Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Good Dental Advice

Sara throws a right at the pad

Alan works the pads with Sara

Sara throws a hook

Alan holds the pads for Vachel

Vachel and Alan

Ben and Kenny

Louis and Walter

Louis and Walter

Louis and Walter in between rounds

Kenny and Brandy

Kenny holds pads for Brandy

Kenny and Brandy work the pads

On Wednesday night, Ben put in a light-hearted complaint about the music coming out of the iPod that Colonel brought in.  I believe the iPod in the dock belonged to Kenny.  "Whoever can last three rounds with me can change the music," Kenny said.  "Challenge!  Kenny has offered a challenge!" I grinned.  Kenny changed the songs up without anyone taking him up on his offer.

Vachel was surprised to learn that the boxing program runs all year.  "Unlike other sports, like football, boxing doesn't have seasons.  It just keeps going," I explained.  She said she might take some time off in the spring, but the hours of the gym will work well for her come summer.  In the summer, she plays softball on the days when the adult gym is not in session.

I sparred with Brandy for two rounds, then I sparred with Sara for one round.  Brandy kept popping me in the stomach with jabs.  I just was not covering up well in that area.  Her hits were on target.  Later, she said she liked that particular punch.  We were not doing an all out war, but our pace was good.  I promised Sara that I would go light, and I did.  I did not want to let something fly too hard and knock her out like I did last year. 

Now the sparring session between Louis and Walter was a war for the first two rounds.  Alan kept telling them to slow it down.  The men were tangled up on the ropes several times, prompting Colonel to say, "Don't knock my ring down!"  Walter stopped and stumbled to the ropes in the second round.  It appeared that he had walked into a punch that Louis had thrown.  But Walter quickly recovered, and the action resumed. 

Paul came in, and he gave me some pointers.  It seemed when I was sparring with Brandy, I kept throwing the overhand right (which she quickly telegraphed and avoided).  But instead of going to the body with uppercuts or hooks, I kept on throwing punches up in the air.  Paul advised me to throw the overhand right, then duck low, and come in with the body shots, preferably uppercuts. 

In light of how Kenny was able to overtake me on Monday, I asked Alan how to deal with a fighter who moves quickly around the ring.  "I can't chase them, because I'll get tired out," I said.  "Then you've got to cut off the ring and back them into the corners," Alan explained.  I may have to eat some punches going in, but once the other person has no escape, then I can get in on the inside and let my punches go. 

Earlier in the day, I had to go back to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned.  I couldn't even remember the last time I went in for a teeth cleaning.  Judging by all the scraping that had to be done, I really needed it.  The dentist told me that I need to brush and floss my teeth twice a day.  He explained that saliva is not moving around in the mouth at night to help wash away food particles.  The particles then sit, giving bacteria a chance to grow.  If the teeth are brushed and flossed at night, the mouth is cleaner.  That gave me an idea: brushing and flossing after having the last meal of the day is a great way to cut down on late night snacking.  The temptation to "dirty up" a clean mouth is cut down.  That would be helpful for boxers trying to make weight for a fight. 
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Testing At The Coach's Clinic

Kenny and Ben's action
Ben and Kenny in a tangle
Ben and Louis in the corner

Sarah returned to the gym Monday night, and so did Sara and Brandy, who had each missed some days.  But none of the women sparred with each other.  I ended up sparring with Kenny.

But before that, there was sparring action between Louis, Kenny, Ben One, and Ben Two (there are two guys named Ben in the gym right now).  Unfortunately, I had to discard the pictures I took of Ben Two and Kenny -- the photos came out blurred.  As usual, Kenny was coaching as he was sparring.  Kenny is a good coach. 

That's why I like sparring with him.  It's always a challenge because Kenny is very fast.  I can't catch him when he starts dancing around the ring.  Before the third round, Kenny told me that I had to get more aggressive.  "Really throw those punches, because if you don't, you know I'm going to eff you up!" he told me.  "I know," I replied, as I made up my mind to really get in there.  I did better in that round.  I even stepped around to throw a right hook after throwing a jab.

Alan asked about what happened at a coach's clinic I attended this past Saturday.  It was held at Sam Colonna's boxing gym, which is on 35th Street, out on the south side.  It's a new location; the previous gym had been a few blocks over from where the White Sox play ball.  Nice open, airy space.  It sits in a building that houses other businesses.  I walked into a furniture store on the premises by accident.  They directed me to go around to the side of the building. 

I needed to attend the clinic because I hadn't been to one since 2009.  I was halfway down to the train station when I realized I'd left my coach's license book at home.  Couldn't go back to get it or else I would have been late for the clinic.  Fortunately, I was able to get another book when I got to my destination.

