I’m no longer a newbie at the boxing gym. There are no more excuses. I’m going into my sixth week of training, my confidence is up, I have dropped fifteen pounds, gained muscle, and tightened up to the point of showing muscle definition. The other day, Brian, the gym owner, came up to me, “C J, raise your arms out to the sides.”
I did so. He smiled and said, “Yes! You have delts. (deltoid muscles). That was fast! Way to go, C J!”
There’s nothing like positive reinforcement to keep you working hard. And it’s hard, no doubt about it. But then, if it were easy, anybody could do it. And we’re not just anybody! I love when I walk into the gym for the tail-end of Brian’s Bootcamp. The group, mostly overweight ladies, shouts slogans such as, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit (Aristotle).” and “I am committed, I will persevere, I am a Bad-Ass! (Brian Dunniway).” In a few short weeks, I have seen tremendous improvement in these students – both physical and mental. I heard one lady say, “When I joined this class I couldn’t do one push-up. Now I can do five!” Good stuff.
Speaking of Bad-Ass, Robert, the boxing instructor is a huggy-bear. When he walks in, his smile lights up the gym. If you’re in his path, you get a big hug. Sometimes I get one, sometimes I don’t. Then, at the stroke of ten, huggy-bear disappears, and Mr. Strong-voice Bad-Ass instructor comes out. He puts us through the grueling routine and through my straining, sweaty haze, I hear things like:
“Stay with it! Stay with it!’
“You ain’t cheatin’ me, you’re cheatin’ yourself.”
And when you think you can’t possibly do another push-up, the strong voice says, “Come on! Do it! Here’s where the magic happens. The rest is just prep.”
And I pump out another push-up. And another. And, hey, I can see a six-pack forming. Oh, yeah, it’s working! I’ve got one more month to go before the “Playboy Bunny Ring Girl” execution.
So, the other day, there was a beautiful strong young lady in class named Sandra. I’m pretty sure it was her first time. I had never seen her before and I go almost every day. She was getting her hands wrapped by Brian and I fondly remembered my first week when I got MY hands wrapped. Now, it’s “hurry up, C J, get those hands wrapped and get your bag gloves on.” No more newbie.
Anyway, we partner up for some of the exercises. I got partnered with the beautiful, young, strong one, Sandra. As we got into position to start, I leaned in and said, “Go easy on me, I’m old.” Little did I know Robert was within earshot.
He simply smiled and said, “There are no qualifiers here, C J. Get to work.” It was akin to Tom Hanks saying “There’s no crying in baseball” in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own.
Well, I have news for Robert. He sees all, but I don’t miss much either. I saw him helping one of the other students – he was demonstrating the jab on the punching bag. It was like lightning! And it was hard. And he didn’t even break stride. I think he could knock someone out with that one jab. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has done so. I’m just gonna keep my nose to the grindstone. No more whining.
After we have spent ourselves on jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts we move to the floor for stretching. You know the class is over when huggy-bear comes back, Robert’s smile beams, and you get the best hug ever. And I’m not talkin’ about one of those “stick-your-butt-out” hugs where nothing really touches. Everybody in the room gets one – even the “tough” guys.
I will keep boxing and give a progress report in a couple of weeks…there’s still a long way to go.