Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday at the Gym

Woohoo! I made it to practice today. I was late, and I didn't attend as much of it as I would have liked, but I was there and I worked hard. Here's the recap.
  • 25 minutes of roadwork
  • 3 regular rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 1 "round from hell" on the pads with Bernard (I'll explain this below)
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 1 round on the uppercut bag
  • 1 rounds of situps
  • 1 round of stretching
That makes 12 rounds plus the roadwork. That's not too bad, considering that I was only at practice for about 45 minutes and had to race to get there. Because I was working out on very limited time, I increased the intensity as much as I could. Also, in the summer it's hot in our gym, so that made the workout seem more intense.

The "round from hell" (Bernard's friendly name for it) was aptly named. It was a full 3 minutes of nonstop punching, with no pauses to explain combinations and no short breaks for Bernard to tell me what the next moves would be. It was all action. I started by throwing alternating series of 10 left and right hooks, followed by 10 left and right uppercuts. They had to be fast and they had to be thrown with good form. That lasted for about the first minute.

During the second minute, I had the pleasure of ducking Bernard's left hook and countering with a left hook of my own. Immediately after that, Bernard threw a right hook at my head and I had to duck it and counter with my own right hook. That continued--ducking and countering alternating left and right hooks--for about the next 60 seconds. Since bending the knees is required to duck the hook properly, this was a helpful exercise for the legs and a good opportunity to practice balance. Done correctly, the boxer should be on his toes all the time, keep his balance, keep his elbows in to protect the sides of his body, and keep his hands up to protect his head. For the most part, I thought I used good technique during this drill.

Finally, for the last minute of the round, we practiced reaction counterpunching with quick combinations. The idea here is fairly simple: keep a good stance and block all of your opponent's punches. As soon as your opponent's glove makes contact with any part of your body, you immediately counterattack him with a combination, leading from the side of the body where he hits you. It's really much easier than it sounds. Let me explain how it works in practice.

Bernard throws his left hook either at my head or to my body. Since I have a good stance with a good built-in defensive posture, I readily block the punch wherever he throws it. As soon as he makes contact and I'm confident I have blocked his punch, I immediately counter with a straight right cross to the chin (to the pad, really), followed by a left hook and another straight right.

Just to keep things interesting, Bernard may throw another left hook at me, or he may toss a right hook to my head or body. If he throws the latter punch, again, I block it and immediately counterpunch, this time with a left hook, followed by a hard straight right and then another left hook.

That "round from hell" was a fun, challenging, and tiring round. We picked up the intensity and it was really hard work, but I like pushing myself like that sometimes. It helps to build my confidence knowing that I can work at that pace for a full 3 minutes. In a competitive bout, the rounds would be only 2 minutes, and it is somewhat unlikely that all the rounds would be at that pace. One has to be prepared for it, but in an actual bout both boxers are moving a lot more, trying to fake the opponent out, adjust their strategy, and move as well as punch, so it is hard to maintain that kind of punching output. In any event, though, it's certainly nice to know I can do it if I have to. :-)

We had a great turnout at practice tonight. In addition to Bernard and I, the following guys were there: Kevin, Jack, Rich, Matt (our newest boxer), and Mike B. Andrew (back from two weeks of vacation) stopped by at the end of the workout, but he was too late to work with Bernard so he just did some cardio work on his own. Tim is back in town but did not get to the practice. He'll be back next week and I'll probably meet with him on Saturday to do some training. Finally, Ted, another new guy, e-mailed me and said he will be joining us the week after next (he's on vacation next week). So our boxing team is increasing its numbers as well as building a more solid attendance at our weekly workouts.

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