Boxing: Days 4 & 5
Day 4 came 12/22. Day 5 was today.
There’s a guy named Tom, tall and skinny as a string bean, looks like he’s in his late 40s. He stops in and coaches some of us. He hadn’t really participated in any of the workouts that I’ve been to until tonight. And then, it was only jump-rope and planks. Maybe he’s recovering from an injury, I don’t know. When he gets on the bag, he punches the heavy bag with a speed that you wouldn’t believe can come from those thin arms.
But the correlation between strength or speed and size has always been a fallacy. I knew a guy named Jeremy in college (American University, the first college, the early years) who was thin as an antenna but would haul up 35 llb dumbbells while doing arm curls. (I would stand next to him, struggling with 30 llb dumbbells.)
Anyway, Tom has been helping me quite a bit. Last week, he showed me a new way to wrap my hands. Instead of wrapping around my wrist three times, go twice, which gives more length to wrap around the knuckles. And he told me to go higher on my knuckles, almost to my midfinger joints. That keeps the knuckles better protected, and feels like it holds the hand together tighter. There was also a part about wrapping the thumb so it doesn’t get stove in. Can you imagine throwing a bad punch and having your thumb ripped back?
When it came time to wrap up tonight at the Casper Boxing Club, Tom gave me a brand-new set of wraps. To keep. My first boxing . . . paraphenalia? Utensils? Tools? Gear? Yes, gear would be appropriate. But ‘boxing utensils’ is too much a winner to cast aside. We’re sticking with that.
A bit under the weather today, the calisthenics had me wheeze like a hacking gorilla with emphysema. Jump rump, then power lunges, then jumping jacks, then planks, then jump rope, then power lunges, then jump rope, then planks, then some other stuff, and some other stuff. Christ almighty.
Punching time comes as a relief to the body but now the brain-body coordination needs to kick in. Though I feel like a drunken ape, I my goal is the poise of a ballerina. Up on the balls of my feet, right foot forward, body sideways for a slimmer profile, gloves up to chin, step-punch-step-punch-step-punch, rotate the jabbing hand, pivot the hip with the power hand, stay relaxed, keep the hands up, punch at chin-level, too low, Joe, get a littler higher. There are speed punches (fast) and power punches (hard). You step in for the hooks and uppercuts but step back out for the jabs and power shots. Balance. Choreography. Coordination. In between rounds of punching the heavy bag, we stop and “dance,” bouncing up and down on our feet while keeping our hands up. A constant pendulum of limbs.
And then it’s over. I stretch in the lobby of Taco Bell while ordering dinner. I’ll stretch again, deeper, before I go to bed, imagining that tomorrow is the day I wake up without soreness.
It probably won’t be.
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