Archive for January, 2011


Twenty six days and counting

Twenty six days and counting

When one embarks on any sort of daily regimen of exercise, diet, writing or otherwise — or what I call the daily something, some days feel great and others are to put it charitably, “tougher” than others.

At best, one feels something a kin to a “glow” of self-satisfaction for having put in the work and effort while basking in what feels like tangible results.  At worst, however, is that feeling of being in the mud having worked and worked without getting anywhere — and maybe even losing some ground.

Like any annoying Pollyanna, my response is to say focus on the bright-side, but when one has schlepped oneself day after day to some activity, or to the discipline of say, no chocolate except on Saturdays and the scale looks back with numbers on the wrong side of the goal, that is small solace.

To put it more plainly, when one is my age, a later rather than sooner 50-something, a scale that tips the wrong way feels like a miserable defeat!   Inevitably (with a pardon to the youngsters out there) it becomes one of those “shut-up” moments when the whole hot flashing, weight fluctuating, mood altering, welcome to crone-hood stuff comes crashing down in a giant, “G-d damn-it”  because in my world it means I can’t find my glasses again to even keep the awful number on the scale in focus.

That’s when my other, less grumpy, too cheerful for her own good self makes an appearance and screams out “suck-it up!”

Let’s face it, 26 days of a daily something is an amazing achievement — and what’s meaningful is the “and counting” part of it.  So whether it’s shadow boxing before dawn, writing a poem a day or blogging about it, or any of the myriad of great things we all work hard to achieve, congratulations to you for even trying.






Women’s boxing news roundup, 1/25/2011

Women’s boxing news roundup, 1/25/2011.

Women's boxing news roundup - 1/25/2011

Christy Martin, Credit: Casey Kelbaugh, NYT

For those who didn’t catch this over the weekend, the New York Times did a feature piece on boxer, Christy Martin as she readies herself for her comeback fight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto v. Ricardo Mayorga bout to be aired on Showtime pay-per-view March 12th.  The article, written by Joyce Wadler, looks in-depth at Christy’s career and recent troubles.  The “money” quote of the piece is at the end in response to a snarky question if ever I heard one regarding Christy’s motivations for returning to the ring.   “You know,” she said, “I was a fighter before, so I’m just going back to work, and through my work maybe I can inspire other women, or give them strength to deal with situations and move forward.”   Way to go Christy!  The link to the piece is here.

Ana Julaton

Another great Philippine “Pac-Woman,” Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton has announced the “return of The Hurricane,” in her bout to be fought against Francesca “The Chosen One” Alcanter.  Of interest is the fact that the fight night will feature a mixture of Professional Boxing, Amateur kickboxing, as well as live music and comedy acts on three stages.  The event is set for February 25, 2011 at the Craneway Pavilion in Riverside, CA, and will be broadcast live in the Philippines.  For further information, check out the link here and here.

Flyweights, Ava Knight (r) & Gloria Salas

The is carrying a piece by David A. Avila, about Golden Boy Promotions’ recent efforts to support women’s boxing.  As Avila points out, “Golden Boy kept its word and female prizefighting was showcased on another fight card [this past Friday]. Working with Claudia Ollis, a new powerbroker in women’s boxing, the Los Angeles-based boxing giant Golden Boy has made waves in the boxing world. Now other boxing promotions are jumping on the bandwagon with female fighters included on their respective cards.”  This is great news for the sport and couldn’t come at a better time as we enter the countdown to next year’s debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympics in London.  The article can be found here.

The new International Amateur Boxing Association’s (AIBA) is seeking to strengthen the position of women’s amateur boxing both before and after the 2012 Olympic games to include adding weight categories at future Olympic games.  As well, the association has set an agreement for the 2011 Women’s Youth and Junior World Championships to be held in Ankara, Turkey from April 28 – May 8.  For more information click here and here.


Waiting for morning to come

Waiting for morning to come

I’ll admit it, Yoga at 5:15 AM this morning felt cold and lonely.  Sure it was 9 degrees outside which had a lot to do with it, and yes, the cat had fun torturing my feet as I was in the downward facing dog position, but it was something else too.  I felt the sense of being in the middle without seeing the shoreline on either side.  Not exactly being adrift, but feeling dislocated.

