boxing training

Time to recalibrate: Small adjustments are part of the sweet science and the daily balance.

Footwork has always been challenging for me. I can’t dance, and it shows. When I was first learning the basics I would become frustrated by my lack of ability to move the way my trainer did, and at my miscalculations when it came to keeping my distance and properly regaining my footing. I’d be happy with a left hook only to realize that afterward, I wasn’t getting quickly back into a ready-for-anything stance. My coach would remind me with a push. He shouldn’t have been able to throw me off balance, and if he could, my stance was off.

The key, of course, is knowing when and how to make the small adjustments you need to make in the moment to recover or regain a solid stance so that you’re always in a good position to defend yourself. This is why those who are new to sparring will find that no amount of mitt work or bag work will get them truly ready for sparring. Muscle memory and conditioning are important, but much gets thrown out the window when you’re actually in combat. You aren’t going to throw and land perfect punches every time. Your opponent is a moving target, and so are you. You have to be able to adjust.

I’ve found that this particular lesson in the sweet science of boxing is also a part of everyday life. How many times during the year, week, and even day do we have to recalculate and make some adjustments to set things back on track? Gain a few pounds one week? Cut a few calories next week. Spend too much last month? Save and cut back on something the next month. Not getting enough sleep? Change your bedtime. You get the point. Making these small adjustments are part of every aspect of life if we want to be in the best shape in all ways – including physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Last week I was feeling like something was just “off” with my body and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I had to figure out that I was getting too much caffeine – just a bit – and needed to adjust the amount and the time I consume it. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are able to notice small changes and make corrections along the way, you’re in a MUCH better place than if you let yourself get to a point where you have to take drastic measures. I’d rather shave off a few calories here and there than suddenly find myself in need of a major diet overhaul. And I’d much rather have to adjust my stance during a fight than get knocked to the ground because I was off-balance. The smallest changes and the most subtle shifts can make a big difference. Being able to do this takes time, commitment, work, and patience. And that’s ok because you have the rest of your life to refine and perfect your knowledge, awareness and skills.

I find this also applies to my spiritual life. Once I made it a habit to pray first thing in the morning (ok, after I make coffee) I gradually became aware that if I skip this part of my routine, something feels off. It is only about ten minutes, but those ten minutes made a difference in my outlook, and my sense of calm throughout the day.

Taking the time to get to know what your body, mind, and spirit need to be well on a daily basis will help you be able to quickly recalibrate when you need to. Just like those small adjustments you make when sparring, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.

Be well and kick ass today.