Month: May 2016

As another 5-week offshore trip looms…

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OK I’m leaving tomorrow and I’m not coming back for another 5 weeks.  So what sort of stuff goes through my head?  Well here’s a typical slice:

“Sh*t I wish I could win the National Lottery”

“God please let me win the Lotto and I will forever be your greatest servant.”

“Now would be a good week for that Lotto ticket to come good.”

“I hate leaving Emma.” (my wife)

“I’m going to miss you Poppy.” (my dog)

“Print out my boarding pass.  Hmm, wish I had a wireless printer! Damn it!”

“My boxing gear comes with me in the main cabin. No way am I going to spend 5 weeks without being able to train.  Everything else I can afford to lose if my bag doesn’t show up on the other side.”

“How much time do I have between flights? Can I hit the KLM lounge? Yes there’s enough time to hit that sushi restaurant :)”

“What am I going to eat today because it has to be nice.  It’s the last day at home!  Takeaway?  No bad.  Can’t be bothered we live over a great big hill.”

“Is there anything in the fridge that Emma won’t eat?”

“Emma’s bought 5 donuts.  Got to eat those in one day – they’re no good a day old.”

“How much do I weigh?  75kg.  Hmm OK but I haven’t taken a dump and I’ve drank a lot of fluids.”

“Oh yeah I need to take a dump before I go – no way am I doing a number two on a commercial flight.”

“Do I take my Playstation with me?”

“Wait!… The PS3 or the PS4?  Hmm I may just use it to watch movies. PS3.  Sod it, I’ll take the PS4 – maybe I want to play a game and I’ve barely touched it since I bought it nearly a year ago!”

“I’m going to miss you Poppy.” (My dog… again)

“I swear if I could live again I’d be a boxer, at least my life would be in my own hands.”

“Crap.  Crap. Crap.”

“It pays the bills, it pays the bills.”

“I’ve got a job and I can look after my family.  That’s enough.”

“Poppy we’re walking up the hill later. Look down at the village and my home from the top.  Won’t get a chance to do that for a while.”

“What shall I watch/delete from Sky+ box.  Oh sh*t – I need to watch the recorded Game of Thrones episode 6 before I go.”

“Oh crap I still haven’t finished watching Daredevil Season2 on Netflix.”

“Please God, give me that Lotto win.”

 

 

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That time I sparred on the boat

I’d just pretty much been training myself up to that point.  There was a heavy bag and a speed bag on the boat.  I was lucky that Jim (another offshore worker) happened to be on the same rotation because when I found out he was going to be there as well, he kindly brought along his focus pads.  Jim’s done a lot of Muay Thai, boxing and Wing Chun so he was helping me out with some pad work so I could get a taste.

I didn’t have a face guard back then, otherwise I would have brought that with me.  Just my gum shield.

It helped to be sparring against someone you knew and we were only going at it around 25% so it was nothing hard core.

My first impression of it is…

(and I’m looking for a word here!…)

messy.  It doesn’t feel clean like it looks with the pros on TV.  I think that must come with experience and you get an appreciation for the distances involved and of course your technique and your “ring craft”.

Actually at the start, I remember saying to Jim: “Alright let’s take it easy to begin with.” Then in about 5 seconds, Jim punching me lightly in the face and that knocked out one of my contact lenses immediately and I thought, “Sh*t.”

Afterwards we had a laugh about it and I mentioned he’d knocked out the contact lens in my right eye and Jim replied. “I wondered what that was – I thought I saw something coming out of your eye.”

And then I said.  “Yeah it was my contact lens.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t a big tear.”

“I wouldn’t have stopped anyway.”  Jim replied with a grin.

I enjoyed it though.  Actually I thought it was great.  We have limited bandwidth on a boat (not allowed to download videos) so I couldn’t YouTube any “First Sparring” tutorials.  I could only read articles.

Like I say, having Jim there was a bit of luck because I knew him.  When I went home this time off I watched a few vids on YouTube of “First time sparring” and two novices just going at it full tilt with the coach barely paying attention and I thought “What on earth are those two going to learn from that?” – I’m pretty sure that kind of “baptism of fire” will toughen you up but I think it can do more to discourage you. Surely it’s more beneficial if your first spar is with someone with a lot more experience, like your coach.  Someone who can measure their own punches well and just let you gain a bit of confidence (and take you down a peg if you need it) rather than the session ending in a no holds barred fight for survival.

