Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Training!

It's not the most conventional, but today's training consisted of 25 minutes of shoveling snow. I am hoping to get into a more regular gym routine this week. As for roadwork, with all the snow and ice on the ground (not to mention the cold air), the treadmills at GoTime Chicago are starting to look a lot more attractive.

Has anyone else noticed that Great Lakes snow smells like fish? I guess it's not really surprising, but still interesting.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Roadwork Recap

Recently, the training has been just roadwork and shadowboxing. (Yes, it's cold out there!) I know I need to get more sport-specific training in--and I will--but for now, here is the update.
  • December 5: 37 minutes
  • December 6: 44 minutes
  • December 7: 25 minutes
  • December 8: 28 minutes
  • December 9: 14 minutes
  • December 11: 18 minutes
  • December 13: 31 minutes

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some Roadwork and Shadowboxing on Tuesday

Work has been getting nuts again. Somehow, I am going to balance all of this. 25 minutes today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am celebrating today. It's interesting: I don't feel 44 years old. I feel a lot younger, but maybe that is due to workouts. I hope so.

Training has been moving along. I'll post an update later today or tomorrow. For now, I'm simply savoring the moment.

May all beings be safe, healthy, happy, prosperous, and at peace.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Returning to Lifting Weights

After about 2 years off from lifting weights regularly, I resumed that part of my workout routine today. To make a long story palatably brief, I took a break from weight lifting when I lost my personal trainer, Matt, due to circumstances beyond my control. Even though there was nothing I could do about it--and I still think he got lousy treatment from the athletic club where I used to train--I got into a funk where I lost a lot of enthusiasm for strength training and building muscle. It's funny how our emotions can affect our workouts; I have found it is good to honor them and not ignore them. For me, workouts have to balance the four basic aspects of our being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Anyway, it was great to get back to it today. My friend Mark joined me at my new gym and we had a great time pumping the iron. Since it was my first time back, I took it fairly and avoided the testosterone-fueled temptation to push myself really hard with a lot more weight than I ought to use on my first day of using weights again. Also, I was careful to stretch after almost every group of 3 sets for each exercise. I stretched a lot at the end of the workout, too; I don't plan to be immobilized tomorrow!

Here's the recap of the workout:
  • 44 minutes of roadwork (it's getting cold out there!)
  • 3 x 8 on leg press
  • 3 x 10 upright row
  • 3 x 8 lat pulldowns
  • 3 x 8 bicep curls with dumbbells
  • 3 x 8 tricep extensions

I know it's an easy workout, but I have learned (the hard way) to ease back into a particular type of training after an extended break from it. I'll be increasing the number of exercises and the weights I use soon.

I didn't do any boxing-specific training today. I am close to figuring out how I want to work weight training into my fitness routine. I'll probably alternate one day of boxing training with a day of weight lifting. I'm still adjusting to the new gym and getting there in time to work out properly. I know it has been a few months already, but there have been a lot of things demanding my attention recently, so the transition has not gone quite as smoothly as I originally had hoped. That's alright. I tend to be very persistent and on the attack in boxing, and that is how I approach life generally. I'll keep at the scheduling issues until I get it where I want it to be.

Mark seemed to enjoy himself. I hope he'll join my new gym; it would be great to have him here. I am moving on from what was becoming an increasingly dysfunctional situation at my old club. There was no problem with any of our boxers and certainly not with our coach, but the board of directors, and particularly the president, of our club made a lot of choices that really stink. I need to put that part of my life behind me while I still have mostly pleasant memories of my 17 years there.

Hey, weight lifting: it's great to be back! :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back in Action

After an unexpected break in training, I returned to the gym yesterday. My hiatus from training was caused by two computers breaking down over 3 weeks, which happened right at the time that work got really busy and I was scrambling just to try to keep up with the increased workload. Nevertheless, things seem to be getting more normal now, and I'm really grateful for that.

To be honest, Sunday's workout was not as good as it might have been, but it was something, and it was the beginning of my return to my regular routine. Here's the recap of Sunday's training:
  • 41 minutes of roadwork,
  • 2 rounds of shadowboxing,
  • 2 rounds on the heavy bag, and
  • 1 round on the double-end bag.

