Saturday, November 30, 2013

Final Post: my first (and last) match

Today was the day. I couldn't be any more disadvantaged than I was - the last month I've had exactly 4 boxing workouts, gotten sick, traveled across the world on a bunch of trips, and then hurt my shoulder only 8 days before my match to the point I couldn't even lift it up over my head until about 4 days before my match.

I went into today's match just wanting to put on a good show, and I believe I accomplished my goal.

I was in the senior division, so my opponent was a heavyweight roughly my height and weight but 10 years my senior. Senior division folks are only allowed to go 2 rounds instead of 3, this hurt me. He was much more skilled than I was even though I was faster and younger.

First round: I did what I was planning on doing. I used my jab, and stepped back and boxed defensively, which is fairly boring. I hadn't really gotten hit by him much so I didn't know the power he had, but he was a very skilled boxer who had been boxing for 16 years or so even though I think this was his first match. I jabbed, double jabbed, and used footwork to step in and out. I was faster than he was, though it seemed he had better stamina. He got me a few times in the body, but as always I got him in the head. My trainer said I won the round, and said to do exactly the same thing in the 2nd round.

Second round: For some reason unknown to me, I decided to get away from my strategy. He was dropping his right arm, so I started going in for right uppercuts but he had a really good left hook and overhand left. He got my head at least 3 times quite hard, I don't think I ever hit him that hard, and I was shaken back a few times. My mouth was bleeding, and there was blood on my shirt. I still jabbed enough that I thought it was close. Right before the decision, my trainer said it could go either way, he said it was really close.

Well, he won the decision. I believe my staying away from my defensive strategy lost me the fight. A number of other boxers came up to me to tell me that it could have gone either way, and that I shouldn't feel down, a few even said I probably should have won based on how many hits I got in on him. He was also really skilled in getting points. Sometimes he would just take his glove and put it on my shoulder, and then kind of push my head. I know that's a point, so I should have been aware of it but I was focused too much on my offense rather than thinking defensively as well. [I just saw the video of the fight, and it was pretty close. To my eye I think I still won the fight, I felt like I had more hits than he did but then again maybe he touched me more than I touched him. I'm not quite sure. Either way, it was pretty close after viewing the video. I give him all the credit for doing what he had to do to win the fight. He knew all the strategies to win in competition.]

I do not regret that I only had 4 practices in the last month, or that I got sick, or even that I had this shoulder injury. My only regret was abandoning my strategy in round 2. I felt like Michael Moore who lost to George Foreman. All Moore had to do was dance around, jab, and not get hit. If I did that I would have won for sure, but I saw the opening and thought I could bang inside with him - I was younger and faster, but his punches were much stronger. He was more skilled than I was, but I know I would have won if I had just stuck to my defensive strategy of jabbing and backstopping, and the like. I think if I had a round 3, it would have been a different story. Mostly, I regret not using more footwork to backstep and to slip back and to the side more. I just went straight into jab and then brawler mode which isn't my style at all. I'm a defensive style fighter who got away from his game.

A famous martial artist once said, "There is no losing. There is winning and there is learning." If this is true, then I learned a lot. I learned mainly that in the heat of battle, to think through just a tad bit more slowly and to continue to do what is working especially since I was winning (I believe at least). I congratulated my opponent who was a nice guy, I think he knew it could have gone either way and so said to me "let's keep on practicing so we get better" with a smile on his face. I give him 100% credit, he did what he had to do and won the fight against a younger and slightly bigger opponent. Overall, I went from knowing very little about boxing to actually being a boxer and having strangers who see me throw punches ask me if I box. I was surprised at how calm I was. I told my trainer that I used to wrestle, and so I'm used to not being jittery in these situations. He said, "that's totally different. You're not getting punched in the face and having to fight while bloodied." Turns out he was right. The end of the first round I got hit pretty hard in the mouth, and my lip/back teeth were bleeding so I was tasting blood in my mouth the entire 2nd round. It definitely was different from wrestling that's for sure.

Boxing in the last 4 months has taught me so much. Although I am tempted to try one more time, I've decide that I am not going to be in another boxing match. I think the head injury potential is too dangerous especially at my age. I am planning on taking up another sport. I'm still planning on going to the gym (I paid a year in advance) at least once or twice a week, but try to avoid sparring and just hit the mitts and the bags. So I'll be cross training in one sense. So I'm giving up boxing and will basically do boxercise, another form of cardio. I enjoyed this sport so much in so many ways, but in other ways the dangers of my head ringing - on two separate occasions I've had my head ringing from being hit pretty hard - one time my head rang for nearly 4 days from sparring with a young heavyweight. I guess I could spar lightly, but rather than do that I think I'm going to focus my energies on another sport. Even now, my head is still ringing slightly from that hard right from my opponent. I know I got him with a really hard uppercut/hook to the side of his head, and I'm sure he's feeling it as well. There's a beauty and a brutality to boxing, it's what drew me to it but it's the same reason I'm not going to be in a match anymore.

If you are a middle aged amateur beginner boxer like me, I hope this blog was helpful to you. I can't say getting in the ring was a fear of mine, but I am glad I conquered this hurdle. It would have been nice to win, but that was never the point. I'm in better shape than I have been in 20 years, I learned (and will still learn) a useful skill, and was able to get in the ring. I'd like to hit a boxing workout once per week or once every other week since I still enjoy it, but it's not as interesting without the sparring. Thank you for following along. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shoulder Injury

Last Friday during my last sparring session, I pulled a shoulder muscle slightly. Right now it has been about 5 days and I haven't done much. I should have done some road work but I've been busy and haven't done much. Now, I only have two days left and so I have to do the best I can do with the time that I have. 

I can throw a jab and an uppercut with my left, but the left hook still gives me pain in my shoulder. Even when I sleep I feel the pain in my left shoulder. I'm trying to rest as much as I can. 

I'm still planning on fighting of course, but my attitude towards this match has changed. I'm going more to prove myself. After training really hard for 3 months, the last 3 weeks I've done almost nothing in terms of training so I know I'm not at 100%. With my shoulder injury, I'm even less than that. So I want to make sure I heal as much as I can. My cardio is nowhere where it should be, so I have to be careful I don't tire out too quickly and save my energy. I remember in sparring matches where by the 2nd round sometimes, I'd be so tired my smaller opponent would rattle me with hits. 

Either way, having an injury before my fight is one of the worst feelings. I can only hope it heals enough by Saturday afternoon. I'm in the middle of roughly 40 fights, so I'll have time to rest and calm myself down. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Workout #45

I had a really light workout today. I did mostly shadow boxing, and worked on my abs. The gym was kind of empty. Mostly, I'm still nursing my injury so I wasn't able to do much. I was there maybe 30 or 45 minutes.

I'm planning on two more workouts before my fight on Friday. I want to work mostly on footwork and think about strategy, and break a sweat and focus on breathing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Workout #44

I was planning to go in for a light workout again, but turns out it was a sparring event to prepare people for the main tournament. I couldn't participate however since I had to leave early, so the head trainer asked me to spar one of the guys. He's a guy I've seen around, roughly my age and in really good shape from what I could tell. He goes hard every time he's in the gym, including on the heavy bag and the like.

After warming up a little bit, we went three rounds.

  • I was a bit taller so I just jabbed and jabbed. It had been a while since I actually sparred, more than a month, so I felt rusty just chasing him around the ring. 
  • He had a really good overhand right, where he would throw his right hand over my jab and ended up hitting me really hard in the head several times. 
  • Once I figured this out, I started double jabbing him, feinting, and then jabbing and stepping back so his shots mostly got me on my chest and shoulders from that point. Still, it was really hard. 
  • He had a decent body shot, but I was still able to tag him with my jab whenever he came in. I wish my uppercuts were fast enough to get him when he came in, but they're too slow so I have to end up using my jab. 
  • I'm not sure how the point system will work. My plan is to be be a bit slower in the 1st round and then come out aggressively with the jabs in rounds 2 and 3, in particular the jab-right-jab combo. 
  • I have to still work more on cardio and stepping back after my jab. 
All this happened on a Thursday, and then immediately after the match I felt this immediate pain in my shoulder. It's as if someone pulled one of my muscles really hard. It hurt so much I could barely raise my left arm over my head. I just stopped. It hurt enough that I wondered if I could recover in time for the tournament. It was even hard to sleep since the shoulder hurt so much. 

*Update 4 days later on the shoulder - it feels much better. I've been trying to do very little with it and that has helped. I've been shadowboxing by myself and my jab and straight rights are fine, my uppercuts are fine too, but I can't seem to throw a left hook without pain. It's the punch I use least anyways, but still. I'm going to go really light this week. My plan is to go into the gym about 3-4 times, ride my bike for cardio, do some shadow boxing at home, but mostly try and rest this shoulder. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Workout #42-43

During my nearly 3 week business trip I got to exercise mostly doing cardio, lifting some weights, and and the like. I did get a chance to visit a boxing gym for about 45 minutes where I did some shadow boxing and did about 3 rounds on the heavy bag and 6 rounds on the speed bag.

Today's workout was light. I hurt my shoulders sparring in this jiu jitsu class, and so I wasn't able to go too hard. It should be fine by tomorrow.

1. Jump rope 1
2. Shadow 3
3. Mitts 2

I needed a light workout back. I already found out my opponent for my match, though I know nothing about him. We'll see what happens, can't say I'm nervous since I feel ready. I see it as a sparring match with the potential to get one's nose broken.

My strategy will be to be much more defensive and rely on my jab and lean backs, and not throw too many combos in the beginning so as I don't tire myself out but it depends on what kind of guy he is. If he's aggressive, I have to either totally back off in defense mode or go on offense and go as hard as I can. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Workout #41

I've been a bit sick and getting ready for a long business trip. I'll be gone for the next three weeks. My plan is to do some kind of cardio, shadow box, and do other things to keep me in shape. It may actually be good for me to take a break. The only problem is when I get back I only have two weeks before my match. Such is the life of the white collar boxer, it's important but we're not professionals so we do what we can.

