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.