I cut my workout short because Sunday was a very busy day with a lot of other things planned. In addition to training, I had planned to do my laundry, to help my dad fix his computer, and to watch the Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders football game. Well, I did make some improvements on my dad's computer and I got my laundry done, but I missed the Bears game. Oh well, there are still six weeks of regular play in the NFL left in this season.

It felt great to be back in the gym doing my first boxing workout in over a week and a half. It was good to see the guys, work up a sweat, and see that I hadn't lost too much of my speed and timing, as I had worried I might have. Even though the training was a bit rushed, I'm glad I did it. Getting back to it after a period of being away, the most difficult battle was against inertia. It was really tempting to take Sunday off too, and just chill out at home. However, once I started my workout -- and even more so after I finished it -- I felt great. It's good to be back.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

On Saturday, I invited my friend Mark to visit my new gym and join me for a workout. He is interested in joining, and is interested in boxing as well as weight lifting. So far so good.

Mark and I arranged to meet there at 1:00 p.m. Of course, even though I allowed plenty of time to get there, I had to wait for the 18th Street bus for half an hour--the longest wait I've ever had for that bus--and I got their late. Still, no problem, because Mark wasn't very upset about having to wait for me. He got a tour of our gym and some basic information about it, along with a 7-day trial pass so he can use the facilities and see how well he likes it.

The problem is that we did not get to do our workout as planned. Since it was nearly 1:15 when I got there and 1:20 when Mark returned from walking around the neighborhood, there was time just for a tour and a few questions, but no workout, because the USA team, in town for the world championships, is training at my gym! How cool is that? Here's a little more detail.

"The 11-man squad arrived early Thursday before checking into their hotel and taking part in their first training session at GOTIME Chicago. The team will train at the local gym through the opening day of competition. Following their first training session in the Windy City, Team USA enjoyed a team dinner of Italian food at a local Chicago restaurant.

"They will continue their final few days of training on Friday morning, getting in an early morning run prior to training at 2 p.m. at GOTIME. The 2007 event is the first senior world championships for nine of the 11 team members with only flyweight Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) and bantamweight Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) having competed in the 2005 edition. Both boxers took home bronze medals from the 2005 World Championships in Mianyang, China."

Source: http://www.usaboxing.org/92_2081.htm


The USA team was scheduled to begin their training at 2:00 p.m. It was my (perhaps erroneous) understanding that the gym was going to be closed to members for security reasons. I need to check into that because the news source I quoted above says the training sessions will be open to the media, so if media, why not members? I believe there is training scheduled for Monday, so I need to verify that. After all, as a blogger, I am part of the new media! It would be great to watch the team train, although it is probably in the early afternoon when it might be very difficult to get there, but we shall see!

In any event, I am psyched to be training at the same gym where the USA world championships team is training. Just knowing they are there is pretty cool. Hopefully, Mark and the other guys can join me there this week, and to see some of the tournament.

World Amateur Boxing Championships in Chicago

The World Amateur Boxing Championships will be held here in Chicago from October 23 through November 3. The event will be at the UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) Pavillion.

It looks like it will be a pretty hectic week at work (that's why I am blogging at 1:44 a.m. on Monday), but I am hoping to attend some of the event, since it lasts two weeks. I'm also hoping some of the boys from my old club will go. We'll see what happens.

If you happen to be in Chicago this week or next, and you plan to attend the tournament, you just might get to meet your friendly neighborhood lawyer-boxer-blogger. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Randy Couture Resigns from UFC

Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports reports the story here. Wow. I wasn't expecting that.

Although this blog is about boxing rather than MMA, I'll comment here on MMA from time to time because I think it's interesting, it's related to boxing, and I may be interested in learning more about it for cross-training purposes.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gleason's Gym and The Real Fight Club Sponsor Fight Night on December 11

This event will be in London, England. It looks to be a good time and the event will raise money to help build a youth boxing gym.

