An inspirational story

Take a minute and read this story by Nancy Lieberman and then come back to this blog.

This woman is bad assery!  I wish I had a smidge of what she has…..I’m just a follower when I look at her attitude and her accomplishments.

Today, Coach Jen and I take to the ring a gal who has worked 3 long hard years to get ready.  She has taken determination to a new level.  It’s people like Nancy Lieberman who have paved the way for us to walk through with less obstacles.

I’ll take 1000 boxers who might not have natural talent and ability, but they possess desire, humility and drive………when stuff gets really hard, they might get scared, but they don’t quit………..when they realize what it’s going to take to get to another level, they don’t bag out because of the work ethic it will take.

I’ll take 1000 of these boxers rather than 1 with an insane amount of natural talent.

When I read Nancy Lieberman’s story, I realized that it really is through coaching boxing that I’m finding myself….lengthening my stride and finally maturing.  (it only took over 40 years). I did many ground breaking things in my youth and young adulthood….but I did not have the work ethic from inside to stick those things out and become proficient at a higher level.

In coaching boxing, the timing is right.  I’m not special…..I just work really hard and push my limitations.  I expect others to meet me on the same road and get this work in on the daily.  I don’t like downtime without purpose…..except for the occasional game of Fishdom.  🙂  Even that is a game of patterns that I apply to my life.

….But they only drove me further to be the best. Then I remember I saw this man on the TV and he would say, “I’m the greatest!” That he beat Sonny Liston, that he beat Joe Frazier.I stood in front of my TV, mesmerized, and I walked into the kitchen, put my hands on my hips and looked at my mother, then pointed at her and said, “You better get used to it. I’m gonna make history. I’m gonna be the greatest women’s basketball player ever.”And I walked out the kitchen.  Muhammad Ali was my hero. He taught me to love me and to be fearless in my pursuit of excellence.—Nancy Lieberman

Boxing infiltrates every bit of our fabric whether you like it or not… is a part of every culture’s DNA—–fighting, warring, maneuvering for position is what everything in nature does…….we are all looking for our differential advantage.

I’m going to put my head down…..continue to learn about body mechanics and the science of boxing so when I’m done with this life, I will have modeled to others what it means to mature and contribute instead of bag out of the difficulty it takes to master essential skills that benefit nature and humanity.

Here’s to Sierra “Jaguar” Clifford, to my corner mate Coach Jen, to coach Molly and Denise………Hard work creates opportunity!

#BoxOn !



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Interest in our failures

The hardest people to coach are the perfectionists.

They are driven to do everything so right and there is no room for error.  Frustration lurks around every bend.  Creativity is stifled.

Over tensioned muscles try to control and prevent errors not allowing any flexibility.

We are so conditioned to believe we are stupid, awkward, less than when we don’t do things well.  We are taught we should get things right the first time….but when does that ever really happen??


Boxers know that in the abyss, the murk of it all is where the gold is found.  We can see what we want while we feel all that is wrong…….and when we hang out there, everything becomes a little clearer.  Our dysfunction gives us something to focus on, problems to ponder.  We develop skill in our work…..we develop confidence from digging in the trenches.

Boxing is a beautiful practice to translate to our lives……..Ditch the perfectionism…replace it with tenacious curiosity and the knockout punch will follow!






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I always know where I stand while I look out there.

IMG_4560Boxers have to know themselves completely.  We need to know and understand the ranges in us from confidence to insecurity.  We need to know how and why we make decisions, because in the ring those decisions take fractions of seconds with lasting results.
I know where my feet are and I’m getting increasingly more aware of the direct affect of body efficiency = mind efficiency.  We have to know exactly what and where we are feeling at precise moments so we can react with the best response needed.
Address the gaps in your body, you address the gaps in your mind.  Boxers know this.
My job as a coach is to help a person move better, feel better and learn with complete intimacy a knowledge of their patterns.  I must know my own self to create a space for others to obtain theirs………..I passionately look for my deficiencies…..I’m excited.  I like chores, I like work…….bodies are interesting.  We all present gaps in different ways.  This is my constant homework.  The more I study myself and others, the more I learn and change.  I’ve realized from the inside out that there is no end game….it is really about showing up each day with a vigor for what is possible.
Address each area you lack engagement-  look for where you are terrible and spend your time there!   Boxers know this
My job as a coach is to dig into the dark….the places a person doesn’t like to go as much because they feel weak.  It is in here, in the trenches where our reward lives.  We will come out with a different perspective and they will be stronger and more capable after.
Know where you are standing while you look out there…………
My job as a coach is to keep us rooted in the fundamentals while I envision what is possible……what seems impossible and how we should go about it.  It is imperative that I pay attention and learn about my errors in real time rather than in reflection.  I must imagine an unimaginable future and lay down the structure to get there.
Look for all the places you don’t fit in and stay there.  Those places have the potential to give you angles you never thought of……You will change your rhythm and timing if you hang out here-  A rather insurmountable task to do in 3 minutes, let alone a lifetime.  New possibilities will present if you look from discomfort.
Train yourself to believe in the positivity of seeing through a lens of dissatisfaction.  Have a propensity for obliterating complacency.  Being in this mindset is where magic happens and creativity flows.  It is a place without fear and a place where accountability is welcomed.
As a coach, I must be the reality speaker.  To know the truth of what we are facing and how we will take it on.  I have to use verbal feedback that is quick and to the point for when we are at war, there is no time to make things comfortable.  I have to see and then make myself heard from the corner.  I need to understand the decisions and the outcome moment by moment so I can accurately assess.
Train yourself to self-study….every word….every action…..every interaction…… up your passion for knowledge and connection with the world in the way you want to live every day.
Boxers know this.
#BoxOn !
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Body Image

