Monday, July 31, 2006

When I Say Something. . . .

Steve misplaced his key to the main door of the gym, so we had to enter through the door that leads to the basketball gym this past Friday. I've mentioned before that I hate when that door is open. Too many folks think it's an open invitation to come inside the gym. That is all good and fine if they actually want information about the program. It's another thing to be in the way of everyone.

Danny brought a guy in, and the next thing I knew, the guy was rummaging around in the bag glove locker. "What are you doing?" Steve asked. "He told me I could hit the bags," came the reply. "Not unless you're signed up," Steve answered.

Right behind that guy came two boys who proceeded to hit the bags with no hand protection. "No touching the equipment unless you're a member of the gym", I said with no amount of the politeness Steve had for the other guy. One kid stood around for a moment, then left, but the other kid, a stout sort, decided he was going to keep messing with the gloves. Jermaine told the kid that he should come back on Tuesday and Thursdays when Barry is coaching the youths. The stout kid obviously took this to mean that he could continue to hit the bags. "You need to take that glove off," I told him. He came a little closer to me, talking about "Huh?"

I hate that bull out of kids. He heard me the first couple of times I told him to stop. Maybe he's the type that doesn't listen to his mama at home, but I didn't carry him for nine months, so I don't have to put up with it. "Take the glove off, put it back on the table, and stop hitting the bags. Thank you," I growled. The hint finally sunk into the kid's thick head, and he complied, leaving the gym not long afterwards. I don't like being a hard ass towards kids who are interested in the sport, but rules are rules.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Newlywed's Win

It was back to the Sabre Room last night for a show fight. Sadiq's wife--yes, he got married on Tuesday--came along. "I'm so nervous for him," Lauren said. She turned out to be a good calming influence on him, especially when he found out he was fighting a guy named JD instead of the boxer whose tapes he had been studying.

Steve told Sadiq that JD postures a lot in the ring and fights wildly. When JD was introduced, he flexed his arms and gritted his teeth at Sadiq from across the ring. Sadiq was doing well during the first two rounds, catching JD with jabs and solid rights. JD's technique involved rushing at Sadiq and brawling. There was a moment when the referee broke the two fighters apart after JB threw what looked like an illegal punch to Sadiq's body. After the break, Sadiq seemed to think for a moment, then he popped JD with a body shot. The referee admonished him.

The third round seemed not to be in Sadiq's favor. There were a few times when it looked as if he was waiting to see what JD would do instead of continuing to work the jab. JD's haphazard punches were connecting more than usual. Sadiq did get in a shot that cut JD's lip open. When it was all over, the decision was given to Sadiq. JD complimented him profusely afterwards, even pointing out his own mistakes that cost him the victory over Sadiq.

Josh didn't get a match, and unfortunately, last night was probably the last opportunity for him to get a fight. He's a young man on the move, checking out grad schools and preparing to travel to Japan to teach English for several months.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Humid Friday Night and No JABB

Steve was out of town, so I opened the gym, or should I say, Robert, one of the fieldhouse staff opened up. We had to go through the basketball gym and enter using the door there because Robert did not have a key for the main door to the boxing gym. I don't like having that door open when I'm watching the gym. Occassionally, kids and teens playing ball will wander into the boxing gym through that door, then it's a problem getting them out. "We want to box a few rounds", they'll say, knowing they don't know how, or they want to play around on the equipment. After I got my wraps and boxing shoes on, I had to go back through the basketball gym to get to the water fountain to fill the water bottles. Sometimes, the guys doing hoops don't pay me any attention, but there's always females hanging around the benches to watch the guys. They give me odd looks when I pass by, and mumble under their breaths. I want to say, "At least I ain't wasting my time trying to look cute and doing nothing." Reminds me of when I was in high school. I hated being around girls who seemed to have nothing on their minds but how to catch knuckleheaded boys. The same girls would roll their eyes at girls like me who weren't tunnel visioned like that.

It was hot in the gym because it was humid outside. I turned the one box fan on, but that wasn't enough. Too much of a chore to open the ancient windows. Besides, I didn't want to forget to close them. Steve told me how Barry had called to get on him once when he forgot.

Fortunately, the guys who were already in the gym did not want to stay late. However, Gabe, who is home for the summer from college, walked in near closing time, followed by Emmanuel. Gabe had a legit excuse--he works as a lifeguard at a pool, and the hours hard for him to get to the gym on time. Emmanuel is not an official member at Loyola Gym; he normally works out at Clarendon, a fieldhouse several miles south of Loyola. "Just let me have three good rounds," he pleaded, so I stuck around. I wasn't in a great rush to get home. My apartment was just as hot as the gym.

Missed out on going to JABB Gym on Saturday, because I accepted an invitation from one of my cousins to hang out with her out in the suburb she lives in. Judging by how stuffy it was in JABB the last time I was there, I can imagine it was even worse due to the heat wave we're having. I only remember being overcome by heat once, over ten years ago. I had been walking around for a long time outside, no water bottle with me, for whatever reason I don't remember. I leaned against a tree outside of a woman's house. She came out, gave me some water, and a wet nap to wipe my brow with. Might have been a good idea not to go down to JABB, jumping around in the heat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Quality of Boxing DVDs

I sparred with Sarah last Friday. Guess being knocked in the head so many times caused me to forget to record that here (smile). Figured out one reason I have a hard time with her in the ring is that she is a non-stop punching machine. I got her once with a left hook, but the rest of my efforts to make any kind of headway were pit-i-ful as Jed Clampett used to say on "The Beverly Hillbillies".

