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. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

One month update

It has been 20 workouts and approximately one month since I've been boxing.

  • I've only lost a few pounds, was hoping I would lose 10. Have to be better about my diet, esp. since I travel. 
  • I haven't been able to do more than just the boxing workout. 
  • 5 days/week has been pretty difficult. I really need the 2 days rest. 
  • I've sparred 11 times in 20 workouts which is great. I have to strategize my sparring, esp. since I'm going to against different level boxers every time. 
  • I started to box so I could get in shape, now I really want to get in shape so I can box. 
  • I regret waiting until 41 years of age to start this awesome sport, wish I could have kept up earlier but there's no time like the present. 
  • Having a goal, a real live match, gives someone a lot more purpose to training than just working out. 
  • The workouts are not always fun, but it's always fun to see myself getting better.
  • Overall sparring is my favorite activity and I get so excited to spar even if I know the guy is better and even after a session where I get beat since I know I get better.  
Compared to two months ago, my body aches but also feels better. I see the world differently, b/c I know that I'm pushing my body and I feel like I can conquer more. The biggest life application for me is that just like in life, I have to compensate for my weaknesses in skill/body type/age/conditioning and the like and play to my strengths. 

Another thing that has helped my life is that  during my time in the gym, I can't think of anything else. Boxing requires so much concentration that I can't think of anything else when I'm in that gym. That's been one of the best things about boxing. When I'm in the ring or in the gym, my mind doesn't wander or do anything else but focus on the task at hand. It has been a resting place for not just my body but also my mind and spirit. 

I don't know what the next step holds, but I've been changed 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Workout #20

Total rounds: 14

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

I had a light workout today. Mostly I realize I get too tired and I don't try very hard. It's hard to go hard on shadowboxing or the heavy bag, when one can just go light. That's why I like mitts and speed bag, I can't really go light - though speed bag is still kind of light but takes a lot of concentration.

I had the young skinny trainer do mitts with me, and he was trying to show me how to do better on body shots. My left knee needs to step out but not to the left of my foot or it will buckle. I don't know if I'll have the speed to do a body shot unless someone comes in really close.

I didn't spar today though I was hoping I would. I think I still have to stick with a basic style of jabs mostly, since I've been fairly successful with my jabs in sparring, but I wonder if I can hit very hard? Maybe I don't need to b/c this is amateur and it's mostly about points and getting in decent shots even if they're not very hard. I do have to protect myself and keep the other boxer away. Mostly jab, then set up my right, and then do combos from there. My left uppercut has decent range so I need to figure out how to use it more even if it's thrown lightly. Also, throw a variety of shots both hard and light to throw the other guy off. I react so slowly to counters that I probably have to be the aggressive one, at least with my jabs so they can counter and I can try and counter them or just hit back with the jab right.

Overall, my conditioning is going to make the biggest difference. Even in sparring I see myself doing so much better the 1st round than the 2nd round. Of course in the match it will be two minute rounds instead of the 3 minutes per round for sparring in the gym, so that should help. I want to be able to sprint or go hard for the full two minutes each round. For cardio, starting October I will train on HIIT so I can go 30 sec/10sec rest three times in a row. That's 120 seconds which is two minutes. I want to be able to simulate a real boxing match with my cardio. I can do this on an exercise bike/elliptical, burpees, or anything else just to get my heart used to going all out. Of course it's best if I do it via shadow boxing or spar more, but I have to take what I can get. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Workout #19

