I spent some time this week working on technique – specifically, feints. For the boxing-uninitiated out there, a feint is basically when you move like you’re going to throw one kind of punch, and then you throw something else. The goal is to make your opponent react to what you didn’t throw so that they don’t expect it when you hit them with the other punch. When I’m trying to describe a feint, I always picture 80s teen movie villains, particularly anybody played by Billy Zabka, trying to scare the little nerdy kids they torment.
The problem with feinting is that it’s very hard to do it convincingly. If you don’t have perfect mastery of it, you wind up looking like Billy Zabka**, and all that winds up happening is you fool nobody and have probably wasted enough movement in the process to open yourself up for a real beating. You really have to believe on some level that you’re going to actually throw the punch, because if you can’t make yourself believe it, you definitely aren’t going to convince your opponent. I was starting to feel it a little bit, toward the end of the workout, but it’ll still need a little work before I try it out on an opponent.
I am not an actress, but what I remember of the few times I have studied acting is that it’s much the same on stage. Your audience won’t believe you are your character, or that you have your character’s desires and motivations, unless you yourself believe it on some level. And that involves a certain comfort in your own skin, and the ability to be something you’re not – or, in this case, prepare to do something you’re not actually doing. (Everything with boxing, I’m finding, eventually comes back to being comfortable with yourself.)
It’s been a busy week for me – we found a new apartment closer to my job, I’ve had several days in a row of VERY early mornings (4:30 or so), and work is work. But more scintillating and substantial posts are coming soon.
**Disclaimer – I don’t know if Billy Zabka ever actually feinted at anybody while playing a bully in an 80s teen movie. It sure seems like he must have at some point though.