Many years ago I tried boxing. I took classes.
After having exercised movements, steps and attitudes, and being armed with boxing gloves and helmet, I approached my first opponent.
At first we explored each other’s technique.
Then my opponent hit me. In my shoulder. Then in the head.
Instantly, I was shocked and angry: that really hurt! How dare he hit so hard?
Still angry and upset, I tried to keep on moving, struggling to avoid the next hit.
I hardly dared to hit myself. Not in the face anyway.
‘Don’t withhold, hit him,’ the trainer encouraged me.
But…hitting someone real hard…it did’t come naturally to me…I faced boundaries that needed to be crossed first.
Then there was this rule: for those exhausted or hit really bad, there was always an escape: you just had to step out of the circle that was drawn on the floor.
I felt exhausted, but it never occurred to me that stepping out of the circle would be a serious option for me. So I struggled and struggled, got out of breath but didn’t give up.
Afterwards the trainer explained that there are many parallels between boxing and management. The way you are cashing, taking a blow, hitting, focusing, crossing your boundaries, or being prepared to give in, tells a lot about your personal management and conflict styles.