A Force to be Reckoned With

I love boxing.

Full contact. Up close. Rough and tumble. I love the intimacy of it. The power and energy of it.

I’m not such a fan of training on my own with the heavy bag or skipping rope or shadow boxing. What I get a real thrill from is pairing up with someone to do pad work or sparring.

I’m looking to connect with the invigorated spirit in another person in a lively exchange.

I want to feel what they’ve got – what they’re made of.

As a healer I’ve cultivated a refined and delicate sensitivity and I love to surrender into the depths of tender connection with people, but I am also a feisty, thrill seeking, adrenaline junkie.

It feels so glorious to move with determination and strength.

A shared experience of liveliness and power holds much allure for me. I find the demonstration of a brazen spirit so deeply stimulating.

Not everyone brings as much of that as they could. Men nor women.

Not many people risk bringing themselves fully forward to really give or receive with all they can muster.

Neither in boxing or in life. But, being a really physical person, that kind of full bodied expression really activates my spirit. I’m totally up for digging in and finding courage to bring forth a gutsy exuberance. And supporting others in the same. That’s where life gets really rich and rewarding.

So when I box I’ve often spent a bit of time teaching people how to use the pads to catch my punches properly. Without any instruction most people just hold the pads up still and passive like a dead target.

But the way I’m received determines to a very large degree what I can deliver.

I really can’t make much impact if there’s no power in the receiving capacity of the pad holder. It soon becomes very dissatisfying and forces me to pull back and deliver to the level that I am responded to.

And of course it marries up that way in life as well. We don’t tend to continue for very long with passionate expression in the face of someone who is neutral and non-responsive. We’ll be much more inclined to move along to where there is a better resonance.

And so as I encourage people to be more dynamic in the way they respond to what’s coming their way in boxing, I’m also supporting them to respond in more animated ways to their environment in general. As they tap into more energy and presence and a willingness to be seen in that, there’s much more for life and people around them to engage with. In turning up the vitality inside ourselves the world suddenly flourishes with so much more possibility.

I really like boxing with men because I’m pretty strong for a woman and men have a better chance of delivering the power that I’m hungry for in an exchange. But many men, in seeing that I’m a woman, hold themselves back. Or perhaps more likely it’s just part of their stance in life in general. But either way, what I really want is for them to feel into the situation, feel into what’s available to them and to meet that accordingly. Even better of course than simply meeting is to lead, but anyway, at least to meet with equal energy and enthusiasm is a very good start.

There’s such deep affirmation and satisfaction in being matched by another.

My favourite boxing partner ever was a guy called James. He was about 25. There was a bit of crazy in his eyes. He didn’t hold back. I’m almost certain that he and I would sweat more between us than everyone else in the session put together. I loved how lively and spirited, gutsy and vocal our interactions were. We really wound each other up, reaching into our depths to show each other everything we had. We’d be absolutely shattered at the end. It was so satisfying for me. That’s what I want more of in life – to feel that I’m met by an energy as big as my own, responded to passionately and without restraint, to feel the exhilaration of dancing with another in all of our glorious, wild fullness. It fills me with joy.

At the same gym where James and I bounced off each other there was a lovely teacher called Gary. He was gentle and softly spoken when he instructed us in class but quite the master of menacing destruction when he fought in the ring. A real force to be reckoned with. Anyway, one day I ended up holding a bag for him to hit in training and it still stands out for me as a strikingly sexy experience. To feel the impact of his power ricocheting through me was incredible. It was so exhilarating. I feel almost self-conscious now as I write it because it sounds a bit perverse to be turned on by such a violent expression. But I didn’t feel violence in it.

I just felt the raw and potent power of a man in full flight.

The vigour of his aliveness was stunningly palpable. And that was what was so sexy to me. To be in such close contact with that potent force was breathtaking. I felt so alive with it.

Perhaps the passion I’m expressing here is more enthusiastic than many women might feel in the same situation but I feel confident that there is a deep craving in most of us to witness and feel more of the true depth of power in both men and women. I know I’m not alone in my appetite for it. I’m a very tactile, physical person so these physical demonstrations of power evoke a particularly strong response in me. Of course there are many, many different beautiful, tender, honest, vulnerable and revealing ways to express power as well, but this physical embodiment is a valuable part of what can be a many, varied and complex whole.

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