Surviving in the Ring with Mr. Market

Mariko O. Gordon, CFA
4 min readNov 18, 2021


World Telegram staff photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In investing, as in boxing, there are lots of theories on how to avoid going down for the count.

In practice, however, surviving a pummeling boils down to just two things:

1. Knowing when to do nothing

2. Knowing when to take action

Unfortunately, when you’re taking body blows, you can’t be counted on to make the right choice.

One particular summer provided many teachable moments from both boxing and investing:

I did something I never thought in a million years I’d ever do — go to the boxing equivalent of a supper club.

I mean, why listen to torch songs when you can see blood fly while you eat instead?

My boxing teacher, The Hawaiian Mongoose, was defending her New York State title at the thoroughly misnamed Cordon Bleu Banquet Hall in Woodhaven, Queens.

Of course, I had to go and cheer her on.

I was curious, never having seen a boxing match, let alone a full lineup lasting from cocktails through dessert.

And what a scene it was! Characters everywhere decked out in full costume: supersized people, all wearing bling, only a handful of whom were security (clearly, not all the action was expected to take place in the ring); an overdressed announcer in a Zoot suit with a pocket square; underdressed babes in high heels and navel rings announcing each round; and even a ringside doc wearing surgical gloves and a stethoscope.

As I watched bout after bout (three-minute rounds for men, two for women), it was hard to decide which was worse: watching someone “Turtle” (chin down and fists up taking punch after punch) or watching someone come out swinging, only to leave themselves open to a crunching, well-placed blow.

Either way looked like it hurt. A lot.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that appearing to do nothing can be a strategy. If you can take punches in a well-defended position while your opponent wears herself out and makes mistakes, you can pick the perfect moment to land one on the kisser.

Endurance ensures victory.



Mariko O. Gordon, CFA

Built $2.5B money mgmt biz from scratch. Coaching badass women to build & love their businesses, manage their finances, and make sure the thrill is never gone.