A million odd years ago I took at windjammer type cruise in the Caribbean.  The trip was on an old Maine Schooner  (built in the early 1900’s), with about 30 passengers and crew.  The attraction to the voyage was that the trip was an actual crossing:  starting out in St. Martin’s making our way to such islands as St. Barts, St. Kitts and Saba Island towards the final destination of St. Thomas.  At one point on the trip, we were a sea with no land in sight.  I would cast my eyes about all 360 degrees and watch the shimmering waters as they met the horizon, catching the phenomenon of differing weather systems interacting:  here a sudden squall, there beams of sunlight pushing their way insistently through the gaps in the clouds.

It put me in mind of the months and years that sailors would ply the waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian oceans in search of whale or spices or for sheer exploration.  Not that a vacation tour or a stint in the dark can in any way equate, but yet we do find ourselves in the momentary panic of being adrift when in fact is we are on course.   It’s just that we can’t quite see it yet.  Yes the light *will* eventually peak up and over the horizon this morning, as surely as the vessel I traveled on made its way forward till we saw land, still, I needed to feel reassured and finding it have gone on to embrace the day — whenever it wakes up enough to show itself.


At the gym

At the gym

When I hear the word gym, I always think of my old public school gym.  Built in the late 1950’s, it had painted cinderblock walls the most putrid green color one could possibly think of, enormous caged light fixtures and big windows that lined the top of the walls where they met the ceiling because the gym was located in the basement.

Considering just how big the gyms were, NYC public schools did not do much by way of sports when I went to school in the 1960’s.  In the winter months, we played newcomb and a variation of punch ball using a giant red rubber ball.  Or we’d just play catch with it.  We’d also play a variation of dodgeball where our entire class of 35+ kids would stand in a giant circle and throw the ball at each other *without* trying to knock each other down.   I can assure you that it didn’t work very well and someone inevitably got hit in the face.

Gyms also make me think of the Y, PAL, Boys and Girls clubs, and different Settlement Houses around the city where kids could go to play sports.  There was something very friendly about those places.  Everyone one wore gray or navy blue sweats and instead of running shoes, tennis shoes or basketball shoes, kids wore sneakers.

Later when the health club craze hit, the character of gyms seemed to change.  The large cavernous spaces became smaller and tighter and at the same time less about camaraderie and sports and more about individual achievement and beauty.  I know that I am over simplifying here, but the truth is, I always feel like an outsider walking into a health club.  The spaces always seem overly crowded with equipment and people not to mention music pounding so loud my ears hurt.  Perhaps too, my conception of sports comes into play — the idea being that it is hard for me push and pull machines or run to nowhere watching CNN or the Real Housewives of New Jersey without some other purpose that revolves around sports.

When I finally found my way into a boxing gym — I got some of that old feeling back of when I was a kid.  A space where people were engaged in an activity, but with a real sense that every aspect of the training is for some purpose — and importantly, that everyone is rooting for you no matter what your skill level.  Goodness knows that some boxing gyms are as funky as they come while others have borrowed a bit from the health club concept and have clean spaces and new equipment.  Still the feeling is welcoming and fun:  a place more about the work than anything else and that can be a pretty inspiring thing.


Boxing day

Boxing day

Now that I’ve gone to a once a week training schedule for boxing, I find myself getting really excited by the time Friday comes along.  The daily fitness routine I’ve found that can work with my schedule these days is based around early morning yoga, but it’s the thought of boxing that gets me pumped up and ready to go.

My Saturday morning boxing routine begins with dropping my daughter off for her Aikido practice, after which I take a nice long walk over to  Gleason’s Gym. By the time I get there I’ve logged 2-1/2 miles at a pretty fast pace so I am nice and loose.  About a 1/2 mile out, I start pumping my arms a bit so that by the time I hit the gym I feel ready for one of my two favorites:  three rounds on the double-ended bag or three rounds of shadow boxing using the slip-rope.

