It’s good to hit things.
I shadow boxed at home last night. I put on 16 oz. gloves and boxed around the room for a couple of rounds before I pounded away at my closet door. “Get this girl back to the gym,” seemed to be the refrain from my family who thought I was crazy. I kept thinking how good it felt to hit things even though I wasn’t releasing much power or hitting very hard.
Hitting things is always my ultimate secret about boxing. I love it. I love how it feels to connect. I love the physicality of working out on a big heavy bag and pushing in with my shoulder as I practice upper cuts. The double-ended bag gives me a place to workout as a rhythmic dance. It doesn’t have that da-da-da, da-da-da rhythm of the speed bag, but after a round or two, the timing is such that it starts to have its own distinctive beat.
Sparring is something else again. It has its own magic that for me isn’t about the hitting so much as working through the space as a physical manifestation of a chess game. Each jab is a feint, a loyal pawn that makes its way forward establishing pace, rhythm and control to set-up all the other punches, bobs and weaves in the arsenal. To spar is to be in a pas-de-deux with my opponent as improvisational as tap dancing or trading eights with Miles Davis’ trumpet licks.
To hit something at the boxing gym is to come face-to-face with the truth. You can’t hit and hit hard without that commitment or the emotional depths that get mined every time a punch is thrown.