Boxing / Thai Padwork
Boxing as therapy
What is it?
One on one sessions hitting the pads, learning natural movement, including everything in the diagram, using embodiment and breathwork techniques to get out of your mind and in touch with your body while learning self defence and getting fit.
Do I need to be fit?
Do I already need to know boxing?
Will it teach me to be violent?
It's actually more the opposite, like an exercise in dynamic meditation, through getting in touch with and exorcising the darker and more extreme of our emotions in this physical way, we can experience a lot of catharsis which helps lead us to the layers underneath, a place of nurture for our innate human vulnerability - learning to respect our own softness while developing the capacity to protect ourselves where needed in that process. To get all philosophical; It's more about the practice of remaining stable, balanced and grounded, fluid as water and light as air even under the most intense fire.
How much does it cost?
£35 an hour + cover of any travel/gym/training arena expenses.
Do I need any equipment?
Not really, I can provide everything although eventually it would be useful to have your own gloves and hand wraps, they can be bought from most sports stores.
Where can we do it?
Gym's, studio's, any kind of training facility with an open space, and the kind of privacy you would like. Outdoor sessions are also optional.
Will it teach me actual useful fighting/self defence techniques?
How often should I do it?
Once or twice a week for beginners would be enough, if you want to train more though it's also possible. Everybody finds their own balance.
Is it open to anyone?
Yes. Especially the vulnerable, disempowered and gender/sexual minorities (LGBTQIA), as not much of this market is targeted there, or if it is, it usually just teaches you how to dominate the dominators instead of breaking the cycle of violence within. With experience in all three of these categories, I would have loved to have been able to offer this to a younger self to help development.
OK so why all this? Whats your story?
Over the years fighting has taken me to many different places, of the most valuable, intense, terrifying and highly rewarding ones, have been the journeys inwards to look at the fight within myself, the really really dark feelings trapped in conflicts of the psyche trying to dominate one another instead of co-operate.
Violence has always interested and terrified me.
Alan watts once said:
"Violence and harmony depend on what level your lens is focused to."
He was alluding to what appears to be violence on one level, can look like harmony on another. The earth can look like a violent place, volcano's, tsunami's, lightning storms, all manner of natural aggression without even getting to what humans are capable of doing. Yet, when zoomed out to the lens of a whole planet, consuming, destroying and regenerating itself, from space, this pale blue dot, spiralling through emptiness at a gentle 70,000mph can look quite benign.
The same phenomenon occurs when approaching the human body; trillions of micro-organisims, attacking, destroying, breaking down, reproducing and trading biochemical elements together can scale up to the relative harmony of what appears as you and I, sitting quietly sipping tea.
Violence I've found much more to be in the perception of a system, a system that's usually moving to fast for awareness to notice the space between. It's the anger, the fire, the shaking of anxiety and panic which is itself the process of destruction, and an integral part of the transformational regeneration of life from within.
For me the fight game has been a spiritual quest.
Through fight, the journey inwards to dismantle an over-developed ego in search of humility has been (and continues to be) the greatest and toughest yet. To face the violence, anger, repressed sexuality and dissociated trauma within my own psyche has been heartbreaking many times over.
And ultimately, though still sometimes hard to swallow, for great benefit. Fighting and martial arts amongst other things like meditation, inner dance and NVC, has given me a different kind of strength I wish I'd have known growing up, it's helped me walk more confidence, and reconnected me to parts of myself I'd previously judged unacceptable.
In short, It's helped me become more me, and I'd like to give that to you.
Growing up I never really felt I had the right or courage to defend myself, I often felt over-sensitive and vulnerable, and developed a zealous inner critic. It led me to look to where in the culture I could find a sense of power, and cultivated a lot of anger which was then repressed through shame (see "Layers" illustration below) I wanted to be more like a thug, as they seemed to have all the glory and what I'd been subliminally taught to believe was the "good life". I wanted to shut my emotions down and become someone who could dominate those who were dominating me in the same way I'd been educated, through violence both in language and action. I had so little confidence in who I was against who I thought I had to be in order to get my needs for love, approval, affection, intimacy, support, empathy and connection met.
And so for a time it disconnected me wildly from my feelings. It was much easier to avoid feeling vulnerable by projecting repressed anger outwards onto enemies in the ring. The way it was pushed, and the way I played along into it, was not as an art that required me to be in touch with my feelings, but as an exercise in force, to block emotions and oppress the oppressors and continue the cycle of violence, within and without.
The environment I was raised in educated me to find identity and self worth outside myself in the opinions of others, and concerned itself primarily with achieving victory for a sense of self esteem. It's actually been as much if not more through being taken down a few pegs, and in loss that I've been able to get in touch with missing parts of the whole.
I wish I could offer something like this to a younger self, a place to exercise pent up aggression that comes with feeling out of place, susceptible to the judgement of many, in an environment that doesn't know how to support or nurture what doesn't conform, and feeling unsafe to express what was really alive inside of me.
My own challenges with trying to define an identity out of amongst other things, sexuality, have lead me to want to offer this kind of bodywork to people who may be feeling vulnerable with their gender/sexual identity like the LGBTQ (and any other initials) community.
If you'd like to know more please do get in touch and I look forward to hearing from you!