Go to The Gym!

Lessons for LEOs from the boxing ring

By David Magnusson  |   Jul 23, 2019

The Fight

I watched with great pleasure and astonishment recently when Manny Pacquiao, at the age of 40, turned back the clock to reclaim the Welterweight title. By now you should now my pure love for the sport of boxing. It also fuels many of the metaphors I use when I write. There’s probably no better sport that does this quite as well.

The tweet I disseminated early Sunday morning was this:

Age? What does that mean? Preparation is the key to life and all its successes. Manny trained with such dedication and intensity that victory was the only option. It should serve as a lesson for everyone. You will always get out what you put into it.

What Does This Have to do with Law Enforcement?

What does this have to do with being a cop? Well, quite frankly, nothing! And, very honestly, everything! I mean, I didn’t write the tweet thinking it would inspire me write a Calibre Press article. But hours later, I saw the it in an entirely new light. Everything we do in law enforcement deals with training. Some cannot stand to go through it. Others, like me, love it. Even to this day …

The ability to get the most out of me by being pushed by my peers did not disappear when I ascended up the ranks. If anything, it got stronger. The training needs to be as real as possible. You want defensive tactics? OK, throw me around like a rag doll. If I can get to my feet and practice my discipline (boxing) I like my chances. I hope you have a good chin. Don’t go easy on me. Hell, no one will go easy on me in the real world. Why should you?

I say this now as a chief of police. But my first title is law enforcement professional, same as the kid who just got out of the academy. We are held to the very same standards. More may be expected of me and that’s fine. I have earned that responsibility. Holier than thou? Hardly! My Ivory Tower is a boxing ring. Bring it. Teach me something. That’s how I get better.

What I am getting at is this: the dedication you put forth does not spoil like milk in the icebox. It never gets old. I am not just talking in the aforementioned physical sense. Remaining professional and far beyond reproach is something you work out each and every day. You “spar” with intensity because you know that the harder you sweat, the less you will bleed.

If you are honest with yourself, you know what your shortcomings are and you work to reduce them. If you can’t take a body punch, you better work on it because guess where your opponent is going once the bell rings? Know yourself. Manny Pacquiao did. I knew he was going to win. Had I been in Vegas, I would have laid down some dough on him. Why? Because his training regimen was unlike anything I have seen. Yeah, he is 40 years old. But age is an excuse. I can’t do it. I’m too old. I can’t do it, I am too late in my career, etc. What’s the point?

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

Are you dedicated? If you are, it need be with intensity. The street is your ring. Have you trained hard enough for the fight? More so, have you trained with a sparring partner that can keep you sharp to internal (not on the streets) pressures? I would submit to you that those pressures will always be stronger and more sleep-stealing than anything you will ever experience on the street. So as my tweet suggests, age means nothing. If it did, then you better hang it up once you reach 30? 40? 50? 60? I mean, what is your excuse?

The new chant is “Be Like Manny!” Train your butt off and keep the feet moving. Keep moving forward and never relent on the pressure if it is going to make you a better professional.

What’s the Difference between “Be Like Mike” and “Be Like Manny”?

Not much. Mike (Jordan) was the best. No one comes close in his sport. Manny was great, lost a step, and regained it. Manny brings perseverance and a never-die attitude. He may not have the same KO power, but he’s in shape to go the full 12 rounds–and with attitude.

That should be your mantra. Your career is a twelve round fight. You may lose a few rounds along the way. But if you hold true to your well-developed strategy, you will win the decision. You might just score a knockout.

KEEP TRAINING. SUCCESS COMES IN THE GYM NOT FIGHT DAY!

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David Magnusson

David Magnusson

Magnusson is the chief of police for the Village of El Portal Police department. Prior to this, he was police chief of the Havelock (N.C.) Police Department. He also spent 30 years with the Miami Police Department, retiring there as a major. Magnusson is a graduate of American Military University with a Master's in Military history. Chief Magnusson also boxed as an amateur for twenty-six years. You will find his passion for history and boxing in many of his writings. Magnusson and his wife Rosa reside in South Florida, where they have five children and two grandkids.
David Magnusson

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