Marketing’s sole purpose is to create a feeling of demand for a product.  Sometimes, the demand can be false and embellished via marketing campaigns– leading to an actual demand that perpetuates itself.

Body image changes with our societal conditioning.  We have been duped into believing there is a “perfect” body out there to achieve.  At the same time, we are encouraged to consume and consume and consume, whether it be goods, services, ideas, food, etc….The ultimate paradox leading us to achieve nothing.

The true perfect body isn’t so much an aesthetic driven achievement, it is inside, an integral process-  a striving for tensegrity and symmetry.  Get a body well connected and the dysfunctions that disfigure the body change thus becoming more visually appealing.

I have struggled for years with how I view my body and myself in general.  I tried lifting weights, running, weight loss gimmicks…competing in every sport imaginable..  I’ve tried  dieting……special diets…paleo……keto…..vegetarian…….running for punishment when I over-ate….You name it, I did it and there’s probably a bunch of you who did too.

I created this gym so I could dig in and do personal work and create opportunity for others to do the same.  I have always searched for answers to how the body operates and how can one change their structure and shape.  To date, I’ve only found Functional Patterns to be the training methodology that addresses body connectivity and honors human function.

If you want only a feel good workout for the hour you are here and you only want that “summer beach bod” then Arcaro isn’t the best space for you.  I know several gyms that you will definitely enjoy more and fit in with their niche.  That’s not to say you can’t achieve that fit body you are imagining….it’s that you won’t get it going about it from the way our society views fit bodies.

If you want to face your dysfunctions-  physical, mental and emotional, and have a feel good training session, then Arcaro is definitely for you.  We have created and continue to create a community that works hard in and out of the gym.  We strive to problem solve and create action from within ourselves and our communities so we can affect overall society.

We want your body to change intrinsically and to last long beyond your membership in our gym.  We want your minds free of the cage that societal expectations creates.  We are obliterating complacency because we want a membership on fire…..on fire to live, to contribute and flourish.

We mostly want all of you to


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Sparring is the best way to confront yourself…..At Arcaro, we aim to make sure you have an authentic boxing experience-  one that allows you to be challenged and to grow.  Below is a guest blog post by Linda-  One of our #badassadors
Shattered in the BEST way
OG is my sparring partner and we are in our 70’s He has been boxing
at Arcaro for 5 years and I have been here for almost two years. A few weeks ago we took a hour sparring lesson from coach Cassidy.
The picture I had of myself about how skilled I am in the ring was taken completely apart. I was extremely tense and frustrated. At one point I stopped and burst into tears because I could not do what I thought I should be able to do. I couldn’t get away from the punch and I wasn’t grounded enough to throw anything other than an weak arm punch. I was mad but I stuck with it for an hour. My self confidence took a hit and my ego was shattered in the best way. It broke open opportunities to learn.
I was exhausted and walked around for 2 days muttering to myself
“that was rough”. The physical work was hard but the emotional work
surprised me. I realized how invested I am in looking good inside and outside of the gym.  Self examination is a big part of boxing for me. When I returned to the gym,after sparring,  for a fitness class I realized I had some unreleased body memory coming up for me from childhood trauma. I have done lots of therapy for these issues but very little body work. With the support
of the coaches I am now walking through this in classes so I can have more freedom and better health going forward. I am so grateful for my Arcaro community. It really is a safe place to grow and challenge myself .
When OG and I met for coffee to debrief our sparring session, he asked me if he was too hard on me. I thanked him for not patronizing me by going easy on me. He congratulated me for staying in the ring with someone who was really trying (and succeeding ) to punch me.
He said ” Look around this room. I bet we are the only two people in here who have punched each other” It was a sweet moment.
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Failure and Setbacks

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is really look in the mirror.  It’s super easy to put our finger outward and away……so much harder to turn it and point between our eyes.

One of the most common human habits when we feel something uncomfortable, is to Try and get out of it- to accuse- to flee.

Listening to a Ted Radio Hour episode called Setbacks got me thinking.
How many times do I run into opposition-setbacks-failure-sticking points-ruts?


How difficult is it to change patterns? Not changing patterns for avoidance, but so that you can keep your head up and look forward to keep getting where you want to go?

Changing patterns so you can get different outcomes.  Failing with awareness to reduce the amount of devastating consequences that come with it.

