Posts Tagged ‘double-ended bag

21
Mar
18

The gym is closed today

My ritual of morning is out of kilter.

With the gym closed today there’s no need to push myself out of bed at 5:30 to begin the process of readying for the gym. Gone is the symmetry of my every other weekday morning boxing workout with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore.  Of the silent walk to the gym, and brief chitter-chatter with the coffee guys in front of the court-house in downtown Brooklyn.

On different mornings, I have different looks and feelings. Mostly I’m reassured by the discipline of making it to Gleason’s Gym pretty much without fail. I arrive, wave to the early morning denizens and making my way to the locker room, transform myself into my boxer self.

It is in the locker room where I set out my tools–my well-worn rival sparring gloves, my hand wraps and my shoes, my water bottle and towel, while hanging up my work clothes for the quick shower and change after my workout.

Ready for battle, I enter the ring to begin the rounds of shadow boxing, working on my footwork and my mix of combinations, careful to always snap my jab with my right hand up.

The rounds with Lennox — four to six depending on how much energy we have.

The four rounds on the double-ended bag, or the heavy bag.

The four rounds on the slip bag or the speed bag.

Sometimes an added bit of something, sometimes not.

Each has a place in my ritual of morning.

Mostly it is all about the sweat and pushing myself and staying positive during those times when I am anything but. This past year has had its difficulties. I still mourn my father’s death in June, finding strength in my memories of him performing his 300 crunches while hooked up to the oxygen that was his mainstay as he bravely battled COPD.  And perhaps it is that memory that pushes me to haul myself out of bed, even when I’ve only managed to get to sleep at 1:00 AM. Other mornings it is the concept that #ageisjustanumber or that the pursuit of one’s passions keep one young and vibrant and vital.

With the gym closed, I find myself up anyway at 5:29, a full hour ahead of my reset alarm clock. Up and wondering what I shall do. Go back to sleep? Scroll through posts on social media? Worry about the latest headlines in the news? The offer I saw on Facebook for an opponent to fight a former world champion for the ridiculous,  insulting and ultimately dangerous fee to the life and safety of the woman who will feel compelled to accept $2,000?

Instead, I find myself here at the dining table. Up and writing, thankful that I’ve given myself the chance to pivot and turn towards my other source of solace and sanity in a crazy world.

 

 

08
Feb
14

The spirit is willing the but the body’s not!

The spirit is willing the but the body’s not!

street_gymnasium_amateur_boxing_lessons

I had a bunch of things to do today (Saturday) — so I switched things around and trained yesterday (Friday), before going to work. The great thing was Len Blackmoore agreed to meet me early and after I warmed up with four rounds of shadowboxing, we hit the ring to spar.

Earlier in the week, I’d been at the gym working out on my own and quite frankly, was feeling pretty great: lots of rounds on the uppercut bag and four great rounds on the double-ended bag gave me a feeling of confidence that carried over as I readied to work out with Len.

Now I’m *not* saying that I was overly-confident or even mostly-confident, let’s just say, I felt as if I’d worked things out with my stance, with moving around in the ring and with slipping Len’s dreaded right hand.  Well as the saying goes, “the best laid plans …”

Right from the start I was able to throw punches, and even managed a few combinations, but nothing I seemed to be able to do defensively protected me from his punches. It’s not exactly as if I was frozen, not at all, but it became obvious that aside from deflecting jabs, no matter how I positioned myself, I was open to hooks and uppercuts.

It was only after my four rounds with Len when I observed him sparring with someone else–someone obviously more experienced in the ring–that I began to see how to work things through defensively by keeping my hands up higher and standing straighter in my stance. What I realized is that I was leaning forward, mistaking it for slipping a punch! Talk about an easy target–no wonder I was getting tagged at will from the right!

Thinking about it later I admit to feeling emotionally stung, as if all of the work I’ve been putting in has been wasted … but of course I know better.

I  just have to go back to basics.

Yep … its time to tweak the boxing stance.

So where to begin … again … grrrrr …. the MIRROR!

01
Jun
13

‘Been a while since I’ve posted …

Girlboxing …. ‘been a while since I’ve posted …

Girlboxing at Gleason's Gym, Credit: Lennox Blackmoore

The vicisitudes of life, full time work, writing a book, the prodigal’s end of middle school stuff and endless winter have seemingly conspired to close the door on daily blogging!