There was a nice sized crowd.  Rita, Sam, Tina and Yale were there.  David Diaz, a former professional boxer was there, as was Dominick George, a popular local boxer.  George has a fight this upcoming Friday, so he was there to get his workout in.

Everyone was required to take a test regarding USA Boxing's rules.  Some were applying for Level 2 status, but the majority, including myself, were renewing at Level 1 status.  Level 1 coaches volunteer at local gyms with amateur boxers.  We also had to pay to renew our coaches' licenses.  The process went fast and smoothly, then Sam told everyone to stick around because he had ordered pizza.

I saw Metzger, a boxer whom I've been acquainted with for several years.  He just recently became a dad.  "The baby has gained a few more pounds," he told me.  From the pictures I've seen, his son is cute.  His son also looks like he's ready to go to the gym to learn how to box from his dad. 

Alan said he has to go to a clinic, but he groaned when he learned the next one is going to be held at a gym in Downers Grove.  I had learned only a few days before about the clinic that was at Sam's gym.  I was very happy that it was being held within city limits. Most of the clinics have been held out in the suburbs, most of which are a problem to get to without a car.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Steppin' At Club Loyola

Bean talks with Kenny

Alan holds pads for Reygie

Hallie shadow boxes in the mirror

Colonel eyes the tear drop bag 

Louis talks to Ben

Amy works the speed bag

Kenny pounds the heavy bag

Bean came in and said, "Not many people here. . .this is nice."  The crowd was not as big as it had been the past few days.  A new guy named Ben (not to be confused with the other Ben who's currently signed up) came in; he used to box at Hamlin Park and Clarendon Park. 

Reygie came in a little later, not looking or sounding well.  "I'm under stress, and I just feel tired.  If I don't feel well on Friday, I'm not going to fight," he said.  He worked pads with Alan and did a regular workout, but no sparring.  Alan left a message for Sam, who's promoting the fight, to tell him he'll keep him posted on whether or not Reygie will be up to participating in the bout.

Sam has remodeled and re-opened his gym, Sam Colonna Boxing, MMA and Fitness, which is located on the south side.  I also learned of a new gym over in the Pilsen neighborhood called Body Shot Boxing.   I spend a lot of time at Loyola Park, but it is good sometimes to get a workout at another spot, and perhaps spar with some fresh faces.  I plan to go take a look at both gyms when I get a chance.  I still need to get over to Hamlin Park at some point, too. 

I shadow boxed most of the time, and stayed mainly in the ring.  All the bags were occupied a majority of the time.  I didn't get to hit one until near the end of the evening.  I wasn't moving well.  My knees weren't hurting, but they weren't moving like I wanted them to do.  When I wasn't shadowboxing, I held pads for Vachel, and I gave tips to Louis on how to use the speed bag.

The R&B classic, "Be Thankful For What You Got" was playing on Colonel's iPod.  I was stepping and shadowboxing at the same time.  Kenny laughed as he asked Alan, "You running a boxing gym or a steppers' club -- which is it?"  "What are you doing, Hillari?  Dancing or hitting the bag?" Alan smiled.  "Both," I replied, and you know, it wasn't a bad idea.  It helped me get a rhythm.  I probably could make up a whole workout routine incorporating dancing and boxing. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keyed Up

Reygie losing his contact while sparring with Andre

DJ and Jacob

Alan on the heavy bag

Reygie on the heavy bag as Andre watches
It should have been a good day. President Obama was sworn in for a second term, and it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I was poised to get to work early. But then I noticed both my house keys and work keys were missing, along with kubutan key chain to which they were attached. I turned the house upside down, but I never found them. The day went downhill from there.

I can use a key card to get in and out of the building and my apartment. There was an extra set of keys at work I could use. But a bike lock key was also among the keys I lost -- and my bike is locked to a rack in the building's bike room. If I don't find the duplicate key I have before summer, I'll have to get someone to cut the lock off. Those bike locks aren't cheap, so that's probably some money I'll have to dole out.

Then I was all set to work some drills with Kenny -- he came in the gym with Colonel on Monday -- when a former neighbor of mine, Michael, suddenly showed up. Michael informed me that another former neighbor, who has the same first name, died recently. Drugs were the culprit.

So much for the workout. My mind wasn't totally focused on it to begin with due to the situation about the lost keys. This was very apparent when I sparred with Kenny for a round and a half. Kenny kept saying, "I'm out of shape," but he couldn't prove that by me. I was chasing him around the ring, hoping to tire him out, but Kenny's still as quick as he usually is.

DJ and Jacob returned to the gym, and it was nice to see them again. Jacob said he hadn't been working out in awhile and it was time to get back in shape.