Total rounds: 15

1. Jump Rope - 2
2. Shadow Box - 3
3. Speed Bag - 3
4. Double Bag - 2
5. Mitts - 3
6. Sparring - 2

  • Today I sparred again with OscarD. 
  • I knew he had a lot of experience, but found out he's 36 and has been boxing since he's 21. 
  • It was not easy sparring after doing the Mitts and the other things. 
  • The first round I won for sure. He tried coming in and got me a few times, but overall my jabs were able to keep him at bay. Once I got him with my jab a few times, he started blocking higher and higher. That meant I was able to get him with my right and then hit him with a few combos. Overall I did a decent job of getting him with combos after he started putting up his guard more. I was able to do a quick advancing jab which made him a bit more tentative. 
  • The 2nd round was a different story. I was getting so tired that I couldn't hit him at all. He came in at will to hit me with a number of body shots esp. on my right open side. I'm usually able to get a number of jabs and hits in, but he came in quickly and I couldn't get him. He also hit me with a number of combos and I opened up my right to get him but stepped back and he hit me at the same time so I stumbled backwards and almost fell. Of course him apologizing made it worse since there were a lot of people watching me. With better conditioning I could have beat him since I'm much taller and bigger, but the conditioning really got me. I'm so mad I'm not in better shape. I wish my knees were good so I could run 5 miles per day to get in good shape. I was more embarrassed than anything. I vow to work on my footwork and conditioning so I won't be in that shape anymore to get hit back by a guy who is 50lbs lighter than me. 
  • Afterwards we talked a bit and I introduced myself. He's a really nice man. He told me that he's been in a number of amateur matches in the last 15 years. I told him this is my first month and he said I was really skilled. Of course he might have been just saying that, but he said everytime he came in I was able to get him with a jab or counter. That's nice even if he was being polite.
  • I think I was able to avoid most of his shots, mostly b/c I was taller and just leaned back. However, when I was tired and even with my guard up I was eating punches for a while. He also got my on my right side pretty hard and it made it hard to throw punches. I think bodyshots are useful but I don't have the speed to slide into a body shot, so I have to figure out how to hit the body while I'm inside. Not easy since then I'd have to keep my guard up to. 
  • Things to work on: 1) never just block for too long, throw punches any punches. I think uppercuts would be good to keep a guy away for a little bit since my hands can still be close to my body. 2) Keep on attacking, even light jabs. I think if I hit with my jab early, then the other person will be more tentative in attacking. 3) Above all keep on firing. 
I think today I felt the meaning of what it means to become a coward when fatigue sets in. OscarD is in fantastic shape. Even after the mitts and sparring session, he went right back to hit the heavy bag. I'm actually a bit nervous and excited at the same time. I'm not even sure I'll make weight but now I'm more determined than ever. Today I was starving after my workout and I was planning on devouring something large, but exercised control. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Workout #18

Total rounds: 12

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow box - 1
3. Light Sparring - 4

  • My first opponent was a southpaw, I'll call him MannyP. He was about 4 inches shorter than I Was so I had a significant height advantage. He was in fantastic shape and extremely fast. 
  • He didn't have his guard up, like Ali, b/c I think he thought he could just get away from my punches. For the most part he did since I was mostly in attack mode, but b/c I was taller I did get him with my jab whenever he tried to get in. He got me with a bunch of body shots, but when I got him in a corner he couldn't do anything b/c I was too big. I'm pretty sure I won't fight someone like him, not at my weight it's not realistic. I probably won this match if it were real, but again I won't ever have an opponent like him that's his size, speed, and height. 
  • I noticed that to keep my jab fast, I jab without clenching my fist. It won't hurt anyone but I do think I'll get points in an amateur match b/c the gloves will be larger. I'm trying now to jab without clenching, and then clenching when I do combos. 
  • My 2nd opponent I only went one round. He was a guy in pretty good shape but was tentative. I was a few inches taller but I was able to tag him with my jab whenever he tried to get in. He did get me with one good body shot, but overall he had to adjust his mask several times b/c I was able to get him with my jab. Again, I had too much of a size advantage. 
  • My 3rd opponent for just one round was a lady about 3 inches smaller than me. She was quite quick, but wasn't so experienced. She was able to move quickly with her body shots, but again I got her in the head and face whenever she came in. She ended up looking down when she came in, and then I was able to get her in the head fairly easily. 
  • Again, I wonder in a real match what would happen? If someone comes in and gets me with a body, would I be able to get them in the head? Would I be too hurt? Would they keep on coming in if I do end up getting them in the head? 
  • Today, I tried working more on my left uppercut as they were trying to get in. I need to work on this more, it's a really good counter even if it doesn't hit b/c it gets people out of the way and ends up naturally blocking their punches. 
4. Speed bag - 3
5. Double bad - 2
6. Shadow footwork in the ring - 2
  • I think it's worth doing shadow boxing with gloves on. I'm usually too tired, but maybe that's a good thing to shadow box at the end while tired. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Workout #17

I got into the gym hoping for some extra time before the evening skills class.