Steve and I were laughing about the quality of many of the instructional boxing DVDs we've seen. This is not to say that the information included on them is not valid; it is extremely helpful. The production values are off, especially on the ones put out by Ringside. The information is often given out in a monotone by John Brown, the head of the company, who appears to be a knowledgeable guy otherwise. It is obvious that he is reading cue cards most of the time. There's another guy who also appears on the DVDs, who's delivery is a little better, but I can't remember his name at the moment. Flubs, like accidently calling a speed bag a double end bag, aren't edited out.

The ones produced by Title Boxing appear to be a little better, based on a couple of them I've seen. Unfortunately, it is too easy for those instructional DVDs to be a series of talking heads. For example, I have one about proper nuitrition for boxers featuring trainer Freddie Roach and a British boxer. They stand in one spot for the majority of the video and give their advice about what boxers should eat. That's it. A list of acceptable and unacceptable foods scrolls across the screen at the end of the DVD. The one with the Canadian head of Title about how to properly work a boxer's corner is more lively.

I also have a couple of Everlast DVD's featuring boxing instruction featuring Michael Olajinde. He wears a patch over one eye due to an bad injury he suffered when he was a professional fighter. I believe he doesn't have his eye there anymore. I like how he breaks down the various punches, combinations and practice drills. He is also featured on one of Kathy Smith's DVD. She's a major exercise guru who has goo-gabs of DVD's out. That is a boxing workout, but it is obviously modified for those who are not looking to be fighters, who just want a more intense workout. Still, it's not a wimpy workout, with several jump rope sequences, and numerous punch combinations. I haven't used it in awhile--my apartment is especially too hot in the summer months to do much exercising inside--but I like it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hot Work Out

This past Saturday, I decided it was high time that I add a third boxing workout to my week. My first option was to pay for a stand-alone boxing class (without having to sign up for full membership) at the martial arts school I used to attend. I had been promising the boxing coach over there for a few years now that I would eventually return. The cost is rather steep for only about a month and a half of classes, unfortunately, and I can't really swing paying that kind of money on a regular basis. Instead, I opted to go to JABB, a professional gym that has been open for about over a year. JABB was featured in The Ring magazine several months ago. It's a clean, open space on the northwest side of the city, several miles from the downtown area. It's a bit easier to get to on public transportation that Windy City Gym. A day pass to workout costs $5.00.

Despite all of the ceiling fans being on that day, it was very hot inside the gym. I got in a two-hour workout before becoming too tired to continue. Samantha was there with her father, training in a small ring on the other side of the room. She and I were the only females there.

The first thing I noticed was that I had to modify my workout slightly. There are no step risers there, so I didn't do that. I finally found a speed bag that wasn't very high, but it was still not low enough to be completely comfortable for me to work with. Unlike the one at Loyola's gym, I could have lowered it, but I didn't want to take the chance of accidently damaging it. They also had a Cobra bag, which Loyola doesn't have, and I went a few rounds on that. Over in a corner were two LifeFitness walking machines. I hadn't been on one of those for a long time, so I choose the "cardio" setting, and walked for 15 minutes. An uppercut bag had been mounted to the wall in a good position for me to get underneath it and run drills.

The shower was cold after that long sweaty workout, but welcomed in contrast to the stuffiness of the air in the gym. I will return again next Saturday, but I'll have to get there early: there were signs posted stating that JABB will be closed at 2:00 PM on Saturdays beginning this weekend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Old Gal Sprints Again

Maybe if I had changed out of my boxing shoes and back into my tennis shoes before running sprints, I would have done better. Maybe not. Junior, Ben, and one of the new guys whose name I don't know, ran the length of a fence next to a baseball diamond outside of the fieldhouse. They did all five sprints. I managed to do two.

Some time ago, Junior had suggested that I do sprints, or at least run most days. He runs just about every day, but he's 19 years old. I used to love to run when I was younger. Even had a track class while I was in high school. I would jump the hurdles like a gazelle. Yesterday evening, I was wheezing like a long-time cigar smoker.

Back in the gym, I was awarded something that very few in the gym are: I was given a locker. There aren't many in the gym, about five, I think. The lockers are reserved for the coaches of course, then the guys who consistently train and compete, like Montrell and Junior. I'm actually sharing a locker with Junior. The only thing inside was a cornerman's jacket. Junior usually takes his gear home with him. I locked my gym bag up inside.

Steve, one of the new guys, is built like a professional wrestler, with tatoos on both of his huge arms. "Could you teach me how to jump rope the next time?" he asked. "I was watching you earlier, and I can't jump like that." I told him I would. I guess I think all guys should know how to jump rope from when they were kids. But now that I think about it, I knew very few boys who did jump rope when I was a kid. I guess the skill wasn't encouraged because that was something that girls did. There was one boy I knew in grade school named Jimmy, who could jump double-double better than most of the girls. The other boys picked on him about it.

Seems like half of the new people showed up last night, and then the ones that came in didn't stay long. The coach did have them working on the pads, doing the ol' one-two-three: left jab, right cross, left hook. In one of the women's eyes, I could see boredom setting in. Truth be told, doing the same six punches over and over can become routine. The fun is in seeing how you can perfect them, along with footwork.