Rounds: 7

1. Jump rope 1
2. Shadow boxing 2
3. Speed bag 2
4. Heavy bag 1
5.  Double bag 1

Friday, October 25, 2013

Workout #40

Total rounds 12:

1. Jump rope - 1.5
2. Shadow - 2.5
3. Speed bag - 3.5

  • I finally feel like a boxer on the speed bag. Out of all the things I do, it's the one thing that makes me feel like I'm not a beginner. I'm not advanced, but I have the coordination now to feel I can go pretty hard and work on my accuracy and continue for several minutes at a pretty high speed on the speed bag. 
  • I think I'm much more accurate than a beginner b/c of my speed bag emphasis. I don't hit the heavy bag a whole lot, I'm not that concerned about power since I'm more a defensive fighter/want to win on points and accuracy. Also an accurate punch causes a lot more damage than a more powerful less than accurate shot. Anyways, I've decided to focus on accuracy.

4. Mitts - 2
5. Sparring - 3

I sparred a new guy today. About 5'8 and maybe my age. We didn't hit really, just kind of did really light sparring. I was taller so I was able to tag him fairly easily with my jab. He had no uppercut, so he started coming in a bit to hit me with bodyshots but once I got him with a jab or even once with an uppercut he was more hesitant. I think if I spar like this I won't get a whole lot of damage, but if I go any harder I will. It's still helpful sparring even at only 10% or even shadow sparring with no hitting at all. Today's session was good, really light tapping. It gives us a good basic foundation to learn.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Workout #39

My ribs are hurting from my sparring match. My opponent got me with so many body shots.

Total rounds: 11

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow - 2
3. Speed Bag - 3
4. Double bag - 1
5. Mitts - 2
6. Sparring - 2

I sparred RockyM a quick, thick, and powerful little guy. He's 41 years old but has been boxing a while, and is incredible quick for someone who is 41. He realized that he could get inside on me at will so he threw a lot of body shots. I was timid for a while, but then realized he was going to hit me many times unless I started doing something. I moved my head so it was hard for him to hit unless he came inside. But then, I got him once pretty hard with an uppercut so he was hesitant. After that, he started just going to the body. He got me everytime to my left ribs and it really hurt/it's bruised, but when he did come in I started hitting him with a left jab and a quick short hook to his head. I didn't hit him very hard, but he knew that if he did come in he was going to get hit twice b/c of my range. Overall it's good b/c I can work on certain strategies, but not sure how beneficial it is for me to spar someone so much smaller. However, it is better to spar than not spar. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Workout #38

Total rounds: 10

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow boxing - 3
3. Speed bag - 3

  • This guy walked by me and said I was really skilled at the speed bag. I can't say I'm skilled, but I can now hit it at fairly high speeds alternating hands. For the most part, I know my hand eye coordination is significantly better b/c of the speed bag. 
4. Sparring 3
  • I was kind of dreading sparring MikeT. He's so much better than me, and he's also big which means I have no advantage over him whatsoever. On top of that he's a southpaw, which means he's used to fighting orthodox fighters like me while I'm not used to fighting guys like him. 
  • The first round, he came in pretty hard. He had already sparred another guy for 2 rounds, so he was going on his 3rd and 4th rounds with me. He came in to the head, body, basically got me at will. I didn't want to spar so hard, so when he came in I retaliated and got him a number of times with jabs and straight rights and a few uppercuts, so he hit even harder. I just couldn't stop his combo. It usually consisted of a fast jab, twisting uppercut, and then a straight left. Or he'd go uppercut, body shot, hook, straight right. Or he'd go jab, then right hook. B/c his jabs came with the right hand, I just couldn't block very well. I wasn't fast enough or basically good enough. 
  • The previous trainer told me to make sure my foot is on the inside of his foot when I jab to close the gap, even though I did that he was so skilled at counterpunching. My head is still ringing. The 2nd round he came at me even harder, and I was tired so I tried to dance and move around a bit in the ring. He was very gracious afterwards, and though I did get him a bunch of times, if we went 3 rounds he may have knocked me out. 

  • I sparred with a new guy today who said it was his first week back after not boxing for over a year. He was only about 180 lbs but really tall, about 6'2. He wasn't very fast with his punches, but he was able to move his head back really fast so I couldn't get him a whole lot with my jabs. I noticed he preferred to move his head to his left/my right, so I faked or just pumped my jabs and then hit him a bunch of times with my right hand. 
  • We didn't go too hard, maybe 30%. I was going 3 rounds straight, so I was dead tired. I said I couldn't do it, but the head trainer said I could and threw this guy in there. I also had to close the gap on my jab since he was taller than me, so had to jab up. Now I know how hard it is to fight someone taller than you. He tried going into the body, but didn't have nearly the skill or speed that MikeT had so I was able to tag him in the face with my jab. 
Overall it was a productive session today even though my head is ringing. Two other guys sparred after us and were hitting really hard. I said whoa, and the assistant trainer said everyone is getting ready for the tournament so is really amped up and training hard. I have to do the same. 

I have a 12 day international trip coming up soon. I won't have access to a boxing gym, so I'll have to be careful about my diet and do lots of cardio and shadow boxing. I'm hoping the rest would be good for my shoulders and recovery. 

Head Injuries

Injuries in boxing are common, even for amateurs. The moment one spars, there can be injuries. I've had shoulder pain so severe that I could barely lift my arms over my head. This was when I was on a 5x/week schedule. I've reduced my training to 2-3x/week with the other times doing cardio (biking) or shadow boxing at home. I'm going to write down just my head injuries since they worry me the most for the future.

#2 - Oct 20, 2013

My head finally stopped ringing yesterday, 4 days after I sparred GerryC on Oct 15. Today, I sparred MikeT the hardest hitter in our gym and one of only 2-3 heavyweights. He's only 22, basically half my age. At 6'1 200lbs he packs a mean punch, and he was going quite hard today and got me with so many hooks and straight rights. My head was ringing again. Normally, it doesn't ring since I mostly spar lighter/smaller guys, but when I spar guys my own weight we hit quite hard and they're big so my head ends up ringing even if I end up hitting them quite a bit as well. I noticed after the match that my mouth was full of blood. I wasn't sure where it was coming from and I felt fine. It's now 6 hours later and I went to brush my teeth and there's still blood in my mouth. (I've had dinner in between, didn't feel anything.) I don't know where it's coming from. I look and the crown of my back molars on my right side are red. I'm sure it's b/c I got hit by MikeT and even with a mouthpiece and full face headguard, I'm still bleeding.

MikeT got me in the ribs several times too and it hurts to stand up or sit down, I expect pains in boxing, it's one of the most dangerous sports b/c of repeated blows to the head. For the most part, I'm just nowhere near his skill level + my age and even in sparring going less than 100% there's a high chance of injury. Either way, I'm getting more and more concerned about how long I should continue in this sport... Maybe I'll get better and be able to block better, but for the most part even pro boxers get head injuries. Something to think about for the future, I'm committed to my match on Nov 30 no matter what.

Update: It has been 24 hours and my mouth is still bleeding. My left rear teeth are still red, and when I was brushing my teeth my mouth was bleeding.

#1 - Oct 15, 2013

It has been 3 days since my last sparring match and my head is still ringing. I sparred GerryC and we were in the corner and both hit one another. I wouldn't say it was too hard and we were wearing headgear, but since we were in the corner for a while we did hit one another many times. He only got me in the head probably 4 times in 2 rounds, though one of them was a really hard hook, and I probably got him 12 times or more, but the majority of those were jabs which are not really as strong. I'm not sure how he felt, but my head is ringing and I have a huge headache. I'm leaning towards perhaps taking up another sport.

Some people enjoy the boxing training, but I remember Mike Tyson in an interview said boxing training is so boring. There are only 6 punches, and so a lot of the skill comes in a) conditioning, and b) going over drills a thousand times/a million times, and then c) sparring. Without sparring, I wouldn't be boxing it would be boxercise. That's OK if you enjoy it, but I don't particularly enjoy it. I am getting concerned since I spar frequently. I could cut down on how much I spar, but it's hard to motivate oneself to do something without the sparring. I can see why boxing has waned in popularity for amateurs vs. something like Brazilian jiu jitsu which has grown leaps and bounds as a sport. One can get hurt in BJJ, but it's nowhere near the severity of boxing and it's in the body not to the head. 

I plan on reducing the number of times I spar to maybe just once/week, and being careful about my head. After my November 30 match, I'm going to have to think long and hard about whether to continue in this sport. The fitness is great, but to compete there is a danger. We have people in our gym who do nothing but train, they don't even spar. I'm sure they don't have many issues, but it's getting hit repeatedly in the head. Even someone as skilled as Ali eventually develop a condition. This is the 1st time since I've started this journey, that I'm actually pondering whether I should continue or not. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout #37

Total rounds: 14

1. Jump rope 1
2. Shadow boxing 3
3. Shadow footwork 1
4. Double bag 2
5. Speed bag 3
6. Mitts 2
7. Sparring 2

I sparred a new guy. He's in his early 30's and has been boxing for 7 yrs but took a 2 yr break and is coming back.

He was small but thick and quick, maybe 5'7 and 155 lbs. Really strong punches for a guy his size. 

In round 1, I went really light but he started hitting hard to the body so I hit a bit harder w/my jabs. He got me a number of times to the body, I got him w my jabs when he came in but unlike previous partners he was able to get in and out quickly. Still my height, length, and jab speed gave me a significant advantage. I got him multiple times w/my jab and my backsteppping worked. I was able to avoid most of his hits. 

In the 2nd round, he was much more aggressive. He came in a lot but after a while I kept on double jabbing so he was a bit more tentative. Still out of the smaller guys he had great aim and timing and was able to get me a number of times. I was surprised at how hard he hit for a smaller guy, but overall my size was too much for him even though he was much more skilled than I was. Once I got him in the corner, just putting my body next to his allowed me to push him so it was kind of unfair. 

I really enjoy sparring, if I could just avoid getting hit in the head! Even w/my headgear, I can still feel the blows and that's just from sparring. Smaller guys like this guy are OK of course, but if anyone is near my weight their punching power is quite strong even if we spar at only 50%. Of course I spar a lot more than the avg person there since the head trainer wants to prepare me for my match.

