Truth in the ropes

In the ring is where only the truth is told.  There isn’t room for in between.  Only direct engagement allowed.  You aren’t too bold, brash or honest-  Little silent moments as fists exchange, revealing what is in between the lines.  Your fears and the overcoming of them witnessed by a vicarious audience judging you for what they do not wish to face.

I love the canvas, the smooth connection underneath unsteady feet- reminding us how easy it is to succumb and hide if we aren’t willing to risk.  We must use our advantages to dismantle another and ultimately dismantle ourselves.

The truth is my favorite place to live because of it’s simplicity.  It’s forgiveness and ability to change if honored consistently.  The truth gives us freedom from imaginary binds oozing our inauthenticity.

In the ring, we learn to love the weakness because it shows us how to sturdily stand in the face of all that is incoming.  The lessons are many and they burrow in deep making neurological changes in our bodies that last.  The truth, the ring, a beautiful fight.

#BoxOn!

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Accountability

To truly hold oneself accountable is a major task.

I see a million places I let myself off the hook.  Where I’m so lazy and not wanting to do the work.

Accountability is being brutally honest-  It’s having standards beyond the standards you think you have.  Accountability is grabbing yourself by the shirt collar, looking yourself in the eyes and asking if what you are doing is honest and true.

I notice as I work with clients 1:1 all the places I want to take a break.  I was a little irritated with myself as I realized all the “fillers” I use to rest, to disengage.  I might put someone on the speed bag, or have them jump rope-  or a whole host of exercises where I  don’t pay attention to their form or engage with them.

So today, I held myself accountable to a new degree-  I realized I was going to send a client off to do something without meaning to me at the time and I stopped, made myself stay present and not take that rest.

They pay good money to work with me, they expect results and the only way we will get them is if both of us are engaged for the entire time we train.

Accountability is being annoyed with one’s output and making a change.

#BoxOn!

 

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BoxOn!

I train human beings-  all kinds of human beings.  Sizes, shapes, backgrounds, heritage-  It doesn’t matter to me…..I am interested in how their story is unfolding and how I can make their life experience that much sweeter. How I can help them bring a voice to their experience.

I believe in humanity- the ugly and the pretty.  You can come off the street or from your penthouse and anywhere in between, because inside this gym, we are all equalized by the discomfort of training.  We are all equalized by all that haunts us coming to the surface with each sweat bead.

I believe in everyone’s right to express what lies in waiting.  In what has been hidden in the depths of living by a society’s stifling standards.  I believe in the accountability that comes with that expression.  That no one makes you feel the way you do but you.

I believe in the power to #BoxOn!

 

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CONFLICT AND SPARRING

Sparring is a perfect metaphor for conflict.  You are duking it out with a cohort because you both are working to obtain similar things.  Sometimes you stay calm, other times you escalate.  You both want better skills, success, and self-efficacy.

In sparring, it is to be better, to have weaknesses exposed so they can be addressed.  That’s the hardest thing to remember in the moment……..we don’t like feeling weak and associate it with thoughts of ineptness.  But, what better way to gain strength than to go into ones fragility open eyed and welcoming?  It’s a great exploration.

In life, conflict with a comrade is typically about wanting the same thing, each with a different method. We all want our voices heard, our opinions to matter.  We all want to feel important and to belong.

We just get a little hung up in how we measure up and against others.  We forget that humanity is inclusive……we all evolved to walk this earth and accomplish survival.

You can get better at conflict before, during and after.  You can improve your skills in the heat of the situation.  You just have to be willing to hear hard truths, to be wrong, to be open to other avenues and you have to be willing to be supremely uncomfortable.

#BoxOn!

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Insights-2

1989-  Nursing home work-  Wheatridge, Colorado.

Typical 3pm-11pm shift-  Fluorescent bulbs evenly lighting each floor tile as I head into the routine of baths, dinner and bed.  I’m surrounded by greatness not remembered.  Interment camp survivors, an interpreter from the Nuremberg trials, plus a host of other folks 60+ in years who have plenty of tales to tell.

