One more round

I started using my punching stand again recently. It feels good. The rush, the sweat, the exertion, breathing heavy after the exercise, like you’ve accomplished something.

I go at my own pace. A few punches, step back, stretch, squat, sit-up, push-up, punch the air slower, practicing form, and then go after the stand. Lefts, rights, left and right. Dance around, looking for my imaginary opponent, let the stress of the day go.

The activity forces my mind into the moment. I don’t overthink, I don’t dwell, I don’t worry. That’s something that’s good for me.

There’s something primal about the urge to fight, to test yourself physically. In a rational moment, I understand my own limitations: I’m not big or strong, and would likely get outmatched very quickly in an actual scrap. I don’t often feel the urge to engage anyone that way, and can remember times I’ve been angry enough to fight on one hand.

Sports used to bring that out of me. I played basketball growing up, and was at times a ‘chippy’ player, especially when I got frustrated. The narrative on having a punching bag is that it can be a good outlet for frustration. It has been for me, at times.

It’s different, now. Things have changed. I’m still someone who overthinks, but I don’t do it just to vent. There’s no ulterior motive typically, no person or thing, no angst to dispel. I’m just there to push myself, to stay in shape or get better, to respect the body that I have.

Once I get going, I love it. The heart rushing, pounding, the pull of my arms, the satisfying thwack of the glove against the bag. The rhythm as I go: left, right, both together, remembering to keep the hands up, elbows in, not over-punching.

I pull back to relax for a moment, and wonder why I ever stopped. It feels so good. With the rush, I feel that urge, the baser desire to test myself, to do more, pushing against fatigue as I go.

Tap the gloves, put them up again, tap the bag to check the distance. Hands up, elbows in. Time for another round.


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