Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wild, Wild West Side Sparring

Jaydon (in the red shirt) faces Earl during a sparring session, and it was not pretty.  Earl pleaded with me to not put him in with TJ (whom I mistakenly kept referring to as Tyrone) because he didn't want to take another shot to the nose.  I figured he would have an easier time with Jaydon, but it was a little too easy.  Jaydon kept dropping his hands, turning his head, and generally not defending himself.  Earl took advantage and kept socking Jaydon.  After Jaydon took a shot to the face, it was over.  Jaydon started crying, and I stopped the sparring.  I had to move on to the next sparring session quickly, so I didn't get a chance to talk to Jaydon about what happened and how we could fix it.

Terry didn't fare much better with TJ.  Terry was doing the same thing as Jaydon was, including throwing both of his fists out at once.  "One punch at a time!  Use the other hand to protect your face!" I admonished.  Terry kept turning his back on TJ.  "Stop, stop doing that!  Stop that habit!" I snapped.  Finally, after taking too many shots, Terry got a little angry.  I could see it in his face when he caught TJ in the ribs with a left hook.  "Good!  Keep doing that!" I said.

I put Deja in with Michael, but that didn't last long.  Michael started off the first round crouching down too low.  "She's taller than you, Michael.  Don't do that," I told him.  Deja was focused, measuring out the distances, and getting a lot of hits on Michael.  Michael kept covering up and backing into corners.  Michael was throwing wild punches, none of which reached Deja because she was always out of range.  Michael tried to run out of the ring but got caught up in the ropes.

Michael's mom wasn't having it.  "Boy, get up and fight!" she said.  The second round barely started before Deja got the best of him again.  Michael rolled out of the ring under the ropes.  "Get back in!" his mom said, but Michael shook his head.  That time, Michael's grandfather voiced his opinion.  "The next time he spars, put him in with that girl.  I ain't going for that boy playin'.  Let that girl beat Michael if he doesn't fight back.  That boy ain't gonna be embarrassing me.  I'm serious!" he told me.

Derrick Jr. returned to the gym, but didn't stay for the teen class that he's in.  But he was a great help to me in getting the equipment ready and helping the younger kids with their hand wraps.  As a favor to me, Derrick (on the right in the photo above) agreed to spar with Jaylin.  Jaylin is in sixth grade and a little too tall for most of the other kids in the class.

Jaylin always seems to do well when his dad is helping out with his training.  But Derrick Jr. proved to be too slick and fast for him.  Jaylin was hardly throwing punches at all, continually backing away and running from Derrick Jr.  Jaylin's dad was none too happy with his son's performance, and he kept urging his son to get into the mix.  Derrick Jr.'s punches made a mess out of Jaylin's face.  "Take it easy, Derrick!" I said, but Jaylin's dad didn't want to hear it.  "No, let them go.  It's good for Jaylin!" he said.  I wasn't about to let Jaylin get knocked out, however, no matter how much his father wanted him to keep pushing.

Several of the kids, Michael, in particular, kept going on about how Jaylin was bleeding.  "We see it!" I snapped, as I tried to keep focused on the action in the ring in order to keep further damage from happening.  They did a total of three rounds.

Then Michael's mother started talking about how her son needs to learn how to fight.  She told me about a couple of bullying incidents where some kids at school hit her son, but her son did not retaliate.  I could agree with her to an extent.  But sometimes I wonder if it's a good idea to always expect kids to fight back with exploring other alternatives with them.  My mother always told my younger siblings and I to "hit hard enough so they don't do whatever it was they did again".  But Ma often failed to tell us that sometimes, people have to pick their battles, and putting hands on every and anyone is not always the answer.

Deja and I had the last sparring session of the day, since her and Michael's time was cut short.  I told her to go in on me a little bit, and she did.  She's getting more comfortable in the ring.  Now I have to work on Michael, Jaylin, and Terry becoming more comfortable in there.

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