LA Boxing Post #5: Fight or Flight

You've all probably heard about the Australian kid, Casey Heynes who stood up to his bully (although, now the bully says he was the one getting picked on).  It recalled my very own experience with bullying in middle school:  a boy who frequently teased me had finally pushed me too far after the contents of my backpack spilled out in a hallway.  He started calling me names and laughing, and in full view of my shop teacher, I pushed him against a set of lockers and said "this is the last time you will ever laugh at me."  And it was.
(Please know that I do not condone violence at all.  I do believe in protecting and standing up for yourself and that sometimes Newton's Laws (and not the doctrine of nonviolence) govern the response/reaction.)

But all of this (especially in conjunction with my boxing lessons) have made me think about fighting in general.  So many martial arts philosophies and disciplines (such as Aikido, or even taekwondo) begin with the sentiment that fighting is a last resort.  So many religious philosophies believe the same ("turn the other cheek"; even the Koran promotes exhausting all diplomatic means before engaging in violence). 

In other words, just because you possess the ability to fight doesn't mean you're walking down the street picking fights with people just because you can.  Just because I'm learning to box doesn't mean I'm a violent person or that I am looking to fight (though I do love sparring). 

But it does teach you what to do when the fight comes to you.

So my trainer (Pat H.) and I were doing an upper body workout today.  I always look forward to these because it means punchy punchy!  But boxing isn't just about the punchy punchy:  before you ever throw a jab, a right cross, or an upper-cut, you have to know how to square off against your opponent.  It is a way of not just orienting your body for the fight (or to protect yourself), but readying your mind. 

Any type of sparring requires not only focus, but a touch of relaxation, and the ability to adjust.  (There are no fight choreographers in real life.)  When Pat H. calls out a combination, I need to be able to listen to what he is saying, process the information, and then relay it to my body.  This is not a reaction, but a very measured response.  It is a lesson is accuracty and a bit of a restraint. 

Sometimes Pat H. will call out a combination, and I'm still on the last one.  He tells me to slow down.  I catch my mistake, take a quick breath and reset my stance, then proceed.  I don't dwell on the mistake. I move on with what I'm being asked to do.  He rotates around me, making me adjust my stance.  Keep my hands by my chin, elbows in.  He calls the next combination....

We've all had fights come to us.

The weight loss/health gain fight comes to us time and time again.  Sometimes we're fighting against something and sometimes we're fighting for something. 

In the past so many of us have run from the hard things--from going to the gym, from admitting we have disordered eating, from addressing the emotional issues behind our weight.  If we could outpace the fear of truly addressing our health, our fitness, our bodies, it would mean one day in blissful denial/ignorance of just how much our life would have to change.

Then one day, something snapped in us and we decided to put up our fists.  Whether we threw punches or not that day is a minor detail (I didn't run a marathon the first day I decided to change my life, did you?).  But we put up our hands and said "No more."  We found our fight.

It's okay to not fight every fight.  

I don't mean to paint "flight" in a negative way, as it is important to know when something is over your head and beyond your means to deal with.  But it's important to be able to distinguish between these things--that which you are able to take on, and that which you are not able to address--and what separates them. 

A leader of a meditation group I was a member of would often say that it's okay to not "go big" (i.e. deal with what is accessible, immediate, and manageable) until you've got a few of the smaller issues under your belt. 
Have the right people in your corner.

This is just my opinion (and my experience), but I think you need a few kids of people in your corner (and who knows, one person can be in multiple categories): 
  1. the inspiration (the person who has shown you it can be done and who in turn knows you can do it too)
  2. the information (doctors, dietitians, specialists, trainers, etc.)
  3. the motivation (gym buddies, racing peers, #GoTheDist, etc.)
  4. the comfort (the person who's there for you when you struggle)
So I want to end this post with two (rhetorical) questions: 
What is your next fight?
What are you prepared to face off against?



I love reading your entries. Some blogs I've read come across a bit haughty and pretentious, but yours is one of the few I find open and honest. You seem to just lay yourself out there. I really appreciate your ability to take things in your personal life and make your lessons generally applicable.


Sacha -- I'm glad I can reach you in that way. I'm no expert when it comes to diet, exercise, or life -- but I share what I do know.


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<3 Robby