Boxing easy, Gleason’s Gym, 12/31/2010
Archive for December, 2010
Getting the jump on those pesky resolutions
Yep. It’s that time of year again — when you need to confront all the coulda’, shoulda’ woulda’s from 2010 to write-up the “list” for 2011.
In years past, I’ve run the gamut from writing them hung over on New Year’s Day, to thoughtfully considering them for days and weeks before the turn of the year.
To be honest, the New Year’s resolution list is often an afterthought somewhere around the 3rd of January. By then of course, I’m in a decided catch-up mode which in turn can spiral into a state of New Year’s resolution anxiety if I’m not careful.
This year I’m trying something a little different. I’ve started my New Year’s resolution two days early — with the goal of doing at least *one* physical thing every day. Okay, sure, that can be tough, but with a hat tip to Conjuring My Muse, doing one activity — whether it’s one three-minute shadow boxing round in the living room or a full-on two-hour work out at the gym is achievable! And like doing anything else every day — it’s gets to be a terrific habit.
So to keep true to that New Year’s vow, I threw on my sweats, grabbed my gear (some of it with that new leather smell — thanks, Santa!) and walked down to Gleason’s Gym. The sweet part was being accompanied by my daughter — and while I must say that the work-out was tough as my latest lay-off has been way too long, I worked out just enough to feel terrific about making the effort. It also helped that she was there to cheer me on, especially when it came to the sit-ups.
I’m heading down to Gleason’s again tomorrow to work out with Lennox Blackmore with the hope that I’ll be able to throw in one or two extra rounds and a whole lot more ab-work. And though the gym will be closed on New Year’s Day, there’s yoga, fast-walking or dancing to James Brown to keeping me going strong — least ways that’s the plan!
I came across a couple of websites specializing in women’s sports that may be of interest.
Women’s Sports and Entertainment Network – reports on several different sports including women’s boxing. A recent promotional piece on Alicia “Slick” Ashley’s upcoming January 13, 2011 fight caught my eye. The link to the site is here.
Women Talk Sports – does a good job of reporting and publicizing a wide variety of women’s sports and sporting events. The site also links to blog entries across the spectrum of women’s sports and does a fair job of reporting on women’s boxing and women’s MMA. The site is comprehensive and worth checking out here.
PS – Check out blogs we like for other links.
Making it count
Having achieved her brown belt, my daughter’s Aikido Sensei gave her about half a minute to rest on her laurels before starting the push towards her next goal.
She is ranked at 2.5 and must reach a 0.5 level before she will be invited to test for her Shidon or first rank Black Belt under the rules of the the Aikido World Alliance, the parent organization for her Dojo. That will take three to four years, and given her age she will then wait at her 0.5 rank for some time before the AWA confers their invitation.
Her Sensei figures that as she is on her road towards a Black Belt — she is now not only an apprentice trainee with respect to all of the techniques that she must master, but more importantly she must also begin to learn the responsibilities of achieving the rank. That is all pretty heady stuff for an 11-year-old, and yet, having been thrown to the front of her class to lead the warm-up, she has become cognizant of how difficult it is to command the attention and respect of a group of people long enough to actually get something done.
What she’s also learning is that small things matter.
In Aikido, stance is everything — much as in boxing — and finding the balance means a lot not only to her practice, but in her role as a novice teacher, to those of her students. Thus she now sees when something is wrong and has begun to correct the tiniest of movements. This process of breaking it down is helping her to ascertain the faults in her own practice — at least that’s her Sensei’s ingenious plan, though this last is perhaps the hardest to achieve.
Sometimes it is not really possible to articulate what happens beyond the realm of the pure mechanics of a particular set of movements. In Aikido, that might mean the execution of a series of moves with a partner — pretty difficult stuff in that both partners must also act in a kind of harmony with each other even as the one may be attempting to toss the other to the ground.
Boxing offers something similar — a remarkable improvised dance executed by two well-skilled fighters balanced for ability and for that little something extra that comes from the heart.
All in the family: “The Fighter”
I saw The Fighter yesterday afternoon. The film is a biopic about “Irish” Micky Ward fighting out of Lowell, MA starring Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward, Christian Slater as his brother Dicky Eklund, Amy Adams as Micky’s girlfriend Charlene Fleming and Melissa Leo in the role as Dicky and Micky’s mother Alice. The movie follows some of the formulaic aspects of boxing genre films, such as triumph over adversity, but at its heart the film is about families and what happens when love is applied as an imperfect reflection of how people feel about themselves and each other.
It got me to thinking about why people box in the first place — and the kind of heart and mental fortitude it takes to get kicked down over and over, only to keep coming back; not only to get it right, but to say something about oneself. In essence, the boxer is there to say, “I matter,” in the world. Not to say that boxers or anyone who chooses to test themselves in that way necessarily comes from violent homes where “love” is equated with beatings or being pitted against one’s siblings or being taken on emotional roller coaster rides, but it does seem to say that one needs to test one’s inner strength — and in that affirmation overcome whatever demons large or small may impede one’s ability to feel whole without that sort of test.
As a boxer I know once said, “any punishment I ever took in the ring was a damned sight less than what I got every Saturday night from my old man” — and yet he still found himself playing out his ability to overcome that abuse to come out on the other side as a fully intact human being.
Perhaps because it is Christmas and this is my first holiday season after losing my mother, I feel particularly sensitive to the notion that families propel us to so much of what we do in our lives. And whether it is into the ring or some other form of physical or mental test of one’s mettle, in the end we do get to not only affirm that we matter, but to say that how we express those feelings has meaning.
This is a long way of saying that The Fighter is a good film worth seeing if not for the star power than for the fact that it attempts and succeeds at telling a very honest story about being human.
Train to Poughkeepsie
I’m taking my daughter up to see her grandparents ahead of today’s snowstorm.
We’ve just passed our favorite part of the two-hour ride: seeing the ruins of a Bannerman’s Castle in the Hudson River just past Cold Spring. There are bits of ice and snow and low-flying birds cruising the waters. We both feel a sense of peace, seeing in the vista of the river a part of nature laying itself out for us as a special gift.
This is a train ride I’ve always loved taking; finding it less the portal to a destination than the chance to journey while taking in its special beauty. Would that all our travels were as serene.