Fighting Fifty In and Out of the Ring: My Sparring Diary, 1/22 Concentration and Pain

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Boxing, Fighting 50 in and out of the ring
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The diary of a 50 year old never-was gym rat who wants to keep sparring and is working with a couple of pro fighters as trainers and sparring partners. A look at the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of boxing.

I slept well and I was well rested having budgeted my workouts intelligently this week.

My trainer just signed on for a pro fight and he is well into his training camp. He lets me know that he’s getting a lot of work in but he’s glad to work with me because I’m left-handed. Southpaws give him trouble and he likes the practice.

Now this may not seem like a compliment to the uninitiated but it is and it is a significant. This pro thinks there is something worthy in my sparring to give him work. Nothing more, nothing less but it is something and it means a lot to me.

The bell rings for the first round and we start to move. Very soon into the round I notice something disturbing and I would love to hear from other fighters about if they can relate to this: I can’t concentrate.

I’m pushing my thoughts out of my head, I’m internally demanding to concentrate and still, I find myself thinking of other things–my day, my writing, my headgear, the noise in the gym. I think demanding in my head to concentrate is making it a bit worse.

Three quarters it is still going on and I find myself with my back to the ropes and my trainer throws a three punch combination that i catch mostly on my gloves by they rock into my headgear and i feel their force. they don’t ring my bell of register as pain but they register as force and as danger.

Instantly my concentration problems disappear.

Funny how that works.

Danger is an important and effective motivator. It let’s you know what is important in the here and now and it involuntarily narrows your focus like nothing else. I guess it occurs outside of the ring and it may explain why some people seem to get addicted to stress and trauma and may even seek it out.

It wasn’t pleasant being scattered mentally. it felt orderly to have my concentration back.

Anyone else feel this?

For other sparring diary and boxing blogs click here.

  1. Lisbeth says:

    I’m usually sparring against people who are better than me, and some of them go hard. I usually get my butt whooped. The few times they notice an explosion in me is when they hit me enough that the “danger” mechanism you describe kicks in, and my body takes over. Sort of saying to myself, “Alright, if you can’t think you’re way out of it, we’re going to punch our way out of it,” and then I’m focused. Short of being an all-out panic, I think danger does motivate us and makes us focus on the immediate threats above all other distractions.

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