When a boxing coach told me that the only way to survive boxing is breathing, I panicked. Yes, even that sent me to a paper bag. Not a good sign.
You see…. I grew up dancing, primarily tap dancing. It was arguably my favorite activity growing up (which then turned to softball), but breathing was the most difficult part. First, let’s set the stage. Pun intended.
I grew up wearing amazing sequins costumes, begging my mum to buy me sour life savers before every competition because they were lucky, and traveling from city to city dancing up a storm. Firstly a shout out to my parents because I don’t know how they afforded this. They definitely set the bar for parenting because I was just planning on giving my kids potatoes for entertainment.
In the last 2 weeks, my upbringing on stage has rushed back to me while I’ve been learning boxing. Let’s talk about why. But first, another amazing photo. Clearly that fireplace was a good setting for photos.
When I was younger, I used to hold my breath when I concentrated. I would get so nervous that I would almost hold my breath during my entire performance. Do you know how long those dances are? 2.5-4 minutes. My mum remembers me turning purple but my concentration took over my body to perform and after the dance I’d shuffle into the wings and gasp for air.
So naturally when that coach said I have a problem breathing, my mind rushed back to the side of the stage between the wings. I don’t know if I can learn how to breath properly. If there’s one thing that keeps me from mastering boxing, it will be this.
One other learning I have about tap came rushing back a few classes ago when I was struggling with footwork. Ironic? But first, another photo. Look at those jazz hands.
I was one of the best tappers in my class (according to my mum, going to trust her) but I’d argue that it never came naturally to me. I’m the type of person that struggles to learn something new, takes it home, practices like crazy, and then masters it. Some say: Who cares if at the end of the day you master a step? A dance? Anything for that matter.
The process is painful. You beat yourself up. It’s a relentless, exhausting process that unfortunately can’t be escaped for some people. For those who know me, I’ve always been hard on myself but it particularly shines when I’m learning something new. I guess you could say this has been one of the reasons I give myself these challenges.
It leads me back to boxing.
Every week they teach a new lesson so when I do 4 classes, the new material is shown on a Monday and repeated until Sunday. I struggle hard on the Monday, then I go 30-45 minutes early everyday and practice with a heavy bag until I get the technique. Then I add power and speed. Lose the technique. Start over again. I basically force myself to master quicker due to my accelerated goal so it’s a newer process but I’m still very mindful that this is how I need to learn. Perfection won’t be on day 1 for me, it never will. And that’s OK.
I think the lesson here is that there are always parts of you that will never change.
Learn about yourself.
Learn from yourself.
I’ve saved the best for last.