Total rounds: 6 + boxing class

1. Jump rope - 1
2. Shadow - 2
3. Mitts - 2
  • I feel myself getting better. He's asking me to do jab-left hooks, which are not easy to do with speed. I'm still slow but feel like I'm getting the coordination to do it. 
  • My straight rights have been better too, since I'm trying to use more of my hips. 
4. Speed bag - 2
  • I haven't been doing much speed bag lately, so I haven't improved. I want to do it more so I can get better. 
Boxing class
  • Working on good form for jabs, rights, hooks, uppercuts
  • Touch sparring, which I never like. Shadow sparring with light touch/no gloves. I never like this b/c I'm at such a disadvantage with speed. My guy was a taller older guy who is way faster than me with a long reach. I couldn't do much. If we were sparring for real, at least I could tap him in the head and he'd feel my power a bit even if he is faster. However, this way he can do whatever he wants since we're not really hitting but more just touching gloves. We can both do combos at the same time, when in fact when we really do combos if one person feels the pain or gets hit first they'll get into guard mode. 
  • We did mitts with our partner for another 3 rounds, so I was really beat afterwards. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Workout #16

I only had an hour today and so I had to rush today.

Total rounds: 8

1. Jump rope - 1 round
2. Shadow Boxing - 2 rounds
3. Mitts - 3 rounds

  • I had the tough trainer today, I always learn the most with him. 
  • He said I need to go wider on my hooks, and that I should bring my left hand back more when I do a hook. 
  • He told me to keep on jumping rope and then I can be light on my feet. 
  • I also learned how to do a step before I shuffle back to the left. This was really helpful. 

4. Foot work - 2 rounds

The trainer said I need to come in at least 3-4 times per week if I want to see real improvement. I've been going at least 5x so hopefully I can keep this up. It has been good for me b/c I want to learn boxing as a skill and sport, and getting in shape it kind of a by product of learning this really demanding sport. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Workout #15

Today the head trainer wasn't in when I went to the gym. Normally I go around 5pm to catch someone to spar with, but today is Saturday so I went in a bit earlier but he wasn't there. Usually, nobody spars unless he tells them since he knows everyone's level and can control the matches a bit.

Total rounds: 13

1. Jump Rope - 2 rounds

  • I can go for 10-20 seconds now, and it's not my coordination but rather I get tired so I have to stop. I can only jump off of two feet, but hopefully I can work to the point where I can do alternating feet. 
2. Shadow Boxing - 2 rounds
  • I tried paying more attention to my footwork. I've been getting hit with too many right hands, so even if it's slow I'm going to end with my left hand. Either a jab-right-uppercut or jab-right-jab combo so that my arm blocks the other guys right hand a bit. 
3. Double Bag - 2 rounds
4. Speed Bag - 2 rounds
5. Heavy Bag - 3 rounds
  • I should make it a goal to do heavy bag once or twice per week. It ends up hurting my shoulders a bit, so I don't want to do it too much, but if it's just a few rounds I think it's OK. 
  • I remember 10 years ago when I was in my other gym, they had us hit the heavy bag at least for 30 minutes or so and I ended up messing up my shoulder. 
  • Now, I'm going to try and minimize the amount of rounds I hit on the heavy bag to maybe 3 rounds twice per week or something like that. 
  • I know some people like to go 5-10 rounds per day, but I don't think my shoulder can handle that. 
6. Footwork shadow boxing - 2 rounds
  • I went into the ring by myself and tried to walk with my guard down, jump around a bit, and tried to move around the ring more like Ali. 
  • I probably won't be able to do this, but I do want to improve my footwork. 
Without sparring or hitting the mitts, the workout is pretty light. I could have pushed myself more, but I want to do at least two workouts per week where I'm focusing mostly on form. I'm still sweating quite a bit, and I hope to add a morning session daily of pushups, situps, crunches, plank, shrugs, and also lifting weights once/week for now. 

