Archive for April, 2011

30
Apr
11

Blessings where we can get ’em!

Blessings where we can get ’em!

Gleason's Gym 4/30/2011

I know I sometimes get a little bit cranky and complain-y on these pages, but after a morning like this one where the work of the gym was hard, but fell into place, let me tell you all I AM BLESSED.

The workout out itself had ragged moments because despite coming at this hard once a week since January, my conditioning is still not where it should be.  Working with Len on the pads, and then having him coach me through some double-ended bag work focusing on the right hook put it all into place.

So, yes, I did get to a near-on physical s-t-o-p on the 4th round of pads, but still managed my sweet 16 feeling strong, confident, and as if I’d come away with something I hadn’t had at the start of it.

Plus … I was surrounded by an amazing group of women going through their third day of Gleason’s Gym’s first Female Boxing Clinic …

And if that wasn’t enough, Lennox feels I’ve come along enough for us to start sparring again beginning next week!  Yay!  We’re talking cloud 9 here people — and as the song says, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day”!

Oh and a big P.S. – If you can make it … come on down to Gleason’s First All-Female Amateur Fight Card 2night!  The bouts begin at 6:00 PM, @ 77 Front Street in Dumbo (Brooklyn).  You can also catch the bouts on http://www.golivetv.com with Gleason’s own Sonya Lamonakis providing the commentary! $20 bucks @ the door, $15 for gym members or for folks with a boxing card.

29
Apr
11

Of knees, fingers and toes …

Of knees, fingers and toes …

So, there I was dodging the sudden rain at lunch time yesterday and out of nowhere, my knees screamed out, “you’re 50-something woman, WHY are you trying to bend!”

Similarly, my fingers and toes have been yelling at me lately — all of which is another way of saying (a) they’re still cold from the long winter or (b) I’m becoming a woman of a “certain age” that has got to sort out how to oil-up these joints!

For the latter, my usual response is to say, “give me a hot sweaty gym in mid-summer and I’ll train forever.”  Really, there is something to walking in sweaty that just gases me to train longer and harder.  Otherwise I find that I have to stay in the hot shower that much longer in the morning not to mention taking a lot of extra time warming up.

Okay, we’re not talking gnarly knees here yet, but I went to do a knee bend last night and thought I might get stuck mid-way forever.  And on last Saturday’s run — ah, make that S-L-O-W jog — I had the feeling that if I wanted to run faster, say if my life depended on it, I couldn’t have!

Oy, so what to do! 

In checking it out, I found some tips that seem intuitive and smart, and may prove useful to Girlboxing friends with stiffening joints whether from all that over-use in the gym or the age thing!

1.  Range of Motion Exercises:  This one makes a lot of sense, especially for the knees, but shoulders, neck, wrists and other “cold spots” can gain a lot of benefits.  You can start with a small circular movements, and when it comes to your shoulders, giving them a good shrug really helps.

2. Strengthening Exercises:  Building up your muscle strength to help support your joints is another terrific way of helping overcome stiffness.  The joint issues may not go away per se, but by strengthening the muscles surrounding your joints, you can maintain or increase your muscle strength while giving support to your joints.  The key here is that you don’t necessarily have to go running to the gym to lift thousands of pounds.  Rather, strengthening can also be accomplished through repetitive exercises that can isolate specific areas of your body.

I’ll throw in Yoga as another terrific way to perform strengthening exercises — and there are a lot of focused Yoga movements that you can perform for specific parts of your body in addition to gaining overall conditioning.

3. Aerobic Exercises: The key here is to build endurance without hurting yourself, i.e., my slow jog versus a full-on pounding run (which I can’t do anyway). but you get the drift.  Walking, swimming, dancing and our favorite boxing, are great examples of the kinds of aerobic exercises that can improve overall conditioning, keep your cardio in check and maybe even your weight.