It is here that I begin to realize the past is truly the past.  What you have done isn’t remembered as you hope.  I mean, c’mon,  a translator during the trials of folks who committed horrendous acts in civilization and here he is being forgotten with a stroke and unable to speak.  It seemed a cruel joke, but now, it is motivation to make each moment count.

It’s simple in boxing.  You live 3 minutes at a time….each punch jolting you present and no time to lament about what previously happened.  No time to celebrate your sweet move.  There is here and now……

Of course you take in patterns and those help you as you maneuver through the round, but those are fleeting and passing moments.

Nurse aid work taught me how nothing and everything matters at the same time and boxing continues to reiterate this lesson.

#BoxOn!

 

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Insight -1

When I was 17 years old, I was living in Denver, CO and going to Lakewood HighSchool.  I had a job at Dairy Queen but needed to make more money to pay for groceries, pay for gas money and other general needs.

My father suggested I try the nursing home down the street, so I did.

It was 1988 and no certifications existed.  I didn’t know a thing about catheter bags, patient care, proper bed making or how to shower and feed those in need.  My training consisted of getting onto the nursing home floor and getting it done.  A few older ladies took me under their wing, calling me “child” and correcting my mistakes.

Deeply insecure in my body, there I was up close and personal to other bodies.  Lifting, maneuvering heavy unrelenting dead weight from bed to chair and back again.  Using my body to leverage theirs gave me no choice but to deal with my discomfort.  The desire to pull away was overridden by the fear of dropping someone.  I had to push in close…to allow their head to be beside mine.  It was an intimate affair filled dignity and respect.

I learned about humans….human interaction, empathy, life, death and the after.  It was the most intense university I ever attended.  This work prepared me to be the coach I am today and I forever carry the experience in every moment of this gym.

#BoxOn!

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truth and hiding

The relationship between coach and boxer takes a lot of work.  Communication must be practiced over and over again.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot reflecting over the past 30+ amateur fights I’ve had with Greg as we head into the next phase going pro.  We worked diligently to build a mutual trust and override patterns and behaviors that get in the way of accurate communication.  We continue to establish new levels of communication and trust as his career advances.  It’s been a rewarding experience.

As a coach, I can fall into a rut of “teaching”- “telling”- “directing” and forget to listen……forget to listen to myself, and the person I’m coaching.  The more I talk at, the less they will be willing to tell me and the less accurate base/foundation I will have to work with.

A simple example I have experienced………I asked a boxer if they had been doing their roadwork and they replied, “yes”.  So I continued to plan their training according to roadwork being done.  My plan was built upon a faulty foundation.  Everything we did couldn’t be accurately measured for successes and failures.

One of the things that coaches and athletes deal with are their past experiences with authority.  Often times when I am establishing a relationship with my athletes, I’m having to work hard to get a new paradigm of authority figure established.  Many of us are used to hiding, keeping information to ourselves, not fully revealing when it comes to those we perceive to have power over us.  In a sport like boxing, it can be a drastic mistake.  I want the truth, because first and foremost, where there is truth, there is accuracy.  Withholding information or lying takes away conscious choice.  Nothing is more frustrating than finding out after the fact you weren’t told all the information you need to do a good solid job.

It takes a lot of vulnerability and trust to communicate honestly.  It takes risking disappointing people, upsetting them, even possibly losing them but in the long run, what would you rather have—  a camaraderie based upon a fallacy or certainty?

#boxon!

 

 

 

 

 

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connection

In our current culture, we are connected to stuff.  We are consumers from morning til night.  We are closest to our things- our monetary or status pursuits.  We are most aligned with our hopes, desires, and things we think will determine our success.  We get fixated on what others are supposedly accomplishing and how we do or don’t compare.

We click buttons for instant feedback and gratification.  Everywhere it is easy and quick to have objects in our grasp with little effort.  There is much emptiness amassing inside one another.

Humans need interaction-  face to face interaction.  We need packs/groups to belong and have purpose.  Technology should make this more possible and instead we are getting intellectually, emotionally and physically lazy- more separated and disintegrated.

