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Boxing Lessons

I’ve had some uncomfortable but interesting lessons from boxing.

I always examine everything (too much in a lot of people’s viewpoint, here she goes, overthinking again) but my brain can’t rest till I work things out.

I’m enjoying boxing, I automatically dislike any exercise class and don’t want to go, dread it beforehand but then during the class do get a bit of endorphin release at times, think “this is great” for about 5 mins which then wears off and I feel knackered and long for the class to end. The good thing is that as I get fitter, the endorphin high lasts longer and I feel less wiped out afterwards.

The boxing class is another level of fitness, very cardio and arm workout, both good reasons for doing it. But I’ve discovered two things about myself which I am quite uncomfortable with but tie in with something somebody said to me, that I want to explore further.

Firstly, I’ve noticed that after a while into the session, as I get more and more tired, my arms and shoulders burning with the effort, instead of winding down, I find myself winding UP. And I find myself punching harder and harder, bouncing around on my feet, absolutely going for it, and (dare I say it?) LOVING the punching out.

The coach at this point shouts at me for total failure in defence. I am totally absorbed in punching out and my defensive arm is nowhere to be seen. It is meant to be tight in to the body, held up to the face.

I would not have anticipated either of these things, loving punching out really hard and total defensive failure / weakness. Also, when it’s my turn to hold the pads, I’m a frightened rabbit in the headlights, I find the pads really hard work, my arms are relatively weak and I haven’t quite got the hang of how to do it.

After the session I am high with relief that I’ve done it but then start to pick away at it. I’ve come up with the following thoughts.

In life, I have learnt that anger has served me well as a protective tool against despair and pain. But lurking behind that anger remains the fear of being attacked and I am useless at defending myself from actual attack. My strategy is to get in first, attack as the best form of defence. In the boxing sessions this gives me an advantage against the men I am paired with. They are nice chaps who are much stronger than me, I run in and punch my hardest, safe in the knowledge that they can hold the pads up against me. They don’t get a proper turn in reverse as they are inhibited punching out at a woman and I look so scared holding the pads! If I had to fight a man in real life, who had evil intent, I’d be mincemeat and my best strategy would be to run for it!

Someone had made a comment about not adequately protecting myself in life and I’m thinking this is the skill I need to learn, appropriate defences. Using anger is a classical bully boy tactic, and I really REALLY dislike thinking of myself acting as a bully. I read somewhere that boxers have to learn to not fear being hit, this is what I need to work on. (In the boxing sessions, we are punching pads not each other, just to be clear).

So in summary, firstly I think the enjoyment I get from punching out is a good and appropriate place to safely put and hopefully dispell anger.

Secondly, I need to work on my defences in life, blocking with good natured humour for example.

Thirdly, work on my fear, I can step up to handle attack and blows.

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