word choices matter.  Being aware of our thoughts, our body language and choices really matter.

My job as a coach and as a business owner is to do the work myself first.  To learn, to lead by example….to fail, succeed, and stay curious.  It’s my role to bring about awareness and give others the opportunity to see clearly their intent.

Boxing is a very intentful sport….I want to honor it when I’m not in the ring.  I want each coach at our gym to honor the honesty of the sport.  We all pay attention to our human tendencies.  The need for attention, control, belonging, etc…..All those needs influence our interactions.  They influence the stories we tell and the way we tell them.  If we aren’t aware, we can create a very ego driven facade that doesn’t reveal truth until a moment of radical exposure.

When you get in the ring, you will be immediately exposed…..In life, it’s a little more subtle and it takes a little longer to have to face the mirror.

One thing I can assure you is that Arcaro will continue to strive to be a community leader in understanding, whether it be through, verbal skills, thoughts, body mechanics….whatever…..

We will operate purposefully and that is through all realms of being human.


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