Reactions are a Window of Opportunity

Reactions are habitual ways of dealing with situations.  We feel offended we get defensive.  We feel attacked, we flee or return the attack.  We feel lost we get desperate.  All of us have our own unique ways in which we deal with situations that arise on a day to day basis.

Boxers train to convert Reaction into Response.  The idea is that a Reaction is an energetic experience that combines the mental, physical and emotional.  The key to becoming more aware of having a Reaction is learning to know what the Reaction feels like in the body.  All Reactions are made up of tension somewhere on the range of fight, flee or freeze.  Once a Boxer learns to feel the moment when he / she is Reacting, he / she can begin the journey of converting this energy into a Response.

A Boxer I am working with frequently encounters extreme feelings of being overwhelmed.  He Reports that it is an experience of a dense Fog rolling in, damp, wet and gray.  This Fog becomes so thick he can’t see anything and he is afraid of taking a step in case he should fall into an abyss.  Once he freezes, his breath becomes so shallow and rapid that he quickly moves into a Panic Zone.  Sometimes he can’t shake this experience for days at a time.

Even though his experience is extreme, it is, fundamentally, a a series of Reactions  converging all at once.  When he senses the Fog, he begins tensing up in an effort to resist the inevitable.  The tension attracts more tension, begins to restrict his breathing.  By this time his mind takes over, judging, identifying, justifying, trying to make sense of things.

Once Reactions take over the mind, one is truly lost.    However, the mind can be used to convert the tension into physical calm in the face of action. In my client’s case, i introduced him to a Fog Burner.  A Fog Burner is a round object with two handles.  It projects an intense beam that cuts through the Fog, and, eventually, disperses it until there is a clearing filled with sunshine.

Just knowing such a Tool exists has provided my Client with a new found trust that he can learn to manage his overwhelming panic attacks.  Clearing away all the Fog does not happen over night, but, through time, it is possible.

Invite the Punch

Typically, when we defend we tense up to protect our self. In the Ring, in Everyday Life, If an attack is perceived a first Reaction is usually one of tension. This tension is more of a resistance to what is going to occur than a response to the degree of severity of what we are dealing with.

Learning to Invite the Punch begins with becoming familiar with the Tension Pattern we use in a moment of crisis.

One common Tension Pattern used to protect the self is a Shoulder Slump, when both ends of the Shoulder Girdle collapse forward. This brings the head and neck forward, making us more vulnerable to being hit.

Another common reaction to a punch is to shove the arms forward in a rigid flinching manner. This typically is accompanied by holding the breath and sometimes closing the eyes.

Trying to resist or get away from a punch only compounds the potential danger of the situation. Our fear of what is happening or going to happen overwhelms us and creates freezing sensations. The key to unlocking this Reactive Behavior is to actually feel what is happening. Tension is tension. Defensiveness is Defensiveness. Once a person becomes more familiar with what, exactly, these moments feel like in the body, the Options for other choices become more apparent.

Inviting the Punch provides us with the opportunity to Practice feeling what is actually happening. Boxing is perfect for providing many, many opportunities to get inside of our Tension Patterns. The Shoulder Slump gradually is redirected into a confident Lat Flare, and Flinching becomes an opportunity to load the Sling Shot and return to the present.

Stepping Outside The Comfort Zone

Stepping outside a Comfort Zone asks we get in shape. Habits are strong, and, therefore, comfortable.

We all want to get in better shape and health, and we all want what we envision. As it should be. The question is, how do we accomplish this?

Chris Uyyek is providing a Platform for this very question. Yoga meets Boxing meets Zumba meets Cross Fit meets Advocaremeets…on and on.

Boxing teaches an individual to Invite the Discomfort, Calm the Self Down, then look at the Options. I’m guessing all Movement Forms have a similar perspective, even if it is called out differently.

I ask for Feedback. How do you personally meet the Challenge of Discomfort, Calm Self Down and Choose the Best Option for the Moment?

Some of the Barriers Boxers Encounter

Boxing, the sweet science,  is not just a sport.  Most Martial Arts practice movement sequences passed down through decades, which allows the individual practicing them to  enter the spiritual element contained within the repeated movement.  Boxing is also an ancient practice, but there are no ritualized movements to memorize.  Boxing is very fundamental.  You have six punches, get in the ring and see what you got.