Riot of Roses, Brooklyn, NY, Credit: Malissa smith

Meanwhile … summer has slipped into Brooklyn with crazy warm temperatures and light that lasts forever it seems or at least well past 8:00 PM.

At the gym today, the sweat pouring off me in buckets, my arms and legs as fluid as they can ever be on this late 50s model carcus, I was reminded of how much the body in motion, even one encased in a liquid pool, can feel invincible.  Sure I was missing sometimes on my overhand left-right hook combinations and after a couple of rounds on the double-ended bag felt as if I would collapse into a heap before cooling down on the speed bag … oh yeah, not to mention the slow crickety creak of the last 25 situps to get me to 100, but it all seemed to sail through, salty taste and all, with a huge shout out to Lennox Blackmoore for reminding me to m-o-v-e  g-i-r-l when I got too static in the ring.

 

28
Jan
12

Big days, little days.

Big days, little days.

Some days are filled with big things and others have the “usual suspects.”  The same it seems with working out: peppy for two or three training sessions in a row and then the dogs. We’re talking no energy, no pop and not so much going through the motions as just having no energy to get where you want to go!

I had one of those mornings at Gleason’s Gym today.  Sure, I did my sweet 16 (four rounds each of shadow boxing, pad work, double-ended bag and speed bag), but did I ever have to work for them.  Lennox kept shaking his head saying, “wake up, girl!” And maybe that helped because I did manage to bring it towards the end with two hopped up rounds on the double-ended bag and some serious da-da-da-da / da-da-da-da on the speed bag.

In analyzing it later, I realized that part of the problem is I’m still not doing enough during the week to keep the momentum up for a meaningful Saturday session.  A clue on how to do that in an otherwise busy life came from my old Peace Corps buddy Mark who had a post on Facebook today proclaiming that he’d hit his goal of 1,000 sit-ups in a week.

I thought, “1,000!?!  That is a lot!.”  Breaking it down to daily increments, however, brought it more in line with what actual humans can achieve! Reading further, Mark wrote about his formula for success: starting at just 130 for the first week until he had brought himself along to 1,000.

Given that I struggled through my 100 sit-ups this morning at the gym (having only done 20 all week) — it occurred to me that if I followed Mark’s formula of defining weekly goals, it might get me off my tush and into a regular daily sit-up routine. Not wanting to set the mark too high for myself the first week, I’ve settled on accomplishing 300 between Sunday and Friday.  That means 50 a day — meaning about 10 minutes!  Seen that way, there is no way I shouldn’t be able to achieve it.  The same thing for push-ups — or my version of them which means on my knees or against a bar at this point.  Sure, I did 20 today at the gym (in two sets of 10 each), but it was hard and strained my shoulder.  So there again, I’ve decided on setting a goal between Sunday and Friday.  I’m staring off with 60, that means 10 a day — or another 5 minutes a day at most!

Summed together, if I give myself a mere 15 minutes a days, I can meet my weekly goal and have sacrificed nothing. No excuses here!

Kudos to Mark for a great idea!

03
Sep
11

Great gym morning!

Great gym morning!

There’s nothing like a great morning at the gym to start off the day.  This morning did not disappoint either — between working out with Lennox focusing on pushing off the body to throw a right dig, straight right, left hook combination and watching everyone work through the heat and humidity of the gym to shake of the summer doldrums, the focus and energy seemed to shake everyone awake.

It’s as if everyone felt inspired by the work of everyone else too.  Punches seemed a little bit crisper, body work a bit more dug in, and the sparring seemed more like dance than boxing. Even the mirror work felt fun with lots of talking and instruction through the rounds and a genuine feeling of camaraderie to add an extra something to everyone’s work out.

I started off with a slow and steady one mile run and then did my usual sweet 16, though I admit to flagging hard in my third round with Len.  Still, I pulled it out and after allowing myself a round off, started to work the double-ended bag with renewed vigor especially went it came to doubling up the left hooks.

All I can say is count me lucky to have had such a great way to ease into the last weekend of summer.