Colonel brought his iPod player in again. "Try Me" a 1950's hit for James Brown came on. Reygie was on the speed bag. "This song makes me want to take off my panties," he laughed. The things the guys say in that gym! Good thing I don't print everything they say, or this blog would be dangerously close to an X-rating.

Reygie later sparred with Andre. Once again, one of his contacts came out. He had it on his finger, and was about to put it back in when it dropped onto the canvas. Alan and I searched but we couldn't find it. "Forget it," Reygie said. "Man, you shouldn't wear contacts in the ring," Kenny told him. "But I can't see well without them," Reygie replied. "Neither can I. But you get used to it!" Kenny said.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gym Dancing

Feeling better on Wednesday, I opted to spar with Reygie.  But before I could get my turn, Reygie sparred first with Arnold, then with Brandy.

Arnold could have sworn that he threw his mouthpiece in his gym bag before he left the house but it wasn't there.  Alan had to improvise and give him some paper to bite down on.  "I'm only in the ring with him because he's got a fight coming up," Arnold said in between rounds. 

Just like when I was in the ring with him, Reygie encouraged Brandy to get in as many hits on him as possible. 

Alan told me, "Come on, Hillari, you're not really hitting him!".  I was trying, but Reygie covers up like a turtle, and it was hard to get those uppercuts in.  I got in close and gave Reygie a few right hooks to the body.  "Stop holding him," Alan said.  That was the first time I had did that to someone that I can remember.

I noticed Alan was wearing a mouthpiece, and I gave him a look.  "We're just going to throw body shots!" he insisted before getting into the ring with Reygie.  "Coach, you can hit me in the face!" Reygie said.  "We have to look out for him," I told Reygie, referring to Alan.

Colonel brought in his iPod again.  I was steppin' more than I was working out at times.  I was even dancing in the corners a little in between the rounds I was sparring with Reygie.  He was dancing, too.  "Go Reygie, go Reygie, it's your birthday!" I was saying while he was shaking in the ring. 

I used to dance a lot of time in between rounds when I used to workout in the church's gym a few years ago.  The radio would be blasting with the music I had burned onto CDs.  Pastor Roger would see me shadow boxing or jogging around the gym, but he never did catch me dancing.  I know I would have been admonished. 
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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Monday Crowd

It was all guy action on Monday.  In the photo above, Andre took on Reygie.  Reygie loved hanging up against the ropes.  Colonel, who came in, said, "Get off the ropes!"  Both Reygie and Andre were getting their licks in, mostly upside each other's heads.  "Eff that!" Arnold said to me as we both watched their fistic efforts, and we both laughed. 

It looks as if Reygie and Andre will have fights later this month at the University Club downtown.  Unlike other locations where fights are held in and around the city, there's not a lot of room for onlookers.  "Ever been in that place?  It's full of rich and well educated people.  A friend of mine has a membership there," Colonel told me.  Arnold wanted to go, but Alan told him, "If Hillari wants to go and be in their corners, then you won't be able to go."  The date of the fight sounded familiar to me, like I had something else planned, but I couldn't remember what it was.  I didn't have my calendar with me to verify, so I told Arnold that he should go. 

I had debated whether or not to go to the gym on Monday. I had been hit with a sudden cold that started late Friday evening, and laid me out all weekend long. I was still coughing and stuffed up Monday morning. Being sick and dealing with some of the people who show up to the food pantry at work never mixes well together, so I stayed home. It was very late in the afternoon when I decided I would go to workout. But I knew before I got there that I was in no condition to spar.  I wish I could have, knowing that Brandy probably wanted to do so. 

In the photo above, Professor takes a picture of Reygie and Andre.  The other Andre was there, too, but he didn't get a chance to spar.  

In these two shots, Arnold and Joanne (I hope I have her name right) did a burn out as I counted off numbers.  
Marshall and Joe face off in the ring.   I worry about the hits that Joe keeps taking.  It's a matter of keeping his hands up and his chin down to avoid them.  But I have to admire how he shakes them off and keeps going. 

Ben and Andre did a few rounds.

Marcus also came in that evening, but some newer faces were missing, namely Kylie and Erma.  Later, I learned they hadn't officially signed up, but had come in last week to try it out.  "I've never seen it this crowded in here," Colonel said.  "It always is in January," I told him.  I think there's about 15 people signed up.  When most have to go out into the hallway in order to have room to jump rope, that's when I know the place is crowded. 

Information for this year's Golden Gloves tournament has been released.  I was surprised to learn that it is not being held at Gordon Tech High School this time.  The new location is at Cicero Stadium.  No news on why there's been a change of venue.  Gordon Tech had the advantage of extra parking over St. Andrew's Gym, but the setup for spectators was a little too tight.  I'm hoping that won't be a problem at Cicero Stadium. 
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