Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twice With Max, Twice With Paul

I was the first one to arrive at the gym, and I sang along to a song on my MP3 player to kill the time.  I think the song was "Thank You", a religious song that appeared on the end of one of Destiny's Child's CDs.  Alan came in several minutes later.  "My side piece is coming in tonight.  She flew in from California to see me," he grinned as he unlocked the door.  "I'm telling Riva," which is my stock answer every time Alan makes a comment about the attractiveness of another woman.  He laughed and said the woman -- whose name I unfortunately can't remember -- was a colleague from San Francisco.  Alan had invited her to the gym to work out.  "These California girls are always working out, so I figured she'd like to come in and try this," he said.

Alan convinced quiet Max to spar again Monday evening.  The last time Max was in the ring, he faced Andre One (who didn't come in that night).  Max took a little bit of a beating.  Knowing that Max hadn't boxed before he started coming to the gym, and based on how Andre One had popped him the last time, I didn't want to go hard on him. 

Problem was, Max wasn't hitting back much.  I immediately recognized that he was hesitant about hitting a female.  Alan told him, "Hit her hard.  She can take it!"  I encouraged Max to throw more punches as well, but he still didn't answer many of mine.  I kept catching him with hooks to the head and hooks to the body. 

I hit Max hard a few times, without really meaning to do that.  I kept asking him, "Are you okay?" after those types of shots.  I had him up against the ropes with a flurry of punches, and Alan told him, "Come on, Max!  Hit her back!"  Max caught me off guard with a right, and I slipped and fell near the corner.  We did two rounds.

Alan and Andre Two (to the right in the photo above) sparred for several rounds.  I positioned myself ringside, hoping not to see any major injuries take place.  Andre Two started out punching light, then quickly reverted to throwing hard shots.  I was talking to Art during part of the time they were in the ring.  Art was giving me pointers about observing my opponents more and setting up shots better.  The both of us looked over at the ring in time to see Andre Two get Alan with a hard right.  The force of it knocked Alan into the corner.  I winced and everybody else went "Ooh!"  Being the tough older guy that he is, Alan recovered quickly and came back at Andre with combinations.

Actually, before that happened, Paul and I sparred for a round.  Even though Max didn't throw many punches, I was tired out from hopping around.  Paul effectively kept me off of him a majority of the time by literally keeping his jab hand against my forehead.  I barely was able to get around it.  Afterwards, I told him, "I felt like I was on the playground in grade school during a fight," and we both laughed.

Later, Paul and I got into the ring again for one more round.  I'd had a chance to rest up, but it still wasn't easy to get around Paul's arms.  Plus, he was moving around a lot, and I couldn't chase him.  Alan told me earlier when I was in with Max, "See how much easier it is to fight someone your height?"  It was true that I was able to get in more punches on Max.  But, someone as short as I am also has to know how to handle people who are taller and bigger. 

Paul also sparred with Jake, and the two seemed to appear to be evenly matched.  They were working together.  However, when Paul sparred with Alan, they were holding each other a lot.  Everybody was calling out "Break!" continuously.  I called out, "Break clean!" after they clinched in a corner, backed up from each other, and Alan immediately threw a right cross.  Art commented, "It's turned into a MMA match."  They kept holding on to each other, neither wanting to let go because they didn't want the other guy to throw a quick punch. 

Alan may be chuckling in the picture above because his and Paul's California colleague decided to take on Paul for some light sparring,.  She was getting a lot of her punches in.

Paul told me that he was jumping away from me during the earlier round we sparred because several of my punches came dangerously close to being low blows.  "I'm sorry!" I said, feeling a bit embarrassed.  I think that I'm going so much for the hooks to the body that I'm not keeping my hands up enough while throwing them. 

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