I totally ruined my diet today and pigged out. I can't keep on doing this if I want to make weight. I'll have to cut my calories significantly tomorrow, perhaps just protein shakes and vegetables, and then I'll have my typical day of fasting on Monday. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Workout #14

I was tired again today, and ended up having a big lunch. How I wish I didn't have to make weight, and could just train and eat. Dieting and training has been difficult on me as an emotional eater, though I do get a new high by going to the gym.

Total rounds: 11

1. Jump rope - 2 rounds

  • I've decided that I have to jump rope more. My footwork is terrible and I need to move better. 
  • I don't have to be Ali, but just be able to move back and forth better. 
2. Shadow boxing - 2 rounds
3. Light Sparring - 2 rounds
  • The young powerful guy was there today. I'll call him MikeT. He doesn't look very powerful with kind of big hair. He's about 6 ft tall and 200 lbs, and does not have a chiseled body like the other nicer man I box. He's very powerful however. 
  • I notice that he can twist and torque his body very well, so all of his shots are extremely powerful. He uses his entire body to hit and he's fairly quick too. Even on the heavy bag, I can hear him hitting really hard even after he's been there over an hour. He's only 22 years old and has been boxing for 4 years, and has a total baby face. 
  • In the ring I couldn't keep up with him. Just blocking his hits made me so tired in the 1st round that by the 2nd round I couldn't even jab properly. 
  • I was still able to hit him with my jab, but he was able to come inside and get me with uppercuts and bodyshots. 
  • I tried using my jab and then countering, but b/c he was so much better than me he just kind of waited for me/let me hit him while he blocked and parried, and then unleashed some combos on me. If he were going 100%, I'm not sure I would have lasted a single round with him. He might as well be Tyson to me since even at 30% my side still hurts from his shots. 
  • The best part of sparring with MikeT is that he's about my height and size, but doesn't allow me to get in much. I have to really think about getting in my jabs and rights.
  • Light sparring with a mask however is still pretty different from a real match. First, I don't get hit in the face since I have the guard. Second, we're not getting too close since we don't want to hit really hard. I wonder if this will actually be a negative in terms of preparing for the fight. In November I'll have to remember to actually get in closer so I can actually hit rather than just tap like I do in light sparring with a mask. 
  • Things to work: 1) still hit with the jab only in the 1st round and wait for the counter, 2) footwork. Try and get out of the way more of the hits, and 3) experiment with keeping my hands down a bit so it's easier to walk/use footwork and then putting it right back up when I get closer. 
  • It's always so exciting when I get to spar, I'm calmer now but it's the rush of adrenaline that can only come from a live match. I can't tell if I'm getting better really, but I know I'm calmer in there and actually can think a bit. 
4. Mitts - 2 rounds
  • It's so hard to do mitts after sparring, I feel like my arms are going to fall off. 
  • I think the head trainer knows I'm serious about this fight, so he has been helping me by allowing me to spar. He never says anything, but always sits ringside to watch me spar. 
5. Double bag - 1 round
6. Speed bag - 1 round
7. Footwork - 1 round

After November, I'm not sure I'll be in a match again. I have new projects coming up that will require a lot of work so I won't be able to train as much. I think it would be good for me to try to get another match so I can train for it. After that, I should probably not box anymore. It's addictive but also a bit dangerous. I'm not sure how long I can do this by going to the gym so frequently b/c I'm getting busier, but I hope that after November this can be a lifestyle for me. I see guys int heir 50's coming in regularly, and I'm sure they probably won't box but they are working hard to stay in shape, improve, and keep up their skills. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Workout #13

I was so tired I almost didn't go to the gym, but I knew that once I got there I'd feel better so I dragged myself there. My knee started hurting a bit so I quit jump roping for a while, but I really need the jump rope. I'm too heavy on my feet and have terrible footwork so jumping rope would be helpful.

