Mo Cho and Boxing, the story

Boxing career starting from day 1

Day 33 “The Grand Finale”

I rushed back home to blog everything while my mind was still fresh, or rather, while I could still feel the pain. Coach Mike knew well in advance that today was my last workout as his gym, so he planned a gauntlet of just utter physical destruction. It was ridiculous. Unfortunately for a gym buddy of mine named Mike, it wasn’t his last day, it was just a Friday, and he happened to show up right when I did- poor guy.

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I’m not even sure I remember the order of all the workouts because I could barely think while they were happening. We started off with the Public Square run, pretty chill, then we flipped the heaviest tires down the alley, then all the way down the block and back and then through the alley again. That’s about 200m+ for your reference, tires weighing way over what I could only guess is 80+lbs. Our lower backs were gone. Then we got a relative rest of 100 deep incline push ups, closely monitored by coach for that perfect form. Then we came inside and did a new workout, one of his inventions, 10 heavy bag squats with a 50+ lb heavy bag in our arms, then walk it to the other person and they do it. While the other person does their squats, you do that number of push ups, so 10 total. Then they hand the bag back to you and you do 12, then 14, 16, 18, 20 total. So basically, a sh!%” ton of squats and push ups. That alone killed our biceps from holding the bag. We then had 3 minutes on the bell of incline push ups off the ring, shake my head, it was not fun. Then we had “50 50s”, 50 heavy jump ropes while the other did jumping jacks for two sets. Then we did jumping jacks with five pound weights in our hands for three minutes (sucked really bad). Then we had to do punches with those five pound weights in our hands at a 45* angle above our head for another three minutes. The entire time I was screaming “I’m better than these weights,” you would have thought I was crazy, I didn’t care. Then we had three minutes of barbell overhead military press and barbell bicep curls. This was just the warm up.

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We then had abs, which I thought was going to be a relief because it was abs, stupid me. We did it all on the treadmill (putting mats on the incline of the treadmill). We did 50 bicycles, easy, then immediately to super hard mode- arms reaching up to the bar on the treadmill (basically our shoulders were off the ground due to this) and then extreme angle leg lifts all the way up to a jack-knife position (did you get all that?). That killed our abs and mostly our hip flexors. We then had to do 45* leg lifts in that sustained position, then little flutter kicks for about a minute. Then we had heel touches, [all of this Coach Mike expected amazing form {death}], then we had single leg heel touches. Then he brought out the 20lb medicine ball and thrashed our abs 20 times each, while the other waited we did sit ups, did another set, and finished off with more sit ups. Coach Mike strapped on his gloves and we had to pick up a 45 lb plate and hold it over our heads while he punched the sh!% out of our abs, I almost dropped it on my head a couple times. He even made us turn to the sides so that he could get our obliques too. At this point I could feel every single crease in my abdominal muscles. With that we were dead.

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Except our hands were grasped onto a treadmill bar.

But we weren’t finished. “Leave everything you got left in this gym!” It was a mixture of the three workouts I hated “Thee” most at the gym all as the grand finale. I started off on the treadmill at max incline running at 7.5, which basically feels like sprinting, and I was to go as long as it took Mike (the other gym guy) to finish five sets of 25 push ups on a set of four 10 lb plates. This was not an easy task for either of us, especially after our “warm up.” I had to stop running and took a couple breaks while he did his push ups. It was inhumane- way too much, this may be naive to say, but I don’t think Coach Mike or even a super athlete could have run nonstop at this pace after doing the workout that we had already done. My calf muscles, my quads, my abs, my back, my chest, my biceps, everything hurt. Then when he finished, it was my turn to do that set of 125 push ups. Poor Mike, he had to run probably much longer than I did on that treadmill as I was seriously struggling to finish, but I did- and worse, I thought it was over. Then Coach Mike giggled with excitement as he saw our life drift away when he pulled out the medicine ball and yelled out “25 medicine ball push ups!”

Jesus. It was awwwwful. I did those push ups in sets of 2, Mike cranked them out pretty quickly, good for him, but I was dying. When we finished, I felt good, damn good, because the workout was friggin’ over. Hardest workout of my life. Looking back at this day alone, I’m shaking my head at how insane his workouts are.