Then again, everyone’s got their own idea on how someone should be trained!

I’m away offshore again next week but sadly Jim’s not going to be there so I’ll more than likely be training alone.  I’m already thinking how much time to spend of my 12 hour break each day training.  I reckon I can get a good 3 hours in everyday.  That will leave me time to do my laundry, blog and get a decent enough sleep.  Not much time for much else though but I’d like to improve on the stuff that Gary’s taught me this last 4 weeks.

I checked my body-mass-index today, 173cm (5’8″) and 73.4 kg  (162 lbs) [on an empty stomach, and bowel!] and I am just within a healthy weight for a 37 year old man. Sometimes I think this BMI thing is a load of nonsense but I’m going to try and use this trip to get down to a super welterweight which is around 69 kg (154 lbs).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning anorexic, I just want to turn what fat I’ve got left into lean muscle and be in the best condition I can manage. No point in me doing half measures.  We’ll see!  Like I say I like my food and the Filipinos on the Guardian are good cooks -it’s going to be tough!

😉

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The only time I ever picked a physical fight…

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Mention the word “boxing” and it throws up all kinds of opinions and emotions… my wife doesn’t like it in the least and won’t watch it.  Medical associations in various countries call for it to be banned from Olympic and Commonwealth Games while some call it “The Sweet Science” and treat it as such.

So what’s the mindset of someone who loves and wants to practice boxing?

I haven’t boxed for long but there’s maybe two categories of person:  The ones who practice boxing for the fitness alone and then there are the ones that practice boxing with the intention to spar .

I’ve sparred very briefly but even before that moment, I knew I would eventually want to spar.

Why?

I used this analogy in previous posts but when you fall in love with something or someone, you’re always wanting to see what’s around that corner – to find the next natural step in that progression and that to me is what sparring is… that next step.

Do I enjoy pain? No.  Do I enjoy inflicting physical pain on someone else?  Categorically no.

I can only remember one time where I ever singled out someone and deliberately walked up to them with the intention of confronting and beating them physically.

It must have been when I was around 14-years old. We lived on this council estate (what the Americans might refer to as “housing projects” which is basically government provided housing.  One day, my dad, who is Chinese, walked out of the house to go to work and these other kids who were around my age who were just sitting outside their house, this one boy in particular just started subjecting him to all manner of racial insults.  It was just the sheer volume of those insults thrown and it was continuous.

Eventually my dad was out of earshot range but I remember being livid.  I walked out onto the street – these guys were jut sat two houses down, that one guy was sat with his back to me on one of those plastic garden chairs.  Some of his friends, maybe there was 3 or 4 of them (can’t quite remember exactly how many), some a couple of years younger, saw me coming but they didn’t move.  I remember what I said to him pretty clearly…

“Hey man, you were saying a lot of sh*t to my dad just then.  Have you got a problem with Chinese people because if you do then we can deal with it right now, just over there.”  I pointed to the bit of road outside of the house.  My heart was racing a little bit and there was a part of me that was going “Sh*t what are you doing?  What if he says yes?” But I had a lot of adrenaline by that point… from the anger and from the excitement.

The guy barely turned round.  I can’t remember his exact reply but it was maybe a couple of faint mumbling of “no”.

I remember asking him a couple more times if he was sure but in the end the guy just clamped up.

My last words before I turned round to walk back to my house was something like “Gutless pr**k.”

When I think about it now, the guy had his back to me, I could have just clobbered him while his head was turned, or pulled his chair over backwards and then just freestyled it from there – and for the record, I personally think he easily justified any of those.

Maybe I’d just watched too many movies?  Deep down maybe I didn’t want to take him out that way.  Perhaps deep down, the civilized part of me that knows right from wrong, wanted to give him a sporting chance. Insane, I know!