Total rounds: 8

1. Shadow - 2 rounds
2. Light sparring - 2 rounds

  • I sparred with a new guy, probably early 20's. He was at least 3 inches shorter than me. He seemed like an advanced beginner, but was in much better shape than I was. I probably outweighed him by at least 60 lbs. 
  • My jabs were hitting him everytime he came in. He got me with a lot of bodyshots b/c he was fast, and I had a high guard up so he couldn't hit me in the head. However, everytime he came in I hit him with my jab at the same time. I wonder if this were a real match, would my jab be faster or the body shot? Also, if we hit at the same time would it hurt him more or me? I assume him since it's harder to get hit in the head. 
  • I doubt someone my weight could move that fast unless he was really advanced. 
  • We did 2 rounds and I was pretty tired by the 2nd round. This time I did try to hit the jab and get out of the way, so he didn't get me with much. He was shorter so had a harder time trying to hit me with his right hand. He was also more tentative. I'm not very good but since I was so much bigger and taller than him I think he was a bit intimidated. 
  • I tried going in for my right hand but wasn't very successful since he was much faster. One time when he came in for a bodyshot, I got him with a right hand and probably could have hit him pretty hard with an uppercut but he was already hitting my body. Since we were only going like 30-50%, I'm not sure what it would have been like. He got me pretty good in the face with a right hand once and apologized, it didn't hurt b/c I had the faceguard but in the match it may hurt since I won't have a faceguard. I really really need to look out for straight rights. 
  • He also kept his guard down for a while and so I was able to hit with my jab. I guess at some point everyone gets tired. I need to have my guard up at all times, I think that's the key to blocking the right hand. 
  • Things to continue working on for next time: 1) going in and out with the jab, 2) pulling the jab back a lot more quickly to keep my guard up, and 3) keeping my eyes open for defense/counters rather than just going for the hit. For my next sparring match, I'm just going to jab and not use the right hand or anything else unless it's a counter. (Hope I'm disciplined enough to try this, after it's just a light match and is the best time to practice.) 
  • I wish I could spar every day, I learn something everytime and it's also the best workout. I think I only had one medium sparring session with the really good young heavyweight boxer. Well, it was probably 60% for me and only 30% for him. 
  • The head trainer always asks me to spar, since he knows I want to go for the match and he knows I'm a beginner who needs a lot of work. 

3. Mitts - 2 rounds

  • I had almost no energy to do mitts after sparring, but I forced myself and just barely made it. Great workout but I'm still too one-dimensional and only thinking of offense. 
4. Speed - 2 rounds

I want to supplement soon with: 

  • 100 situps daily spread throughout the day
  • 100 pushups 3x/week spread throughout the day
  • 100 dumbbell shrugs spread throughout the day
I probably don't have much energy to do real weightlifting, but I'd also like to add: 
  • One day per week of lifting weights at home with my dumbbells, go until failure
I really need to work on my footwork and counters. I'll have to look at some videos online to practice. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Workout #12

Today felt a little bit better. I got there an hour before the class and warmed up. The head trainer asked if I wanted to do mitts before the class, but I told him that my left hand was hurting and I need another day to heal.

Total rounds: 12 + boxing class

1) Shadow boxing - 4 rounds
2) Speed bag - 4 rounds
3) Double bag - 2 rounds
4) Boxing class - 1 hour
5) Light Sparring - 2 rounds