The key here is if you’re noticing a slow-down, morning stiffness or other subtle changes you’ll likely want to work at your own pace. If you’re really hurting though, get yourself to a doctor to check out what’s going on.  Years of pounding on your body does take its toll even if you are fit and keep to a regular fitness program.

Most of all, have some fun — and if you’re like me, you can get some entertainment out of cracking your knees in time to the music!

28
Apr
11

“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Female boxers in Afghanistan, Credit: Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

As Girlboxing readers know, I just can’t get enough of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Team. The Los Angeles Times has obliged with an in-depth feature piece by Molly Hennessy-Fiske.  The haunting money quote by the team’s coach, Mohammad Sabir Sharifi truly resonated with me: “We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Sharifi and some of the young women he trains have a received threats, and yet they persevere.  As if to punctuate the pluckiness of these brave young women, two members of the team traveled unaccompanied all the way to Turkey by train and competed in the early rounds of the ongoing AIBA Women’s and Youth Junior World Boxing Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

These young women who train in the face of continuing threats of violence due to nothing more than their gender are emblematic of how much further we all have to come.  I applaud their bravery and as the mother of an 11-year-old girl, feel particularly humbled by the love and support these young women receive from their families and their coach as they pursue their Olympic dreams.

Way to go!!!

The full LA Times article link is here.

27
Apr
11

Women’s boxing results: Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano wins with a 4th Round Knockout in her 360 Boxing Debut!

Women’s boxing results:  Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano wins with a 4th Round Knockout in her 360 Boxing Debut!



Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (9-0-1, 5 KOs)  decisively won her 360 Boxing debut bout against opponent  Ela “Bam Bam” Nunez (9-9, 2 KOs) by way of a fourth-round knockout.  This was Serrano and Nunez’s third meeting.

Amanda Serrano and Ela Nunez, Credit: Sara Rivest, January 2011

Serrano and Nunez’s first bout in 2009 ended in a draw, though this past January, Serrano won their second fight by majority decision.

Amanda Serrano, a 23-year-old Brooklyn native by way of Puerto Rico, is a newcomer to 360 Boxing‘s stable of fighters and an example of a female boxer who is making inroads into the sport through her hard work, tenacity and fierce boxing skills.

We’ll see what the future holds for Amanda Serrano, but if her victory this past Friday in Hamburg, NY is any indication, a title fight is likely in the cards for her in the very near future.

Check out the Amanda Serrano’s page on 360 Boxing Website here.



26
Apr
11

Women’s Boxing: Thinking about “What Matters, What May Never”

Women’s Boxing: Thinking about “What Matters, What May Never”

Chris Namus (left) and Leli Luz Flores, Monetevido, Credit: Pablo Porciuncula/AFP/Getty Images

Lyle Fitzsimmons over at Boxing Scene.com has a provocative piece about the state of women’s boxing.

Entitled “Reading the Reactions:  What Matters, What May Never,” his thesis is that despite great strides in women’s boxing and his own personal hucksterism, if he judges support for the sport based on reactions to his columns it barely registers as a blip on the screen.

Given the momentum of a steady increase in positive press, such phenomenal fights as the recent Torres vs. Nava battle and the fact that women boxers are filling the seats with paying customers at stadiums and other venues all over the world, Fitzsimmons’ prognosis is depressing indeed.

Perhaps part of the problem is that here in the United States it’s hard to see a women’s bout unless one is willing to watch small market presentations, streaming-video on a laptop or after the fact YouTube videos. I mean lets face it, when was the last time HBO, Showtime or Friday Night Fights bothered to put a women’s bout on the air?  In HBO’s defense, at least they’ve had women’s bouts on their two most recent undercards!

There’s also the issue of breaking through the “novelty” aspects of the sport that continue as an underlying current in mainstream discussions of the women’s boxing.  Meanwhile, phenomenal female fighters in the amateur and pro-ranks continue to ply their trade with hard work and a sense of mission that sees them moving forward no matter the vitriol that is thrown their way in comment boxes across the internet or, as in the case of Fitzsimmons’ thesis, a lack of interest all together.

