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Loew, C. (2010). Introduction to Private Lives. Psychoanal. Perspect., 7(2):430-431.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 7(2):430-431

Private Liws

Introduction to Private Lives

Clemens Loew, Ph.D.

Most of us would not consider boxing an activity that expands our self-understanding and illuminates our being. We think of memoir writing, psychoanalysis, social discussions, meditation, yoga, or jogging. We don't think of fighting in the ring as a transformative experience. And yet that is what Binnie Klein brings to the reader. The essay from her book, Blows to the Head: How Boxing Changed My Mind, celebrates body and soul through boxing, a sport that for her harnesses emotional, physical, and spiritual strength. Through boxing, you can practice tolerating fear and expand the amount of danger you are willing to endure. While professional boxing is brutal and violent, boxing as a sparring sport can provide exhilaration and a sense of power propelled by the body.

For Klein, practicing in the ring can be translated to principles of living with courage and determination. Boxing is a source of energy and self-assurance that helps us deal effectively with our own aggression. One of the most interesting lessons boxing offers is that you learn about the location of your own safe space in relation to your opponent. You learn how far you need to be from the other in order to feel “safe” and yet close enough to deliver a punch or assert your own needs. Klein's coach had shown her “…the importance of establishing my own range in boxing, my own reach. My proper range was not so far away that I couldn't make contact, but not so close up that I would get lost and smothered. As with boxing, my range from my parents, my father especially, had been just a little too far away, but it couldn't be so close that I would be swallowed up.”

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