The primary barrier a  Boxer encounters  is his or her self.  All of us are familiar with being our own worst enemy, to some extent.  But, a boxer must test his or her fundamental skills in the ring with hitting and being hit the purpose of the exchange.  Most of us are not very in touch with our instincts.  We tend to fight, flee and freeze, and mostly at inappropriate times for what is actually going on.  a Boxer is not different.  His / her instincts have been blunted by being raised in a fear-based society.  The beauty of boxing comes when an individual lets go of the fear and turns the fundamentals into a sweet flow of interaction.

How does this happen?  A Boxer systematically trains to convert fight, flee, freeze reactions into response.  However, some of the Reactions run deep, very deep, have been passed on through the family for decades.  But, so has boxing been passed on through the decades.  When we reach out to boxing for help facing our fears, we do learn to break through the barriers that have kept us back all our lives.

Boxing is not about being perfect or doing something correct, it is about facing fear, in whatever form that takes.  Taking on our fears with confidence allows us to break through barriers that keep us from having what we want.

What Does Getting in Shape Mean?

Getting in Shape is a phrase many of us are familiar with.  What does the phrase mean?

First, select the word Getting. Getting generally implies a future process.  We want to get something or we are in the process of getting something.

Second, take a few moments to see what the in shape part of the phrase means to you.  All of us see a picture of what we will look like, therefore have, when we do Get in Shape.  Some of the common pictures are:  six pack, slim waist and thighs, stronger pecs, – these pictures quickly lead us to visions of a better life.  A better life could entail better jobs, relationships, increase in financial security, less stress, on and on.

Cappy’s Boxing Gym understands these desires, visions, and also understands the kind of work it takes to get where we want to go.  Getting in Shape starts with the four Fitness Principals of Strength, Flexibility, Endurance and Mental Focus. Repetition and Practice is key.  We all are strong, but learning what kinds of strength to use in any given moment takes flexibility.  When you stretch the body you stretch the mind.  Endurance is tremendously important – change means we will experience the discomfort of allowing the suppressed Self to Express – thus “changing” our Shape.

Mental Focus is everything.  Getting in Shape does not necessarily mean we will become our picture of the perfect person.  We will only become more of who we are.  Therefore, Getting in Shape is a far more future reaching decision than we might at first think.

I encourage everyone to start with some form of Getting in Shape.  It is the beginning of your journey to the core of who you are.

The Four Dimensions of Boxing

Boxing is known as the Sweet Science.  Not everyone knows that Boxing is more than a sport, and is more about learning how to face personal fear than about hitting and getting hit.

Boxing for Everyone is about getting in shape.  A Boxing Workout begins with Jumping Rope and progresses with different kinds of jumping drills, ab and core work, Shadowboxing and the most favorite, punching a Heavy Bag.  Great all body, cardio workout, AND you learn all boxing fundamentals.

Boxing is a Dialogue is about learning how to Spar.  When you don headgear and a mouthpiece, raise your gloves to cover your face, you will enter the ring of facing your fears.  Learning to Invite the Punch instead of Fight, Freeze or Flee is very powerful.

Live A Boxer’s Lifestyle is about applying what you have learned in the gym to everyday life.  We are constantly moving and interacting, even when sitting.  Through simple Awareness Drills, we can come to live life in a more engaged sense of mental, physical and emotional union.

And, the fourth dimension of Boxing is Mapping Adventures!  Boxing is all about Stories; everyone has Stories; when we tell the Stories differently we are changed; when we follow the Stories we fill in our own Map with newly found experience.

Boxing For Everyone

Boxing provides something for everyone.  A Boxing Workout gets you in shape.   It all starts with the Jump Rope, a simple bit of plastic with two handles.  It doesn’t matter if you are not experienced with the Jump Rope – you will learn.  Practice does get where you want to go.  As you master the Jump Rope, you will increase your cardio strength.

Then there is the core work.  Lots of Drills with a Medicine Ball, punching a Heavy Bag, planks and crunches, squats and Hanging Tucks.  Again, it doesn’t matter what shape you are in, whether you ever stepped into a Boxing Gym, the Workout is there for you to use as your path to getting in the best shape of your life.

The best part of Boxing is the opportunity for stress release.  We all have frustrations and pent up emotions that need to be released.  Punching a Heavybag provides the perfect way to do this.  In addition, punching strengthens the bones, making Boxing a good exercise for those of us getting on in years.

Then, there is the confidence that comes naturally to anyone who gets in shape working out with a Heavybag.  The kind of confidence that carries over into everyday life.  That makes sense.  Boxing is all about dialogue, in particular a dialogue with oneself, daring to be strong and confident not only in the gym but in everyday life.  And it starts with a Jump Rope.