Coach Mike told me “Good work Moe Gatti, you lookin’ ripped!” I told him that I don’t really care how ripped I look, but that I was proud that I had finished what I started, when all my other partners left and didn’t finish, I kept going. I told him, but I think I was just saying that out loud, that that was what I was truly proud of. It’s been one hell of a summer, thank you everyone for following this blog, please like and share my story as I hope it will motivate others to try out pushing themselves farther than they have ever thought they could go.

I think that there’s potential for me to blog again not on my Cleveland Boxing Club experiences, but onward, at Cornell University, at either the boxing club or at some local gym. Hopefully I can teach what I have learned to some, and continuously learn from others and work hard. I thank you all so much for holding me accountable and giving another reason to keep going to the gym, whoever you are, I know you can work harder than you ever though possible. Also if any of you are curious, I am working on my leather belt company, I would love to hand make you an awesome belt. Take care~

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Day 32

Summing up this workout with the only words I can actually think of consciously “Don’t stop. You can do this.” It was awful. Right after a thunderstorm, high humidity, summer heat, 90*F. Started off with the Boxer’s Run, 5 miles, ran it in 38 minutes, so not that fast for many of you, but among my fastest yet.

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When we got back, it was time for “30 30” which is 30 seconds on max incline at 7.0 speed on the treadmill, then 30 reps of some workout and back to the treadmill etc. We did this and then some, for a long time. I won’t be redundant with the 30 seconds on the treadmill so I’ll just say the workouts in between, 30 jumping jacks, 30 knee high touches, 30 box jumps, 30 hands on ball push ups, 30 push ups, 30 elbow ups, 30 ab roller extensions, 30 heavy jump ropes, 30 mountain climbers, 30 more box jumps, 30 ring step ups with 35 lbs in each hand, 30 against the wall medicine ball chest passes, 30 military press, 30 barbell curls, 30 punches with 5 lb weights in each hand, so far that’s 11 sets of “30 30s”. We started the workout right after finishing the run, it was awful. I could barely think halfway through, I didn’t want to look down at the time on the treadmill in fear that I’d be only 10 seconds in, so I ran hard and ended up looking down usually 22 seconds in. It was hard to think, I remember being stressed out from work over something, but by set 5 or 6, I didn’t care about anything. My soul and mind felt separate from my body, I just responded and did whatever Coach Mike told me to do. The 11 sets went by pretty quickly, that is until he told me to bring out the 35 lb dumbbells and walk to the end of the block.

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I kept on dropping the dumbbells, maybe four times total for a 125+ meter walk, my forearms were on fire. When I got back, I was back on the treadmill, completely blank minded, bone tired. Then he took me to the back and it was tire flips, down the alley and back, which wasn’t too bad, then it was back to the treadmill. Too tired to be upset with how long this workout was going. Finally, I got to take a break and wait for the others to finish. After a solid 3 minute break, it was time to strap up and give 500 power punches to the heavy bag. Whatever, just do it. 500 punches later, and a blank stare off to the distance, I managed to finish the workout with just enough energy to run home.

I weighed myself before and after the workout, I lost 3.5 lbs, my shirt alone filled with sweat made a 1 lb difference. It was a hot day.

Tae Kwon Do vs. Boxing Sparring Compare-Contrast

If you are considering joining either TKD or Boxing and are concerned about which is better, hopefully this guide will give you some insight. For those of you looking at this blog to determine which form of self defense is “better,” this is not what you want, this is also not one of those posts that you should comment and assert that a boxer would beat up a TKDer in a fight or vice versa. This blog will point out some of the interesting similarities and differences I have found between the two sports. As a disclaimer I have been sparring Tae Kwon Do at a collegiate level, I have won the National Collegiate Tae Kwon Do Association championship in 2012 and have been boxing seriously in a gym for about two months. The scope will be mostly what I have personally observed and is in no way even close to represent all the similarities and differences between the two.

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Scoring

In Tae Kwon Do, there is more focus on winning matches by points, than by knockout. This is true with boxing; however there are more knockout “kings” in boxing than in TKD, and in general there are more knockouts in boxing than in TKD. TKD scores one point for body shot and significant punches to the body, two points for a spinning body shot, three for a head shot, and four for a spinning head shot. You can win by a point gap of twelve points, or by knockout. Body shots are scored electronically via Daedo socks and Daedo body armor; however, head shots are scored subjectively based on three corner judges. Only light contact is necessary to score the kick to the head and hence excessive force is not necessary for head shots. A “significant” punch is also scored subjectively by three corner judges, for both punches and head shots, 2 of the 3 judges must agree on if it counted. Referees can also call for point deductions in either half point (kyong-gos) for minor infractions like stepping out of the ring or stalling; or full point (gam-jeom) for serious infractions such as punching to the head or throat, kick to the groin, headbutting etc.

Boxing is scored on a ten point must system, each round there is a winner who will win 10-9 which is decided by three independent ringside judges. There can also be a 10-10 draw in each round, but is normally discouraged as someone usually lands more punches. There are a lot of factors determining who “won” a round, punches thrown, punches landed, punches dodged, aggression, control, and pretty much whatever the judges feels needs to be considered. There can also be deductions off the total for the end of a round such as low blows, not listening to the ref, or getting knocked down which is a guaranteed one point lost. Boxing in the Olympics is scored via 5 judges who press a button for if a punch landed, 3 of the 5 must agree on a landed punch for it to count, the boxer with the most tallied points wins.

The two sports are scored differently, however they both have a subjective scoring element that can be sometimes abused and can be frustrating. For example, people may want to throw flurries at the end of a boxing round to show aggression and appear in control. TKDers definitely Kihap (yell) loudly when they throw a kick or go to the head to emphasize the kick so that it’ll most likely be scored. But these are all expected and are normally factored into the experienced judge’s criteria.

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Athleticism and Pain

Tae Kwon Do has three rounds of three semi-continuous minutes. The clock stops for injury time or adjustments or judge review of a kick scoring. There is a thirty second rest between rounds. Amateur boxing typically has four rounds of three continuous minutes, professional boxing bouts can go up to 12 rounds, both have a 30 second rest between rounds. By sparring time structure alone, boxing bouts last longer and I feel are more strenuous. There is a minimum level of flexibility for serious TKD practitioners as kicking to the head is near impossible without proper flexibility. Boxing does not require this flexibility, assuming you can extend your arm out completely and flex it back in, you should not be limited.

In sparring, you throw more punches in boxing per round on average than you would throw kicks in a round of TKD. Punching with gloves can get very tiring, and within four rounds you can find yourself having trouble keeping your hands up the whole time. There is a lot of instances of combinations thrown and rapid slipping and dodging in boxing which requires a tremendous lung capacity and muscle stamina to handle the intensity of each round, this explains a very heavy emphasis that we have on cardio for training. Cardio is also important in TKD, but I often find myself winded and exhausted after boxing and more cramped and physically in pain from kicking frequently in TKD.

In boxing you will wear headgear and a mouth guard and depending on your match, lower body gear to protect your nether regions. In TKD you get a chest guard (hogu), headgear, mouth guard, arm guards, shin guards, an instep, and optionally small <2 oz. gloves. I more often injure my feet by kicking elbows in TKD, but don’t get injured from getting physically kicked or hit due to ample protection. In boxing, you may get rocked, expect it, expect your face to hurt a bit, to cut your mouth, and maybe have the room spinning after getting hit in the head (most punches aren’t this bad). But nothing hurts more than a solid punch to the body in boxing, with exception to a very strong back kick. I find that wrapping your wrists and knuckles and the glove itself does a good job in protecting your hands, but the tiny foam pad used in TKD to protect your foot does not help much at all. Kicking an elbow is like kicking a concrete pole, it sucks, you’ll also get a lot of blisters on your feet in the process of learning to spar.

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Timing and Range

Boxing feels much faster than TKD sparring, combinations happen in split seconds and your reactions need to be on point to be able to slip and weave or counter punch. TKD tends to have lulls, as does boxing, but are more dramatic where fighters essentially “lock up”- stand just in each others range and wait to see what the opponent will do to make a move. In boxing we have something similar, clinching, which you do in TKD when you in-fight, but normally people try to put their weight on you and wear you down when you clinch in boxing and also throw punches that can hurt where a chest guard would render a TKD clinch-punch ineffective. Just thinking about it, punches are much faster than kicks, they are lighter and travel less distance, kicks also reveal a lot of motion which gives you more time to react, punches (especially jabs), can have little to no tell.

TKD has a much farther range than boxing, and many small techniques can make a short person, kick from what seems an unreal distance with fast speeds. Height plays a big factor in both TKD and boxing, reach comparisons between fighters can largely determine styles used and the outcome of a match. A tall TKD sparrer can “snipe” with fast front leg kicks and score points early, easily, and with little risk, setting up a counter-attack defense game for the rest of the match. Shorter TKD sparrer would have to draw out the kicks from the opponent and manage to get inside close enough where he/she could kick, without getting kicked. Both have strategic advantages, but to the inexperienced, being shorter can be a serious crutch without the right technique. I personally have been boxing for about a full month, one of my partners is 6’2″ while I am 5’8″, his reach is significantly more than mine, and I find myself eating too many jabs, meanwhile he can stay at a comfortable distance of hitting without being hit. I must constantly move my head, weave and slip, to even get into distance to have a shot at hitting him. If you want a reference to what it looks like at a professional level, watch Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, a classic out-boxer in-boxer match up.

I find that range issues are equally as challenging in between the two, and timing is extremely important, but that boxing timing requires more discipline, you have to know what you’re doing and commit and be able to adjust mid punch very quickly. I feel that you can get away with timing hesitations more in TKD sparring than in boxing.

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Style

There are many style differences and categories in each sport,  I will talk about what I have personally experienced. In TKD you need to have solid technique in attacks, counter attacks, and footwork. Footwork is the foundation. This is similar to boxing as your footwork is also very important. In TKD footwork is a matter or ranging, making quarter steps, half steps, three quarter steps, full steps, all different technique just to get a certain distance to place a desired kick. In boxing, footwork allows you to move freely about the ring, to throw punches without restricting your own power (turning your toe), and keep your balance in order to slip and throw punches. Great footwork is essential to any TKDer or Boxer, I feel great footwork in TKD is more significant than in boxing, just because you can probably get away with bad footwork as a boxer (George Foreman) but not as a TKD sparrer.

Predictably, hands are much more important in boxing than in TKD. In TKD using a punch is a great way to stop an opponent and tends to be used more defensively than offensively. In boxing, it’s all your hands. It’s about keeping them up, keeping your arms tucked in to protect your ribs and your body, turning your hand when you punch, keeping your hands loose when you aren’t punching to save energy, throwing feints and flicking quick jabs, strong straights, compact hooks and powerful upper cuts.

TKD has a lot of emphasis on negation, hit without getting hit, or rather score without getting scored on. The best ways of negation being jamming your opponent (coming in too close to get hit or stopping the kick before it’s completely extended) or blocking the kick (via down blocks) or simply avoiding the kick. This puts a lot of emphasis on footwork and dexterity, and moving around the ring. Many matches don’t score beyond double digits and so you can imagine the level of negation and footwork necessary to hold the lead. Often if you have a decent lead, it is to your benefit to go on the defensive and play a counter-attack strategy. In boxing, due to the ten point must system, there is no letting up in each round, as each round is considered a win or lose and you must win more than you lose. Hence boxing matches tend to be a higher intensity throughout rather than a take the lead and play defense method.

Closing Thoughts

Boxing and Tae Kwon Do are both very different sports that have a lot of commonalities, just different weapons. The hands are very fast and can be very deadly yet lack range. Kicks have much more power and range but are a bit slower. As for what style would win in a fight between two equal height and weight individuals, it’s hard to say. But I do think having both can be helpful. Please let me know if you would like more information as I did a pretty cursory job at comparing and contrasting the two.

Day 31

There is no feeling quite like waking up at 5 am to go for a morning work out. The sun is not up, there is still a chill in the air, most people are still asleep, and the city lights from the skyline are beautiful. I feel a primal joy, one that comes from waking up and immediately going for a run without getting breakfast. Just quietly lacing on my shoes and putting on light athletic clothes in prep for a hard workout.

We started off with a Charter One run, about one mile. We then did a variety of workouts, 50 bicep curls, 50 standing military press, 100 heavy rope jumps, 200 jumping jacks, 100 incline push ups, 100 mountain climbers, 100 dips, a 150m iron man walk (farmer’s walk), and a 100m tire flip. Also did some lunges while I waited for the others to finish up (the morning group tends to be older 30s 40s adults who are in tremendous shape). As usual, no breaks and minimal three “one thousand” count rests. We then had ab work against the ring, about 100 sit ups with our legs up, 100 bicycles with our feet above the ring and 100 leg extensions with our feet pointing towards the top ropes. Then Coach Mike brought out the 15 lb medicine ball and absolutely punished me. He was dropping the ball from about 8 feet up onto my abs while he was standing on top of the ring. It was much harder than usual, after about 20 hits he had me hold the ball above my head for about 30 seconds while in a full crunch position, then down an inch for longer, than back up. He then finished up with 9 more hits, then one super high throw last hit which had me scream out in agony.

It was a total body workout which is exactly what he promised me when I signed up for the gym about a month ago, there has not been a day which he didn’t keep his word. I don’t think I’ve ever been in better shape. Now I can spend the rest of my day refreshed and alert, with the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve finished my workout.

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Day 30

It’s come down to the last week of training at the Cleveland Boxing Club. Today marks the thirtieth day of extreme intensity old school boxing workouts. Looking back now, I never considered how much progress I would make in only a month and a half. Today was no exception to the pace at which we normally go.

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The workout started off not with the usual Public Square run, but with strapping up. These days I’ve been going to the gym solo as the intensity has been picking up and the amount of excuses start piling up. Coach Mike had us punch mitts for about 5 minutes each, non-stop punching, sets of 100 “one-two” punches and 1-2-3 combinations and slips and blocks. Lactic Acid build up x10. We then went and paired off and worked the heavy bag at the same time. We weren’t allowed to slow down or stop punching, or we would all have to do push ups. Fortunately, no one quit. After a round of non-stop punching we did 100 shoulder circles forward, and 100 backward with the gloves on and our arms out to the side. We then did 25 jabs and 25 straights on the bag. Then 100 shoulder circles outward in front of us, clockwise and counter clockwise. Then we did 25 1-2-3 combos and 25 1-2-3-4s (jab cross cross straight) on the bag. Then we did 100 above the head shoulder circles clockwise and then counter clockwise. Finished off with jumping jacks and then a Public Square run.

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ran that Public Square run full blast, I managed to finished before the group of ladies that ran the Charter One run, which is roughly half the distance. The group we’d been working out in was three women and three men. The ladies finished off and then the gentlemen had to stay for additional work.

It was 100 push ups, then 100 mountain climbers. Not bad. Then it was decline push ups off the ring, our chest had to hit a stack of four 10 lb plates, we had to do 10 on each plate. Each set of 10, Coach removed a plate, down until the floor. Coach wasn’t satisfied with our form, so we had to do 25 more decline push ups with perfect form. Then another ten. Then we had to do decline push ups, hold at the bottom and shift our weight to the right and to the left and back center for one, we had to do 10 total. At this point, all our arms were blasted. We then had to do as many decline push ups with a 3 second hold at the bottom as we could, I managed to get 15, which was awful. I thought that would be the end of it, but then we had to do medicine ball push ups, which for the life of me, I couldn’t do so well. Managed to rep out five or so before dropping violently off to the side. Lactic acid build up x100. We then finished up with a round (three straight minutes) of incline push ups.

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This molecule here makes Coach Mike’s workouts hurt a lot.

At the end of every work out at this magnitude, when you make eye contact with your brother who just did it with you, all you get is the knowing head shake. It is painful. There was no breaks, unless you consider a verbal “one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand” a sufficient break. A month ago, this workout didn’t seem possible, now, it’s just another Monday.

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Day 29.5

In the past three or four days that I haven’t been posting I haven’t been sitting on my ass pickin’ daisies. It’s been a matter of letting my hand heal, which was pretty frustrating because there is nothing I’d like to do more than knocking some people around at the gym. I just came back from a 10 mile run, it ended up hurting my ankle and joints more than my muscles. Went at a pretty casual pace, because it’s the single longest distance I have ever attempted at once, it was under 2 hours though.

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On Friday we ran a pretty swift 4.3 miles in about 30 minutes, felt pretty competitive because some kid joined us and was being pretty cocky about us running slow. Come two miles in we flip the switch and leave him in the dust. After Corben and I did our own weight strength training, 100 push ups, 100 decline push ups, 50 incline push ups, 50 dips, 50 deep decline sit ups, 50 pull downs, and 50 dumbbell presses.

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Basically I’ve been trying to stay in shape but without using my hands or wrists for anything. My knuckle is still pretty swollen, but I think it’s getting better. I plan on picking things back up tomorrow again (James), thanks for keeping me accountable. 

Hope y’all are still working hard. I’m just trying to be smart about my injury is all because I want boxing to not just be a summer thing and keep it going, and for that, I need to rest.

Day 29

Circuit training and hand work, lighter day.

Started off with a Public Square run, took it at a decent tempo, but not as fast as yesterday, my body is starting to feel the effects of day-after-day punishment. When I got back I had 100 heavy jump ropes, 100 push ups, 100 jumping jacks, 50 dumbbell curls (couldn’t do 100 as my wrist were hurting too much [still hasn’t healed yet]), 50 military press, 100 sit ups, and 100 ringside “box” jumps.

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After we all strapped up and worked the bag for about 10 minutes, then had a 5 minute session with Coach Cleveland. I’m spending more time with him alternating between slipping and weaving and throwing combinations. I can’t help but punch all out, which is probably why my knuckle is simply not healing and my wrists are slowly getting worse.

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Notice the swelling on my right hand between my middle finger and ring finger.

I’m reaching a point where I’m no longer sure if I should keep going everyday, not because it’s hard, but because my body is getting a bit weaker. My hands are getting more and more swollen from constantly punching and my wrists haven’t healed in over three weeks. I think i should take it easy, but I only have less than two weeks left at the gym so I want to stick it out. I hate coming up with excuses, and i don’t think this is one, but I think I should give my body time to heal (or at least let my hand swelling go down). All the exercise seems to be effecting my work, I am starting to have less energy throughout the day, which is not what I want, I also can’t seem to ever eat enough to the point where I’m full, I eat constantly. I hope some of this is natural.

Day 28

Three public square runs and four rounds of sparring.

Started off practice by watching some of the experienced fighters go 100%, that got me pretty pumped so when Coach Mike said Public Square run, I was already gone.. When I got back, I ran it in a record 12 minutes or so, he said it was too slow and to run it again. So I was out the door. Just like that, five miles in around 26 minutes. 

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We do a little more to the loop adding up to about 2.45 miles

I then sparred four rounds with Mike Brown, it was pretty good, stuck him with a couple jabs and counter combinations. I got hit with a few good ones as well. I told him my feedback after, he then told me that I needed to work on my defense and slipping and blocking more, but that I was in tremendous shape saying I could probably have gone for a few more rounds where he couldn’t. Now all I want to do is work on my defense, in my future sparring, I will work on keeping my head moving and moving forward by slipping and weaving.

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After we changed shoes it was one more Public Square run, I felt like vomiting on the last one but gave it my all. When we came back, we were finished, no push ups or anything, felt like a light day. But now as I am typing this I feel every muscle in my body to be faintly sore. It was a good work day. I need to remember to get a CBC Cleveland Boxing Club shirt before I leave next week.

I don’t know what work outs you are doing, but I am sure you could do even more. The body follows the mind. It’s either success or an excuse.

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Day 27

This whole boxing thing is pretty awesome. I did have a fitness goal of gaining some weight over the summer and have so far gained roughly 13 lbs, currently at 150.8, started at 138.0. Also boxing is really fun when you get over the fear of getting punched, I am still not completely over it, but I’m getting used to getting hit and reading punches to the point that I can dodge and counter. It’s like Tae Kwon Do sparring, only there is less margin for error and timing has to be a lot faster and combinations have a bit more value (at least in my findings).

We started off the day with a motivational speech, which I joined in at about half way through. Basically, people need to come to the gym ready to work, and that only 50% of boxing is physical, the other half is mental. That along with the fact that I’ve been reading “No Excuses Leadership: Ranger Lessons from the U.S. Army’s Elite Rangers” got me super pumped. I ran the Public Square run at a record 12 minutes, part of the speed was due to some of the other boxer’s turning around early and getting in front of me, making me even more willing to run even faster just so I could win by a decent margin.

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When we got back it was about 3 or 4 rounds of sparring with Justin 5’8″ 150 lb, and Austin, 5’8″ 150 lb. These guys were my size, and they both had to step out in between rounds as I was knocking them around pretty well and giving them flurries. Their jab speed and range was nothing compared to the boxer’s I had previously been training with and their punches felt pretty light. My right middle knuckle is continuously getting more swollen and more sensitive as I use it.

After sparring we moved on to our now habitual super set of push ups. 100 push ups, 3 seconds rest, 100 decline push ups, 3 seconds rest, 100 incline push ups, 3 seconds rest. We then did a strength test, 10 seconds in push up position, 10 in 90* degrees position, 10 in 1 inch off the floor, 10 back at 90*, then push back up to 10 at push up position. Then we did 10 push ups, 11, 12, 13 14, until we broke form as part of the test. I got to forteen, the other guy got up to 11. Then we did a 20 second 1 inch off the floor hold. I thought that would we the last workout, but then we had to do 5 sets of 25 push ups, our chest had to hit a stack of four 10 lb plates. Each time we did a set he would take off a plate. This killed me. My chest felt quite voluptuous. 

The entire workout I was just thinking about having no excuse, either success or an excuse, either finish or excuse, either win or excuse – I am proud of today.

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I definitely recommend the U.S. rangers book, very entertaining to read and puts a lot of things in perspective. Have a great week everyone!

Day 26

Coach Mike alluded to today being a strength and conditioning session: he always is a man of his words.

We started off with the Public Square run, we wore 16 oz. gloves and had to throw punches. Then we strapped up and sparred for 3 rounds, I fought Mike, not Coach Mike, but Mike Brown. He is not new to boxing, he’s very athletic and is able to control his punches so I had a good sparring session. Coach Cleveland had us sit down in each others range and spar there, that way we’d get used to hitting and getting hit. It was pretty good practice. I definitely feel more comfortable exchanging punches now.

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After sparring is where the strength and conditioning kicked in. We started doing abs, and didn’t stop for thirty minutes. We were not allowed to let our legs touch the ground during/in between sets or we would have to do 5 sets of 25 push ups on the 10 lb plates like we did yesterday (which I was still/am really sore from). We started off with sit ups, then bicycles, then more sit ups, then bicycles, then heel touches, then jack knifes, then 6 inch leg lifts, then flutter kicks, the sit up twists, then toe touches, then toe touch twists, then bicycles, then 45* leg lifts, then 45* flutter kicks, then alternating elbow planks and 20 elbow ups for three sets. This was all for 30 minutes, NON-STOP, it was awful, we were all squealing and no one was happy to be doing it. Oh and I did forget, before we did the elbow planks was 20 medicine ball hits to the stomach, then we had to balance a 50 lb heavy bag on our hands (like a chest press) while getting our shoulders off the ground (immense amount of stress to abs and wrists) for 20 seconds. Basically it was ab death day.

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We finished with our abs and thought we were done, Coach Mike called me up to do the five sets of 25 push ups on the four plates of 10 lbs anyways. It was terrible. 125 push ups after yesterdays workouts seemed impossible. But I dug deep and managed to rep them out. While everyone else finished I was cheering them on while doing more bicycles. I then quickly left as I had a date with the girlfriend (in 30 minutes).

I can certainly see and feel the results of my training, sparring is more enjoyable now, I can think more and relax more. I’m becoming less punch shy and I feel more confident in my stand up abilities. Boxing is awesome. Life is awesome.