Interesting isn’t it?  Even when we want violence, we all have our own boundaries.  I never thought about it until now but I wonder what that other guy would have done if it was me sat in that chair with my back turned.  F**ker would have probably clobbered me from behind with a brick or something.  But he would have needed that to stop me.  Like I said, I did have some doubts – I’m not the type of guy to throw down every other day but nervous as I was I would have beaten the crap out of this guy.

When I think about that story now, it does make me smile in that I really wished I would have tapped that kid on the shoulder and then struck him on the face with something like a gardening glove before offering that fight.  I imagine the Marquess of Queensbury would have approved wholeheartedly.

 

Personal Training – Week 3

My last 1-to-1 session before I go away to work!  I was a little tired driving down on the day for my 3:00pm.  I was awake from 3:00am that morning!  Gave my wife a lift to Prestwick Airport this morning and I felt my eyes going just for a second on the way down the hill.  I was distracted a little leading up to this whole session and I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to it.  But here’s the thing, from the minute I laced up my boots, wrapped my hands and started to jump rope, I felt so much better  Like nothing else outside of the gym even entered my head 🙂 – So here goes:

Warm up

Jumping some rope but not just stationary.  From Gary’s advice last week, I needed to move back and forward and side to side.  I wanted to practice this on my lawn and I did try but I had problems in that my rope would catch the grass and it would throw the timing off.  Unless you have a lawn that’s like a bowling green (or a Golf putting green) I found I couldn’t practice.  I was pleased my coordination was decent that I could perform first time of asking.  There’s still hope for me and my footwork in the future.

3 minutes of shadowboxing as well.  Some of my pivots were a little stiff (Gary saw it and I could feel it on a couple of them) but I’m thinking too much and need to relax a little.  Like maybe my brain stops and goes “Should I pivot this way or throw another fist out” – that’s when my legs turn stiff.  I should just ease into it and keep flowing, not thinking too much.

Heavy bag circuit

This was good for the shoulder endurance.  So Gary’s got 5 heavy bags all lined up on one side of the gym and for each bag:

  • 2 minutes moving around the bag and punching with any combination
  • Immediately after, 10 push ups with my gloves on
  • Then straight into 1 minute continuous hitting – not so much power but constantly popping off shots and making the bag “sing a little”.

This was done non-stop going from one bag to the next.  Tiring stuff.  Got to keep breathing and blowing air out.  Arms burning by the end of it but you’re feeling pretty happy.

Question on bracing yourself against the bag

I wasn’t instructed to brace the bag in the last exercise, only to pivot and move around it as it swung but I wanted to ask Gary more about this.  I’m glad I did.  Basically, there are different ways to brace.  You can do it via a “peek-a-boo” style with your gloves in front of your face or you can stick your arm out and brace the bag with your leading elbow.  I wanted to be clearer on how I’m supposed to be balanced.  I shouldn’t be leaning forward to push against it.  My balance should be centred as the bag swings at me.  That makes sense if the bag is a person, I don’t want to lean into “him” otherwise the other guy is just going to step back or sideways and I’m instantly off balance.  The “peek-a-boo” style and the “arm-and-elbow” both have their points.  It’ a matter of habit but Gary’s preference was using the arm-and-elbow.

Pad work

Spent some time on the focus mitts again, moving around, firing off combinations and occasionally slipping with the head.  I really enjoy this kind of work.  I’ve always wanted to be able to flow and move really well off the pads like when I see my favourite boxers training on YouTube and on Box Nation.  One day!  With a lot of practice and hard work 😉

Double end bag

Just a couple of minutes on this but I used my 1-minute rest period to get my body mechanics going at the start.  I’ll use every spare amount of my gym time practicing with this piece of apparatus.  The one in Gary’s gym has got a wonderful motion to it actually.  Hard to master but it’s very rewarding.  I’m still a way off but I saw a clip of myself and I’m a lot smoother than last week.  Check out my link below for one of my favourite clip tutorials.

Ring sense

Back in the ring again with Gary holding those two foam poles.  Again I’m just practicing my movement around the ring, chasing Gary down when he tells me to, backing and pivoting away when I need to.  I’m trying to take everything I’ve learned and putting it into this exercise.  Everything’s always a work in progress like I have to remind myself to look at Gary’s collar bone and not what I’m trying to hit.

