Confessions of a Mystified Fighter

Had quite the interesting experience today, and I feel the need to get it out and get it down. Went to the Meadows with the boys for some Sunday afternoon boxing, just like home, only a bit colder. I’m glad we were able to set up a regular day so quickly after my arrival here. buca brought his cameras and snapped some excellent digital and regular black & whites which we should have up in no time. People were wandering by, taking a stroll or walking their dogs; most stopped to watch the action for a moment before continuing on their days.

My opponent was Dinky, a South African chap I’ve befriended of late, who really has a passion for fencing and sword-fighting, but when competition and physicality is in the cards, I guess we’ll all do whatever we find fills the void. He’s a stocky lad, about 160 lbs and quite young, but a good match, to be sure.

Dinky put me down in the second round, for the very first time in my life.

Now, to make things a bit more clear, hopefully without the air of excuses. Dinky is over two weight classes above me, was wearing lighter and thinner gloves than I (12oz vs. 16oz), and we *weren’t* supposed to be aiming for the head. We were doing body shots only, and one of his rights nailed me on the side of the chin as I was coming in, and the next thing I knew, I was at his feet looking up, and totally disoriented.

I immediately thought to myself, “Shit. I can’t fucking believe this.” I jumped up and woozed around for a minute and tried to shake it off, but I knew if this was a real match, I’d be fodder for an onrushing opponent. I hadn’t been hurt or concussed, but I had lost my ability to stay up for a brief few seconds. The long and the short of it is that I pasted him for the next two rounds with little problem, eventually causing him to retire, but the damage had been done. I got floored for the first time.

I learned something very valuable today. I understood on many levels an aspect of the sport that I had never experienced before, and that boxers have to go through on a regular basis: complete and utter failure to control a physical aspect of one’s body. Everything was spinning as I tried to clear my head, and I realized that I had absolutely lost control of my legs. I didn’t even remember going down, and I never saw his punch coming. There was nothing I could have done. Totally uncontrollable.

Now, I’ve been fighting for over two years, have competed on the amateur level, and I’ve regularly sparred with tons of people of all weights, including massive heavyweights who have hit me flush on the chin, in the nose, and in the body. I have felt momentarily woozy, but have never lost my faculties before. Dinky wasn’t that big, and the punch wasn’t that forceful. But there’s this button, so to speak, on the side of everyone’s chin. And it turns off the brain’s ability to connect with the body, if only for a split second. I’ve talked about this button to my friends who I’ve trained with, but always thought I’d had a good chin based on my experiences in the ring. Now I know that everyone is vulnerable.

It’s actually more of a psychological blow than a physical one. It’s a bit troubling that my ego has a hard time coping with this. There’s something emboldening about claiming to have never have been put down. But on the other hand, there’s this: they say the true measure of a fighter is his ability to get up from a knockdown and come back to win. That’s the heart of a boxer, something that can’t be measured by height and weight and his number of knockouts.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t expecting to get hit on the chin, it was my own fault for not protecting myself, and I told him this before we ever began. From now on, I have a deadly serious respect for the ability of a fighter to take a shot in such a vulnerable area and keep control of his body. I understand, finally. We never stop learning in this sport, and even though I have a decreased sense of invulnerability, I truly feel wiser to have experienced this. And I’ve thought long and hard about what I can do next time to make that threat less threatening. Gotta get better; gotta grow.

Perhaps next time, we’ll actually be going for head shots, and I’ll knock his shit *out*. But we’re friends, and no one wants to really see that happen. Do we?

21 Responses to “Confessions of a Mystified Fighter”

  1. buca Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 6:29 am

    thems the breaks
    One of the shots – I'll get the others to you on CD ASAP.
    <img src="; alt="" align="bottom">
    oh, and the darkroom is now set, all we have to do is set up the developer solutions (tomorrow, should do the film then, printing later on)

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 6:41 am

    Re: thems the breaks
    Well, thanks for getting my *good* side.

  3. buca Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 6:46 am

    Re: thems the breaks
    all the ones of your good side are blurry
    leastways due to shutter-lag there is not a single pixel demonstrating the killer blow 🙂
    seriously though, if the ones on the SLR come out good, then we should try it again… and we can play with the digital for your stance
    shutter lag is a pain in the arse though… we could also try with you unit, see which is best for it?

  4. divineseduction Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 8:18 am

    Couldn't resist…
    What, you have a bad side? 😉
    < /grin >

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:08 am

    Re: Couldn't resist…
    Aw, you're sweet. My bad side was the one where I was eating the grass for a few seconds.

