Lemme Explain

Marty brought up boxing again today. Word had gotten around the gym that this was my new sport, and yesterday, Marty, whom I keep dragging out of the Nautilus room to put weights in his hands, wanted to know something.

"You mean you're willing to get hit?" he asked.

"Well yes," I said. "Of course."

He shook his head and that, I figured, was that. Until today, when he popped his head around the corner and asked, "You ever see Million Dollar Baby?"

I figured he was just making conversation around the topic, so I began a diatribe on the writing and lighting of the film, as well as some faux pas I had picked up on. I recommended another, tougher, female boxing film (Girlfight). But it turned out he was more interested in the plotline involving a hospital.

"I think what the training does for a boxer's body is fantastic," he said. "But I'm completely against the sport. I think it's brutal and violent."

"Yes, um," I said, or something equally articulate. "You, uh...have to understand that some of us need...that."

"To hurt people?" he countered.

"Why don't we call it contact sports?" I suggested.

"Head injuries are real, Amy," he said. "Just be careful, is all."

That finished us for today; but Marty is a regular, and this will come up again, I know. Seeing how much I've read for and against boxing, I was surprised at how I couldn't explain my motivation, even this early in the game. Of course, it remains to be seen how far I pursue this hitting business, but for now, it's absolutely the thing to do. But why? What was the "some of us need that?" getting at?

This will either be a very long or very short blog post. I could tell you why I started bench pressing and how that got boring, and then how boxing crept in there, flattered not only my strength but my intellect, too, and the affair began. About my shoulders, how they're more conditioned now and looking better, as well. My core, which is stronger and keeping my knees in line. How I used to huff the second I picked up a rope, and now I can jump for nine minutes (and counting).

And what it feels like to throw a solid, power-packed punch--the extension of the back, the engaging of the core, the POW.

I don't know that any of that will convince Marty. I'm too new at this to say for sure, but it seems you've got to have a certain something in you, some spitfire, to want to box; and if you don't have it, you might never quite understand.

Even now, the sweat still wet on my clothes, I can't tell you exactly why I subject myself to what ESPN has announced is the toughest sport in the world. I especially like one of the categories used to rank the 60 sports: nerve ("the ability to overcome fear").

Any ideas on building my defense?


  1. Hmm...for some reason my comment got erased. I'll try again later.

  2. I'll look for it. Usually, writing on a topic will spur some sort of resolution to my thoughts, but ain't happened yet.

    I have thought about the way boxing is an achievement, as in, "I survived boxing last night" (how I feel right now), and "I would never have survived that level of intensity even a few months ago."

    But that can't be enough motivation--enough for Fitness boxing, but not boxing. Then I thought about my husband and I watching a boxing movie. It finishes, and I'm ready to jump right into the ring. NOW. Need it. You don't feel this way? I ask Greg. Not really, he says.

  3. Nothing is more difficult. Nothing is more primal (with the possible exception of sex). Nothing is more frightening. Nothing is more thrilling. That's what kept me coming back. Fighting is deep in us - and some people, even if it's not part of their culture, will find it. You're most alive when you're fighting for your life.
    Yeah, head trauma is scary. That's why I mostly do BJJ now. But with a good team, you can limit the damage.
    As far as defense goes, you just need to work hundreds of rounds where you're mostly catching. I got good by standing there and letting the newbies try to hit me - round after round after round. You could do the same thing with a partner who you can trust, one who doesn't load up, just hits hard enough to let you know it's real.


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