Tag Archives: Boxing rings

You can go home again!

You can go home again!

Coming back to the gym after a long break is always a challenge.   Least ways, I usually find it that way.  On the one hand I sweat like crazy and find that my muscles remember what they’re supposed to do despite all the neglect.  And it does feel as if I’m coming back home.  Not that there is a brass band playing, but the “hey, how ya’ doing,” from gym-mates is nice.  The re-discovery of the contents of my locker is also fun especially since my boxer’s locker is filled with long-forgotten paraphernalia and equipment, the odd favorite pair of socks, and the reminder, yet again, that I’m running low on deodorant.

The hard part of coming back to the gym is how out of shape one can become in a short period never mind if it’s been weeks or months!  In my case, if I’ve been boxing steadily for a while, a hiatus feels like being in a fight with the Three Stooges, except that I’m Shep or Moe or Curly.  I’m the one with awful timing that feels as if I’m in the middle of an out-of-sync movie.

To save some “face,” there’s nothing like hitting the gym late on a Sunday afternoon.  By then, there are only a few folks around – and in my case, no trainer to say, “come-on girl,” when I begin outright panting during the second round on the pads.

For a first day back in a boxing gym, I’ve found the best thing to do is to attempt a short run to get loose followed by a tour of my hit-parade of favorite things to do.  My regime consists of a few rounds of shadow-boxing to warm up, followed by a round or two or three on the double-ended bag and a finish on the heavy bag for no more than an additional three rounds.  By the end, I don’t need an oxygen tank and I’ve gotten a decent work-out without pushing myself to a point of absolute misery.  More to the point, if I follow that up with one or two more short training sessions on my own, the sensation of working out in mud dissipates and I find I’m ready to get back in the ring with my trainer with at least some modicum of dignity!

Boxing rings

Boxing rings

I’m starting a paper about the territoriality of sacred space.  It got me to thinking about boxing rings.  We enter them to do combat, and yet with all the trappings and rituals of a religious rite.  We wear sanctified garments, observe specific intervals for actual fighting, and even as we fight, we observe rules.  We fight a “clean” fight, so as not to do permanent harm.  We touch gloves at the beginning of the rounds and often embrace at the end.  Thus each fighter is mindful of his or her place in the pomp and circumstance of the experience.   It seems that the boundaries of the ring are what creates that sense of its being a special place.  Look at fighters before a fight and at what happens to them once they are in the ring.  They are no less eager to win, but the form counts for what fighters do and how they feel about themselves as they box.  Just think of our horror when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear.  The act not only broke the rules of the fight, but some fundamental agreement on the boundaries of the ring.  Certainly one can fight a tough fight, but again, the ultimate idea is that the ring equates to a ritualized process.  Biting someone’s ear broke that covenant, just as loading someone’s gloves with weights or even badly mis-matching a fight breaks that boundary.