“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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.