16
Jun
11

Missing boxing today

Missing boxing today.

I worked out yesterday, and pacing myself due to the coughing and breath problem aside,  the workout was really great.

Training by myself, I was able to take it slow and focus on the things I wanted to work on like pounding away at the double-ended bag for a whole lotta’ rounds mostly working on the upper cut off the jab and the left hook off the jab before hitting with a quick straight right and then a shuffle turn around the bag.

When I woke up this morning my arms felt just great. And all day today, I found myself throwing my arms out to shadow box.  Walking down the street, in the elevator at work, waiting for the elevator at home, online at the Grocery store.  Even now, as I drift trying to come up with a train of thought to jot down, my hands start to throw a shoe shine, from down to up to down and back up again.

‘Guess I’ll head on over tomorrow, even though my big workout with Len is Saturday, I just can’t seem to get enough of pounding away at the double-ended bag even if its only for a little while.

If you’re missing the gym too, check out this cool video with Kostya Tszyu.

25
May
11

Lovely morning.

Lovely morning.

Daughter awake. Yoga routine finished. Kitty fed. Husband comfortably abed. Light full on in the sky. Warmish breeze at the window. In other words a lovely morning.

My work day is huge, to be followed by 12 lovely rounds of pounding on heavy bags, double-ended bags and the speed bag.

All is right with the world.

As for inspiration …

Lucia Rijker on the Speedbag!

Heavy bag – women’s training

14
May
11

Waiting for the end to come.

Waiting for the end to come.

Today was one of those gym days when if found myself waiting for the end. Whether it was the end of the round, the end of the set, or the end of the training session, my entire body seemed to be keeping rhythm to the “why are we here?” mantra.

We’re talking muscles yelling at me, head throbbing from a migraine, lungs shouting “wtf!?!” and legs that refused to bend.  Len (bless him) was a sweetheart about it and aside from a half-hearted, “wake-up, wake-up” during our first round on the focus pads, figured it was best to just go with the low-flow of energy.

Still, I did manage to get through the entire circuit, and even picked up some energy towards the end of my last couple of rounds on the double-ended bag and during my speed bag rounds.  By then I realized that by working it all out on the bag, I was finding a way to push through the physical morass and even found myself working a little past the bell on the last two rounds.

On the sit-up chair it was pretty much more of the same, but at least the head-throbbing was gone by then, and now that I’m home and adequately “coffee’d”,  I’m actually starting to feel a smile coming on.

So, what does it all mean?  I guess to haul your booty out the door anyway even if you’re feeling like dog-doo.  In my case, because I’m on a once-a-week schedule, I really feel that I have to go regardless — and let’s face it, while I’m still not at 100%, having made it through, I feel energized if only because I did complete the circuit. And who knows, I might even find the energy for a run later in the day.  I’ll see how it goes.

16
Apr
11

Boxing by myself …

Boxing by myself …

There are times when I find myself training without a trainer.  Today was one of those days and I have to admit I missed Lennox who is up @ Foxwoods to work Sonya Lamonakis’ corner tonight for her 6-round heavyweight bout on the Berto-Ortiz undercard.

Still, as I approached my sweet 16 — I found myself luxuriating in the time I had to focus on stuff at my own pace and in my own sequence.

Lately, I’ve been pretty orthodox with my four-round sets — but today, I thought it would be fun to indulge in the things I like so, I did a total of 8 rounds on the double-ended bag, 4 rounds on the heavy bag, and finished up with 4 rounds on the speed bag before I did my first plus 4 on the sit-up chair.

As I write this I have to admit that my upper arms are leaden not to mention a right knee that is feeling pretty inflamed, but … and this is a big one, as an antidote to a pretty tough work week and the specter of yet another paper to write, I am that sort of wasted “noodlish-body” kind of happy that will even see me through the cart-load of laundry staring at me from across the living room.

I’ve also gotten over that momentary by-myself panic I experience in the gym sometimes when I start to feel a bit lost all on my own.

Today though, I fist-bumped my gloved hands in a boxing salute to myself for a job well done.

02
Apr
11

My gym day

My gym day!

Saturday is my gym day.

I walk my daughter to her Aikido Dojo — where she usually does her three hours split between the open and advanced classes — and make my way over to Gleason’s Gym for my own sweet 16.

