Monday, March 1, 2010


There's a saying in boxing, or well, not really a saying, but more of a cardinal ranking that says "speed" beats "power", but "timing" beats "speed". In physics the equation of kinetic energy is "1/2 mass times velocity squared". I remember my physics teacher pointing out how speed was always more important than mass in the development of energy; a bit counter intuitive for a Western perspective I think. Here "big" and "massive" are heralded over "small" and "mobile", like how Bruce Lee compares the philosophies to a stationary tree trunk to the swaying branches of bamboo. For him, bamboo always won out, because in the winds of a storm, bamboo would sway with the forces, rather than stubbornly pushing against it. After learning that perspective, I began respecting adaptability and flexibility over strength and power.

But in boxing, people commonly look at two things: speed and power. A fighter either hit really hard or punched really fast, and like ranking says, the faster fighter usually had the advantage. But the overlooked aspect which apparently outranks them all is the element of timing. WHEN you land the punch dictates everything. The biggest reason is because landing that a punch disrupts the momentum of the other fighter. Most boxers function on a rhythm, a cadence, and when that pattern is disrupted by a perfectly timed shot, they're forced to start over. Very few fighters can overcome a good timing with sheer force, and the few that do, don't last long as prizefighters.

But timing makes me think about life. How things come into your path and how sometimes good ideas aren't necessarily meant to be adopted when they initially dawn upon you. Sometimes they're meant to be held for later. The same principle applies in business: A good idea can go to shit if the moment isn't right.

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