Hi Bob -
Welcome to one of the strangest dreams of all. Just when we're really mad and want to throw a punch in a dream, it seems like we can't move at all. What's the meaning? Do we need to go to the gym and work to build new muscles?
Because the human body is paralyzed during REM sleep -- to prevent us from acting out our dreams -- researchers always have wondered Is the paralysis that appears so often in our dreams a result of the body's physical inability to move during REM, or does it hold a deeper, symbolic meaning?
The key to understanding your dream is the timing of your paralysis. You are able to walk and talk normally in your dream -- until you get angry, and decide to throw a punch. Because your movement isn't otherwise restricted, a symbolic understanding of your sudden weakness is indicated. Your dream shows you feel powerless to confront your opponent.
Whenever we have dreams where we can't hit an opponent or can't run away from an attacker (our legs feel heavy, like they are stuck in quicksand), the message of the dreams is the same. It's time to identify the challenge or relationship that is causing us to feel "stuck," and to begin thinking about a new plan of attack. The dreams represent challenges we will win with our minds, and not our fists.