1. You Get Out What You Put In
Boxing is about doing the work. Sure, big guys can punch harder, but a big boxer can be beat by a fast one. A smart fighter can outlast a brawler. The game of boxing is about doing the work, there are no shortcuts. Showing up, putting in your time, and learning your craft are all part of it. There is no shortcut to memorizing a speech. There is no way to do Shakespeare without doing it. We must all keep a beginners mind. Every story starts with a blank page. As Bruce Lee put it:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
2. It’s never too late to switch stances and go southpaw.
User’s error. We all over estimate our talent and underestimate the amount of time it will take to succeed at something. Sometimes in the ring, your game plan doesn’t work. When this happens, you have to switch it up and go southpaw. Change your plan, improvise, adapt. Surprise your opponent by coming from a different angle to throw off their game plan.
“Everyone’s got a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
3.You will most certainly be knocked down, but you ALWAYS have the opportunity to get back up.
Being knocked down is a part of life as much as it is about boxing. We all fail. In fact, ask any actor and they will tell you this business is all about failure, and how you use it. Didn’t get that callback? There’s another audition tomorrow. Didn’t land that role? Back to the grind. Rest assured, the only thing that can keep you down is you. The best can get knocked down, but the greats know how to get back up.
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” -Alfred from Batman Begins
4. It’s Okay to Suck
Give yourself the gift of sucking. In today’s culture we are surrounded by experts, experts who don’t show their scars, experts who pretend they are savants and child prodigies. Yet, the start reality is that at some point everyone sucked, even Mozart. Sucking is freedom. It is an all-access pass to trying and enjoying things without this adult notion of being “good enough” Think you can’t do something because you’re no good at it? Imagine what you could accomplish if you let yourself suck. What would you do if you were not afraid to fail? All arts are about failure. The sooner we embrace failure and the willingness to learn the sooner we can evolve.
““Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki
5. Your Opponent
Imagine staring down your opponent, the person you’ve been training to fight for months, the crowd is roaring, and in a moment your rival is going to punch you in the face. The heart pounds. The blood boils. How do you conquer that enemy? Not the one in front of you, but the one inside you? There are tomes written about breath and body work, and anyone who has taken a body shot knows that the your breath goes you’re in trouble. Likewise, if an actor let’s the moment get to him, the crowd, the adrenaline, then his work falters. Therefore, boxing and training, just like acting, is not about conquering your opponent, but conquering yourself. The only real enemy you face is yourself. Each punch is an attempt to discipline yourself for success. Each rehearsal is showing up to put in the work to better yourself at your craft. Learn to breath. Learn to move. Learn to fight. Learn to conquer the only enemy that matters.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
6. Finish Strong
Hear that bell? That’s 30 seconds left in the round, and as any fighter can tell you it’s not how you start but how you finish. Many fights are won and lost in the judges eyes in those final thirty seconds. A weak round can be won by executing in those final moments. Just like in distance running, you want negative splits, where your first mile is your slowest and you gradually increase speed. Your first round should be solid, but you need to consistently increase the intensity as the fight progresses so that your last round is the strongest. The saying goes, “Leave it all in the ring,” and that’s exactly what you need to do. Even if you loose, there is pride in knowing you did everything thing you could at the highest level possible. If you give your best, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting. ” –E. E. Cummings