Verdict

It’s been a pleasure training with Gary these last 3 weeks.  I feel like I’ve got some good concepts that I can work on while I’m away offshore and it was accelerated by the 1-to-1 training.  I had a quick look at some of the recordings on Gary’s phone at the end of this session and I look a little smoother and a lot less wooden from the first open day that I walked in on, 4 weeks ago.

How am I going to carry this forward for the next 5 weeks at sea?

Luckily there’s a heavy bag on the vessel I’m signing on… The Atlantic Guardian.  It was on a “Superships” documentary back in the day if you’re interested!  You can find it on IMDB. (Although a lot’s changed since then – it’s not a cable layer for a start)

I’ve bought a second double end bag.   My older Pro Box model, I’m going to take offshore with me.  I’ve bought some more bungee cord from B&Q and I’ll hopefully be able to rig something up on the vessel..  I’ll take a few photos when I sign on! 🙂  The new Cleto Reyes one – that’s staying in my garage! 😉

Moments of doubt

When I was training at home this last week and in between when I was sat on the couch or taking a shower I felt something… I don’t think it was sadness but it was something very close to sadness.  In my head I was saying to myself “Why are you doing this for? Why are you training so much, you can’t go anywhere with it, 75kg, 85kg – who cares?”

I have these moments sometimes when I’m on a boat tired out from exercise.  The truth is I just feel a sense of peace.  It takes my mind off things and I feel a bit more focussed.  Everyone’s opinion about their own health and body is a unique thing.  I can’t say what’s right for me is right for someone else.  If you’re happy with your health and your head is in a good place then that’s it… no need to stress.  Carry on.

It’s like anything else (or any one) you fall in love with… you just want to take the next step and see what’s round the corner… maybe that’s what boxing has become for me.


Links:

Super ships: Atlantic Guardian

YouTube – Floyd Mayweather jumping rope

YouTube – Practicing rhythm on a double end bag – One of my favourites!

Keeping the weight down

Well I’ve been home for 5 weeks now since my last trip offshore. Tomorrow sees my final session with Gary before I go away to work next week so I was keen to keep training and get as much practice as possible these last 7 days.

I had a look at the Amateur Boxing site in Scotland to get an idea of the weight divisions and ideally I want to train and spar as a Middleweight which has a lower limit of 69 kg (152 lbs) and upper limit of 75 kg (165 lbs).

… and as I weighed myself today, I’m below the red line. 🙂

That’s good work given I weighed 83 kg back in March!

I just don’t want to go any higher in weight because of the guys I’ll eventually spar with.  There are some scarily big guys in the light-heavy and heavy divisions – especially if we’re talking about purely lean muscle!

So below was my training for the last 7 days having just finished my Wednesday session in the afternoon.  I’ve just been eating normally:  3 meals a day, not over-eating – no protein shakes or anything like that.  Just eating sensibly with some treats every now and again.

Fri 20th: 3-4 km run (< 20 minutes)

Sat 21st: 1 hour session: 24 mins double end bag, 12 mins heavy bag, 5 mins speed bag, 12 mins shadow boxing

Sun 22nd: Nothing

Mon 23rd: 60 minute game of 5-aside football

Tue 24th: 3-4 km run (< 20 minutes), 30 mins heavy and double end bag work, 3 mins shadowboxing

Wed 25th: 3-4 km run (< 20 minutes), 30 mins heavy and double end bag work, 10 mins shadowboxing.

I’m away on a vessel called the Atlantic Guardian in Bergen on the 1st June and the cooks are pretty good on there.  That’ll be a big test because I really like my food!  The training won’t be a problem, I just have to be careful I don’t overindulge!

If I can keep within this weight from now on I’ll be more than happy!

Now I just have to keep training and work on my technique and boxing IQ.  Erm… and get a new wardrobe because the majority of my old clothes are too big!

Overcoming physical barriers…

I’m a guy that’s just turned 37 in April and I’ve discovered I love boxing.  Boxing is incredibly physical and there are a couple of physical factors that gave me pause for thought back in March, at the start of the road to reaching an amateur level.

