While focusing on my prana breathing this morning the Yogic term for unifying the body through the energy of the breath, I got to thinking about how boxing seems to energize people in the same way. And yes, I was off in a mind movie about boxing, but figure that the “connection” on “connections” was all within the spirit of the breath!
So what do I mean — mostly that the community is small and practitioners from living room shadow boxers on through elite athletes, share a love for the sport, a passion for the practice and derive inner satisfaction from all of the hard work. Not to say that every boxer would articulate it that way, but the community, especially among women boxers from 8-80 seems to derive a lot of strength from knowing that there are other women out there boxing their hearts out.
Case in point: I do not know Christy Martin at all, but reading last night that a rib injury in the gym might sideline her from her March 12th PPV fight on Showtime really bummed me out. (See Boxing Scene.com story here.) We’ll know more today, and yes it will be news, but my relationship to it feels personal. As if a close friend is at risk for a huge disappointment. And I’m not talking as a fan per se, but as person that understands what it takes to step out in the ring and thus I feel a connection to what she’s been trying to achieve.
This blog is teaching me as well. It’s connecting me to folks I’ve never met or spoken to, and yet through language and an evolving understanding of shared experiences, I feel it’s made me some friends, and “virtual” or not, whether I ever meet them face-to-face or not, working hard in the gym has a language all its own that you can share across huge divides. Now I’m not going to get all sappy here, but the point is, the work has a language all its own that only needs the step of the doing to be a part of. And no, I cannot share what it feels like to have the jitters before a championship match, but I can relate it to the experience of sparring for the first time, or putting gloves on for the first time and realizing that the itch on my nose would go unscratched unless I asked for some help.
The key perhaps is just that. Boxing is not a solo experience. In the end the connections are essential. Without them there’s no tango, no intricate dance whether between two fighters in the ring, boxer and trainer, or friends goofing around in the locker room. So even if you are shadow boxing alone in your room, you’re still dancing with your shadow and that counts for something too!