The sweet science of boxing is an intense experience that goes beyond what many other workouts or athletics offer. The challenge of facing down an opponent whose purpose is to hurt you brings an extra element of danger and risk to the experience that requires the boxer to consolidate and harness all of his or her senses and skills in order to survive and be victorious.
As a means of learning about yourself in a physical competition setting, boxing has few equals. There are four truths that you can discover through boxing lessons and workouts that include a few rounds of sparring with a partner that will help unlock potential in you that extends beyond the gym.4).
That your body can become a holistic machine While on the surface, boxing seems to be entirely composed of just swinging your arms in the direction of the opponent, it is in fact a total body exercise. The feet are constantly moving in order to create positioning and anchoring for defenses and punches. The hips, thighs, and core provide the balance and power that goes into the strikes.
Your shoulders and upper torso aim your gloves to defend and strike and then absorb the blows of either your opponent’s punches or the shock of connecting a punch on their gloves or head. Internally, the lungs and heart have to work extremely hard to sustain the constant motion and sudden effort. Finally, the mind is always racing both to keep the body under control and to plan the strategy that will result in the opponent getting punched and you remaining unhurt.
Coordinating your body with the art of boxing has more benefit than just a good sweat and fun sport. It can help you unite body and mind.3). Discipline and self-control in the face of danger Fight or flight? You make that instinctive choice constantly when determining whether to fire a punch, dodge your opponent, or where to position yourself in the rink. Sparring has the great benefit of helping you to train your mind to remain calm and make good decisions in the heat of battle.
Even though sparring needn’t be a dangerous activity and you may never expose yourself to serious injury while boxing with another beginner with headgear and gloves, the danger and risk of the activity puts a strain on the brain that can train it to respond well in high-stress situations.2).
You can find the inner beast for many people, initiating the “fight!” response may be a worthwhile struggle that draws out confidence and the potential for aggressive action that wasn’t there before. There will always be times in life when passivity and shrinking back from the moment will be a temptation that has to be overcome in order to build character, act rightly, and taste success.
Learning to have the guts to throw a punch, or maybe even some combinations, will help build the necessary confidence to be a fighter and a contender in other areas of life.1).
That you can take hits and keep going If you’ve never been hit in the face before, or even risked the possibility of that happening, you can live in fear. Now, the fear of being hit in the face is not an irrational or crippling fear for most people, but overcoming this fear can go a long way towards overcoming other fears in life that do hold you back.
As Rocky Balboa says to his son in the 5th installment of that timeless series: “You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it isn’t about how hard yak hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.
That’s how winning is done! “Learning to handle defeat, take a punch, and manage that risk without being destroyed is a major confidence builder and it puts to shame lies and fears that can hold you back in life.
Every victory over fear in life accumulates and helps build you into a stronger and tougher person on the inside. Sports and physical competition can teach you a lot about contending in life. If you are looking to overcome fear, build confidence, and train your mind and body to be disciplined and calm you might try a few rounds with a sparring partner and see what you learn about yourself.