  • I sparred the nice man, Mr. K, again. He's roughly my height, and about 40 lbs lighter. If I lose my fat, I'd probably weigh as much as him, probably late 30's. 
  • I was hitting on my jabs again. I tapped him several times whenever he tried getting in. 
  • However, twice I didn't pull my hand back quickly enough after a jab and he got my pretty hard with his straight right. I notice he hits the heavy bag pretty hard and has a powerful straight right. If I wasn't wearing my faceguard and he was going full power, he may have made my nose bleed/broken my nose. He had a powerful right hand. 
  • I remember closing my eyes when he hit, and I can't do that if I want to survive in the ring. 
  • I can hit pretty quickly with my jab, but the problem is I don't a) bring it back fast enough, and b) I don't move back after I hit to avoid power punches. 
  • I still can't do a lot of combos and he got me in the body many times, he's definitely quicker than I am but the only thing I had better than him was my jab.
  • I thought it was interesting. He hits the heavy bag quite a lot, and so has powerful punches. I try to be lighter and do the speed bag, double bag, and mitts so my jab is better and faster than his. 
  • I think if this were a 3 round match it would have been pretty close. I definitely got more punches in and hit him more than he hit me, but the shots he got me with were much more powerful. Without my faceguard, I'd have a broken nose and it'd be bleeding for sure. I have to remember this. 
  • Things to work on: a) snap back on the jab quick, b) tilt my head back/step back after the jab, and c) move around more after the jab - left, right, back, side, etc. Overall keep an eye out for the right hand and don't just think about offense. 
  • The best part of boxing is the sparring for sure. 
I saw three women around 40 today and they were all quite good. Most had been there only 3-4 years, but they had great technique and speed. They all wanted to spar with the young pro boxer trainer, so he let them. He kind of let them hit him or just moved out of the way. He was fantastic. He's only about 5'4 so was about the same height as the women but boy was he fast. The ladies were pretty quick too, but he moved around and had great footwork. I need to work on my footwork. I notice I can't really move very well and just stand there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Workout #11

It has been 8 days since my last workout. I gained 4 lbs on my trip and now I have to lose it and more to make weight. Ugh.

Total rounds: 15

1. Shadow boxing - 4 rounds
2. Mitts - 2 rounds

  • I had the tough trainer today. He's always very critical of me and almost smirks, but that's good since I know I can't slack with him. 
  • He said that my straight rights are too much muscle and not enough body. He told me to practice swinging my chest with it upright so I can generate more power. 
3. Double bag - 2 rounds
4. Speed bag - 5 rounds
  • Today was my best speed bag session. Frankly, I was kind of tired so I went there but it was helpful since I actually went over 30 seconds at a time hitting that bag. Now I have to actually work on my speed since I think I'm getting better on the hand exchanges. 
5. Light Sparring - 2 rounds
  • I wanted to spar at 50% at least, but my partner only went about 30%. It was still helpful but I wish he actually hit me rather than just be far away and try to hit. 
  • He was better than me for sure, but I was at least 5 inches taller that he couldn't really get in on me or do much since my jab was hitting him before he could hit me. 
  • I tried to be like Wladmir Klitchscko and totally focus just on my jab. I'm still not sure if the drowning style will work for me, I'm a big guy and I don't have really long arms. I can back pedal at a decent speed so I'm hoping to jab and get out. I like this style b/c it's a calmer style, focusing on mainly one punch. Perhaps as much as 90% jab, then 5% straight right, and then 5% all the other punches. I think right now most of my sparring sessions have been about this ratio.
  • I worked on just two things, jab and right + right hand block, then uprcut + hook. I couldn't do a whole lot of combos mostly b/c I'm tired. 
  • I haven't fought anyone taller than me really, so I'll have to adjust if my opponent is 6'2 or taller. 
Overall a light workout since I haven't been back in a while. I'll go harder tomorrow. 

I found out for the match in November that they'll provide the headgear and the gloves. The headgear is standard amateur headgear, which doesn't cover the chins or the cheek. My new Rival headgear has a faceguard, and my trainer said I shouldn't practice with it. He seemed pretty unhappy I bought it. (I paid $110 or so.) In hindsight, I probably should have gotten a regular one so it'd be more like the match. I don't want to hurt my nose in these sparring sessions. If I hurt it in the match so be it, but having the faceguard will help me not break my nose. I think I could use regular headgear with everyone, but the really skilled 20 year old who was just toying w/me, if I ever spar him again I have to have the headgear since he'll definitely pop me in the face. 

It is heavy, and I suspect I'll be quicker with regular headgear instead of my bulky one. I hope it can at least get me used to keeping my chin down. When I get tired all for goes out the window, not easy to do. 

I've been watching these amateur fight videos and their form is horrible, they keep on dropping their guard and only go for the head. I don't think I've seen a single guy do the drowning style, just sort of brawl the whole time. I want to be smarter about my fight.