Dealing with Psychological Problem of Getting

There are a lot of beginners who are seemingly leery of "getting hit" - and yet they have a desire to take boxing. Some are concerned with getting brain damage; others just fear being hit...HARD. I don't think anyone of experience doubts that striking skills are important to a fighter: on the street, in tournament - wherever a fight takes place - knowing how to hit (and just as important, knowing how to avoid, or deal with, GETTING HIT) are invaluable to a fighter.

We who have Muay Thai experience know that there really isn't that much to worry about in learning true striking disciplines - but it is hard to convince the uninitiated that trading blows is really no big deal. While I am certainly no threat to any boxing title, I have learned the basics, and beyond, in the "sweet science" of boxing. I can honestly say it took me about a year to a year-and-a-half to RELAX in the ring. To be comfortable in going head-to-head with a professional fighter. To stop worrying about GETTING HIT and to start concentrating on HITTING. In my gym I saw many people come to take up boxing, but then QUIT after being hit a few times. The reasons were always two-fold: 1) their fragile egos couldn't handle the idea of losing, and/or 2) they had the mindsets of cowards; they couldn't control their FEAR of being hit. Basically, both 1 and 2 involve improper mindsets. For the benefit of those forum members who have no striking experience, but want to acquire it, and yet allow their FEAR to stop them from trying, I will analyze the proper mindset one needs, and address these two negative factors which get in the way of a proper mindset.

1) Not being able to handle losing. If we decide to learn tennis, we realize that we will never be able to go on a court and whip a pro. Same thing with weightlifting -we realize we can't just walk into a gym and bench press 500 lbs. WE HAVE TO WORK AT IT - for years. Muay Thai - same thing. You have to work, for years, to get good. Really good. Yet for some reason many of us think we can just walk up to a professional boxer and knock him out. We view ourselves, inside, as "the ultimate badasses" when it comes to punching power. When we step into the ring for the first time and get the snot beaten out of us, we can't handle it. Our egos are shattered. How many of us have heard drunk idiots, watching the fights on TV, say "Hell, I could kick his ass!" as they watch some fighter get defeated. Those who utter such nonsense deserve to be instantly teleported into the pit with the losing fighters they're ridiculing to see if they really can "kick his ass." Their bold declarations would soon turn into pleas of mercy.

Face it: when you first go to a Muay Thai boxing gym EXPECT TO BE DEFEATED WHEN YOU SPAR, but have this expectation IN A POSITIVE WAY. By that I mean LEARN FROM EVERY LOSS. Look at what the other fighter is doing to you, study it, and then TRY TO EMULATE WHAT HE'S DOING. This is the proper mindset to get better: forget about your ego, you're in there TO LEARN. When you lose as a beginner (and even when you're experienced), you turn those losses into BENEFITS by realizing that the superior fighter kicking your ass is TEACHING YOU SOMETHING. Eventually, if you have the guts to stick with it, it will be YOU who is kicking ass. This leads us to the next mindset problem.

2) A natural tendency towards cowardice. A brave man is one who recognizes a danger, he feels the fear, but he CONTROLS THE FEAR and faces the danger anyway. A coward also recognizes the danger, he also feels the fear, but it is here where he chokes and lets that fear CONTROL HIM and thus AVOIDS the danger. MOST OF US FEAR WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW. If we know something, we are comfortable with it, so what's there to fear? If we DON'T know something, we're wary, concerned, FEARFUL OF WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. It is bridging the gap from NOT knowing how to fist fight, to KNOWING how to, that we need to cross. The brave man decides to go learn; the coward never tries. The brave man controls his fear and ventures into the unknown (where he will soon KNOW - and thus no longer fear) whereas the coward is controlled by his fear, avoids the unknown (and thus he will NEVER KNOW - and thus ALWAYS fear). Well so how does the natural coward control his fear and become brave? [We've all been here.] It is through the internalizing of the basic principles of human effectiveness. My Muay Thai trainer always told me "The Lord said it's more blessed to give than to receive...and that's especially true in Muay Thai." I used to laugh at this, but the older I got, and the more fighting (as well as LIFE experience I gained), the deeper I internalized this wisdom. For instance, here comes Christmas In this holiday season you will find the one great division of mindsets amongst the populace: those who are worried about what they'll GET, and those who are worried about what they'll GIVE. Those people who only worry about what they will GET are the small of spirit, shriveled and unevolved. Those who worry about GIVING are the happy ones, the ones we like, the ones who shine. By the very nature of giving, we EXTEND OURSELVES, our limits, and thus we GROW. By the very nature of TAKING, we withdraw into ourselves, and thus we SHRIVEL. Those who worry about what they're GETTING for Christmas make inferior human beings. Those who worry about GIVING at Christmas are superior human beings. THE SAME TRUTHS OF MINDSET APPLY IN BOXING (and in anything). If you step into the ring worried (or, worse, elect NOT to step into the ring), you will never grow. You will curl up in a ball and TAKE punches, because you're mindset is focused on what you'll be GETTING instead of what you'll be GIVING. The mindset of a true boxer is worried about HITTING, not BEING HIT. He learns the necessary defenses only so that he can CONTINUE HITTING. The negative mindset worries about being hurt, GETTING HIT, and so will never amount to anything but being a whipping boy.

Boxing Simplified

Boxing Simplified

Devoted as I am to popularizing amateur boxing and to improving the caliber of this particularly desirable competitive sport, I am highly enthusiastic over John Walsh's boxing instruction book. No one in the United States today can equal John's record as an amateur boxer and a coach. He is highly regarded as a sportsman. Before turning to coaching and the practice of law John was one of the most successful college and Golden Gloves boxers the sport has ever known.

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