If not for the hits to the head, I wouldn't even think about going something else but I'm thinking about cross-training with another combat sport maybe MMA/BJJ, in particular BJJ/grappling allows someone to spar at full speed with less/minimal injuries for the older person. (People still get injured of course, but it's not like boxing - which is the very same reason I enjoy it so much but know the dangers for a beginner/older fella like myself.) 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Workout #36

Today the trainer had to go, so I was in an open gym time. I had the whole gym to myself. While some people can break a sweat and work out really hard by themselves, that's much harder for me to do. I need others around me. This was the lightest workout I've had since I've started boxing.

Rounds: 12

1. Jump rope 2
2. Shadow boxing 2
3. Shadow footwork 2
4. Heavy bag 1
5. Speed 5

Without mitts or sparring, I realize that it's hard to break a full sweat especially now that it's winter. Again, some others can push themselves really hard in the gym even if they are alone, but I can't do that. I guess that's why I like sparring so much. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Workout #35

For the last 2 months since I started boxing, the majority of the weeks I have been home I've gone 5x/week. The last few weeks I've gone a lot less, and this week I've gone 2x. My shoulder pain has been increasing, and so I've decided to go less. Maybe 2-3x/week depending on how my shoulders feel. The other times, I'm trying to work on my conditioning for my match.

Total rounds: 13

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow boxing - 3.5
3. Sparring - 2
  • This is my 2nd time sparring GerryC. He has no interest in entering any matches or even sparring much. 
  • He has a really strong right and a powerful left hook. I remember last time when he got me with a straight right pretty hard, so this time I tried to reign jabs on him. I tried varying single, double, feints, side, moving around, etc. Of course my conditioning still prevented me from doing all that I wanted to do. 
  • The first round was kind of light, but as I was able to get him with my jab he started coming inside more. He's very quick to the body, but again like most of us beginners he keeps his head down too long so I pretty much simultaneously hit his head with my jab or uppercut when he went to the body. That's probably a good trade-off for a short 3 round fight vs. a 15 round fight when the body will eventually wear you down. 
  • The 2nd round, I was really tired. GerryC is in great shape, and so he kept on coming. The last minute or so, he swung really hard a few times and I was able to surprisingly move away from most of them. I've been practicing the jab, lean back, jab move and so once I started incorporating it I just ended up leaning back even though I didn't see his right. This rhythm is important. 
  • Right before the bell, he came inside and hit me at least 5 times with the body a few times to the head, and I probably hit him 8-10 times in the head. I did jabs, uppercuts, hooks, and just went left-right-left-right-left-right, and after a while he felt his head bouncing around a lot so he kind of backed off a bit. Of course we were only going about 50% with full face headgear, but he felt it more than I did mostly b/c I had leverage. The more I hit him in the head his body shots were getting weaker so I couldn't feel them much. Still, it's the most I've ever hit anyone and the most I've ever been hit. 
  • The head trainer says although it's a good tradeoff, after I hit him a bunch of times I may want to get out of there by back stepping or spinning around since he could always get me with a wild strike if I stay inside too long since my back was to the corner ropes. 

4. Mitts - 2
5. Speed bag - 3.5
6. Shadow footwork - 1

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Workout #34

Today was my toughest workout in 34 workouts. I've been riding my bike for 2hours total throughout the day commuting, so I was pretty tired before going to the gym. See below:

Total rounds: 10

1. Jump Rope - 1
2. Shadow Boxing - 2.5
3. Light Sparring - 2

  • The trainer told me to spar before I do mitts so he can see again what I need to work on. He told me only do jabs or jan-rights, and told me not to do any uppercuts until I can learn how to slip better. 
  • Mostly it's my conditioning. SugarRayL is in fantastic shape. We only touched so didn't hit very hard, and he tapped me multiple times to the body, to the head, even though I was taller than him. I did get him a few times with my jabs and rights, but overall he got me multiple times and would have one for sure if we were in a real match. 
  • He's so fast and moves so quickly, that by the 2nd round I was so darn tired and it showed. I quit moving my feet and I quit keeping my guard up. 
  • The reason the tough trainer is telling me not to use uppercuts is that he said that for uppercuts one has to slip so one's head is to the side, not only to generate power but it's much easier to block and harder to hit. He said my uppercuts are such that my head doesn't move at all. He said I could get hit very easily. I then asked him what I should do in terms of the uppercut, and he said forget it I'm not at that stage. He said if I want to do well in the match, just focus on my jabs which are my strength, and then when I get the opportunity really hammer hard with my right. He said the variety of doing 1-2, or 1-1-2, can easily win me my match in my beginner division. 
  • I'm not sure I agree with him. He's making it seem as if I'll be boxing a really advanced guy. I still feel like my uppercuts, especially my long range ones can keep someone at bay. If someone comes inside, he's telling me to back up and use my conditioning to go outside. Of course my conditioning is poor so that's hard to do. I have to really think about this. I've had good success with my uppercuts since I'm mostly boxing beginners. I may wait until the 3rd round to use the uppercut since my guy will be tired and his counters won't be as strong. 
3. Mitts - 2.5
  • He really worked me on the mitts today. He made me hit, then move around the ring, and then came at me and told me to dance/do footwork/and run. He said when your body is tired, even though running is tiring, it's the only way not to get punched. He said to jab, then just dance out there backwards like Ali. 
  • I almost collapsed on the 3rd (or 2.5th round) round it was so difficult. My arms were so heavy and so tired. 
4. Shadow footwork - 2
  • He then had me chased me around the area and told me to evade him by using footwork only. He's a little guy, about 5'6 and 125 lbs, but incredibly fast. He told me to keep my jab out, not a powerful one, but keep my arm extended as I jab, but don't let it touch my opponent. He said the arm will let me know when he's in hitting range, so long as my arm is out and it's not touching him I won't be in hitting range. (Of course my opponent may be taller/have longer arms, but it's a good general rule.) 
  • He said be like Ali. When one is tired, one can't punch, so rather than trading punches and getting hurt, he said dancing (using footwork like Ali moving backwards) with one's feet can really tired the other guy out more too chasing you. He said then I can gain energy and look for an opening to be in hitting range again or wait for the round. 
  • He chased me so fast and most of the time I couldn't escape him at all. 
  • My calves were burning, my arms were hurting, and my heart race was racing so high. This is why I enjoy boxing! If I did this kind of workout just 3x/week I'd be totally prepared for my match. The problem is that it's hard to do this by yourself. This trainer pushes me, but he only comes once/week on Tuesdays and I have to leave early so I don't have much time with him an hour max total and I have to warm up, and the like. 
  • It was so conditioning focused, that my shoulders didn't hurt very much. Though, that's b/c we did more footwork than punching it felt like. 
Anyways, it gives me a blueprint for what to do next time. Work harder, and work smarter. It looks like he wants my strategy for the fight to be 1) jab, every variety, step back/step forward, lean back/forward, and the like. 2) use my right hand in a 1-2 combination when there is an opening. 3) use more footwork rather than stay within striking range. This tough trainer doesn't want me to fight inside but rather move around more, keep the fight a much more defensive fight. I'm not sure that's my best strategy, I've had better success going inside - but I get hit too so it is risky. He thinks my best chances are stay outside, utilize my jabs, and just dance around more/move more. Tough proposition when I'm still not in great shape, but I am getting better. Today's workout would have been impossible 2 months ago, and in 2 months I've seen a lot of progress. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Workout #33

My shoulder was hurting still, and so I wasn't going to go in but decided I should have a light workout.

Total rounds: 6

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow boxing - 2
3. Speed - 1
4. Shadow sparring - 2

This was probably the lowest numbers of rounds I've done. I still think it's fruitful. I want to have at least one light workout per week with no mitts and not sparring unless it's shadow sparring where we don't really touch. (Maybe not quite as light as today, wish I could have done more speed bag and shadow boxing at least.) My brother told me of a famous quote by former Mr. Olympia Lee Haney: stimulate, don't annihilate. Really wise words in boxing as well, esp. for a 40+ year old beginner.

I want to train hard, but I'm going to try and do more cardio. Ride my bike as much as possible when I need to get anywhere, ride it to the gym as much as possible, and the like. I'm still not sure I'll make weight for the match on Nov. 30.

Side note: I've been wondering if cross training would benefit a middle aged athlete more than a younger guy. For example, my shoulders only feel better if I give it at least 2-3 days rest or better yet 1-2 days of rest and a really light workout at home or in the gym. Would it be more fruitful to do boxing+ cardio for a week, or do boxing + another sport but just not as intensely as boxing? For example, boxing + a day of nothing but swimming, or a day of martial arts, or a day of kick boxing, or something like that. The idea is that as you get older, your body just doesn't recover as quickly and so your muscles (for beginners like myself) get annihilated, but by cross training/doing something else one ends up stimulating just a little bit. So this is a bit like being a jack of more trades (not all trades) vs. mastering just one. In the end, it may end up being better. I'm not sure how my body responds, but I can no longer workout hard 5x/week. Even working out hard in boxing 4x/week is too taxing on my body. I either have to find another sport, or find some other form of cardio to do. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Workout #32

Today I had to go to the gym around noon, which is different from my normal schedule. I rode my bike there, and though it would take only about 20 minutes by distance, it often takes me 40-45 minutes b/c there are so many lights/so many people/so many cars, etc. So I don't go very fast. I wanted a better workout, so I put it on the highest gear of my 21-speed bike. Going from stopping on the highest gear is fairly slow, but gives you a great workout. My legs were pretty tired by the time I arrived in the gym.

Total rounds: 10

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow boxing - 3
3. Mitts - 2
4. Speed bag - 3
5. Heavy bag - 1

Today I didn't have as much time. 10 rounds is only 30 minutes of actual work. If I just did another round of mitts, but there were a few people waiting so the trainer could only give me 2 rounds. I was pretty tired afterwards, but I like pushing myself hard on that 3rd round. On non-sparring days, it's much harder to get a real intense workout so I have to push myself.

