Boxing The Art of the Goal

I recently went through the process of training for a white collar boxing fight.  I wanted a big physical challenge and without much thought, decided to sign up – after 12 weeks of training you’re matched and have 3 rounds to out punch, out smart, out manoeuvre your opponent.  I say not much thought because if I had really looked at this proposition forensically I wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole. 

Training at least 4 times a week, always having muscle ache and feeling fatigued, saying goodbye to having an evening out because you’re either too tired to move or training or on the way to training or on the way back from training. Pushing beyond all my physical and mental barriers to exercise, like my lungs screaming for air as my coach demands another 100 meter sprint from me.

  It hasn’t been a picnic, but most surprisingly I have enjoyed the training.  When I embarked on this herculean feat, I was most fearful of the physical exertion required to train, I knew it would be hard and it was but I didn’t reckon I’d enjoy being pushed and challenged so hard physically. Just to note, I usually felt the joy and elation at the end of a training session.

The most difficult part for me was the mental and emotional issues I faced, embracing the Queensbury rules and getting to grips with the ‘Art of Boxing’. There is so much to be aware of. You have to focus on your opponent, look at them square in the eye, but engage your peripheral vision to know what punches are coming your way. You need to be aware of your boxing stance, to shallow or long, you risk being off balance and reducing the power in your punches.  You have to proactively execute your plan, but reactively respond to what your opponent throws your way.  Concentration is key, loose concentration and you could be gifting your opponent the opportunity to put you on your behind…

As this journey has progressed, it has become apparent to that boxing imitates life especially in the area of achieving what you want, there are so many parallels that could be applied in the how to go for what you want.

Have the goal in mind

There is a definite end goal with boxing, stepping in the ring and boxing for the win.  Like most people I like to set a clear definite goal whether it’s related to career, health, fitness etc.  Whilst focusing on the goal, you need to be aware of what may come up on the journey. Do I need to tweak my plan so that I can achieve my goal, what golden nuggets present themselves that will get me to my goal – be focused on the destination but be aware of what may come up to assist or hinder the achievement of your goal.

Plan, plan plan

As well as the clear end goal, I needed a training plan. I knew what I would be focusing on in each training session whether it was punch drills, sprint training, bag or pad work, the plan was helping me to reach my final destination. If trained when I felt like it or just focused on what I wanted to, then I wouldn’t have been getting up at 6am in the morning to sprint up and down the street, I wouldn’t have been in the gym punching over and over again until I understood how to throw a jab. But as I worked with the plan and tweaked it based on my findings, it provided safety and surety as I knew where I should be and what I should be doing. I was encouraged to stay on the course as with each session I was getting fitter and stronger.
With any goal a plan of action is a vital key in success… As you tick off the tasks on your plan, it provides reassurance to take the next step and the steps beyond that. You’re not left guessing what to do next.

Take Action

As in boxing you need to always be doing something. You can’t throw your jab and do nothing it has to be followed by something else, another punch, a block, or a slip. The same can be said in goal attainment, taking action is the key, in order to achieve your goal; you have to do something, take consistent steps and until you achieve success…

Richard ‘The Secret’ Williams

A few years, whilst on my NLP course, I had to do an exercise which was all about modelling excellence, I decided to speak ex-boxing World and Commonwealth Champion Richard Williams (I didn’t have a clue at the time that I would ever be training for a fight). I wanted to understand what made him train hard, how he knew he had trained hard, what kept him focussed and what motivated him.  The crux of it, was that he didn’t want to get his ‘ass’ handed to him in the ring, but it was the following phrase that stuck out like a sore thumb…

‘Train Hard, Fight Easy’..

Wow – I though how simple but yet so profound… I thought about that phrase over and over again, and realised that I could apply it to so many different areas in life…

Plan hard, goal easy….

As I am still on my boxing journey, I am sure they’ll be more realisations that will present themselves to me, but right now I am enjoying what I am doing, making it easy to stay committed to seeing this through to the end.  In due course I’ll let you know all about fight night…

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