Advancing with Abandon

(edited, originally posted by Arcaro Boxing)

Many times boxers get stuck looking for one clean punch. We worry about gassing out if we let our hands go. We worry about being ineffective if we don’t land everything we throw. We miss opportunity after opportunity because of our waiting and indecision. We miss completely or openings close before we can exploit them.

It takes courage to throw punches. You must throw to connect and risk being countered by your opponent. You have to be willing to be off the mark so you can learn and get feedback to find your target. You have to be willing to explore and try things out, to risk failure, to risk feeling ineffective until you break through.

It’s all backwards, but true… the more you deliver punches the more energy you get back in your own body, the more interested and engaged you will be. The more punches you throw, the more likely you will be in the present moment and respond from instinct.

...seeking change always requires a touch of insanity. If taking action
before the perfect conditions arise... is unreasonable and reckless,
then we must be unreasonable and reckless.

- Brendon Burchard

The more time I spend in the gym, in the ring and around boxers, the more I want to live my outside the ring life the same way. Read Burchard’s words (above) again. It is so true for the ring and for life. Courage is a choice. We are so bound up and constricted in our society by our fears and our anticipation of the future. I can picture countless times I’ve frozen with worry about the outcome, versus just putting the words out there to see what happens. So many of us struggle with autonomy, having our voices heard—letting our punches go.

It’s time to move forward with abandon, to embrace our creativity and go for it.

Posted on April 13, 2015 .

Perseverance, Process, Each Step

You don’t learn and grow during the easy times. But you do become more solid in what you know, in what you have learned. You refine your skill and develop a stronger foundation for your confidence.

I have talked before in my blog about these times as plateaus and shared with you the importance of staying in the plateau until it is time for the next skill challenge. This time though, I’m talking about being in the learning curve. The place where one must persevere and do their best to be in learning mode. This place is a very uncomfortable place. We are unsettled, we aren’t very good and we don’t know what lies ahead.

Posted on March 23, 2015 .

Bugs on the Windshield

(warning: the following post is especially heavy in metaphors)

“Putting bugs on the windshield” - that is a Teddy Atlas boxing aphorism that adeptly describes what can make the jab so effective. Teddy’s got a million of ‘em and half a million of his sayings are all about the importance of the mighty jab. Implicitly, it describes how the jab, especially thrown in a multitude, can both blind and distract the opponent. While they are busy avoiding and brushing away the “bugs” they are momentarily unable to counter and potentially vulnerable to what may be about to hit them in the grille.

Why so many pithy sayings about such a basic maneuver? Well, just as boxing is deceptively complex, the jab is deceptively functional. The jab looks like nothing, but the expert fighter can wield this fight weapon with great strategic purpose. 

Posted on January 27, 2015 .

Conflict and Sharing Punches!

As a society we are obsessed with conflict. We love it and we hate it. We love to watch it on reality shows. We like to see it in others as long as we aren’t close to it. We love to watch our sports teams and athletes square off. We love to take sides, to find wrong and right and to see winners and losers. We also love to do whatever it takes to avoid conflict because it is uncomfortable. We will withhold information, side step by saying something different than we really mean and sometimes completely run away.

What if we saw conflict as sharing punches? As a sort of maze that we both had to go into and navigate together to come out of with some new answers? What if we saw conflict as a process to learn about what hurts us, what we are desperate to defend and how much we want our ideas heard? What if we saw the person we are having conflict with as having the same issues? What if we didn’t see the result of conflict having to have a winner and loser, a right and wrong person?  Would we try to avoid it as much?

Posted on January 12, 2015 .

Raw Edges Revisited, 2014

Practice the Art of Taking a Punch (December 2)
Being able to take a punch is about developing defensive skills and physical fortitude to address the inevitability that, if you’re mixing it up with another fighter, you’re going to get hit. A worthy opponent is going to serve you a feast of punches, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat all those punches like you’re a hungry heavy bag.

Confidence (November 17)
When I am confident, it’s not that I always know I’ll be successful; it’s that I am comfortable whether I fail or succeed, that I know I am learning and giving 100%. That I will evolve from the experience.

Willing To Be Hit (November 3)
We often wait for the “right time” to take action. We look for that perfect clean shot or for the moment we see the opening, but that’s always too late. Risk getting hit and you will find your power in unimaginable ways.

Read This if You Need a Kick in the Pants… (October 27)
You are the only reason you’ve never done a pull up. Not because you’re a girl, or because you have long/stringy/weak arms, or whatever other excuse you’ve made up for yourself. Your own mindset is the only thing holding you back from cranking out pull up after pull up... You’ve already told yourself you can’t do it, so your body and mind listen.

Training (October 13)
One must be willing to experience disappointment, failure, let downs, being hurt and a host of other feelings in order to get somewhere new in life and the ring. You must embrace that you are going to be hit to make yourself less likely to be hit.

The Value of Video (Coaching) (October 6)
Watching the action from the outside allows the athlete to understand the issues that are present in a way that is vivid and sometimes unexpected. Watching oneself onscreen can cause horror and embarrassment, but it can also lead to the realization that the training drills they despise are actually for a real purpose!

Sparring - You Should Try It (September 29)
It is a powerful experience to give and receive punches. It’s a powerful experience to agree to be vulnerable with others watching. You learn all about your defensiveness, how you do or don’t bully, where you are scared, where you are confident and how well you can relax under pressure.

Teddy Atlas Corner Motivation with Michael Moorer (September 4)
"You’re doing just enough to keep him off yo and hope he leaves you alone. You’re lying to yourself. You’re gonna cry tomorrow because of this. Do you want to cry tomorrow? Huh? Don’t lie to yourself. Back this guy up and fight a full round…”

Arcaro on Boxing (August 25)
Boxing is a long time sport... Boxing is a slow walk up a Himalayan peak and wondering just how many false summits you are going to encounter.

“Rhythm” Ray Robinson (August 18)
"Rhythm is everything in boxing. Every move starts with the heart, and that’s in rhythm or you’re in trouble."

Remembering Sparring in the Beginning (August 11)
These depths being uncovered are obstacles for us to discover when we are ready and sparring is a beautiful way to get information.

Losses (August 4)
The truest lesson from boxing training is knowing how to develop mental strength. Boxers learn how to use experiences in daily life to train for the ring and how to use boxing to train for life. 

Repose and Activity (July 28)
Once in the pocket, the goal is to slow down the mind and adrenaline reactions so you can have specific effective responses. It takes a ton of repetition and practice as well as a lot of failure. 

Hauntings (July 17)
When you step in the ring, adrenaline rises as does everything from your sub-conscious. Recently I’ve been calling this The Haunting. It takes over your thoughts and interrupts your instinct. The Haunting usurps your focus and keeps you from the task right in front of you.

So, You Think Boxing is Barbaric? (July 30)
Life is far more barbaric with the words and insults we sling at each other. We are always pretending that our words and others' towards us don’t hurt as much as a punch to the face. I can tell you that a punch to the face hurts less because it feels a heck of a lot more honest.

Repetition (June 13)
Keep repeating your patterns and habits until you can really understand what you are doing. Stay patient when you don’t have different results, the answers are right there in the situation.

Boxing and Vulnerability (June 9)
Boxers have to know what they are feeling and contain the feelings so they can perform without stuff getting in the way. It never works to fight emotionally. It’s not weak to feel emotional, but it is a detriment to have the emotion rule your actions. 

Posted on December 8, 2014 .