Every setback to me is just a little annoyance.

My goal is to be of service to people….to help humans learn more about themselves because I’ve found that to be the most freeing thing I’ve ever experienced.  Helping others pushes me to reach new heights.  It’s not about NOT getting mud on your feet and hands, it is about how can you get through the slog………even with the crappy feelings and make a step in another direction.

How do you get through a “when it rains it pours” kind of day, week, month, year?


I’m not in denial when I reframe my vision.  I feel the hard feelings, take the time for grief and sadness and then I get moving as quick as possible, or I’ll get lost.  What do you do?

I take it on the chin until finally I realize where my boundaries are…..It’s like I’m looking around for the openings and then I realize I have to create them.  I don’t think about each slip-each taken blow as a reason to not continue to look, because taking punches can give you a ton of information….

You aren’t necessarily a bad boxer.

The hits are just distractions…..tests……little frustrations that force you to ask yourself how bad do you really want something.





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It’s a funny world we live in…

One that chooses the surface visual facade over the depths……says yielding is being a pushover and that strength must only come in bulk.  One that chooses object over substance and claims vulnerability is death.

I’m just here to work, to get something done and to learn as much as I can, only to be passed along to the next person in my path.

It’s a funny world we live in…

One that tells you how to exist so large groups have cohesion and can be controlled by vanity principles.  The beautiful are sad and the not so pretty condemned.  One that props up the second and shuns the hour.

It’s a funny world we live in….

The one outside the ring that is…..for it makes very little sense.

Step inside the ropes and learn the reality of existence….the truth…..the way punches hurt and take responsibility.  Step inside the ropes and feel the eternity of the minute.  Where your breath echoes in between the malleus, incus and stapes, reverberating doubts exponentially.

Come back outside and hear the excuses surmount……feel the confines of society telling you what success looks like.  Feeling beholden to an invisible authority with each question asked.

Where is the freedom if not inside the ring?

It is in the work.  The simple, day to day work.  No explanation, no pomp and circumstance……nothing but the fundamentals from beginning to advanced over and over again.

And if you ever doubted there was anything else, remember:

No one cares, work harder-  Molly McConnell




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Stopping the war with time

We are a culture of bandaids…..of temporary fixes……of trying resurrection versus changing our behavior.

We always seem to want to be anywhere but where we actually are.  We manipulate time according to our own definitions.  We complain of the waste of time… assault upon our efficacy.

This type of thinking prevents creativity….it doesn’t allow for failure to be exalted…which it should be.  We can never get to our outcomes without traveling first.

The point at which you know what you are working on is the wrong thing to be working on— You cannot call the work up to that point you figured out what you’re working on is the wrong thing…..FAILURE— That’s called learning.
–Failure is an Option-  NPR Ted Radio Hour April 18
Working on something that turned out to be a failure is not a waste of time.  It is an imperative learning experience.  It’s how we get a more finely tuned proprioception….it’s how we gain knowledge, it’s how we get more efficient……….
It’s just plain necessary to work, learn, fail and repeat with new information guiding us.
#BoxOn !!!
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To be a boxer- you have to be comfortable with searching for failure- you have to be excited to see your inefficiencies -you have to be motivated to look for all that is wrong because that is your work.

It is the lack that provides you the opportunity to move forward.

Criticism cannot be interpreted into the ego’s self worth.  Criticism must be used as a tool-  an outside advisor guiding your way towards the outcome you desire.

Your efficacy as a human cannot be threatened by all that is wrong with you, for all that is wrong is just insight and information…..not a stuck state, but a malleable state looking to expand, and grow.


To be a boxer, you have to employ single minded focus.

You have to be able to keep your gaze, your thoughts, and your intention on what is right before you.  No sirens, no voice, no comment or distracting judgement can penetrate the moment you are in.

To be a boxer, you have to be unconcerned with fitting in.

Your friends may not understand-  if they don’t and still support you to be all you want to be, then keep them close.  If they don’t and try to pull you off task, leave them where they are……they will know where to find you when they are ready.

To be a boxer, you have to take responsibility for every outcome you have, for you chose it.  You made every decision that got you to where you are at.  If you are unhappy with where you are at, simply look at your previous decisions…..all your clues are there.  Discover what is behind and under……




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There are times in life one feels trapped.   If you could just get away or out of the situation you are in, everything would be better.  You wouldn’t have to feel this way anymore.

That’s not how it works.  There is no get away….no ultimate reprieve– for it isn’t the situation, it is the underneath….that which is in your skin permeating your every move.

The pain within needs a voice- expression without labels or judgment.  A right to exist, to tell the story of your experience.  The pain within is the past that brought you to the present and drives you into the future.  Let it breathe so you no longer choke, let it stake its claim so you can walk out from the shadow.

Take a knee to get your 8 count and regroup with furor-  The trapped is the opportunity to dive to the depths and come up to fully expanded lungs and new vision.  The trapped forces you to look for creative ways to move forward and shed the weight that boxes you in.

No way out but through.



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