Mental Toughness: How Boxing Improved My Killer Instinct

I started my boxing training about a year ago. About 6 months to this date, I've been very serious about it. Besides the physical benefits, I noticed that I developed mental toughness that I never had before. It was a good feeling. I developed an aura. I've always had an alpha male quality that developed right after high school. It was clear but lately, it's been defined or rather, refined. I would best describe this mental development as a killer instinct that can only be recognized by other alphas.

I've always had a knack for punching. It was realized late in my life when a close friend invited our inner circle to his basement to pound his heavy bag. I thought, "hell yeah!" I quickly realized that I had some aggression that was easily relieved by some hard body shots and hooks. You know what? It felt really good. It was like every punch I gave the bag released stress. I loved it. That hot summer afternoon, my knuckles were sore and swollen. I was hurt, but it felt good. This was the beginning of what now is a passion.

Late that summer and early fall, I purchased some gloves so I could spar with my brother and friends. It was fun. We recorded ourselves sparring. I wanted to keep a record of how much we improved. At first, it was a trial thing. Deep down, I knew I wanted to get serious with boxing but like most things, I needed friends to support my new hobby.

What started as a big group, ended with 2. After I introduced some of my friends into boxing and we started sparring, only 1 friend survived. We had the passion for it and we continue to spar regularly to this day. Boxing and sparring is not for everyone. There's lots of injuries involved but that comes with the territory. Most people, including myself, have the fear of getting hit. It was something I got over quickly. Some people just simply can't overcome this fear. No one wants to get punched but I found a way around it. I mentally prepared myself to get hit and hurt. When you expect to get hurt, you are ready when it happens. This mental toughness manifested into physical toughness. I trained myself hard to condition myself to the pain I might receive. My killer instinct rose like mercury in June.

Modesty and It's Applications

As my killer instinct increased, so did my skill. I live in a rough neighborhood. In fact, someone was murdered in my basement a few weeks ago. I want to defend myself if ever I need to. If my knife can't save my life, I hope my fists can. As a result of my improvement, I had to keep my ego in check. Being publicly humble is very important. I would much rather be underestimated than overestimated. I would get caught shadow boxing everywhere including work. Co-workers would make jokes all the time. I would get corny lines like, "Who's winning you or the air?" and "That's some competition right there." I didn't mind. After a while people would ask me what I was training for. I would make light of the situation or say, "Just for fitness, nothing serious." My plan worked. It's important not to show your strengths to people "above" you. In a working environment, instead of being impressed, people tend to feel threatened. You must appear weaker and lesser than those around.

Beyond my humble exterior, I knew deep down how good I was. Not being cocky, but if you knew you were better than others at something, you'd feel like the man too. There's nothing wrong with being cocky in your mind and modest outside. It's a realization of the truth. Much like how the sky is blue, I am better than most people. The people I used to think were tough were really wuss. As my presence grew, I noticed myself looking at all without fear. I would walk down the street not afraid to look anyone in the eye. Those that felt my strength reflect respect with a nod and I return in acknowledgement. My confidence increased and my killer instinct realized. As real recognizes real, my respect was given to those that had the same qualities I have. I would pay the quiet but strong while looking down on the weak and loud.

How Boxing Revealed My Killer Instinct

Boxing is not for everyone. Most people just can't get over the mental hurdle of getting hit. Some people can but they just cannot punch no matter how much they practice. Some people are born natural punchers. Boxing has helped me achieve a state of physical and mental health I never thought I would see.

There's something to be said when sparring someone. It's intimate. Not in a sexual way but undoubtedly still personal. When you exchange punches with someone, you feel their strengths. You feel their weaknesses. Likewise, they feel your powers and vulnerabilities. It's a primal ritual of competition at it's rawest. When we come out of hard sparring, it results in a mutual respect for each other. We tested ourselves physically and mentally. We touched gloves. I've always had it in me. Boxing help me see. I suppose I have been misleading you. After writing this article, I realized a more appropriate title would've been, "How Boxing Revealed My Killer Instinct." Thanks for reading. Fight hard and train hard.

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Comments 6 comments

MG 5 years ago

"Boxing is not for everyone. Most people just can't get over the mental hurdle of getting hit. Some people can but they just cannot punch no matter how much they practice."

I started boxing a month ago and I don't know if it's a beginners thing, but i've got this problem. Do you think i'll be able to overcome this? It's not I can't handle the punches from the sparring partner, but I've got problems with comebacks and stuff.