Prior dislocation of the right elbow

I’m right handed. By all accounts, I should fight from an orthodox stance (have a left handed jab and a right handed cross) but I don’t.

The reason I don’t is when I was 15 years old I had an accident playing soccer and landed on my right hand fully extended. I dislocated my elbow.  For some reason they didn’t set my elbow correctly:

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If you compare this photo of my right compared to my left you can see that my arm has been reset at an angle (look at my palm position).

After the physio sessions when I was 15, I can straighten my arm but as I get older I get some chronic ache and also I find that I have to constantly do physio exercises to maintain full range of movement.  Nowadays, for example, I struggle slightly to do up the collar-tip buttons on a dress shirt.

Actually taking up boxing has actually made my elbow better because it’s forced me to do physio exercises again in order to make sure I still have more or less full range of motion in that arm.  Right now I think it’s probable that it’s 95%.

I can never be a good orthodox boxer.  My left jab would be fine but my right cross would have to travel that extra distance across my chest and because of my previous injury – There’s the speed but I think but the main problem – to snatch my right arm back to guard my face after I throw that punch… well it hurts and I know it would wear my elbow more.

I spent 1 week on the boat in an orthodox stance and the remaining 4 weeks as a southpaw to try both and I’m certain I’ve done the right thing.

My right arm is now my jabbing arm.  It doesn’t have to travel so far and I don’t have to snatch my arm so far back once I’ve thrown a jab.  One thing luckily, although my right elbow has been reset strangely, it hasn’t had any adverse affect on my reach.  I do worry if someone traps my elbow though as it’s still weaker than my left and it causes a jolt of pain.  Feels like electricity shooting up my elbow.

Myopia in both eyes

This is another minor problem in that I’m short sighted, -3.0 sphere in both eyes to be exact .  Normally when I play soccer, I wear contact lenses.  That’s fine but obviously getting punched in the face can knock out your lenses.  In sparring and amateur competition your eyes are protected by wearing a face guard to some extent but I’d rather not be worried about my contact lenses.

Worst case, my sight’s not so bad that I can’t see someone standing 2 feet away from me. Still, it’s something that’s going to annoy me and as with most sports, not having perfect sight is going to be a disadvantage.  How much it’s going to affect my boxing, I don’t know until I start to properly spar with someone.  Worst case I can always opt for corrective eye surgery  but I’d rather not part with 3000 GBP unless I have to.

Summary

Well that’s it folks…

  • A bad right elbow
  • Myopia

Doesn’t seem so bad. I get pretty annoyed I dislocated that elbow though.  It’s ridiculous how something done so long ago has an impact now but what can you do?

If anyone out there has similar mechanical problems and has boxed or continues to box I’d love to hear about your experience.

Anyway, all I can say is look after yourselves and take care of your body and your health.  If anyone’s reading this and trying to mend in some way then I wish you all the best.  Keep up your exercises – it pays long term and bless all those that work in the health care industry.

 


ExpertBoxing – The most important muscles for fighting

A 37-year old boxer in training

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Want to see whether a 37 year old offshore worker can make himself into an amateur boxer?

A Southpaw Swan

So I just recently turned 37 years old and to be honest I never would have guessed that I would take to a sport like boxing at such a late age…

Now it’s got a grip on me and I’m going to see just how far I can go and whether I’m good enough to make it onto the amateur circuit.  I thought I’d write a blog to chart my progress and share my journey with everyone.

The closest thing related to boxing was doing Muay Thai when I was 15 and to be honest my heart wasn’t completely into it. So to find one day that I enjoyed boxing so much was a real surprise.

My main passion in sport came when I was 22 years old when I discovered playing 5-aside football with friends from a company I used to work for.  I loved it. It seems to…

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My boxing wish list

I’m rocking some pretty simple boxing gear for the time being.  No point in getting the good stuff until I really improve but take a look at this nice list of stuff below.

Face guard

The only thing truly decent I currently own is my Winning FG2900 head guard shown below. That’s one of the best out there and it has to be.  One day, it’s going to have to protect my face while I spar.

Winning FG2900250 GBP

If I make it to an amateur fight I’ll need one of these AIBA approved head guards:

Adidas AIBA contest head guard80 GBP

 

Boxing boots

Next up is some footwear and I really like these puppies:

Nike Hyper KO150 GBP

A pair of Nike Hyper KOs.

