Lesson learned: Boxers are bloody intelligent.
The latest installment of my Fight Diary sees two weeks being combined. Mainly because I was away in the Lake District and then Scotland so I missed both sessions this week. Even though I factored this in and attended a couple of brutal 1-2-1 sessions with one of the coaches, Michael, I still feel guilty and as I type I’m itching to get back in among the group.
The Facebook group has been great for keeping up to date with what is going on but it also weighs quite heavily. I feel slightly apprehensive about going back having missed a few sessions. How much will the others have improved? Will my fitness levels have dropped? Have I got enough time to improve dramatically?
These questions will be answered in the coming weeks I suppose. Three and a bit weeks to be precise. That is a total of six sessions left. From what some of the one fight veterans have said the intensity continues right up to the final week, with the last session being where we find out our opponents. Even at this stage, several of the group have already been matched. I don’t think I have, as Tuesday’s session was the first weigh-in and I missed that. I’m totally guessing there as they may have someone in mind. While it’s naturally going to be at the back of my mind, I want to keep it tucked away there. It’d be a largely pointless guessing game. We don’t officially find out until two days before the bout so hoping or preparing for a specific opponent wouldn’t be beneficial.
Easier said than done. I constantly find my mind wandering towards the training and the event itself. I have another big event coming up in the form of the Great North Run, so my general fitness levels are much improved from where I started. Even in my limited wisdom though, I am quickly learning the difference between long distance running and the shorter, more intense fitness needed for boxing. Three 2 minute rounds. That’s what I keep telling myself. I’ve done it in sparring so there’s no reason I can’t produce the goods on the night. If that sounds like me trying to convince myself, it’s because that’s exactly what it is! Running (especially over longer periods) is easy for me. I can switch off mentally and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. And that is where this week’s lesson comes in.
Watching “Child Genius” on Channel 4 last week gave me an insight into my limited intelligence. I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way, but some of the children on there were spelling words I’ve never heard of. I consider myself fairly clever. I am educated beyond degree level but without the opportunity or application there is not a chance in hell I could answer questions on the history of Edward Jenner’s medical innovation and methodology. Given a short space of time, I could give it a go but the results probably wouldn’t be boast-worthy. I’m finding the same for boxing. I have a slightly more advanced starting point than 18th century medicine.
Having watched boxing for many years, I’ve seen the craft perfected and have, at least in my mind, seen how it should be done. The problem is translating that into my body and into the ring. Despite knowing I’m a rank beginner, emphasis on rank, I often get frustrated that I find my body subconsciously going against my brain. Keep your hands up, guard tight, punches loose, knees slightly bent, front foot at an angle, twist hips to generate power on backhand, hands up again, move your head. Each and every point that makes total sense and I feel confident I could identify while viewing. Putting them altogether is proving tricky. And those are the very basics. Before we even get to things like judging range and timing counters. So when you think of all the elements boxers combine, and the speed at which they do so, they regularly demonstrate a very high level of specialised intelligence. I’m no scientific researcher but it would be fascinating to see the brain responses from a top level boxer and just what they are processing when practising their craft.
So my fitness is coming on but my technique needs work. Who am I kidding? It all needs work!
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