Today’s practice will entail a straight no-chaser kind of morning:  four rounds of shadow boxing, four rounds of pads, four rounds on the double-ended bag with four rounds on the speed bag to finish the circuit.  Then it’s off to two-rounds of easy crunches on the sit-up chair as I mentally drift into a nice tired feeling in between catching glimpses of folks sparring in one of the boxing rings.

It’s become a kind of bliss.  My shirt half-soaked with sweat.  My face flushed.  Perspiration matted in my hair. My legs a little shaky as I make my way into the locker room to change; today kind of special, because instead of three hours, my prodigal will be spending her day at a seminar so free until 5:00 PM, I can tarry at the gym before taking my time walking home.

Reflecting as I walk; I know I’ll feel like summer: slow, deliberate, easy.  My body supple and warmed and ready for anything on my lazy meander up the hill near Gleason’s; smiling at the tourists under the Brooklyn Bridge overpass and finally returning to my usual self somewhere near Cadman Plaza where the rush of people will start to catch me back into the flow of a busy Saturday.

 

 

 

26
Mar
11

My own sweet 16!

My own sweet 16!

I was not one of those girls that had a sweet 16 or a sweet teenage anything for that matter.  To put it charitably, my adolescence was challenged, and of course, it was the late 60’s so the best of circumstances were fairly topsy-turvy.

Flash forward to my future — 2011 and here I am touting the joys of my Saturday gym days where my sweet 16 consists of four rounds of shadow boxing, four rounds of hard work with Lennox Blackmore on the pads, four rounds circling and boxing the double-ended bag, and four rounds to wind things up on the speed bag.

We are talking the perfect morning.  Not to mention seeing the likes of Sonya Lamonakis and Belinda Laracuente going through their paces.  Inspiring to say the least — not to mention the countless men and women, old and young working their hearts out!

This is all a long way of saying whatever may have brought you down in your life — you have it within your power to reinvent it all to give yourself a sweet life.  And really, why not, what have you got to lose except some bad crap that happened so long ago it doesn’t matter anyway.  So be a champ to yourself with your own special brand of sweet 16, you deserve nothing less!

08
Mar
11

When the soul is willing but the body’s on the “blink”!

When the soul is willing but the body’s on the “blink”!


This past Saturday, I was at Gleason’s figuring that I’d go full-bore into training mode.  Something about my walk to my daughter’s Aikido Dojo, however, should have tipped me to the fact that I was going to be dragging!

Once I got to Gleason’s admittedly fairly spry on the stairs, I was in sweat-stinging-my-eyes mode by my third round of shadow boxing – and grateful for the end of the fourth and the one-round break I had before the double-ended bag was up and ready for me to use.

The killer, though, was when Lennox called out to me and said, “step it up,” on the second round of the double-ended bag.  Sure, I’d been throwing combinations and had dedicated the first round to mostly jab-jab-hook sequences as I worked my way around the bag in right and left circles, but what he wanted was to see me move around the bag, as in “push-it-girl” kind of move.  And that’s when the dog-pant started to kick-in and the flashbacks to my doctor saying – “you need more cardio”!

Okay.  So I got through those four rounds – kicking butt, so to speak and after my one round break started in on the focus pads with a “can-do” spirit in force if ever I felt one.  My body, however, was in a different mode.  It was saying, “Are you kidding me or what???”  Still, I tried, pushing myself even as my muscles were caving.  And here’s where the interesting thing happened.  In the third round, I didn’t have as much “pop,” but having dug deep into my core I was using my abs to throw cleaner, crisper shots at a faster rate.  It’s as if by ratcheting back just a little in terms of absolute “punch-power,” I was finding another kind of throttle on my engine – with breath that started to sound like breath again instead of the ragged tortuous sound of the previous round.

By the end of the fourth I was no longer “dead on my feet” at all as I had been after the four rounds on the double-ended bag.  And yes, while I was a bit slow during my first speed bag round, the other three were down right peppy, and I even had enough energy left to do three rounds of abs on the a small abs bench, not exactly the deepest sit-ups ever, but enough to feel it.