Even given that I am biased by Girlboxing’s support of the sport, the butts in the seats seem to tell a different tale as a world-wide phenomenon, and while Fitzsimmons laments that the coming 2012 Olympics are a ho-hum moment to his readers, I would posit that given how far the sport has come in less than 20 years is something to spur optimism for its future.

I know I keep harping on this one, but that fact that there is an Afghan Women’s Boxing Team at all sends the message that this sport is not going away, and despite the purported lack of interest among fanatical fans with nothing better to do than opine as to the prospects for the upcoming Pacquaio-Mosely fight, Philippine Pac-women fill the house as did Ana Julatan, the great Philippine-American fighter in her recent main event championship bout in Riverside, California.

Women’s boxing is not going away — and whether there is ever another women’s championship bout on one of the major outlets or not, it is still seen and supported by serious fans of the sport throughout the United States — and in terms of the international embrace of the sport is regularly televised as mainstream national events with huge support from the sports establishment, especially in places such as Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay.

Again, ticket sales don’t lie and seats are being sold — and even if Fitzsimmons’ readers don’t “get it,” the sport is evolving with new generations of fighters crossing the ropes and putting their hearts and souls on the line to make their way as boxers if for nothing else, than for love of the sport.

24
Apr
11

Inspiration

Inspiration.

Afghan Girl's Boxing Team

I’ve been in a back to the drawing boards phase for the past couple of days.  I likely should have just put up the “gone fishing” sign, but what I’ve really needed is to draw on some inspiration.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1.  I have a friend in the throes of a tough fight against breast cancer.  She’s ridiculously young to be going through this sort of “shite,” but if you ever needed to move on from a “what’s this all about” moment — take a read through Mandy’s terrific Breastcancerography blog to put it all in perspective!

2.  Life got you down, try heaving 60+ extra pounds around during a four-round fight!

That was Sonya Lamonakis’ task when she fought Gigi Jackson last week — and somewhere from the depths, Sonya brought it forward.  Talk about inspiration — that’s how champions are made.  Finding the place in oneself where one can move past difficulty and seemingly insurmountable obstacles to succeed at the task at hand and if that’s not possible, walking away knowing that one did give it one’s all, which in my book is something to be just as proud of.

3.  Every time I get to the gym, someone catches my attention and I am riveted by the precision of their work and more importantly by their work ethic.  Sometimes it’s a trainer, explaining the nuance of a technique while at other times it’s a fellow gym denizen shadowing boxing in front of the mirror or heaving weights or doing sit-ups for the umpteenth time in a row.

Whatever it is keeps me coming back because I know that I’m part of the chain of a terrific community that inspires by showing up to do the work.  And whether it’s 6:00 in the morning or close to the end of the day, the da-da-da da-da-da of the speed bag gets into my soul like a heart beat that reminds me how much the gym can mean.

21
Apr
11

Back from Montreal

Back from Montreal

Back from Montreal. It’s been kind of a nutty travel day with swirling snow in the morning and lovely 55 degree weather back in Brooklyn this afternoon.

The trip was not exactly what I’d wanted — I guess traveling to a city in cold weather with an 11-year-old in tow means finding compromises on both sides.  For my part, I never did make it to the Montreal’s Underdog Boxing Gym or to the Beaux Arts Museum to see the Chinese Warriors.  On the other hand I did walk 1/2 the city (cold weather or not we were going!) found a terrific vegetarian restaurant on Rue Saint-Denis, got to impress my daughter with my remembered college French, convinced the young one to have a spa afternoon complete with massages and facials,  and saw a terrific dance performance entitled “Audible” by a group called the 605 Collective mixing elements of hip-hop, parkour, capoeira and classical dance.

Luckily, I’ve still got until Monday before I have to go back to work so it’ll be three lovely days of gym time starting tomorrow morning.  I really can’t wait.




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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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