April 6th was the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). I’ve been engaged in the Sport & Social Justice conversation since 2008, initially as an athlete ambassador with Right To Play, an international organization that, by facilitating sports and games, teaches children essential life skills while building lasting social change for themselves and their communities.
As part of the 2018 IDSDP, I took part in the Sport & Peace roundtable. I shared the philosophy and mission of Sacred Warrior and how sports have been a catalyst for profound transformation in myself and with those I’ve worked with. Rowing crew was my first competitive sport that taught me self discipline and shifted my body image from my appearance to my capability. Growing up, I suffered from severe asthma and had internalized the belief that I had physical limitations because of it. As I got involved in sports, I became curious how far I could push myself physically, if I got out of my own way mentally. After moving the NYC in the mid 90’s, I trained as both an amateur and eventually, a professional boxer. The intensity of training required me to dig deep and challenge myself daily in a way I never had. I proved to myself that I was so much more powerful than I realized. Boxing taught me life skills, led me to a formal meditation practice, jump started my exploration of other martial arts traditions, and helped me develop my role as a leader. Sacred Warrior would not exist today without my deep understanding of all these elements.
Sacred Warrior Boxing is taught as an internal and external martial art. Boxing is an incredible arena for moving beyond self-imposed limitations, harnessing will, increasing present moment awareness and cultivating internal strength. The more we cultivate our internal strength, the more we can embrace the power of our sensitivity. This allows us to tune in to our intuition, instinct, and develop a heightened awareness of our surroundings. In this sense, Sacred Warrior Boxing is used as a tool to connect more deeply to the self and our environment.
Sport, self awareness and sustainability have been the Sacred Warrior platform from the beginning. How can we as athletes talk about health and wellbeing without considering the health and wellbeing of the planet we depend on for our food, resources, clean air and water? During the IDSDP event, I spoke on the intersection of sport and sustainability as a means toward the health and wellbeing of our ecosystem as a whole. I spoke about my work with wildlife organizations like the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY, and how it builds awareness of and respect for all inhabitants of Mother Earth. There’s no denying the health and wellbeing of the earth and our own health and wellbeing are inextricably linked.
The conversation continues with other sport and social change events around the corner. Stay tuned!!
PS. If you’re in the NY area and interested in training, we’ll resume weekly Sacred Warrior Boxing Prospect Park, Brooklyn next week! Would love train with you.