Amir Khan wears some really smart Reebok ones, as does Mayweather but they’re custom made.  I was on Amir Khan’s website amirkhanworld.com and his store is opening up soon but the last pair I saw on ebay had only 300 pairs released on general retail and they rocked in on the ebay site at a whopping 300 GBP.  Yikes!

Gloves

It’d be nice to have a separate pair for sparring and an alternate pair for pad and bag work. Generally sparring gloves are softer than bag gloves.  Behold these babies:

16oz Cleto Reyes Lace Sparring Glove 189 GBP

These are yellow 16 0z Cleto Reyes lace up sparring gloves.  If you ever get clocked in the mouth by these beauties you’re going to taste nothing but goat.  Mmmm goat… 😉

For the bag work you’re not going to get much better than Japan’s finest, a pair of Winning lace ups:

16oz Winning Training gloves 250 GBP

And lastly for competitive boxing you’re going to need some AIBA approved contest gloves:

AIBA Contest Gloves80 GBP

Well that’s it.  Not cheap.  The thing is, no one is going to rock up to any gym wearing this kind of stuff unless you can box well.  Hmm I’ll rephrase that!… I personally wouldn’t dream of rocking up to a gym wearing this stuff unless I could box well!

 

 

 

Personal Training – Week 2

“Wrapping the hands is every boxer’s daily ritual. It’s the ten minutes where every athlete/student/office worker transforms into a boxer.” – Johnny N, ExpertBoxing.com

One of my favourite pieces of training scripture!

It’s now the 19th June and on the 31st, I’ll be back offshore, at work, so I’m keen to learn as much as I can in my last 2 sessions of personal training and get as much feedback from Gary as I can because after the 31st, I’ll be on my own training for the next 5 weeks.

Not the greatest weather in Glasgow today, but I was waiting outside Lusby’s still eager.  Time to get down to business…

Warm up…

I’d been walking the 2 dogs, Poppy and Bailey up the hill, in the rain and dropping Bailey back with our nieces and dropping off some parcels at the post office.  My mind was full of distractions so I needed to warm up and try and get my focus back to boxing…

Jumping rope for about 5 minutes continuously.  I can jump rope like I was born with rope in my hands.  If you practice something for long enough and watch closely on something like YouTube, you can learn anything.  You just need time and patience.  There’s hope for me and everyone like me, yet.

3 – 5 minutes of shadowboxing.  I was more relaxed this week.  Gary pointed out when I roll up my elbows continuously to shadowbox a series of uppercuts… I’m sticking my chin up.  I probably look a little stupid.  I’d better tuck my head in.

Double-end bag…

4 continuous jabs for 3 minutes then 3 continuous jabs followed by a right uppercut.  Again this was to get my rhythm and timing and relaxing my shoulders.  Double end bag work is tricky stuff for me.  I still felt a little stiff with my jabs and I was missing a few uppercuts.  I was shown a quick video replay on the cell phone and my hips looked a little stiff as well for the uppercut and my feet weren’t  grounded properly.  When my wife goes on holiday next week with her sisters and I’m alone, I’ll visit Lusby’s more for an open session.  This bag has a lot more recoil than my bag.  I’d like to try and nail down my rhythm before I go away offshore end of June.  I can’t do that on the double end bag in my garage.  The tensions on the ropes are set different and there’s a height difference in the 2 ropes in my garage so my bag doesn’t move in the same way as the bag in this gym.  It’s a different animal altogether.  A lot of work needed with this piece of apparatus.

Pad work (Focus mitts)…

A mish mash of 1-2s (jab, cross) but with some real emphasis on my right hook (Bare in mind I’m southpawed so that’s off my jabbing arm).  It would go: Double-jab, right hook, right hook to the body and back up top for another right hook to the face.  More emphasis on the technique of my hook to the body.  Stepping into it and angling my fist up as if to punch the rib upwards.  I also needed to think about quickly stepping back out after that combination.  So… In… Bang… bang.  Back out.

