Thursday, June 2, 2011

Watching A Boxing Class: This Ain't No Dojo

Last night, after more physical therapy for my knee, my buddy The Hulk and I went to watch a boxing class in the basement of a local gym.

It's a very different environment from my (and most) martial arts schools in my experience. For starters, it was an entirely male group--no women at all. And the guys mostly looked like my buddy The Hulk--big biceps, oozing strength. My build is more the lean, mean fighting machine--well, lean, in any case. It was a bit intimidating, I must say.

The boxing class was both more individualized and less structured than my martial arts classes. The class instructor--a former Golden Gloves boxer, with a bit of a world-weary attitude--was in the ring, working up a sweat, working with the individuals for three minute rounds. Initially they were punching without gloves, with only wrapped hands on his wrapped hands. Then later they put on gloves, and were hitting mits and slipping/ducking to avoid his own (leisurely) punches. He worked on them to move around the ring the whole time. When they weren't working with the instructor, they were outside the ring, on their own, punching a variety of bags or shadow boxing.

Unlike a dojo, everyone was wearing something different, even on their feet. Some wore running shoes, some wore specialized boxing shoes, some were in bare feet.

Being in a basement, it wasn't light and airy like dojos I've seen. The boxers had one side of the room; the other was taken up by a kickboxing class--again, all men.

There was another, younger instructor walking around the side of the room--he said he had more than 80 amateur fights--and I listened as he gave pointers to one of the boxers working on his uppercuts.  His instruction was strikingly insightful. He told me when we chatted later that he really focuses on form, and you could see that from what he was telling the student. I learned a lot.

The next class is Monday night. So now my plan is to show up, take a trial class, see how my ACL-lessknee holds up, see how I like it.

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