Boxers need mental strength. It’s a prerequisite to success - and survival - in the ring. I remember reading Norman Mailer’s book about the great Muhammad Ali. In it, the champ spoke about confidence. He said that a fighter mustnever show a lack of nerves to his opponent. Once you do that, you’re gonna get pummelled because you’ve shown him your weak spot.
And the thing with mental strength is that it isn’t just vital in the ring - it’s vital outside boxing, too. Mental strength is what separates winners from losers in any walk of life. It’s what builds discipline, patience, and resilience. If you want to get better at life, you need to get better at boxing.
Here’s how boxing builds mental strength:
Remember when martial arts superstar Bruce Lee said “be as water”? He didn’t mean that you canbe water. What he meant was that the mind is stronger than matter.
This is something that all fighters learn once they start training. Boxing is physically demanding - you need an immense amount of stamina, energy and ability to get through it, but what surprises many fighters is how much willpower they have in the tank, too. This is because it’s theirmind that gets them through.
Your body will be punished and there’ll be times when you want to quit. Even the great Ali hated training. But your mind - once properly trained - will keep you going with a “can do” attitude.
Imagine being thrown into a job with huge responsibilities with no formal training? Imagine being thrown into a rowdy boiler room on a blistering summers day and being told that if you don’t meet X deadline by 5pm, you’re finished?
Horrible. But if you’re a boxer who’s already faced high-pressure situations, you’ll be ready for the challenge.
Boxing puts you in the lion's den. It pits you against a fellow gladiator who wants your blood. He’ll move fast, he’ll swing a few deadly hooks. He’ll come close to ripping your head off. And you will need to deal with all of that mentally.
And you will. Over time, you will get used to it. You’ll slip out of a dangerous situation, dodging a rain of attacks with a cunningness you’ve learned over time. It will be tough, but over time you will develop a mental strength that allows you to deal with the high-pressure situation in the ring where crucial decisions have to be made in split seconds.
What’s your mental limit? You don’t know right now. Not until you start boxing.
We all think we have a limit but then the line gets moved again. What we thought was our limit wasn’t. Instead, we can go further and overcome more and more obstacles.
All boxers have self-doubt. They all question themselves. “Can I do this? Won’t I get scared? What if I get cut up bad?”
Your capacity for what you can take will be severely pushed - and you will come through it. You’ll get to what you thought was a limit - an imaginary one - and you’ll bash it over. Then, you’ll realise that thereare no limits to what can be achieved. Man has incredible potential to shatter limits and unleash the beast within him. Once one milestone has been achieved, it’s onto the next one.
Anyone who says boxing is a ‘blood sport’ that has no social merit is, of course, wrong. Boxing teaches us many things, and it improves our physical health. But if there’s one thing it teaches us above all else it’s the power of mental strength and inner fortitude. Don’t back down. Keep going. Reach your potential, bust down limits and soar.