A boxing gym serves its community.  It gives a place for people to connect on a visceral and intellectual level.  You must show up and engage, you cannot hide behind a screen……You must take active responsibility for the punches you deliver and the ones you receive.  The boxing gym also forces coaches to face their fraudulence so that we can hold the space for the members to face their fraudulence.  We are all fraudulent………and we are all honest.  It is the in between where we meet so we can strengthen our neutral and be more of ourselves at the end ranges.

The coaches search for their own most efficient leverage…….so we can show you the way to find yours.  We address the dysfunctions in our own mechanics so we can address your mechanics and allow your mind to be clearer.  A clearer body allows you to operate as a tensegrity structure.  We want you to be your most efficient and leveraged self in all facets of your life.  We want you to connect and be connected.

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

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Evening thoughts across the bridge

Sometimes blogs seem elusive and other times about 3 or 4 blogs run through me so rapid fire that I can’t capture a single word.

Tonight I was driving home across the West Seattle Bridge…..looking at the crimson sky as the sun began to disappear.  The water on the Duwamish was so still, ready to sleep.  But, not me- I’m up, thinking….trying to shake off the heat wave of the past few days.

Coach Omar is off at a family reunion and coach Jen is also visiting family while the rest of us hold down the fort.  I’ve decided to dive in and take a bunch of classes on that I used to teach and long ago relinquished.

I’ve been coaching a long time and somehow, boxing never grows old.  It’s always about the people, about expression.  It’s always about whatever is right in front of you.  I like that….it’s easy, it’s simple and complex.

The coaching staff here is phenomenal.  We all have our own views of the fundamentals- of footwork, punching and defense.  They are all spot on views…..all individual expressions of our experiences in life and the ring.  And best of all, we get to share our views with each other and you.

Boxing is this intricate series of movements intertwined with an other.  It’s a lot like a Thelonious Monk song or a Kerouac prose.  A constant shuffle of movement, a change in direction….boxing is being on your toes, ever ready for the next moment while fully embracing the present.

Boxing is tensegrity- a complete connection of each bone, ligament and muscle.

Boxing just is……..

#BoxOn!

 

 

 

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Worked all weekend

It was a good weekend overall and there’s still a little bit left.

Saturday, Cassidy, Jen and I went over to The Boxing Gym Westside and did an introduction to Functional Patterns training course and talked about the importance of structure in boxing.  We taught some myofascial release techniques and went over the standing bridge and plank as taught by FP.  It was a hot, sweaty and productive 1 1/2 hours.

We then headed over to the weigh-ins at Evergreen High School and then proceeded to kill time until the fights.  The card is always organized and coaches Tony and Keith of White Center PAL always put forth an amazing effort to ensure all the matches are of good quality and run smoothly.  Cassidy came up with a loss and a whole lot more confidence.  She learned the art of letting go of the stress of performance and found a different kind of calm in the ring.

Sunday, Jen and I did an interactive presentation at the Women’s Movement Collaborative   on Conflict:  a positive endeavor.  We mixed discussion about conflict with boxing skills and it was a fun and engaging experience.

I have a love/hate relationship with conflict.  I know it’s good for me, I know that I always learn and grow, but it rarely feels that good to me.  My ability to stay uncomfortable and calm needs a lot of improvement.

In the ring, I love conflict.  Punching feels honest.  You both are agreeing to exploit each other’s weaknesses for the betterment of one another.  But in person, it’s a little harder to remember that you are usually on the same side/team as the other and if you both can allow your weaknesses and defenses to be exposed, so much more awaits.

In the ring, you don’t tend to blame the other person for hitting you.  You are more likely to welcome it because it will help you to avoid it in the future.  You will learn more effective techniques for protection.  In person, when the other metaphorically hits you, the hurt and anger become primary over the calm and listening.

Boxing training and coaching has reduced my poor performances in conflict, but I have a long ways to go before I feel like I’m even a decent novice.  So, for now, I’ll appreciate my ability to stay calm in the ring and use it as my litmus for life.

#BoxOn!

 

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