Boxing Is The Last Refuge Of The Modern Day Warrior

Food for Thought


             Four corners, one canvas. Gloves are the brush and blood is the paint.

People start full-contact sports out of various reasons: to gain a good physique, to gain confidence, for self-defence, to release stress, to beat someone up, or even to get over the fear getting beaten. The idea of full-contact is the proper experience of a fight, of pain and of fear. It means getting a clean hit on your opponent and scoring points in accordance.

“Don’t you feel weird playing this violent sport?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

When the first hit lands, yours or your opponent’s, there is a rumble. The world around you starts to shut down. People aren’t noisy, the lights aren’t distracting, and all you see is the man (or woman) in front of you. It’s something like a trance. Thoughts turn wordless, and the mind plays videos of past experiences at high speeds over and over. There are two voices, very loud, and very powerful. One screams in pain, asking you to stop: this is your body, responding to the hardship. The other voice demands you to do better, to fight back, to outlast, and to conquer: this is your mind, more accurately, your ambition. These voices fight each other on the inside as seriously as the fight goes on outside.

“Who really makes beating someone up as their career?”

“It’s hard to explain.”




The sad reality is that nobody will ever come to choose a sport as a career with ease. Parents, when introduced to the idea of this, tend to flip like a mantis flip coin (Shaolin showdown reference … ah, good old cartoons). Coaches, these days, are also usually discouraging and don’t really put effort into getting licenses and fights for aspiring athletes. Boxing is not beating someone up, it’s not hitting to injure; it is hitting to prove, to outplay, to outthink, outmaneuver, outsmart, outrun, and maybe, eventually, hopefully, knockout. A knockout is not some heavy injury or a permanent scar. It is just the lights going out due to shock and/or exhaustion.

“Why can’t you eat this? Are you some kind of a girl? Do you need to diet to stay fit?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

When the match is coming up, a boxer usually has to follow a very strict diet to reach the required weight for his weight-class. This, in some cases, means sacrificing all sugars, all fats, and most carbohydrates, and this also means very less or no water intake during the day. This usually disturbs those around, and they tend to make it worse, by either ridiculing the effort or shunning it. Nobody knows how essential the pre-match diet is until they have failed a weigh-in before a match.

“This violence is dangerous for you. Why can’t you just do something else, like swimming?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

Once someone gets into boxing, it is very difficult to leave. Boxing is not a profession or a passion. It’s a lifestyle. A boxer thinks about boxing in his free time, throws jabs as he thinks about something else and does 10 pushups when he gets up every morning, in order to wake up. There is a joy in the engrossment, there is peace in this chaos, there is happiness in the pain of the day after the match, and there is pride in the memories made, whether the fights were won or otherwise. Once educated enough in the sport, a boxer always tries to convert everybody to be boxing-friendly, to try out what it feels like to wear handgrips and gloves, what it feels like to step on the canvas and bounce against the ropes, and to at least understand how liberating the experience can be. I’m proud to say that if scenarios allowed, I would choose boxing over anything else as a career. I wouldn’t say I tried my best, but I tried, and to my limits I will keep trying. I hope the situations change for generations to come.

“Is this boxing all that good?”

“Let me explain.”