A Night in the Ring – by Jo Burton

In the ring as in my life, there are choices – choices about how to be, how to respond, how to stay in relationship with an other, particularly when the going gets tough, how to reconnect with faith, how to let go, how to live with who you are, not who you like to think you are, how to stay in the reality of the moment.


Tonight I went to Father Dave’s Tuesday night fight club, as I have done many times over the past year.

I was led to boxing through deep, personal inspiration and I knew I needed to respond. It took alot of courage and faith, as I couldn’t believe that it was boxing I was being led to! Thankfully I could turn to Father Dave and his fight club where I continue to receive excellent instruction and where the art of boxing is held within a context of Love. This Love is present through respect and kindness, generosity and acceptance. Without this and Dave’s initial open and welcoming response, I would’ve perhaps pursued boxing in some way but I wouldn’t have received the gift of its being such a transformative experience in my life. There is nothing else in my life quite like boxing.

Tonight I went into the club and warmed up and chatted and enjoyed getting up a sweat and feeling my body get warm.

Then I went into the ring and really got quite a hammering! I started to feel concerned because it hurt and I kept getting hit and I could feel myself starting to sink. As I’m also a Mum, I was thinking I better not get too hurt, my child needs me!

Afterwards Dave told me what he saw happen in the ring. As he was speaking to me with his words of insight and understanding it felt to me that he was talking about my life. Dave was talking about what he saw in the ring but this is why boxing is so special to me, because I experience it as a microcosm of the way I lead my life. It’s just that in life I can hide but I can’t hide in the ring.

For someone like me, so good at hiding my true self and actually very clever at convincing myself and others, I find boxing one of the most efficient ways of punching away at this ‘respectable’ and dishonest pretence. My ego and determination are strong, so I know and knew that I needed something equally as strong to be able to start to knock some good dints into the veneer. When I’m working a bag, I will be punching away at those concrete, stuck, judgemental parts of myself and as I work consciously in this way I can feel a wonderful sense of integration and flow start to happen that I don’t have control over but that is a response to the combination of thinking and acting in this forthright, honest way. I need to do this. Whether I want to or not.

In the ring, Dave said he could see me getting tenser and tenser, wildly throwing punches out of fear and actually walking into the punches I was copping! In my fear, all my habits of feeling a victim, needing to blame, not liking my ego getting knocked about, not thinking any more, giving up responsibility – all came up to the surface. I couldn’t help it, and this is why boxing is so important. I simply cannot exert the same control! I have to relax! I have to let go! There really isn’t that much choice if I don’t want to keep copping beautifully aimed, strong, true punches from someone young and talented.

In the ring as in my life, there are choices – choices about how to be, how to respond, how to stay in relationship with an other, particularly when the going gets tough, how to reconnect with faith, how to let go, how to live with who you are, not who you like to think you are, how to stay in the reality of the moment. These are daily ongoing challenges for me and some days I really feel like I fail, while other days I enjoy the comforts of my illusions, only to have to face the truth at some point down the track.

I am getting to know myself pretty well and sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by the complexity of life. Somehow though, boxing brings a sense of harmony to the chaos for me. Boxing helps keep me honest because there is something honest at the heart of it toward which I can turn and keep fighting the good fight.

December 4, 2007

 

Jo Burton

Opera Singer, Fighter, Mum

About Father Dave

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four
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