The stance you need in life way, a vigorous core and the brainpower to push forward.
I didn’t know what to expect the first time I entered the boxing gym. The perception I had of different martial art forms, as I suspect many share, was mixed but fairly limited to; a masculine way of showing strength. First of all, I thought there would be much less girls present. This may have been true some decades ago, but is certainly not true in 2020. The majority was men, but you did not stand out as a girl in the crowd (and that’s the most important, right?)…
Second, I thought the training would be more about how hard you could punch and beat up people, and let’s be honest – a whole lot of show off. To my surprise, this was not the case at all. Of course, you can’t (I believe) enter a martial arts gym without finding a least one cowboy who likes to show off his biceps and roar like a lion. But, that aside, the 90 minutes boxing workout was mostly about technique; balance, flexibility, durability and core muscular strength. At the same time it was adrenaline pumping and dopamin arousing in a different way than regular cardio workout.
Finally, the coaches was not as expected. I envisioned a character like Ivan Drago in Creed II. The same kind of intensity and bulldoze strategy where the goal is win or lose – nothing more, nothing less. You certainly find those kinds of coaches, and they must be excellent if that’s your aspired goal with boxing. But if you’ve listen to some Joe Rogan podcasts, you’ve probably heard him talk numerous of times about the mental aspect with martial arts. He’ve argued, among others, that the mental aspect of the fighter is a vital and determining factor in your martial arts skill set. That’s more up my alley, and to my delight, that’s what I encountered. The coaches were relaxed, strict and disciplined, but with a good amount of headroom.
Boxing is known to be an incredible martial arts. What can boxing do for your body? Not only is it a great self-defense methodology, it’s also an amazing way to get in shape. People turn to boxing to gain lean muscle, lose weight and ultimately look and feel better about themselves mentally and physically.
What surprised me was the fact that you draw the punching power from the ground up. Hence the need for stance, balance and core muscular strength. From the outside, you may think that boxing only deals with punching. And while it’s correct to say you move your hands a lot, there is no doubt boxing is a full-body workout with emphasis on specific areas. The primary parts of your body that gets a real drill during boxing is the shoulders, legs and core muscles, in addition to a few smaller muscle groups.
Boxing is also important because you workout your cardiovascular system, and you train your heart and lungs to become more efficient. This is due to the speed and force needed in your punches. The workout is intense and varied, and you’re constantly learning new things to improve your technique.
You could say, with my first impression in mind, that the chance of dismissing this kind of workout was pretty high. And I might be wrong, but I think it’s that way for a fairly large part of the world. Like with everything else, if you step into unknown territory all of your prejudices and biases levitate to the surface and manifest themselves as truths. It’s just the way we humans are built, and maybe rightly so since there are potential predators everywhere.
But when we try to transgress those prejudices, not naively, but courageously – we most of the time perceive, generally speaking, people as honorable individuals. Even though they look, act and maneuver through life completely different than ourselves. This is especially true for traveling. You can travel to a foreign country like a zebra on the savannah and everything seems like lions and cheetahs lurking in the fringes. But if you lower the guard to a reasonable sense, and take of your prejudice-glasses, you will actually see that everywhere on this planet there are human beings just like yourself.
My point with the foregoing segway is this; when I first lowered the guard and tried boxing, I experienced a completely different world. My perception of boxing changed substantially. I suddenly saw the bravados as someone who wanted a community. Who wanted to share their passion with someone, who wanted to expand their potential, who wanted to convert their hopelessness into something useful. And with my new perception, I learned something profound. The masculinity we so often only translate to some destructive force ruining the world (which is not to say it’s not a strong force that absolutely can ravage and devastate) – that force also carry with it some amazing features to life.
Bootstrapping translates; to get oneself into or out of a situation using existing resources. Which is exactly the thing you learn in martial arts. How to use your existing resources, aka your own body, strength and power, to get yourself out of a situation when faced with obstacles and competitors. This elegantly converts to mentality, brainpower and intellect.
Bootstrapping is never only physical, then it’s a vacuous, short-term driven strategy that will never last for long. Without having a mindset containing courage and willingness to step into some frightening situation, you will never utilize your potential. Everything will seem like a threat you can’t handle, and you can easily justify the use of dirty tricks. That makes you nothing more than weak and frail in the face of life, no matter how loud-mouthed or huge of a muscle lump you are.