Learning To Dodge The Right Hook. A Lesson In Staying Alert.


I’ve never been much of a fighter.

The whole “Meet me behind the gym after school” thing was never my style. In fact, I can only remember one time when I was in a ‘real fight’ where people were actually gathered to watch. I’d like to say it was a good fight, but it wasn’t. It was embarrassing on both sides.

As a result of my relatively peaceful past, I am pretty unfamiliar with being hit or otherwise struck, which made tonight’s event “eye-opening“. I had been working out and set a 45 pound bar on the rack, at about eye-level. I was working on something else, forgot where I was, turned around and smacked right into it…. with my face. My eye to be exact. So I’m writing this blog with a slightly swollen eye. Embarrassing? Not nearly as bad as that fight I told you about.

As with any bad circumstance, some good can come of my painful experience. It made me think of how we can be caught off-guard by a proverbial right-hook from life. Has it ever happened to you? Things are going good. The sun is shining, the traffic is moving, and gas prices are 20 cents lower than yesterday. This is your kind of day! Then, out of nowhere, you’re caught with a right hook!

You get an email from someone asking how you could’ve forgotten your lunch date with them yesterday. They never want to speak to you again, by the way, which will be interesting because you attend the same church….

You get a late notice on a bill that was due 3 months ago. Really? How did I miss that 3 months in a row?

You get a call from your child’s principal. He wants to meet with you to discuss little Jimmy’s creative way of eating his lunch. Isn’t he supposed to be a princi-pal? He sure didn’t seem very friendly on the phone.

Yes, the right hook. It’s not always from the devil himself, either. Sometimes it’s just life that catches us off-guard and lands a solid punch to our jaw.  In our unprepared state we’re knocked off balance and find ourselves disoriented and dazed.  We’re not sure which direction it came from, but we’re pretty sure we were just hit by a truck.   How are we supposed to deal with this….. abuse?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… (James 1:2 NIV)


Consider it joy? How can we and why should we? What good can come from a meeting with Jimmy’s principal? How can a late bill be a good thing? And what am I supposed to do about the new enemy I’ve made at church? How can these things be good, much less joyful?

…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3, 4 NIV)


It’s all about the growth. The learning. The development. 

The tough times we go through in life – direct attacks from the enemy and random inconveniences – are times of training. As we encounter these tests we’re able to grow both stronger and quicker. Before long we find we are dodging that right hook when it comes our way. How?  Instead of getting upset, we respond to the issue with a peace and joy that we can hardly believe ourself. Rather than getting the wind knocked out of us, we throw a right hook of our own and put the situation down for the count.

Life will throw punches and sometimes it lands a hard one.  But don’t give up, use the opportunity as training to help you prepare for the next round.   A good fighter learns to anticipate the opponent’s moves and plans for it.

You know, boxing gloves aren’t listed as part of our spiritual armor in the bible, but I think you can still put them on.

Oh, and tell Jimmy’s principal that you like his tie.  It may help break the ice.  

What do you think?  Has life ever dealt you a right hook?  How did you respond to or learn from it?  Scroll down and leave your comments below!

Photo by Generationbass, Flickr Creative Commons



  1. Well said.

    Boxing is such a great analogy, because it isn’t necessarily how big and/or strong a fighter is. It’s almost all about how a fighter trains. How much time that fighter puts in the gym and ring? Did the training have an affect on the fighters maturity and discipline?

    That is how champions are made.

    God wants to make us champions through Him. Why? First, He loves us and wants us to succeed. Also, we cannot do this on our own. Just like “Joe Shmoe” coming off of the street without any training in the ring with a well trained Miniflyweight fighter will most likely resulting in Joe losing; us against ourselves, the world, and the devil – prove our chances are futile, just like ole’Joe.

    However, we have the best trainer (Jesus Christ), the best sparring partner (the Holy Spirit), and the best promoter (our Father) during this journey. When you don’t rely on them you are defeated already. Replace God with anyone or anything else in these roles, you are defeated already.

    Will we endure some disappoint? Most likely. It is how you handle that disappointment that will set you apart. Will you cave in or will you learn from it?

    Thanks for sharing Rick.


  2. I to didn’t like to fight but sometimes in life we get dragged into or forced to react growing-up…… Me and my brother always used to wrestle and horse around but never out to kill each other. One day in seventh grade we were playing for square and this new boy all cocky was cheating, so I told him that he was out and he needs to get at the end of the line. LIttle did I know he was a boxer and real good at that I got punched and honestly didn’t even hit him back, I was ever was that way. Well anyway you can imagine the friends corner…. You need to get him, rematch! I never felt so cowardish in my whole life, never did rematched him just swept it under the rug, and years later this I think would later bring me to going into the Marine Corps.. I never told anyone this, but hey if now someone gets some go thought from it then great praise God. I was a coward no dought and it led me to join the Corps, to where I’ll never act like that again!
    I wanted training to fight back and hurt the other with ease, little did I know God was directing me for I believe he seen a quality in me he could use. To fast forward I was trained heavy to kill and hurt everything, but this didn’t change me like I would hope it would. I got in plenty fights after that and didn’t like non of them. The lord showed me that with proper training you can and will defeat you foes. I found God hear in South Carolina, where I also met my wife. I just want to be trained spiritually to keep Satin’s hord away from my family, friends, friends and loved ones. We are called to peace, but their is a time for War and A Time for Peace. (((((Ecclesiastes 3:7,8 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Be blessed and thanks for all you postings Rick….


  3. I’ve spent 40+ years in martial arts, less in my Christian walk. I notice a big difference in how martial artists deal with right hooks and how Christians do. Martial artists prepare for it, recognize the threat as real and that they WILL have to deal with it when it comes. They develop a plan or strategy to deal with it and, if possible, have a strategy and a tactic to take advantage of it, make the most of it and turn the attack to their advantage. If you throw a right hook at me it probably won’t end well……for you.

    Christians, on the other hand, frequently don’t expect the right hook, aren’t prepared for it and when they get hit they wonder what happened. From my personal experience it seems that most Christians don’t actually have a Christian walk. It’s more like a mosey or perhaps a saunter or even an amble. Christians without foundation, purpose or plan make easy targets. Those are the Christians that fill pastor’s offices for counseling. So many pastors have had to counsel individuals or couples and wondered, “Weren’t you paying attention when we did the series on finances, marriage, relationships, trials, whatever?”

    We have this wonderful instruction book. To bad so many people think they can get through life without bothering to read it or to follow the instruction. Right hook? Down for the count. Pretty predictable.


    1. Thanks for your comments, Chuck. You bring a great perspective with the martial arts training you have done for over 40 years! And you’re correct, so many Christians are unaware of their environment, unprepared for attack, and unable to protect themselves because they have not trained. They’ve learned worship songs and how to calculate 10% of their income for tithes but do not have a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Fortunately, after that right hook that puts us down for the count we still have the opportunity to get up and be more intentional with our walk with God. I know I’ve had to do it!


  4. Absolutely. Some people can get back on their own, or I should say, with God’s help. Unfortunately, many Christians who are unprepared need their corner man to get them back on their feet. Pastor’s office for counseling. I’m sure that’s what many pastors feel like – corner men. The frustrating thing for corner men is when they get their boxer patched up and back on his feet only to see them reenter the ring only to get knocked down by another right hook because they didn’t listen to their corner man. Frustrating for all. Can you tell I enjoy your analogy?


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