So where did this leave me?  Good question.  Perplexed for one, because I’m not sure why my energy was so low on Saturday, but glad that the way around it was to remember that adjusting my stance to take advantage of my core strength not only leveraged the energy of my body, but allowed me to pull back from the edge of my rapidly depleting muscle energy stores that meant I couldn’t enervate my breath never mind a left hook.

And here we are again.  Back to the fundamentals: stance, core strength, stamina and conditioning … and yep, C A R D I O !

27
Feb
11

Gaining “umph” in “limp” mode

Gaining “umph” in “limp” mode

Well I didn’t exactly have the greatest workout ever yesterday as my head throbbed from a pretty intense headache, but I did manage to eek out 10 rounds. The point was to “punch” through it as best I could  — and with Lennox’s help who slowed down to my level of crawl by the forth round of focus pads, I got through that part of my circuit and still managed to hit with some “umph”  as we worked on right-left hook-right and left-right-left hook combinations.

The great thing about getting to Gleason’s yesterday in “limp” mode was feeling the energy of everyone else’s work.  It is the true contagion of the gym and when one is feeling less than stellar getting there anyway is one way of pushing oneself to get over whatever ails — not to urge anyone to go to the gym with a 103 degree fever or anything that overwhelming, but when it’s fairly minor stuff, call it the “walking wounded” feeling, working out, even a truly modified one can help put a little extra something in your step on the way out the door.  In my case, all that sweat and effort helped ease the throbbing, and by the time I got home, my headache was pretty much gone.

One more thing, if your aren’t feeling all that well during your gym time, the double-ended bag can be a nice way of easing into your workout.  It is my preferred warm-up method after some gentle shadow boxing because it is a whole body work-out that can be paced.

22
Jan
11

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!

06
Dec
10

Boxing gifts

Boxing gifts

At this time of year, when I’m asked “what do you want for Christmas?”  I pretty much “cut to the chase” and hand over my list of items large and small.  Specific to boxing, Christmas (and Hanukkah for that matter) is a great time to give and receive fabulous boxing inspired goodies.

As you build your list, you might want to take an inventory of the things you do have so that you can sort out what items to add.  A biggie is checking out the state of your handwraps.  Boxers are usually very persnickety about which handwraps to use — to include color in some cases.  They’re also a pain to buy because they are not available at every gym and require a special trip to places like the Sports Authority — and even then they may not have what you want.  The alternative is ordering from one of the major boxing catalogs.  If you’re anything like me you hold off because the order is too small and there you are, two or three years later with the rattiest looking wraps you’ve ever seen.

From there it’s time to peruse the online catalogs and dream.  

Do you figure it’s time to start using your own speed bag or double-ended bag and not your trainer’s?  Do you need a better quality jump rope?  Are your boxing T’s too funky for school?  Want to start using your own water bottle with a spout rather than spending a small fortune on bottled water?  How about other little stocking stuffers — new mouth guards, adhesive tape, boxing books or the “speed bible” DVD?

Then there’s the matter of getting yourself a pair of real honest-to-goodness boxing shorts — yep, with your name on them, or a boxing robe, or some other tangible symbol of all of your effort this past year.

It’s also a great time to trade up on your boxing gloves, or to get a pair of specialized gloves for hitting the bag.  You might also think its time to invest in your own headgear or other boxing protective gear — or a really nice new boxing bag to haul your stuff around in.

When it comes to gloves, however, you might want to consider having a pair made just for you!  This can come into the category of something you splurge on for yourself, have someone buy for you — or something you might purchase for someone else.  There are two specialty places that I know of (see list below) or the folks in your gym may have some tips for you.

Purchasing boxing T’s say from Gleason’s or some other boxing gym are also fun gifts to give.  I cherish the “Lonsdale” T-shirt my husband got me, sort of what Everlast is to the US, the Lonsdale brand is to the UK.

The main thing is — don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want along with the website URL, size, color and brand name of the item.

Who knows, you just might get it!

 

Online Boxing Websites include the following:

For customized boxing gear:




August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,841 other followers

Girlboxing Now! on Twitter

@Girlboxingnow

Share this blog!

Bookmark and Share
free counters
Blog Directory

Blog Stats

  • 787,165 hits

Twitter Updates

© 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.

%d bloggers like this: