A couple weeks ago I was in Canmore, Alberta visiting my little brother, Nick. “Little” isn’t the best word to describe him though as he towers over me and outweighs me by about a hundred pounds. Nick owns and operates Canmore Fight Club, a great training facility for boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, fitness and other disciplines. He’s also the 2010 Alberta Super Heavyweight Golden Gloves boxing champ and I know from first-hand experience growing up how good he is at beating people up.
Naturally I decided to step into the ring with him.
Considering the biggest workout I get in a typical day is walking from the copier room back to my cubicle, I probably wasn’t as fit as I should have been to go toe-to-toe with a seasoned brawler. The only advantage I had was the fact that our mother was also there, filming the whole thing, and I knew that if things started to get ugly I could jump out of the ring and cower behind her (a very effective strategy I’ve been using since childhood to escape my brother’s wrath).
I learned a lot about boxing from my debut into the ring. Most of it I’ve since forgotten as a result of taking too many blows to the head. Here’s what’s stuck:
- Boxing is exhausting. You wouldn’t think three minutes of circling each other and tossing a few punches would be tiring, but I was FREAKING worn out by the time the bell rang to signal the end of the first round. I didn’t even attempt a second round I was so whipped (and terrified).
- Getting punched in the head hurts. Getting punched in the head several times in a row also hurts. And I’m going to step out on a limb here and suggest that making a living out of getting punched in the head also hurts.
- Standing toe-to-toe with someone throwing punches at you is counter-intuitive. The biggest problem I had while boxing Nick (besides my noodle arms and glass jaw) was fighting the urge to turn away and crouch into a little ball to escape a flurry of punches. Squaring yourself away against someone whose fist is flying towards your face goes against basic survival instincts. I learned that it takes more than the capacity to absorb a lot of punishment to be a boxer. There’s a lot of technique involved.
- It’s hard to remember technique when adrenaline takes over. In addition to technique, there is an incredible amount of mental discipline involved in boxing as well. It takes a disciplined mind to remember and stick to the techniques associated with the sweet science. Before we got in the ring, Nick walked me through a lot of the boxing basics. The second the bell rang though and my sasquatch-esque baby brother came lumbering toward me, all technique flew out of my head and I forgot everything he taught me. It takes a lot of discipline I think to keep your technique while adrenaline is pumping through your veins.
- Boxing is a sick form of meditation. It’s amazing how everything else in the world fades away when you’re in the ring. Much like other sports, boxing is a great way to clear your head and singularly focus your mind on one thing (in my case, avoiding getting my teeth knocked out by a super heavyweight champion).
Nick is hosting K.O. Cancer: Rumble in the Rockies on August 28th. This is shaping up to be an amazing event, with all profits being donated to Cancer care charities. K.O. Cancer will be Canmore’s first ever boxing card. The outdoor slugfest, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, will be held at the Canmore Recreation Centre Field and will feature local talent—many of whom have been trained by Nick—going at it.
Nick himself is scheduled to box a former Commonwealth Games champion for the card (which is sure to be a much more entertaining fight than the one he and I had). In addition to the main event, Canmore Fight Club will be offering free classes during the day and have activities for the whole family.
Nick is also selling tickets for a raffle for those who still want to support the event but aren’t able to come out to see it live. Tickets are $20 each (100% going to charity) and the raffle prize pack includes things like Canmore Fight Club gloves, wraps, shirts and more.
Be a boxer? Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.