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Life is your sparring partner

What if boxing taught us to live our lives better?

In order to become better, we often have to test our limits. When we decide to learn a sport that prepares us for competitions, whether it is team sports or individual sports, it is more than necessary to get used to confrontation. Boxing is obviously no exception to this rule. In order to box better and better, you have to face tougher and tougher opponents in training as your level progresses. This preparation is essential to be able to face real fights, the ones that take place in full view of everyone. This is why to excel in an arena, on a ring or a sports field, one must be prepared, sometimes months in advance, for the very idea of a rough confrontation.

Boxing, a metaphor for life

There are many elements in boxing that can be put into perspective with life. Finally, boxing can seem in some ways like a spun metaphor for life. Boxing teaches us that we must face most of the challenges that life throws at us on our own. It teaches us patience and rigor in order to assimilate its techniques and logic. The success of a boxer is often measured by the effort he has put in during his preparation.

“He who sweats in training will not bleed on the day of the fight”.


A sparring partner, the indispensable companion to reach the top

Facing a sparring partner is a must for any boxer who wants to prepare fights. If we compare this element to life, it simply refers to all the daily difficulties that we encounter. At first sight, these difficulties can frustrate us, irritate us and sometimes even discourage us. However, if we imagine that these setbacks are only small sparring partners put in our way to become better, then our outlook changes and we are more ready to face them. The difficulties we encounter are only small challenges that prepare us for even bigger ones.

Gandhi, a fighter for non-violence

If you want to change the world, consider the approach Gandhi took. He built a system of political struggle based on nonviolence, called “Satyagraha,” literally “attachment to truth. Before leading millions of people to a profound change in their way of thinking and ultimately to the independence of their country, Gandhi implemented this philosophy on a daily basis, but only on an individual level. In order to preach this philosophy, he had to live it thousands of times in his being so that it became second nature. He didn’t know what all these small daily victories would bring him, but he still took the challenge to be ready to step into the ring when he was asked to do so. For Gandhi, stepping into the ring meant taking the leadership of the Indian independence movement. He triumphed after decades of struggle using only his philosophy, which he was able to pass on to millions of people because it was rooted in India’s religious tradition.

Gandhi became this world icon only after having silently triumphed over the millions of trivial confrontations – his sparring partners – that life had in store for him.

Gandhi did not set out to become the Gandhi we all know, he simply worked diligently through the challenges he faced along the path of life, one by one. It was only at the end of this progress that he became the Gandhi we know. Gandhi would never have been Gandhi without the daily work he had undertaken.

So you don’t have to want to be someone to become that person. That is in the hands of destiny. You can, however, take a philosophy and vow to embody it every day of your life. This commitment will create a profound personal transformation. The thousands of sparring partners you will meet will help you to improve and strengthen yourself in your chosen philosophy.

Don’t look for a challenge, life gives you one every day

All spiritual traditions have the resources to cut the diamond in the rough that you are. Unless you have chosen a nihilistic or hate-based philosophy, all philosophies, whether Eastern or Western, have the ability to structure your actions to give you a framework that could be conducive to your progress, let alone your happiness. Since a true philosopher or spiritualist is forged in action, it is normal to want to go ahead of life in order to seek challenges. I would tend to say that no matter what you do, there will always be a challenge near you, you just haven’t opened your eyes wide enough to see it. So, I would say that there are a thousand opportunities every day to test yourself, so there is no need to go looking for challenges elsewhere.

You are also a sparring partner for others

Just as others can give you a hard time, you need to know that you are just as much a sparring partner for everyone who meets you. You don’t have to have this conscious thought in your mind all the time. You should know that there is a kind of Newton’s third law at work (the action-reaction principle): when body A exerts a force on body B, body B exerts a force on body A of the same magnitude, but in the opposite direction. Thus, if you strive to discipline yourself, to improve yourself in one way or another, the force you exert on yourself will be projected onto the rest of the world and will help others to progress even if for them, this force will be presented as a challenge that they will not necessarily want to accept.

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