  6. divineseduction Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:30 pm

    Re: Couldn't resist…
    My bad side was the one where I was eating the grass for a few seconds.
    All the easier to.. ah, nevermind. *grin* < /big bad wolf voice >.

  7. original_aj Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 8:49 am

    If Dinky is looking for people to play swords with, point him at me. I don't know how he plays but we might find some common ground. We do pre-rapier style swordsmanship, not fencing style pokey stuff.
    I know what you mean about the shot you never see – no matter how good you get, if you just don't see it then it'll get you.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:10 am

    And that's why boxing, and any other martial art, is so amazing. No matter how well-trained you are, and how high your endurance level is, the fight can always hinge on one punch.

  9. cygnoir Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 9:54 am

    I have already composed and erased several potential responses to this post, all of them involving a lot of clucking and fluttering and general "don't get hit in the HEID because I like your HEID" sentiments.
    Those aren't really what you need to hear. Although I have a *bunch* saved up, should you ever need to hear them.
    You learned an incredibly important lesson, and you are internalizing it in the most graceful manner possible. Despite your vulnerability, you are strong, and now you are even more prepared for future sparring. I am proud of you.
    (I would like to put in a request that future incredibly important lessons do not involve getting hit in the HEID. Just, you know, my preference.)

  10. buca Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 1:06 pm

    best not encourage him into singlestick fighting then, its heid shots only
    or Philipino Stick fighting for that matter, or compression wrestling (tap out or pass out)

  11. cygnoir Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 1:14 pm

    *shakes her tiny fist at you*
    I would be the last person encouraging him into anything involving only heid shots!
    Just for that, I'm adding you to my friends list!

  12. buca Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 1:19 pm

    Re: *shakes her tiny fist at you*
    hah hah, so the heavy weapons training will have to wait (till Pie Eater gets back!)
    single stick can be rather extreme, its basically sabre duelling but with sticks and the only scoring target is head. So you can hit other areas though, so they hurt, then you go for the head… its quite nasty as you can probably surmise.

  13. cygnoir Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 2:25 pm

    Re: *shakes her tiny fist at you*
    Your acquaintance with endeavors that involve bodily injury is impressive. I can only speculate as to how you've become so well-informed. And … er … Pie-Eater?
    <lj user="funkyplaid"> can always do whatever he wishes, but my Strong Preference is for sports that avoid the bashing of my favorite heid. 🙂

  14. buca Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 2:33 pm

    Re: *shakes her tiny fist at you*
    erm, I used to do some of it, and I know a lot of people who still do. Pie Eater comes from a land where they tie maidens to railway tracks and burn down orphanages (sp?). <lj user="funkyplaid"> has still to meet him, but he surely will.
    But his heid is reasonably safe….

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:16 am

    Re: *shakes her tiny fist at you*
    Now these are my friends.
    They all get together to talk about the myriad ways that one can get beaned in the head.
    I love 'em.

  16. agntprovocateur Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 2:34 pm

    Re: sticks on heids
    my daughter's class does thatkind of stick sparring. only they use the foam sticks. heh head shots are worth 2 points and body shots 1 and misc stupid body parts are worth .5 points.
    the sticks are twice as long as the 7 year olds!

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:14 am

    Now *that's* love.
    Thanks for your feathers, darling.
    Lesson learned, yes. Graceful internalization, I don't know. Just makes me want to run, and train, and hit things more often and harder. That can't be healthy!

  18. agntprovocateur Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 10:21 am

    ooo not the head, not the hair either. heh
    i want to show the photos to the lil one and read her parts of this post. i think she will learn something from it.

  19. inkbot Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 12:33 pm

    ooh, i like the new avatar!
    ev's tryin' to get me back into fencing. i want to; i just can't afford it. now, goin' out in a field sans equipment, that i could do! my face has enough reorganization for now, tho. i'm with 'sted on the noo heit'n oon tha heid. u be careful! k, enough with the girlie speak. win! win, dammit! above all! smirk.
    not-so-recovering tomboy…

  20. kratkrat Says:
    September 22nd, 2003 at 2:44 pm

    See? I knew I was smart for never tusslin' with ya… you're too ornery for me! You'd make quick work of this large, slow, pacifistic fat man, for I know not where the chin-button is.
    And I STILL say that you'd have won that amateur bout of yours that I saw if it went just one more round. You had the guy reeling, he just won on points from the early rounds while you were getting your ring legs.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 23rd, 2003 at 8:21 am

    That's kind, Jer.
    I never felt that I staggered him, but one more round and I would have had him down. I think I had more endurance and got my second wind faster, but you're right––it took me quite a while to get my "legs," and I paid for it with the loss.
    And I was overwhelmed from all you guys screaming your fool heads off.

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