Monday, July 30, 2007

Willie and JJ

September 26 -- that's when the fall session of boxing at Loyola Park begins. Our boxing show takes place a few days after that, I believe.

No Bridget on Friday. I don't know what happened. Candace and I spent a good amount of time reviewing what I had shown her before, then we went over how to block punches. I didn't get that much of a workout because I gave Candace extra time. If Bridget had come in, I would have limited the lesson to about an half an hour. I want to give people as much attention as I can when I'm giving lessons, but I have to get my box on, too.

The usual round robin of sparring took place this past Friday, with Willie and JJ taking it to each other during their time on the canvas. Nate Sr. also went a couple of rounds with JJ. Nate declared, "If I come in here and don't get a piece of JJ, I feel left out!" Steve and I were trying to think of other guys that Willie could spar with. "Maybe Terrell?" I said, but Steve shook his head. "Terrell goes a little wild," he commented. "Wally, then," I suggested, and Steve agreed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Candace, Bridget and a Blogger

Yesterday was Steve's birthday. He's 34 years old. "I'm not going to do anything. I'll probably just go home and have a beer," he told me. I noticed he was able to get in a fair amount of working out on the bags last night, which was a good thing. He spends so much time with all of us that he often doesn't get to exercise himself.

About ten minutes before Steve came in, Ceedub, whom I met through the Broken Heart of Rogers Park blog ( stopped in to check out the gym. It was very nice to put a face to someone whom I had talked to via the Internet. He liked the setup of the gym, and he plans to join when the fall session starts in late August/early September. I need to find out the exact date.

Candace and I went over all of the punches and some footwork. Later, she was working on the pads with Willie. Normally, the newcomers don't get on the pads for awhile, but she looked impressive. She's had some kickboxing experience. Willie held pads for a lot of us last night, including myself and Ben. I heard him tell Ben, "Man, you punch the old school way!"

JJ was not in, and it seemed to have been the result of miscommunication between him and Steve. Last night was the monthly boxing show at the Sabre Room, but Steve opted not to go. He had talked about what he might do on his birthday, and JJ might have assumed that Steve was going to take off and close the gym up that night. JJ went out to Elgin to work with his conditioning trainer.

Bridget came in with her daughter Penny, which was a bit of a surprise. She explained that some things had come up, which was why she hadn't been in. I told her we could pick up where we left off the last time, and she promised to come in on Friday. Actually, that works out, because I can review the basics with her and Candace at the same time. After the review is over, we'll start on learning how to block and slip punches. That's something I need to work on myself, so it'll be a review for me, too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garfield No Go

Steve, JJ and I were late getting out to the Garfield Park fieldhouse on the west side. Barry had two smaller kids there, whom I had never seen before, and they had matches lined up. Unfortunately, there was nothing available for either JJ or Little Jermaine. We hung around for a little bit, talked to Catchings, who was there taking pictures, then rode back up to Loyola Park for a quick workout.

I thought I wouldn't get much done that night, but it turned out extremely well for the 30 to 40 minutes we were in the gym. My gym bag was at home, but fortunately, there were a couple of wraps inside my locker, and I could use the bag gloves in the equipment cabinet. I also keep a pair of tennis shoes in my locker, too, as my old boxing shoes are just about worn out. Eventually, I'll get around to buying a new pair when I catch some on sale. There's not a great need for me to buy a whole lot of equipment since I can't compete anymore, but I still need some things to do the workout.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Yet Another New Face

Steve introduced me to a woman named Candace who will begin coming to the gym next week. He explained to her that the gym would be closed tonight because JJ is scheduled to fight at Garfield Park. She seemed very pleasant, and had a lot of questions about what goes on in the gym. She was concerned that maybe Steve wouldn't always have time to work with her. Before he left us to talk, he explained he had to get back to working with some of the guys. I told her not to worry, and that I would help her out.

It seems the gym has been very busy this summer, which is unusual. The regulars still come around during the season, but usually, not many new people sign up. There have been a lot of people coming by the gym to inquire about joining, as well. I even had a person named ceedub, who posts regularly to another blog I visit, make plans to join when the fall sessions rolls around in late August/early September.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dazed and Stunned

I saw something that I thought I would never see in the gym this past Friday. Tall Jermaine -- who's about 6 foot 5 and 265 pounds -- was knocked to one knee by Terrell. They were sparring, and Terrell caught him with what looked like a left hook.

Later, Terrell was dazed when Wally caught him in the face with a punch. Both Terrell and Jermaine were pretty much finished for the night after those incidents. At one point, Jermaine said, "I'm still dazed."

Willie sparred with Nate Sr., and Willie wasn't pulling his punches at all, and he had energy for days. Both Steve and I were worried that Nate Sr. might end up getting hurt. However, Nate Sr. likes to spar, and knows how to handle himself in the ring. He used to be a professional boxer.

