Sunday, November 29, 2015

Creed and Coaching

Creed is part of the long running Rocky movie franchise, but it is different from the rest.  First of all, the main character is not Rocky Balboa, but Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) who is the son of Rocky's late friend and rival, Apollo Creed.  Adonis has been raised by his stepmom Mary (Phylicia Rashad).  Adonis was bouncing back and forth between foster care and juvenile hall after his mom passed, and Mary took him in.  Adonis walks away from a successful nine-to-five career to box full time.  He approaches Rocky to train him.

The fight scenes and training scenes were well-filmed.  As usual, people from the real boxing world -- Michael Buffer, Tony Bellew, Andre Ward, Max Kellerman, Jim Lampley -- were placed in the movie to give it authenticity.  This movie also proved why boxing movies continue to be made -- boxing is a metaphor for life.  Every character in the movie is fighting for and against something.

I watch boxing training videos on YouTube as much as I can.  I'm always made aware of how I need to constantly improve my coaching methods as well what the students in my classes need to learn.  When I see movies like Creed, I'm inspired even more to be the best coach I can be.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Erica's Killer Ab Workout

My body constantly reminds me that I'm not in as good of shape as I think I am.  While shadowboxing at Loyola Park, my right side kept bothering me.  It didn't start doing that until after I arrived at the gym.  I decided not to spar.

The guys -- Alan, Professor, David, Connor, Sanal, Leon -- sparred.  Connor was hit three times in his right side with hooks by Professor.  Alan told him, "You'd think that after three times, you would cover up!"

Sanal was pawing David most of the time when they sparred.  I wanted to tell him not to do that, but Alan and Leon were talking to him.  David had told Sanal beforehand that he was worried about Sanal throwing wild punches.  "If you go fast, I'll have to go fast, too," David said.

Leon took on Alan.  I watched carefully because Leon is a big, tall guy, and Alan is in his middle sixties.  "I don't want to have to call the hospital,"  I thought to myself.  It appeared that Leon wasn't hitting Alan as hard as he could have.  After two rounds, they were done because Leon was spent.

Erica called everyone into the ring who wanted to do an ab workout.  I scrambled in behind everyone else because I'm tired of people thinking I'm three months pregnant (yep, I've been asked a few times "when is the baby due?").  It was a hard workout of leg raises, ab punches, butterfly kicks, etc.  I've been working out five days a week for the past three weeks.  But it was clear that I need to do more work.

But now it's the holidays, and I've been nipping eggnog every day (not caring about my diabetes for the moment).  I'm still sticking to having meat only once a day, and upping the veggie and fruit content.  But there's not much I can do about getting older and slower other than deal with it and work with it accordingly.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Schooled On Angles

Kathy had been sparring with Erica at Loyola Park when she put her hands up in victory for this funny photo.

Erica was taking on everyone who wanted to spar, including me.  I had to compliment her on hitting on angles.  That's something I never really learned to do well.  She was coming at me from various places, and my old self couldn't keep up.  It put something on my mind -- I need to teach the kids at LaFollette how to work off of angles.

Connor wasn't putting his punches all the way out while sparring with Erica.  "I don't want you to knock her about, but you can hit her," Alan told him.  Erica quickly adjusted to inside fighting in order to deliver hits to Connor's body.  Afterwards, she commented, "Ooh. . .tall people!"  "I know," I laughed.  Erica is about my height.  Connor has to be a little over six feet.

I gave Salen, seen here on the red heavy bag, a quick lesson on wrapping his hands.  I found myself saying the same things I tell the kids at LaFollette.  "Put the loop over your thumb.  Now wrap it around your wrist three times.  Wrap it around your thumb once, then wrap it once again around your wrist to anchor it.  Okay, now wrap it three times around your knuckles.  Good.  From this point on, alternate between wrapping it around your wrist once and then your knuckles once until you get to the end.  Then finish it off at your wrist."

Mary noticed the cuts on Alan's nose from when he sparred with Minh.  "What happened?  Were you fighting?" she asked.  Alan explained about the head gear scraping against his nose.  Then he said, "Hillari hit me."  "Oh, you're gonna put that on me!" I laughed.  It occurred to me that Alan and I haven't sparred with each other for at least two years.  I miss that sometimes.

Jamil came in with his girlfriend.  Hadn't seen him for a long time, and it was very good to see him.  He asked about Ralphie.  Alan and I had to break the sad news that Ralphie passed on three years ago.  "He was the best," Jamil said.  Jamil wants to get back into the gym.  He was working hard when he was there before; it would be good for him to come back to it.

Trash Talking and Registration

There are plenty of professional female boxers that The Ring could have put on its front cover, not just this year, but in years prior.  Laila Ali, Ann Wolfe, Ana Julaton. . . .the list goes on and on.  Instead, Ronda Rousey, a MMA star, gets the cover because she's popular at the moment, and she's interested in boxing.

But then she faced Holly Holm, a former professional boxer who switched over to MMA, most likely because of more pay, and hopefully, more recognition.  Rousey lost in a stunning upset in the second round.  Rousey's usual trash-talking apparently did nothing to intimidate Holm.  I'm not here to bash Rousey.  She is good in her sport of choice.  But most MMA fighters don't have a good hand game or good ring generalship, both of which Holm has.  I'm hoping The Ring magazine -- which has hinted that they may "open the door" to more MMA coverage -- thinks long and hard about giving press to a sport that has nothing to do with boxing.

Now that I have the correct dates for the winter boxing classes, I will put in a request for a flyer to be made.  I'm going to include a line that states I will not take any new students once the winter session passes the halfway mark.  This current fall session is the last time I'm dealing with those who wait several weeks before deciding to sign up.  The less disruptions I have to deal with in the gym, the better.  I'm not a Chicago Public Schools teacher; I don't have to alter my lesson plans to allow students who are behind in their grades to play catch up.

In the case of the adults, it even makes less sense to allow someone to pay their money for a class that is halfway over.  The cost of the class will not be prorated, and the adults will have to turn around in a short time to pay the fee again for the next session.  I'd rather not have to deal with grumbling adults about that.