While I was there I saw a sparring match. They were light, maybe around 5'8 and 130 pounds each. Both were fairly skilled. Towards the middle of the 1st 3 minute round, they started to trade a lot of punches. By the last 30 seconds, one of the guys could barely move and the other guy tapped him multiple times. (They were probably going only at 50% or so.) Clearly one of the guys was better conditioned than the other, even though they looked the same. Afterwards, I saw the less conditioned guy hit the heavy bag. He was excellent, with great form, was really quick, moved very well on his feet. Yet, his conditioning wasn't up to par with the other guy. Interesting really how great he looked on the bag, but in the ring couldn't really stand up to par with the other guy. A reminder to get much better conditioned. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Workout #31

Total rounds: 11

1. Jump rope - 2
2. Shadow boxing - 3
3. Mitts - 3
4. Speed - 1
5. Sparring - 2

  • I was about to leave around 12:15, and another person showed up. He was only about 5'6 and 135 pounds or so. The trainer said he's really skilled, so told me to watch out. 
  • He was a very nice guy with a smile on his face the whole time. I have never seen a guy move that fast thus far, the fastest guy I've sparred with so far. His hands were like a blaze. He was like a little gnat in the ring, I couldn't do anything the 1st round really as I was trying to jab him. 
  • The 2nd round however, I changed up my style and worked hard to cut off the ring so he had nowhere to go. He also came in a bit more inside, got me a few times in the head (not easy since I'm so much taller) and several times in the body. B/c of my height however, I was able to get him in the face/head the same time. My nearly 90 pound weight advantage showed, one hit from me and his whole body rocked back. I guess size does matter, if you do get hit. 
  • He still came in to hit me, but once I got in a rhythm I was able to block or counter with a jab. Normally, I've hit almost everyone I've sparred with my jab - even MikeT who is an excellent boxer and even SugarRayL who is also an excellent boxer with great conditioning - but this guy was on another level. I didn't hit him once with my jab, and had to be counter puncher. He was so fast, he got me with a straight right, went for a hook which I blocked, and I saw it coming (rare for me) and so I blocked and fired off what I thought was a really fast jab and he slipped it so quickly. 
  • It was a good experience for me, and probably for him too. He never really got cornered or tried anything inside, he'd get hit pretty hard by me if he was trapped. Just one time I got him trapped in the corner, and he blocked a few times and I was about to him him with a right hook, and he slipped and just stepped away. It was kind like trying to fight a mongoose. 
  • Afterwards, he thanked me with a big smile. I bet I could have learned a lot from him, totally different styles and the size difference was too big, but wow it was great sparring with someone so skilled. 
  • Not many take-aways, b/c our sizes were so different and he didn't come inside at all/I was too slow to hit him and his punches didn't hurt even when they hit b/c he was too light. Cutting off the ring would be something I could work on. I doubt even Mike Tyson at his fastest wasn't as fast as this guy, how could he be when he only weighed 135 lbs. 

I went in at 11am today, which is unusual for me. There was nobody there except the head trainer. I rode my bike about 35 minutes one way, so I was pretty warmed up by the time I got there. I asked my trainer some advice, and he told me that I have to fit my style. He said as he's watched me spar, my style is a standup style. It's a style that relies on jabs, uppercuts, but doesn't bend much (at the waist) and doesn't turn much. So he said I need to learn to move more forwards and backwards, rather than try to slip. So he showed me a bunch of really helpful techniques like:

- Jabbing, and then stepping back, and forward. Two forward, one back, etc.
- Doing combinations both forward and back, both stepping and just leaning.
- He also said to spin around more, since I'm a straight up boxer I don't want to be in the way.

One reason I'm a standup fighter is well, I'm old and not in boxing shape for sure. Another reason is that my best punch is my jab, so I want to counter with my straight right which means 80-90% of my punches will be jabs. My style is almost identical to Wladmir Kitschko, who never slips punches really. He stands straight up and jabs jabs jabs, and then 1-2, or 1-2-3. Of course I'm only 6ft and Klitschko is 6'6 with really long arms, so it's different. I have slow feet, which means I need to be well conditioned to have busy feet. (Kind like in basketball there are excellent defenders who are not very athletic or quick hands/feet, but they stick to their man like glue and are in great shape so they run as hard in the 1st quarter as the 4th quarter. I'm nowhere near this, but I can get there.)

It's good to know I have a style, and I already guessed at it, but having an amazing former undefeated pro tell me that after watching me confirms this is the style I need to work on more. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Workout #30

I have two more months until the match. I'm still a good 20 lbs from my goal. If I can get to 210 or so, I can drop weight the last week by cutting out salt, most carbs, and just eating a diet of protein, green veggies, and oil. Hopefully I can lost 15 this month and 10 next month, so I won't have to resort to unhealthy tactics. I tried taking a few more days off b/c of my shoulder. My right shoulder feels better, but my left one is still a bit sore. I'm going to go lighter tomorrow. I'm going to think about going harder vs. going lighter. The toughest thing is sparring, but the toughest thing on my shoulder is actually mitts. I've been going 3 rounds lately, so I hit those mitts pretty hard. I can feel my shoulders are getting more muscular and stronger.

Total rounds: 13

1. Jumpe rope - 2
2. Shadow - 4
3. Speed bag - 3
4. Double - 2
5. Sparring - 2

  • DavidT and I have no sparred a few times, so we know what the other is like. I can jab him, and he can hit me with a lot of hooks and counter easily. 
  • So today, I decided to do maybe 90% jabs. Just to try and learn. 
  • The tough trainer told me during the fight I need to jab even more, and that just when he gets used to the jab/blocking it, I need to come in with a 1-2-3, or a 1-2-1 since that's even faster. I've never done a 1-2-1 in sparring, so I'll have to work on that. 
  • He said, that I need to use my height more. (He told DavidT, he needs to go inside more and hit me with more bodyshots rather than going for my head.) 
  • DavidT is a much more skilled fighter than I am. However, I'm 3-4 inches taller and 40 lbs heavier, so he's got a real disadvantage against me. His shots are still a lot more powerful than mine. Just like last time, we started off light but then he came in, I hit him hard, he hit me hard, and we were probably going 80% or so by the time the sparring session was over. 
  • DavidT seems to like going either 5% or 90% it seems like, either really light barely touching one another or going really hard. I noticed he's more accurate, can bait me, moves quickly, and has a wicked counter hook and the like. 
  • The tough trainer told me to quit my uppercuts, and use jabs and an overhead right from up top since I'm taller. So when he comes in, he said to block and come with an overhand right since DavidT will most likely be fighting on the inside. 
  • My neck hurts, he got me with a left hook real hard. He almost does no jabs, but just waits to set up his other punches. This is probably another reason I can jab him to death. He's quick, but not super quick and so once I start coming in I can tag him with my jab, but that still leaves me open to his counter shots. The tough trainer said again, I need more stamina to be able to last 3 rounds! 
  • We do two 3 minute rounds in sparring sessions, but the match will be 3 two minute rounds. Plus I won't have a full faceguard, which means I have to be even more careful about counters. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Workout #29

My shoulders were still really sore. To the point where I can't lift them over my head without pain. Since I've hurt my shoulder before, this feels really different. It's definitely muscle pain. I took it easy today and didn't do mitts to give my shoulders a rest.

Total rounds: 10

1. Jump rope - 2
2. Shadow - 3
3. Speed bag - 3
4. Light Sparring - 2

  • Today was a really light sparring day. The head trainer asked me if I wanted to and I said OK. SugarRayL sparred really lightly with me. He tapped me a few times, but didn't really do much but touch my gloves and body. 
  • He came in to give me a bunch of body shots, but I started throwing uppercuts so he was a bit more hesitant. I couldn't hit him with my jab much, he's quite fast and agile. He's a really effective counter puncher. He'll just sit patient, and then slip very easily and then throw the jab. 
  • I had to stay fighting him outside, though probably in a real match I'd have gone inside since he was so fast. I'd have to corner him and then go inside to trade blows a bit. 
  • It's hard to believe he has only been boxing 4 years, but he said he's had many years doing martial arts and is unbelievable shape. He told me that even though he's not that fast, though he seemed really fast to me, he has excellent stamina and conditioning. Thus, he said he doesn't really get tired very easily, and so then it's easy to counter against someone who is tired and will be slower. 
  • Again, this is so true how conditioning is the precursor to anything in boxing. If you're huffing and puffing, your punches aren't going to be very effective for the most part. He did tell me that I have excellent uppercuts. He suggested I vary them up more, throw both short and long uppercuts to throw my opponent off. I got him a few times with uppercuts when he came in, or he blocked it but if I threw it hard it could have still gotten under his chin. 
  • I notice uppercuts are really neglected by beginners. I think the biggest reason is that most people spend too much time on the heavy bag, and so you can't really practice uppercuts. The uppercut is clearly an intermediate level punch and takes a while to get. I'm trying to practice, at least in shadow boxing, one round per day of just uppercuts both short and longer uppercuts. 
  • This was the lightest sparring I've done since my first session. It's interesting, even though I was a few inches taller his reach was longer than mine so it was an interesting challenge. I think it's still an advantage to be taller with leverage for the most part, especially if one is a more defensive minded boxer. 
  • I did a lot of feints and double jabs, I'll use a variety next time as well. Still didn't move my head much, that's my next goal. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Workout #28

I asked the head trainer some questions. We talked about how to defend body shots. After that, he talked to me a bit about my style since he's seen me spar for a while. He said though I can jab - since I only jab once it's really easy to counter. He said I need to do double jabs, jab up and low, feint and then jab, jab to push the person away, basically do a variety of jabs and not just the one shot kind. That's really good advice. At the top of my list for my next sparring match will be to do more double jabs, feint jabs, and just vary my jab so it can be powerful as well as used to keep the person away since my style is a more defensive style. 

My shoulders were so sore when I went in today, but once I got there they felt OK. Now that I'm back at home, they're really sore again. I can barely lift my arms over my head, and feel this muscular pain in my shoulders. I have to take it easy, but it's odd how my shoulders hurt so much at home, but when I get in the gym and warm up they feel OK. I'm not sure how long I can keep up this pace. After my match, I hope I'm in better shape to do this 5x/week. If not, then maybe I need to go 2x boxing, then take a day to do cardio at the gym (they have a number of bikes/treadmills), and then another 2x boxing. I enjoy it so much however, that it's kind of hard to do that. I'm eating lots of protein to help heal and stop this muscle soreness. It has been sore for a month now, esp. after a hard sparring session like yesterday!

Total rounds: 12

1. Jump rope - 2
2. Shadow - 3
3. Mitts - 3
4. Speed - 4
5. Sparring - 2
  • MarvinH was more aggressive today. Usually he's a light sparrer, but I know he's getting ready for his first match too so he came in more aggressively. He's got really quick feet, so he can step in and out and got me a few times. Overall, I was able to hit him with my jab many times. Either he'd have to get away from my jab, which he could do since he's quick, but whenever he came in to get me - even if he got me with a bodyshot or hook, I'd still be able to get him with my jab. 
  • I tried working on double jabbing, and feints, and just changing it up. It wasn't easy to change up my jab b/c I wasn't used to it, but now I see the wisdom of it. I was able to keep a quick guy like him at bay b/c I jabbed constantly. 
  • I was so focused on the jab, that when he did slip I didn't counter as quickly with an uppercut so he got me a few times. In the 2nd round, even tough I was tired I tried doing the same and then countered with an uppercut a few times. I always get hit in the 2nd round b/c I'm so tired. My guard goes down and just I'm not aggressively firing the jabs which is also defensive/acts as a block. 
  • For next time: 1) double jab, feint-jab, 2) move my head

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Workout #27

Total rounds: Boxing class + 8

1. Shadow - 1

2. Boxing Class

  • We worked on our usual stuff. Shoulder touch sparring, toe touch sparring, and technique. We worked on slipping as well. The Wed trainer said mostly for us to slip to our left, since it's much more dangerous to slip to the right, since we can't counter as well. By slipping to the left, we can come quickly with the left hand vs. to the right where it'll be harder to counter quickly with our right hand. (Opposite for southpaws of course.) 
  • I asked about head movement, and the trainer was telling me I should move more from my legs so my head automatically moves. I'm not sure this is the best advice for an out of shape big guy like me, I want to move my head more since my legs are slower and as a beginner my footwork is not very good. 
  • ThomasH is a 51 year old guy who comes every Wed night sometimes it's just the two of us. We're the two taller guys in the gym, so we end up being partners. He's only about 155 lbs, but about 6 ft tall. He has really long arms too, so whenever we shadow spar he usually ends up hitting me in the mouth. He's a nice guy, but always seems to put his punches right up to my face even when we're just practicing. I'm too slow so I need to get out of the way more quickly. He's been boxing 10 years and has been in a few matches before but says he no longer is in matches and comes to class just to stay in shape. 
  • He comes just on Wed and Saturdays, when there are classes. He says it helps him focus. He's in great shape for a 51 year old. For me to be in his shape, I'd probably have to weigh 175 or so since we're about the same height. Even today during the shadow sparring, he threw his jabs really fast and hit me again in the mouth. It's my fault since I need to protect myself more, but I always wear a mouthpiece when I do stuff with him b/c he comes in so close. 

3. Sparring - 2

  • I've always wanted to spar ThomasH b/c he's fast and tall. He's quite skilled and I know I could learn from sparring a guy like him. Out of the guys I've sparred so far, he has the best and fastest jab. His long arms and speed posed a few problems for me in the beginning. 
  • The first round, we were mostly going lighter. Feeling one another out. He was coming in fairly aggressively, so finally I got him a few times in the face with my jabs. So then, I could hear his breathing getting heavier and he started to get more and more aggressive. He knows I have no foot speed compared to him, so he started coming in with body shots. However, every time he came in - just like all the other beginners - he ended looking down, and I was able to get him in the face with my jab almost every time. He came in harder and got me in my ribs, so I ended up hitting him harder with my jab since his face was totally open. 
  • I know it'll hurt to get hit in the ribs in a real match and maybe I wouldn't be able to breathe if he hit me, but every time he got me in the body I also got him with a jab pretty hard in the face. It's very hard to hit the body + keep one's guard up + have the speed to get away from a jab unless one is already inside fighting and both of you are hitting one another. 
  • If this were a real match, I could have broken his nose easily since he was close to me and low so it wasn't too hard to point my jab down and hit him pretty hard in the face. We ended the round with a flurry of shots. He has an incredibly fast left hook, and got me a bunch of times but I was also able to get him with a left uppercut at almost the same time. I'd say the round was pretty close. I got in more jabs, and he got a lot of body shots so probably scored a lot of points. 
  • The second round, we were both pretty tired. I could feel his presence/breathing, and that he wanted to get me pretty hard. He started coming in more aggressively, and so I hit him with uppercuts, hooks, straight rights, but he stayed inside to my surprise. One time, it felt like a minute but it probably wasn't that long, we both hit one another almost 10 times. I actually got him more than he got me since I had him against the corner and he almost never threw an uppercut while I was hitting him with uppercuts, jabs, and straight rights. He also came at me a few more times in the body, but again I got him in the head pretty hard so he started to hesitate. I would say I won that round for sure. 
  • It's interesting b/c I had at least 75 lbs on him, but he was quick I was slow. We were about the same height, but he had a longer reach/was more skilled than I was. I could tell he just doesn't spar as much, since I was much calmer in there than he was. When he hit me I didn't panic, but he kind of panicked when I hit him on the inside and then started to come in even more aggressively, I could feel he was mad and wanted to get me back. 
  • If he had a corner man, and we were actually in a match, his trainer would probably tell him to just hit me with the jab and run back since he had great footwork. He tried to do that initially, but I cut off the ring so he had nowhere to go. It was really no fair, I was much much heavier than him. Even though I'm overweight and am a 185 lb guy in a 230 lb body, my punches have a lot more weight behind them. 
  • Also, I could tell he was upset/wanted to get more aggressive after I hit him but I think that threw him off his game. He wasn't backing up but wanted to just come in and hit me. I have no idea what a real match would have been like, he's much faster and would probably have hit me in the face a few times. However, it's harder for him to spar against a bigger guy like me since once I get in I just have too much weight behind my punches and can hurt him more than he can hurt me, especially on the inside. I'm not an inside fighter, or I don't want to be, so I stayed on the outside too and tried to be quick about jabbing/stepping and stepping out. 
  • My left jaw hurts pretty bad, even though I was wearing a full face guard, since he got me with an uppercut. I must have hit him several times with an uppercut, and of course if it were real I would have really hurt him. Again, we would never box in a match since I'm so much heavier than him. Still, he got me pretty hard with that left hook/uppercut since my jaw really hurts. Right under the right side of my ribs, I can feel a slight bruise as well. It didn't start to hurt until a few hours later, but now it feels sore. I wonder if it hurts more or less when there is a layer of fat, probably less since the fat may protect the bones. 
  • Afterwards, he said my punches are really strong compared to his. When he found out my weight he kind of let out this noise, like why are we sparring when you outweigh me by 75+ lbs? He calmed down afterwards, and of course everything went back to normal. He's a nice guy, but I could tell he was worked up b/c of our sparring match. 
  • Even if I'm not sparring guys my own weight or height, every match is a great learning experience b/c it just gets me used to the ring. I was able to be calm during the entire sparring session even though I was pretty winded by round 2. I tried working on a number of things. I think I only threw like 3 right hand punches. I mostly stayed defensive, waited for him, and when I was able to get in I jabbed and then blocked/got out of the way. He after a while started to come in more, but I threw a bunch of defensive uppercuts so he didn't come in as much. I also did a lot more feint jabs, it was really effective in the 2nd round since he knew I could hit him with my jab. A few times I went in and doing a 1-2-3 combination I felt out of balance, but he was backstepping so I had time to adjust and back step. 
  • If he had come in and hit me while I was out of balance, it would have been easy to knock me to the side. I need to get faster with my uppercuts, but I noticed they're decent defensive punches even if I don't hit him. He comes in and just me throwing one or two makes him more hesitant. I don't have a long reach, but if I'm smart about timing I can definitely box someone with a longer reach/someone who is faster. 
  • My style is basically jab accurately, use defensive jabs/uppercuts, and when he comes in either inside or for the body really hammer his head with a hard left jab or uppercut so he won't come in again. If I can add better footwork so I can go in-and-out I would be much better, and also more combinations. I still have a hard time doing a 3 hit combination unless I get him trapped and go inside, which is still dangerous since I could get hit too.  
  • I've enjoyed every sparring match I've been in, and I learn something different every time. Today, I learned to be patient and not throw my right very much knowing how fast he was. I also learned to be patient to counterpunch with a jab or jab-hook or jab-uppercut, and if I slip quickly I can also counter with a jab. For next time I want to: 1) move my head more, I totally forgot if I did this match, 2) back up after I hit him with the jab and not just stay there like I normally do, 3) finish with my left hand/do combos rather than just single punch, 4) do more double jabs/jab feints. I think if I wait until the 2nd round, especially if my jabs are hitting, the feints become even more effective. 
  • I'm not sure what I would do without sparring. Boxing is so repetitive. I wonder if I I can continue sparring until my 50's? Either way, I hope I can be as dedicated as ThomasH when I'm 50. He's in great shape and is really skilled. 
  • Sparring brings out a different side focused side of me. It feels more like chess than a fight, I absolutely love the strategy involved. Today I had a tough day emotionally, but I was itching to go to the boxing gym. It's not just getting exercise which helps with stress, but during my 2 hours there, I couldn't think about my day or anything else at all. I was completely focused on the task at hand, in particular when I spar I'm not even really thinking but reacting since it happens so quickly. 
  • It's amazing that I could be there 2 hours and not have a single thought about what happened during my day - whether good or bad - since all I could do is focus on boxing since it's so intense. So far, I've been holding my own and feel myself improving. I didn't enter the gym feeling great, but I left feeling great. (My jaw still hurts and my ribs are still sore.) 

4. Mitts - 2

  • After resting two rounds, I hit the mitts with the young Wed trainer. He's a little guy, about 5'5, but extremely powerful and fast. I can't believe how quick his feet are, it's amazing really. He always has a big smile on his face, but moves around like a lizard he's so darn fast. He can backpedal and change directions so quickly. He's only 27 but is already a retired pro. He said his body didn't feel good after being a pro for a while, so no he's just a trainer. 
  • He said I'm getting off balance during my punches. During my hooks and straight rights, my shoulder can't go over my left knee or I'll get off balance. He also said I have to swing my hips more. One tip he gave me is to get off my heels on my backfoot/be on my toes. So the front foot is flat, but the back foot is up ready to spring into action. This is a great tip, and I want to practice more. It's hard to do when one gets tired or I'm focused on something else, I have to practice it so it becomes natural.
  • He had to remind me several times to keep my guard up. He said a few times that I have really strong punches. I guess the other guys who hit were much lighter so it probably felt really heavy. It's amazing that if you put your weight behind a punch it's really powerful especially if you have a lot of weight like me. I hope to lose weight and get faster. 
  • I felt OK even after 2 rounds, but once I sat down I was breathing so heavy. I need to get in fighting shape soon.  

5. Speed Bag - 3

Once October hits, I will be starting my 2x/day workouts. I'm hoping 5x/week do some form of cardio every morning until the end of November. I'll start with something light, and then work to interval training where I'm sprinting/going really fast and then resting for 10 seconds, and then repeat like a real boxing match. I hope I can keep this up, I want to get in great shape so I can be ready for my match.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Workout #26

The underside of my left forearm is really bruised. It doesn't hurt to punch, but when I block it definitely hurts. Also my upper left chest, I feel like I have a pulled muscle there. Thankfully it doesn't hurt much when I box, but when I sit down it feels like a muscle strain. My 40 year old body is having to deal with this intense sport.

Total Rounds: 11

1. Jump Rope - 1
2. Shadow - 3
3. Speed bag - 2
4. Mitts - 3
  • The tough trainer was there today. He said my jabs are too slow when I do a 1-2 combo. The reason they're slow is b/c I'm not pulling it back hard enough as I let my right hand fly. He said I'm still thinking of the 1-2 as two movements when it's actually like one continuous movement. I'm supposed to hit with my jab, and then pull back hard as I release my right hand so it's a continuous motion. Mostly I'm too slow and tired. 
  • Today, he had me go 2 rounds of just 1-2 and a 3rd round of just 1-2-3. He told me to work on my speed, mostly by pulling the other arm back fast. 
  • I notice my combos are really slow, though I have decent one shot speed with a jab or a right. I feel more and more I have to stick with a jab mostly style, and then counter when my opponent comes in. 
5. Sparring - 2
  • I found out DavidT is 45 and has been boxing on and off for 20 years. (He looks 10 years younger, boxers all look so young.) I could tell he's got good form. He's one of the thickest guys I've seen in the gym, roughly 5'8 and 180 lbs or so. His legs are like tree trunks, and he's got a wicked hook. 
  • The 1st round we sparred lightly, DavidT doesn't usually spar very hard. He almost never jabs, and just waits to counterpunch. He usually just backs up when I do combos. I worked on mostly my jab, and occasionally did a 1-2 combo. He's fast enough that I can't hit him unless I step forward or he steps forward, my jabs are too slow/he's too quick for the most part but once I switched up angles, and then changed it up I was able to get him a few times with my jab.  
  • The 2nd round however, thing changed. He started coming in more aggressively. He's fairly quick so I couldn't get him much with my jab, but I kept the pressure on. The head trainer yelled at me to throw even more jabs, double jab, etc. I started to but just couldn't do it very quickly, so I ended up jabbing and then feint jab, etc. As DavidT kept on coming in and got me with a few hooks and a few straight rights, he's quick for a thick shorter guy. I got him several times with a solid jab at the same time he got me with a hook, and one time I hit him pretty hard while dodging his hook. I said sorry, and he said no problem. He was quick so he was able to get inside, and he was able to counter my right hands pretty well. I should have done a 1-2-3, but in the heat of the moment I ended up just stopping with my right hand instead of finishing with my left. Bad mistake, since he got me a few times with a bunch of left and right hooks. 
  • After a while, he trapped me on the ropes and started to come inside and tried to hit me with a bunch of hooks. Since I was much taller, I could tell he was looking down, and so I started hitting him with a bunch of uppercuts and hooks, and then he hit back on my body and swung at my head but missed mostly b/c he had his head down/blocking since it was easy for me to swing up on my uppercuts since my eyes were open the whole time. 
  • If we had continued I know I could have hurt him pretty bad, I just had too much leverage. He may have hit me in my body, but b/c of my height and his head being down/he couldn't see my head was missing it with his hooks, my uppercuts were hitting him and if I hit hard enough he would have been hurt for sure. After I got him a few uppercuts and a hook, and I kept on going/he kept on going - the trainer yelled out to stop several times. 
  • [I've only seen one other time where the trainer had to yell to get the guys to stop. Last week two guys were getting it on and the older guy who was losing, trapped the younger guy (MannyP) on the ropes and kept on hitting him hard and MannyP couldn't do much. It's interesting, unlike other sports it's pretty easy to lose one's cool in boxing. I think in a real boxing match, it's much more important to keep one's cool and be calm.]
  • We then went back, and just fought on the outside. Afterwards I said thank you very nicely, so he was nice about it. 
  • He was really surprised that I had never sparred before I joined this gym, and then asked if I did martial arts or practiced on my own b/c it looked like I was much more skilled than someone who had been boxing for less than 2 months. I said about 10 years ago, I did some boxercise for a year but never sparred - just hit the heavy bag, shadow boxing in group classes. He said I have really strong punches, and complimented me. That was nice of him. I told him I was a wrestler in high school, so I am used to combative type environments even if I've never really boxed. 
  • What he doesn't know is that in 1.5 months I've already had 26 workouts and 15 sparring sessions (including today). That's a lot of sparring for a short period of time. The good part about doing so much sparring in such a short period is that I get to work on things right away/try new things/fix my mistakes, since most white collar boxers like myself (esp. those of us over 40) come in 2-3x/week and maybe spar 1x per week. In that sense, coming in 5x/week and having sparred as much as I have in a short time I'm much more calm in the ring, and know what works for me.
  • Anyways, I won those two rounds I believe even though he hit me. After my match, the tough trainer told DavidT that he's not moving his head and so he's a sitting duck for my jabs. He was working with him just to move his lead slightly, which will alter the trajectory of the punch so it will hit you on the side of your headgear vs. in your nose/face/lip where I was hitting. That's good advice for me too, move my head more. 
  • Things to work on for the next sparring match: 1) double jabs, feint-jab, jab-feint-right, 2) counterpunch rather than looking for the 1-2 combo, and 3) move my head more! 

  • The tough trainer said actually 2 minutes rounds is harder than 3 minutes. With 3 minute rounds, people naturally pace themselves and take a break sometime in between. However, with 2 minutes it's non-stop. 
  • The tough trainer mentioned again how I need to be in better shape. That's so true. My mentality has changed since I just wanted to box to get in shape. Now, I want to really be in great shape so I can box. Again, this has been my mantra/thought/vision for my new start on boxing. I know there's no time like the present, even if I'm kicking myself for not continuing from the age of 30. Even though I hurt my shoulder, eventually I would have learned not to do the heavy bag so much and join a real boxing gym. 

My style
  • I have so much more to work on, but I know what style I have - it's more like Wladmir Kitschko. A defensive style where I jab relentlessly, and then counter when he throws a right or hook. I can counter with uppercuts and 1-2 combinations. 
  • I also use the uppercut a lot more than a typical beginner boxer. I think b/c of the way people work the heavy bag, and also mitts, that the uppercut is a really neglected punch. It's kind of like a more advanced punch, but when people come nearby I know I can throw a hard uppercut. Of course the uppercut sometimes leaves me open for another punch so I need to be faster, but I think in my sparring sessions I've rarely been hit with an uppercut, just once or twice. Since I'm taller than most guys I've sparred, it would be good for them to come in and throw more uppercuts, but so far beginner boxers don't really practice it much. It may be b/c people spend a lot of time on the heavy bag. Not me, I only hit the heavy bag for 3 rounds or so per week since my focus is more on accuracy, but also I want to practice uppercuts more which is hard to do on a heavy bag. 
  • The head trainer told me he thinks I'm at level B. (There are 3 levels for this particular match. C is the lowest, B is middle, and A is the highest.) I thought I was at level C, but since I've been sparring guys who are mostly B and have been holding my own, the head trainer said that's no problem for me to be at B. That's nice to know. 
  • I've only sparred 3 guys who are about my height, so that will be a problem. My gym just happens to have a lot of shorter guys, and so I wonder how my jab will fare against taller folks. So far I think I've been able to tag taller guys as well, but again that's only in sparring and not in a real match. 
I still am about 30 lbs overweight and there's only about 10 weeks to lose it. Frankly, I know I can probably lose 10 lbs the last week by eliminating salt, eating no carbs, drinking tons of water/no water before the fight/rehydrate but this will really weaken me since the fight and weigh-in are all on the same day. My biggest challenge will be the first 12 days of November. I'm going on an international trip and will be extremely busy. I know I'll be tempted with all the food as always when I travel. If I gain weight during that trip, I'll have only 17 days to lose the weight before the match on November 30. (I've thought of just eating every other day to maintain weight, since I've done that before. Eat a light breakfast + 2 meals whatever you want - no snacks. Then the next day fast all day (water only), and then eat a really small dinner of 600 calories or so. I know if I I can do that, I'll maintain or lose weight for sure. It's hard to do though when one is busy/stressed/thinking of work.) 

During that trip, I want to do interval training cardio daily + just lots of cardio + shadow box + body weight exercises (pushups, situps, plank) daily. If I can get in two 30 minute sessions daily that would be really helpful. In the morning work on interval training/intense cardio, and in the evening work on bodyweight exercises and shadow boxing. In the middle of the trip, I have 3 days where it may not be as busy so I'm really hoping to get to a gym just to do some light sparring if I can. I have to realize I'm a boxer all the time. 

I want to box until I can't box anymore. I think I can probably do these white collar amateur boxing matches until I'm 50, and then just spar or just train for fitness. Of course that's hard to do. I think the reason I stopped boxing and didn't do it for 10 years was my fear of sparring. Now I realize how much I love sparring, and that if I'm skilled enough I won't really get hurt (at least not too much), I want to box as long as my body allows. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Injuries and rest

I was planning on getting my 6th workout this week, which would be a record for me since even 5x is a lot for me, but I decided to stay home most of the day to rest.

Two things I've been thinking about with regard to boxing, especially for a 40+ year old boxer like myself.

1) Injuries/Aches

  • I hurt my left forearm/left elbow yesterday during a sparring match. It was during my 4th round of sparring, and I hit my partner with a left hook and I ended up straining it. 
  • I think my arms were pretty tired/worn out when I did 2 really hard rounds of mitts (my hardest ever I think) where I tried popping those mitts every time even though I was really tired. 
  • Then I sparred 2 rounds and was about to go home, when the young lanky guy asked me to spar when I hurt my elbow/forearm. 
  • This is common in boxing to get injuries, and since this is my first one I'm feeling a bit down. I was really excited at how well things were going and how much I was learning, and now this. 
  • I'm hoping that it'll feel better in a few days, I'm really going to take it easy and not even shadow box and try to rest/do as little as possible. 
  • It's not an injury, but my shoulders are really really sore. I can barely lift both my arms over my head without pain, feels like I had an incredible workout with my shoulders - thankfully I feel it in my muscle and not my joints. I realize how much of my left arm I was vs. my right arm, since my left shoulder is not only more sore but my left hand/fingers are more sore as well since I jab a lot more than I do in everything - including mitts, heavy bag, etc. 
My bruised forearm:

2) Rest
  • I normally get 3 days rest since my last workout is on Saturdays typically and my next one is on Tuesday. 
  • I also end up eating one large meal on Sunday and then fasting for at least 24 hours on Monday. This really helps my rest and recuperation. 
  • Another thing, I realized is that as much as possible I have to not push myself very hard. Again, my age makes it harder to recover so I need more time. 
  • Above all, I need more sleep. I'm not getting enough sleep. That's probably the best thing I can do for my body. I have work to do at night so I normally sleep around 12:30am and get up around 7 or so. I'm going to try 
Mostly I want to deal with the psychology of injuries. It's a part of the deal and I hope I can deal with it well. Right now, I'm just itching to go back to the gym. I should have worked on my cardio at least today, but I was too tired for even that. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Workout #25

Total rounds: 16

1. Jump Rope - 2
2. Shadow - 3
3. Double - 2
4. Speed - 3
  • I can feel myself getting better on the speed bag. Of course being good on the speed bag doesn't mean that one is a good fighter, but it does show that one is not a beginner since it takes time to get better on the speed bag. 
  • I can hit with decent speed and timing, but of course not as fast or as long as the most experienced guys in the gym but I definitely don't sound like a beginner anymore. 
5. Mitts - 2
  • I usually do mitts with the head trainer, probably 4x/week. I think compared to most of the other guys who come in and out I hit the mitts rather hard. I can feel my coordination getting better where I can fire off 4-5 punch combinations with relative ease, but the problem is more my conditioning than anything else. I just get really tired, and so I get lazy in not putting up my hands. 
  • I realize that putting up my hands is the single most important habit I need to focus on. 
6. Sparring - 4 
  • I didn't mean to but I ended up sparring twice. 
  • First, I sparred with MarvinH again. We talked this time and turns out he's 39 years old, been boxing for about 7 years, and this November will be his first fight. He said the year before 40 he wanted to try a match. He only weighs about 150 lbs he said, and is about 5'8. He's quite thick however, and in really great shape with a lot of muscular build. 
  • It wasn't a real fair match since I was just way taller and bigger than him. He said I was so wide it was hard for him to spin around, since I would tag him with my jab when he did spin. I did notice he was fast. 
  • The first round I did mostly jab, and 1-2 combos. However, I notice I'm really slow getting back to my guard after throwing a right hand so I'm vulnerable to a left hook or jab. He's fast so he dodged a lot of my shots. I got him with my jab a half dozen times however, so he didn't advance much. 
  • The 2nd round, I decided not to throw any rights at all just focusing on my jab. He asked me later why I didn't use my right, and I said I noticed him stepping around quickly and then countering, so I started baiting him with my jab and then stepping in for a right uppercut. I got him in the corner once, and feigned a few 1-2 combos but not throwing my right just the jab, and when he relaxed and came in I got him with a bunch of uppercuts and hooks. 
  • Basically, my hooks and straight rights are really slow. I have to work on them more. I have to be really patient with my right, and focus on jabs and then uppercuts if the person does advance. 
  • Things to work on: Instead of doing 1-2, do a 3 hit combo next time and finish with the left hand even if it's another jab. I think I should start working on a 3 hit combo where the last is a long reach uppercut/underhand jab. It's not doing damage so much as keeping the person away after I use my right hand. 
  • My 2nd match was against a lanky fella. He was about 5'10 but really thin. He said he's 31 and been boxing for about 2 years, but has never been in a match and doesn't really want to enter but likes to spar. He weighs only 140lbs so he was shocked to find out (after our match) that I weighed 230. I had 90 lbs on him even though I'm only two inches or so taller. 
  • He asked me to spar, but I said I was tired, so he said let's go lightly. Turns out we didn't go that light, though neither of us hit very hard just tapped our face guards. (He was wearing a full guard as well.) 
  • His style was like Ali's with his hands down and daring me to get him with the jab. I think he underestimated my jab, b/c I did get him a few times and so he put his guard up. He was fast in moving around, but once I cornered him he had nowhere to go. So I ended up jabbing and getting him with a bunch of inside hooks and uppercuts. 
  • I used a bunch of defensive styles, so jab, jab, jab and when he advanced I would use an uppercut or jab uppercut. One time he came in and I got him pretty hard with a hook but he blocked my arm with his arm. Even though I ended up hitting him, the inside of my left elbow where the two bones meet is really in pain now. I can't even massage it b/c it hurts so much. This was probably my most serious boxing injury since I never got hit too hard in the face and just had that slightly bloody lip from before. 
  • It doesn't help me too much sparring guys who are so light and especially shorter. If they're tall it's not so bad since I get to at least work on my outside fighting, but I'm just too big. I need to lose weight only so I can get closer to my sparring partners. 
  • This is like a dream session if I can get 4 rounds of sparring. It's also fun to spar with different people since they have different styles, respond differently. I'm just concerned I'm building bad habits since I'm sparring guys that are almost always shorter and much much lighter than me, even if they are more skilled. 
  • This is why I like sparring MikeT and RoyJ. MikeT is so much much better than I am, but we're similar in build so I can at least feel what it would be like to box someone my size. RoyT is much lighter than I am, but he's really lean and strong. I would be his weight if I were as lean as he was, well maybe not but he looks like he's about 6ft, maybe 6'1, weighs 175 or so with no fat at all, maybe 5-7% bodyfat. He's much more fit than I am, but he's also a beginner so we're fairly evenly matched. +he's a southpaw so I get a different kind lesson with him. 
  • I really enjoy sparring days, the whole fun of boxing is in the sparring. I think even if I never am part of a match, if I spar regularly it'll be fun just doing this for a long long time. It's kind of like a match, but no prep, no making weight, and of course only going at about 50% so it's fairly light but one can still try new things. 
I found out that the tournament is held only once every two years. So the next one will be in November 2015, and I'll be 43 by then. I do commit to doing it then as well, but this time at 81 kgs so around 179lbs. I'd have a lot of weight to lose, but it'll be fun trying. They said even if I get down to 200, it'll be pretty hard to find a beginner at that weight. At least if I get down to 180, I'll be more experienced as well + easier to find someone at those lighter weights. Oh well, I can't control what I can't control. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Workout #24

Total rounds: 18

1. Jump rope - 2
2. Shadow - 3
3. Speed - 6
4. Double - 2
5. Mitts - 2
6. Sparring - 3
  • Today was my first time sparring DavidT. He's about 5'8 and 180 lbs. Really thick fella, about mid 30's and seems kind of cocky like he knows it all even though he doesn't talk much. It's funny how one can pick that up. He's obviously skilled, I've seen him shadowboxing and go on the speed bags and he's quite good. 
  • As I suspected, he's got really powerful countershots. Everytime I came in with a right hand, he was able to counter me with a hook or a bodyshot. When I went in, he just kind of let me go in as if he could take my punches. 
  • I changed my strategy and ended up mostly jabbing b/c I was taller, and he didn't do much after that. When he came in for the body shots I was able to get him a few times with upper cuts or jabs. Overall, if we were in a real match I probably would have gotten hit really hard by him and been wobbled. However, once I focused mostly on jabs and moved around he didn't do much. 
  • He's a powerful hitter, though he didn't hit me too hard he was going light, but the height difference made it so he couldn't do much unless he countered. He was pretty quick, however, so I wasn't able to get him much with my jabs. He also didn't advance much, so again it was harder to get him with my jab. My jab is quicker than I thought however, and he had to slip and duck a lot of jabs. 
  • During our 3rd round, I could tell he was tired (so was I) so didn't move much but just stood there and slowly advanced on me. He kind of gave up and just let me come in, and then countered. He was surprised I was able to get him with my jab. He would put his guard down at first, but my longer reach allowed me to get him a few times with my jab. He backed up, but I didn't have the timing right to try and hit him with a combo after the jab. In hindsight, advancing jabs/back step or double jabs would have been effective with him b/c of my reach. 
  • I think if we were in a real match, unlikely since I'd be a heavyweight and he'd be a light heavyweight, I'd have to mostly focus on jabs and counters. My reach is longer and he'd have to come inside to do some damage, but overall I was able to get him with my jab. He didn't advance and waited to counter me. He did have an awesome counter for my right hand, either a quick bodyshot or uppercut. I'd have to jab and move more so as to not let him counter me. 
  • I could tell he was an experienced boxer, but his thick bodytype (mostly muscle with tree trunk legs) along with some fat made him slower and he didn't move around much. If I'm well conditioned, I could beat and outlast a guy like him if I'm disciplined with my jab and pick him off using the jab. He would try to advance and knock my head off with a left hook or upper cut, but if I jab away quickly it'd be harder for him to advance since he'd get hit or be blocking and it's hard to attack. Also, using hard uppercuts when he gets in closer is a good way to get shorter stocky guys like him. 
  • Overall I don't like sparring guys like him b/c instead of going at an even pace so I get used to it, he either just sits there and blocks and then goes really aggressively in countering. It doesn't help my skill as much b/c I prefer someone to go at an even pace so I could try new things/he could try new things. Oh well, I may spar him again since he's usually there at the same time as I am.
  • I look forward to sparring anyone, even females, at my level since I get to try new things. Overall he's not my favorite sparring partner, but I did learn a lot from his counter. I learned a valuable lesson in terms of using jabs/longer uppercuts to keep him away/away from his really powerful counters/lefthooks, etc. He would have hurt my face for sure, but if I wised up with the counters I'd be able to keep him at bay. He was surprised when I tagged him once he did start advancing, my longer reach was able to do that. Height gives such an advance, especially in a defensive drowning style focused on jabs - much like Lennox Lewis did even though he was a heavyweight. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Workout #23

I was hoping to spar today, but the head trainer had the two smaller guys spar one another. They were going at it really hard, to the point the head trainer had to tell them to break it up.

Total Rounds: 13

1. Jump Rope - 2

  • My new record, 64 skips. I hope to hit 100 one of these days. 
2. Shadow - 2
3. Speed - 2
4. Double - 2
5. Mitts - 2
  • The head trainer is throwing lots of variety at meet and I can actually hit most of them. I realize I can go fairly hard for two rounds on the mitts though it's hard. 
  • There's a definitely a different sound on the mitts when I clench my fists vs. just lightly closing them. My left knuckles still hurt, even though I double wrapped them. 
  • The big thing is for me to keep up my guard with my non-punching hand and also bring my punching hand back quickly during everything I do, including mitts. I need to get into this habit for everything including shadow boxing and double bag. 
6. Heavy Bag - 3 

I'm watching reruns of the TV show The Contender and I've actually learned a lot about boxing. Two biggest lessons: 

  • The 3rd place winner, Alfonso Gomez was the most inspirational. He beat a lot of good boxers even though he wasn't the fastest, tallest, or had any one best skill. He had a lot of heart, and overall he was very accurate. I noticed he had a really relaxed attitude, smiled a lot, and didn't shy away from tough challenges. He was highly skilled, and the total package made him a great fighter. (He turned out to be a good pro as well.) What I learned from him was being relaxed with a great attitude and having accurate punches - even if he wasn't the best conditioned, most skilled, or strongest or fastest guy, allowed him to beat a lot of opponents. 
  • One of the other fighters, Joey Gilbert, was a really excellent fighter. He was tall, had a strong punch, and also fast. However, people perceived him to be a coward with no heart. He was shown to be a backstabber and not owning up to his word. He was described as the cowardly lion by another fighter, which is interesting since he's really skilled. During his last fight he fought really bravely, and it was interesting how fighting a really skilled and tough boxer allowed him come out strong. The crowd was chanting his name afterwards. Tougher opponents build up character and he later on earned the respect of his peers. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workout #22

Today the gym was packed. I wish I could have stayed later, I usually have to leave earlier, but on Wed nights I can stay a bit later.

Total rounds: 14 + boxing class

1. Jump Rope - 2

  • I'm able to get up to 50, but still only on two feet. I think once I can get to 100 then I should be able to do some more one foot jumpbs. 
2. Shadow - 3
3. Double - 2
4. Speed - 5

Boxing Class
  • The taller 50 year old has a really long reach. Even when we're just practicing and going light, he always seems to tag me even when I just have my mouthpiece on. The good thing I have to remember to protect myself at all times, even during practice and training. 
  • The class has been good to have the trainer go around and teaching basic moves. For example, he said my right knee is turning too much when I do a straight right. My knee is pointing down instead of straight ahead. 
  • I've realized how my footwork is really poor. I need to be better conditioned so I can be lighter on my feet. 
5. Mitts - 2
  • I asked the trainer what to do during a bodyshot, esp since my feet are kind of slow though my hands are faster for my size. He said for me to slip hard to the left if he comes right, and then I can get away or feint and then hit with an uppercut. 
  • I still need to work on this more. 
  • He also said that I'm not lined up enough when I do a straight right. I end up losing balance so I need to think about this more and get better balance.  
  • He says I need to use more hips and return my fists back. I realize my hands are really slow coming back and I kind of leave them there instead of having it return quickly.
I have so much to work on, it's almost overwhelming. I want to have more focused sparring sessions. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Workout #21

It's always hard to go back after taking Sunday and Monday off.

Total rounds: 11

1. Jump Rope - 2
2. Shadow - 3
3. Footwork - 2

  • The tough trainer had me work on a few things. 
  • First, we worked on the jab-left uppercut combo. He said I need to raise my hand higher so that my elbow is close to my mouth. The idea is that it automatically acts as a block if you miss, but if you hit you end up following through/preventing your opponent from going over the top of you. This was hard to do, but I can see how it's effective. I'm going to put this into my sparring. 
  • Second, we worked on jabbing and then slipping/advancing to the right while putting my forearm/elbow under my opponent's left arm/pushing it up/lifting it up. Then I could do a right hook or upper cut. It's not something I can just do intentionally, but if done quickly it's like a missed jab. This could be really effective if I can get in, not sure I'm fast enough. 
  • Third, we worked on doing a wide open palm slap on the side of the body. It's done quickly and lightly, so the person thinks it's a body shot. Then when he relaxes, one can come in with the hook or uppercut. I want to work on this on the inside, it looks powerful but again I'm not very quick on my feet. 

4. Mitts - 2

  • I always have a hard time slipping and then coming back with a strong punch. 
  • This tough trainer always pushes me/insists that I use my body on my punches. I always feel like with him I have to turn my hips which is what I need to do. I tend to use my arm for punches, but he won't let me get away with it. He's a great trainer even though he's tough. 

5. Sparring - 2

  • I was finished with my workout and about to leave and the head trainer asks me to spar. He's a young southpaw. He looked about 25 or so, and was about 6'1 and weighed about 170 lbs. He totally looked like a boxer. He was lean, and I could see muscular definition on his arms and legs - not the bodybuilding kind but the kind a boxer would have, not ripped but definitely lean muscle from lots of exercise and activity. He jump roped effortlessly and so I thought I he was really skilled. 
  • Turns out he's more a beginner like me. 
  • In the first round, I wasn't used to fighting a southpaw. I couldn't hit him very well with my jab from afar, but most of the times he came in I was able to tag him fairly hard with my jab. I don't have a long range, but I can advance fairly quickly and using the drowning style he was able to block a lot of my jabs or get out of the way, but whenever he tried to advance I was able to just sit and tag him with the jab. 
  • He got me a few times in the body, but I was able to get him with an uppercut or jab almost everytime he came in which made him more hesitant. He had a really powerful left hand, and got me really hard once. I remembered my last sparring match, and even though he got my hard I tagged him with an uppercut. Since I had my faceguard, if we had the open face headgear he would have damaged my face for sure. Of course, if we had open face headgear then my jabs would be getting him in the nose as well so it works both ways. This is why sparring is great to learn, but it's not a real match. It's much more controlled and lighter. Once I got him with my jab, I think we were going pretty hard about 70%. 
  • I would say I won the 1st round for sure. He probably got me with a few body shots, one overhand left, and whiffed on a bunch of uppercuts/hooks b/c I was getting him with my jab. I got him at least 5-6 times w/my jab and one right hand + a few uppercuts when he came in. Once he came in, he tended to look down a bit so if I just moved a bit I was able to get him with my jab. The more I jabbed, the more hesitant he was about getting in. 
  • During the 2nd round, he figured out how slow footed I was and started to use footwork to get around me. He got me with at least 2 or maybe 3 straight lefts. Once of them was hard enough that my lips were bruised (and still hurts a bit) even with my mouthpiece and even with my full faceguard. If I didn't have the full headgear I would be hurting for sure, definitely my lips would be real bloody. Of course he'd be bleeding too with my jabs. 
  • Once he figured out I was having a hard time breathing, he was able to use his superior speed/athleticism/footwork to get me a number of times in the body. He still has a habit of looking down, so I was able to get him almost at the same time he hit me with the bodyshots with either an uppercut or jab. I would say he won round 2, but not by much. I did remember to consistently fire my jab even if I was so tired since I knew he got hit a number of times/was hesitant. 
  • If there was a 3rd round he would have won that for sure, probably won the match. He was in really good shape, and I had already done mitts by the time he came in. I really really need to get in better conditioning. My trainer said I was doing really well and was winning when I got tired b/c I had no stamina. I think he was kind of surprised, since this guy was much younger than me/a bit taller/and a southpaw - which means he's much more used to boxing righties. 
  • I think compared to my opponent, I was much more relaxed in the ring. I'm not sure if it's b/c I'm used to sparring, but my heart rate didn't spike and I didn't get anxious. Maybe it's b/c I know it's just sparring, but I was calm in there. I also know that I have an accurate jab/was able to throw a variety of jabs both strong/weak/fast and I know I have a decently strong right. An advanced boxer could easily beat me with footwork mostly b/c I can't move well, but a beginner can't move very well either and so it's a) conditioning, and b) accuracy. My opponent and I were roughly the same heigh, similar body frame, but he was a lean 170 while I'm an overweight 230. Those 60 lbs wouldn't help me one bit against someone like him since it's all fat. It's not like I'm a really thick and powerful 230, but rather an overweight one who is slowed down by my fat. 
  • My lips hurt as I'm typing this. I think if my boxing skills stayed the same but I was in great condition, I think I have a good chance in my match. Once I lose weight, that should only increase my speed (in theory.) 
  • Things to work on for next time: 1) keep on working on the jab-L hook quick combo and the jab-L uppercut combo, 2) drowning style go in and out, 3) be patient and wait to use my right hand. I'm not sure I can do any of the moves my trainer taught me today, I think I'm just too slow. Also my opponents get a bit weary b/c of my jab and so think a bit more carefully about coming in since I get them. I have a feeling some of them will just want to rush and brawl with me since I could tag them with my jab, so I have to be prepared to shoulder roll and the like.