Two of the three newbies who showed up on Wednesday were missing on Friday. I kind of figured that Ahmed would disappear quickly, but I was a little disappointed that Bridget didn't come in. She showed real promise the other day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Appearances

Three more new people showed up last night. Steve and I were baffled why they showed up just then, considering the summer session began three weeks ago. He asked me to go over the initial lessons with them, while he went forward with the other new people.

Bridget showed up with her daughter Penny, a cute 7-year-old. Bridget has taken Tae Kwon Do, so she was not unfamilar with fighting techniques. Ahmed is long and tall, and the third person -- a husky guy whose name I can't remember -- is a MMA fighter. The third person basically just wanted to work out, so the lesson was geared towards Bridget and Ahmed. We went over how to stand, the left jab and the right cross. Bridget showed good form while Ahmed. . . well, he didn't seem to be very coordinated. Instead of throwing the jab straight out, he flung it in the air, and he couldn't seem to get the concept of turning his body and putting his weight into the right cross. Time will tell how well he'll progress.

The gym was busy last night, between the other new people continuing their lessons, and a few of the regulars sparring and/or doing drills. Willie stopped in to get in a quick workout, and I held the pads for him. I have to be very mindful of how I'm holding them, because he hits very hard. However, judging how poorly things have been going at my job lately, it might be a blessing to be laid up because of punch that missed its mark.

Dealing with constant annoyances, irritations and frustrations on my job always make me wish I had a punching bag at home. It would warm my heart to tape either a picture or the name of the person(s) who pissed me off on a heavy bag then beat the bag down. There have been too many of those over the past two weeks. For example, last week, Les had me take the pictures of entertainers down off my wall, because he felt they did not contribute to a professional office. It was more like him worrying about what someone else was going to think -- probably about the new COO who keeps an office on our floor, who has been in and out of my office with nary a comment as to what was up on the walls -- as usual. Irked the hell out of me. For five years, the pictures posed no problem, now all of a sudden, they do? My office suddenly looked like a bare tomb. After a couple of days, I couldn't take the lack of color anymore, so I had some family photos copied and blown up, and now they are up on the office walls.

G announced that his wife had a baby girl the other day. I didn't know he was married and already had a 2-year-old daughter. I find out something new every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fights On Weed Street

Javonta didn't get a fight, which was really a bummer, considering that Joe's Bar was overrun with guys looking to get matched up in the ring. Steve grumbled that many of the fight nights held in bars are disorganized. "They are looking for heavyweights and open fighters," he commented.

Barry was able to get a fight for Montrell, who beat his opponent in a close match. During that fight, I was using Barry's camcorder to tape the action. Montrell and his opponent slammed against the ropes, and a spray of sweat covered me, the judges nearby, and the people sitting in the front row. I had always heard of people ringside being sprayed with either sweat or blood. Now I have that experience.

I had been inside Joe's before, but never during a boxing show. The last time I was there, I was a member of a singles group I joined several months after my younger sister passed away. The singles group had events practically every day. Around Christmas, I attended an event where the old TV Christmas specials, like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" were shown on a big screen. It was nice and cozy up in the little balcony area sectioned off for the event. By the following spring, however, I had paid off my membership for that year, and I left the group. Too many events centered around hanging out in bars, which, like drinking, is something I don't do on a regular basis. Plus, in addition to the monthly membership fee, on top of a joiners fee, I had to shell out extra to participate in the events.

Bovon (I have mistakenly referred to him as Bovino in past posts) was there. Yale asked another guy to help hold Bovon down so he could shave his goatee off. I know that guys can't compete wearing facial hair, but I hoped Yale was kidding about tackling the guy. Later, Bovon was seen clean-shaven.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sparring In A Sweatbox

Terrell, JJ, Javonta, Wally, Jermaine and Bony (one of the new people) sparred this past Friday. Once again, the windows were open and the fan was running, but the humidity remained high. I ran into Ben, a guy who plays basketball at the fieldhouse over the weekend. "I knew several guys would be sparring that night, but it was too hot back there for me to come in," he told me.

The real surprise was Bony, who mixed it up with Javonta. He never took his eyes off of him, and didn't make many of the mistakes that first time sparrers usually do. Steve is very impressed with him. "He's 42 years old. If only I had met him when he was 15. He'd be a champion by now," he said. Bony has natural talent, and has quickly picked up the techniques that Steve has taught so far.

Nikki came in and gave me some info on fasting and raw food dieting. I noticed that of all the new women who started, she was the only one who returned. The other three disappeared after the first class meeting. I don't expect to see them again, but you never know.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Holiday In The Gym

No one was sure if the gym was going to be open this upcoming Wednesday, which happens to be the Fourth of July. Steve told all to just assume it wasn't going to be open.

JJ sparred with Terrell and Javonte sparred with Tommy. Some of the newcomers stuck around to watch. In fact, most of the regulars stopped to watch, too. It was a little funny; we were like kids hanging over a fence watching something going on in the neighbor's backyard. This will be the real test for the newcomers. Usually, after they see a sparring session, a lot of them disappear, never to be seen at the gym door again.

Nikki didn't come in, and I was a little disappointed because I wanted to see what information she was going to bring in regarding the raw food diet.