For those who don’t usually practice, the slip-rope is real old-school consisting of something as simple as a clothes line tied between two poles or across the ring around 15 feet apart at about chest height. The object is to move forwards and backwards along the line and “slip” under as practice for slipping a punch. The slip-rope is also great for practicing upper cuts under the line — or for simulating jabs to the body and jabs to the head.  By around the third round, I feel loose enough to dance around the slip-rope going forwards, backwards, and circling.  Having the rope at chest height not only helps to “remind” me to slip, but also gives me an approximation of where to place body versus head punches.

Alternatively, I’ll use the double-ended bag for warm-ups starting with a round of lefts and finishing the second two rounds with combinations and a lot of hooks or upper cuts off the jab.

If I can train with Lennox Blackmore, we’ll do three rounds of pad work — with an aim of getting to four rounds by the end of January, five rounds by the end of February and six rounds by the end of March!  Once we’re done with the pads, it’s back to the double-ended bag for three rounds to work on punches and combinations that Lennox and I focused on during the training session on the pads. This helps to solidify moves, especially slipping punches to counter — a Lennox special. After that, it’s on to the speed bag for three rounds and then a whole lotta’ abs!  I’ll add that if Len isn’t around, I might work-out for three rounds on the heavy bag in lieu of pad work, or add in an extra three on the double-ended bag.

By the end I’m exhausted, but happy — and ready for the quick walk back over to pick-up my daughter.  I hope to keep this going for about three months so that by April I’ll be fit enough to get back into the ring for some light sparring.  We’ll see!


Daily bread

Daily bread

My husband is the baker in our family.  He has perfected two different breads, one a traditional kneeded bread and the other what he calls a “sloppy” bread that he has developed and modified from a wet dough that sits and proofs overnight before he adds in flour and lets rise before baking.  Both are delicious still warm from the oven with mounds of butter and honey or as an accompaniment to a hearty soup.

I bring this up because many of us go about our daily approach to life from different angles, the results of which are a kind of perfection.  The ingredients are the same:  the equivalent of flour, water, yeast and salt, and yet how we get there; our path to our outcome can be long or quick, meandering or purposeful.

We are also always tempered by circumstances.  Is the oven on the fritz?  Is it overly humid?  Has the yeast gone stale?  Is the flour high gluten?  Unbleached?  Mistaken for cake flour?  I have found from my own attempts at a daily something that the path to completion is a constant surprise.  This morning is no different.  With too little sleep last night, I adjusted the alarm clock to ring an hour later.  That variable has set in motion a reordering of morning. I write first.  In doing so my energy is different.  My breath less full than the other mornings of the last three weeks.  Even the cat is puzzled as she flits back and forth challenging me to get up off the couch to pay her some attention.

And perhaps that’s the point.  Our routines, become so — and yet we must constantly adapt; not so different than sorting through how to approach an opponent in the ring.  The parameters are the same, a 16 foot ring shared by two bodies in motion, and yet the one may be constantly in a swirl of action with the other acting and reacting to circumstance; relying on the ingredients,  training and conditioning, to figure out how best to proof the self to the best outcome possible.


Alicia “Slick” Ashley owns the night

Alicia “Slick” Ashley owns the night

Alicia Ashley and Crystal Hoy, Brooklyn Explosion, January 19, 2011

Alicia “Slick” Ashley whipped some butt last night, coming on top to win her 8-round bout against Crystal “Baby Faced Assassin” Hoy on a unanimous decision.  “Slick” truly lived up to her name through a combination of her stick and jab style, smart defensiveness, angles that seemed to defy gravity and a decisive 8th round knockdown that sealed her dominance throughout the fight.  The judges agreed with one scoring the bout 80-72 and the other two scoring the bout 79-72.

Alicia "Slick" Ashley v. Crystal "Baby Faced Assassin" Hoy, 1/19/11

Maureen Shea is to be applauded for putting on a terrific show that included four under card bouts — along with her gamble of promoting a woman’s boxing bout as the Main Event.

January 2011
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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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