Tag Archives: Enlightenment

Last rounds of the year …

I had a good boxing workout this morning at Gleason’s Gym, aided by the fact that I had a decent sleep for a change.  My work out was my favorite, four rounds of shadow boxing, four on the focus pads with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore, four rounds of the double-end bag, and finally four rounds on the speed bag.

There was something comforting about being back to “normal.” Yes, I tried to keep to my “wear a mask at all times” mantra, even in a gym where everyone is vaccinated, but it was still pretty hot and humid, and eventually took it off in the midst of my rounds with Len because it was getting too hard to breathe.

If that is the worst I ever have to deal with — all I can say is wow, what a great life.

And really, as I am at the start of the rounds of examination I will go through over the next ten days starting with tonight’s first night of the Jewish New Year’s process and ending up with breaking the Yom Kippur fast, the workout I had today was just a light flurry of facing up to moments of truth.

Because that’s really what it is all about anyway.

Avoiding the easy path of cheating at solitaire.

You know … pulling from the deck when you’ve already lost … as if no one will notice!  Kind of like that. And it’s the same thing in the ring. You can throw the jab with authority and energy, mindful of your stance, of how you move forward, of how you hold your opposite hand to protect your head. Or not. One gets you to the truth of your capabilities and of what you need to do to improve, and the other cheats it.  Doesn’t get you forward at all. Says, I’m pulling from the deck.

We all do it … all the time, whether knowingly or not. The trick is pushing forward anyway. Owning up. Facing those demons of crap you pull, mostly on yourself, but to others as well, and understanding what the motivations were, how you got there in the first place, and what you can do to make it better. To manage the process of moving forward with your life.

Jewish New Year, Tashlich, or the throwing off of sins symbolically by tossing pieces of bread. Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn, 1909, Photo Credit: The Bowery Boys

I do have it in mind that in Jewish tradition, this next ten days is a process of unburdening and in so doing, sealing our collective fates for the next year. Will you live? Will you not? Will it go easy or hard?

I’m not certain that I buy into all of that, but I do believe that our actions foretell our futures. That cheating at solitaire doesn’t mean we have “won” our games, only that in so doing, we have denied ourselves the satisfaction of the real wins when they finally come, whether that is throwing a jab worthy of it’s name or facing up to the myriad of truths that life throws at us and coming through it a more enlivened human being.

I wish everyone sweetness, peace, and an easy passage to the enlightenment that living in truth can offer.

Happy New Year – Shanah Tovah!

Why I love the jab

Why I love the jab

I love the jab.

If I throw the punch enough times I can actually find the sweet-spot.  Not unlike a perfectly hit baseball, the sweet-spot of a punch has similar a meaning: the place where the fist perfectly percusses with the object.  Some days it takes three rounds of shadow boxing, four rounds of work with my trainer and I don’t know how many on the double-ended bag before  I find it.  And other days, well, you get the idea.

When I think about the jab, I’m reminded that all things come down to the fundamentals.  For the jab that means stance, arm position, and the actual mechanics of how the jab is thrown.  The jab is also foundational to the sweet science itself.  Try to box without one and you’re really not boxing anymore.  Every trainer also has a story or two about a boxer who “fought twelve rounds with nothing but the jab and won.”    And it is a pretty cool punch to throw.  It establishes your pace, helps you find your range, and keeps your opponent at bay while you ready yourself to let loose with your hammer hand.

The jab also teaches an economy of movement.  A boxer’s body has to be aligned so that when the punch is thrown it’s not just the fist, but the momentum of the entire body that connects. The “boom” is the fist finding its target, but its fueled by the feet, legs, hips, chest and shoulder in one brilliant moment.  If you throw it and the body is misaligned, the punch doesn’t pack any power.  Sure it might look good, but it’s a waste of energy, or as Johnny used to say, “nothing but pitty-pat.”

And I guess that’s what I find I love most about the jab.  The possibility of its allowing me to find a moment when all things align.  My body for sure, but also my mind because in that moment, I’m not there, I’m in the punch; somewhere close to what the Buddhist’s call not-self.  Not to say that boxing is an aspect of Nirvana, but losing oneself in an instant of physical perfection is a nice way of tasting enlightenment.

 

You might also like:   No pitty-pat or Learning to box