Writing it down
When I first started boxing I kept a punch journal. There was something very cathartic about keeping a record of my activities. I was able to measure my progress and relive the nuances of unspoken emotions.
What I was most struck by was my own vulnerability. When had I ever let anyone give me water to sip or tenderly mop my brow of sweat. There isn’t much one can do for oneself in oversized puffy gloves – and yet, when I first started I did try to do it all.
Writing down my punch log also led me to write down other things. How I was feeling that day. The things that were bothering me. The things that crossed my mind during the parts of my day’s training when I was on my own.
What you have is the chance to let your feelings flow in the same way that they can in the ring. And whether those feelings flow out in short punches, or in staccato stats on a notebook page, what you end up with is an abundance of self-expression, that once started is like a floodgate.
I’ve been journaling in one form or another since I was twelve years old, but the focus of my boxing journal has led to a self-awareness I had not encountered before. The truth is if you’re not honest in the ring, you’re going to get “clocked”. And what that means is you must put 100% of yourself into what you do – call it being 100% present. Without that, you will be so busy running in your head between what you think the experience is and the actual experience, that there will be no time to react. And by then you’ll be on the canvas. The same can be said of your journaling. You can be present with what you write down, and find some truths you may not have been aware of or been ready to face.
What I love about boxing is that I never know where it is going to take me. And whether it is finding a comfort zone for my jab or more self awareness stemming from what I’ve written down in my journal, it makes every day a little happier and more joyous, and that is a very good thing.