Also did jab-cross x 4, slip and then back in for a hook to the body. I really like this combination.  A bit of head movement.  Feels great to slip.  I also like the drills where the pads are used to hit the top of your head and the sides of your arm to get used to contact (and to keep your guard up).  None of that today though.  Not yet.

Another useful thing was the low jab to the body.  Gary suggested I look at his collar bone as that gives me a decent peripheral view of the body to try and “read” my opponents body language.  I also don’t want to stare at what I’m aiming to hit.  That would be telegraphing my intentions to my opponent.

Lastly some more focus on jabbing while moving backwards at the same time.  All great stuff.

Heavy bag work…

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Taking what I did with the pads and bringing it onto the heavy bag.  So it was double-jab, right-hook, right hook to the body, right hook to the face all as one combination.  Not so much power, just technique.  Pop, pop, pop.  But like I said, I’m not sure what it is about throwing  hooks and uppercuts that makes you want to hit hard.  Have to get out of that habit.  The bag wasn’t being held so if it swung too much I had to hold my gloves up to brace it swinging back at me.  I wasn’t doing much, or enough of the bracing though.

I didn’t think I ever hit it hard enough for it to swing back so much that I needed to brace it with my gloves.  Probably my sparrow arms not having enough strength to punch it with enough force.

Next was making the bag sing a little.  What does that mean?… It starts with just popping light shots at the heavy bag.  Any combination but just continuously hitting.  No real pausing.  Then the intensity goes up after a little over a minute, firing harder shots until the final 30 seconds you’re just going for it.  Really going for it.  It’s tiring.  You need shoulder and arm endurance.  Gary calls it “making the bag sing” and asked me to “paint a  picture of violence on the bag”.  It wasn’t exactly a Mona Lisa… more like a cave man painting but I’ll get better through time.

Ring sense…

Back inside the ring again with Gary holding those two foam poles. Same idea as last week.  I throw combinations aiming at the end of one pole and Gary taps me on the head and body with the other pole if he sees an opening.  Here I’m using everything I’ve learned for the last 2 weeks, in this drill.  So different combinations, using my eyes more, movement around the ring.  Trying to remember as much as I can and using it all.

Verdict

Great session again.  I can go and hit a bag all day long but without feedback, I wouldn’t know where to improve or what my punches look like, or if my body mechanics are wrong.  Trust me, you may think you’re fluid and compact but a camera phone doesn’t lie.  That’s also where having someone like Gary is priceless.  It was great to have him letting me know what I needed to improve and being able to see clips of myself.

At this early stage, I’m a bit stiff around the hips so Gary suggested I start to jump rope but in addition, moving side to side; backwards and forwards.  Hopefully that’ll help my footwork around the ring. I’m moving better this week though so that’s something.

That was an hour and you wouldn’t believe how quick that goes but it was time well spent. Thanks again Gary.

 

My homework…

So what have I been able to do in between my last session with Gary at Lusby’s Gym and today? …

I’ve been trying to keep my weight down at 77 kg and my stamina up.  Bear in mind I walk the dog twice a day as well for an hour each time so that’s got to count for something!

I should keep a proper diary but this is what I can remember – the days may be a little skewed…

Fri 13th: 3-4 km run (< 20 minutes), 10 minutes shadowboxing, 30 minutes double-end-bag

Sat 14th: 3-4 km run, (< 20 minutes), 10 minutes shadowboxing

Sun 15th: Nothing

Mon 16th: 60 minute game of 5-aside football

Tue 17th: Nothing (This was the day I put up the heavy bag)

Wed 18th: 24 minutes on the double-end-bag, 12-minutes on the heavy bag, 5 mins shadowboxing

It’s not bad.  I have to balance my home chores and duties as well and I don’t want to turn Emma into a “Boxing widow”.  I try and do the workouts as early in the morning as possible so they’re not in the way of the main day between 0600 and 0730.  Can’t use the heavy bag at this hour though – it’s just too noisy and you can hear it through the floorboards.  The double end bag is a lot quieter but you can probably still hear that a little.

shadowbox-enclave

This little enclave is where I shadowbox.  I’m pretty well hidden from my neighbour.

mygarage

And if I open up those double-doors I can use these bags.