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Set's All Set 5 years ago from New England Author

MG, so you are saying you have a problem with counter-punching? If this is the case, work on the bread and butter counter punches. I noticed when I was first sparring, I would close my eyes when I get hit. You are probably doing this too. Don't do this. Keep your head up and your eyes open. I don't mean keep your chin up, but your head. Lots of beginners tend to "duck and cover" when they get blasted with a flurry. Don't do this. Bend at the knees and squat rather than the waist. You'll get less tired. Practice sparring light. Really light. Light sparring is great to test out tactics. This way, you won't "respect" your partner's power and work on you counter-punching. This helps you time your punches.

If your partner is the same stance as you, work on countering jabs with your check hooks if he over-commits. If your partner is the opposite stance, you can lead with the straight.

Boxing is a sweet science. I don't have much info. Your height, weight and style might be helpful. Also tell me more about your partner?

From what you've told me so far, I say work on your jab. Really work on it. The jab counters speed. If your partner is throwing lots of punches, he is usually setting up combination. When you jab and hit him in the middle of a flurry, it will throw off his rhythm. Once his rhythm is broken, you can counter off the jab. Usually it's a 1, 2.

CL 5 years ago

I have the same story and i use to always shadow box with myself and my friends would laugh at me. I also learned to interrupt combinations by throwing a jab. Although i'm not professionally trained, Instinct, dedication, and experience taught me a lot. Could you please give me some pointers on throwing better power punches? Especially the straight right hand, i'm having trouble connecting it.

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Set's All Set 5 years ago from New England Author


I wouldn't worry about what your friends think about you boxing. To me, that is very silly if they laugh at you. At the end of the day, you're the one packing the punch, not them.

As far as power punches, the hook is in my opinion, the hardest punch to throw, next is the uppercut. The straight should be the easiest power punch to throw since it's the most "natural." I'm a southpaw so I'll try to translate what I do vs another southpaw. When I throw the straight, I use my jab as a range-finder. I only need to "touch" with the jab. If I feel my opponent behind the jab, I throw the straight with speed. I don't focus on power or loading my punch. You should video-tape yourself hitting the heavy bag or sparring. Many people actually "load" their straights without even knowing it. Keep that straight at your chin and throw from there. Don't make a habit of dropping it right before you throw it. The best advice I can give you with the straight is work on speed. The hook is not only the hardest punch to throw, but it is also very tiring. There are lots of variations to the "hook" that it deserves pages to talk about but I'll make it brief. I use the "lead hook" more often than the "power hook." Why? The opportunity rarely comes up to use a power hook because either you are not close enough to throw it, your opponent is too fast, or you're just too slow. When I first started boxing 3 years ago(I'm no pro either), I used to think the hook was the best punch in the game and it is for some people but I've learned it's not for me. You start boxing thinking you're going to KO/hurt someone with a powerful hook and all and although that happens, it usually happens early in the rounds rather than later. The reason is the power hook takes a tremendous amount of energy to throw. If you think you're strong and fast, wait after 6-7 rounds of hard sparring and see how bad your hooks are. They will be like pillows if not significantly weaker. Everyone misses and it just so happens that hooks miss more often than any other power shot IMO. Especially when you're tired. My main tip, throw them early or use lead hooks to set up your straight.

Uppercuts are the second hardest power punch to throw. They require you to be close and you almost ALWAYS have to set them up with a jab or a light flurry. I say light because you're going to want to build up your combo with a series of light punches. Uppercuts, like hooks, takes a lot of energy to throw. I have pretty high and wide shoulder and I love throwing the uppercut at range. Not to KO or badly hurt my sparring partner but I use uppercuts to break my opponent down. In my head, I actually tell myself to "cut down the tree" with uppercuts and body shots. Main tip, throw the uppercut after a quick punch and use your LEGS to lift at the end of your punch. As a southpaw, I love the lead hook uppercut and body shot-upper(same hand) combo. Uppercuts are tricky. Watch your opponent. Never throw the uppercut if your opponent is moving away from you. You will just miss, get countered, and waste energy.

I can best describe straights as "sharp", hooks as "power", and uppercuts as "clobbering." In my opinion, my straights is my best punch and I've been told that it's strongest punch. You really need a powerful core to throw great hooks. Personally, I think straights are best throw when you focus on speed. Kind of like using it as a second jab. Hope this helps.

blabla 4 years ago

"Alpha male aura"?? Why do you men think agression is just yours? I am female and a nasty nasty fighter...

Lol 3 years ago

Women allways thimk there harder then they are

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