I was invited to box in this event last year and this year. I was hoping to do it this year, but money is tight now, so traveling to the UK in December is out of the question. Hopefully, if this event is held next year, I'll be able to participate then. For now, it's training, training, and more training.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today's Training

I had a pretty good session today. I worked with Ray, the boxing coach at my new gym, and he gave me a few pointers on how to polish my technique. Here's the recap of the training.
  • 19 minutes of roadwork
  • 4 rounds on the focus pads with Ray
  • 4 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 3 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 1 round of sparring

I still need to get my weight lifting in somehow, but I know I will. It's great to be back in a more regular training routine.

Updated October 12, 2007: "1 round of sparring" above should read "1 round of stretching." I haven't sparred at my new gym yet, but I hope to do it soon. Thanks to Marc for pointing this out!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday Roadwork

40 minutes today. This unusually warm weather has me motivated to stay moving outdoors. That's good, since I missed my gym session yesterday. Oh well, I just have to keep at it, day by day. Here's hoping for Friday and Saturday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Extell Wall Street Charity Boxing Charity Championship: November 1, 2007

This looks like it will be a great event. From the press release announcing it:
The Extell Wall Street Boxing Charity Championship challenges Wall Street’s finest from top Wall Street banks and trading firms, to fight at the historic Hammerstein Ballroom on behalf of their favorite New York charity. The announcement was made by Extell Development Company today at the closing bell of The New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Extell and Wall Street are getting together in the same corner to raise money for New York charities,” said Marc Shaw, Executive Vice President of Extell Development Company. “This was a perfect fit for us and we are extremely happy that it has become a reality. ... We look forward to a great evening!” Six New York based charitable partners will be announced over coming weeks.
...

All bouts will be three two-minute rounds and all the fighters will be weight-class, age and skill matched. Those chosen to compete are being given complete training support provided by Trinity Boxing Club.
I don't think I can be in New York on November 1, but this ought to be a good time. Their Web site has all the information about reservations and tickets.

http://www.wallstreetboxing.com

This type of event is great fun. Several years ago, I boxed in a charitable fundraising event sponsored by the DuPage County Bar Association. All the boxers were lawyers. I had a blast. My coach, Bernard, is hoping to hold another charitable event featuring doctors versus lawyers. That will be fun, too. I've already been informally challenged for the event, so I hope we can make it happen.

If you're going to be in New York City on November 1, check out this event. If you do attend, please tell us all about it.

News from Other Boxer-Blogger Friends

Here are some updates from friends who are fellow boxers and fellow bloggers. I recommend reading these guys regularly.

My Boxing Blog

My friend Marc, who lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, has returned to his training! Woohoo! He even entitled his first blog entry, "Joy of Training." How's that for inspiring? I really enjoy seeing others who consider their training fun and joyful.

It is amazing that Marc finds time to do any training, given his work and school schedule. He is following the same career path I took. Mark is an information technology professional and is attending law school at the same time. That's how I did law school. I could blog lots more about that experience--and I probably will--but for now let me just say it is intense.

So welcome back to training, Marc. Way to go, and keep up the good work!

Nerd of Steel

Our man, Nerd of Steel, has returned to his training, too, after taking some time off to allow his ankle to heal from an injury. Welcome back to training, Nerd! To deal with the inevitable muscle soreness that comes from returning to training after a layoff, and even after routine hard workouts, Nerd offers "5 Tips To Handle Muscle Soreness." They're all effective methods, though I have to say I am not fond of the ice baths. Brrrrr.

Kayo Kid

Kieran O'Leary takes a walk down memory lane as he tells us about a match he had, a little over 4 years ago, with an investment banker nicknamed "Spider." He posts a video of that bout. It's definitely worth watching to see Kieran in action. Good job, Kieran!

Brief Training Update

Things are going great at my new gym. The workouts are going well and I am getting to know some of the other people who train there. I'll post more details about the training soon. I probably won't post detailed information about each training session because that will take a long time. But I'll post the highlights here along with lots of other good stuff.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Enhancement to the Blog

After seeing it on many blogs and other sites, I decided to install Snap Shots on this blog. Snap Shots enhances the hyperlinks with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, and can display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.
Should you decide this is not for you, just click the "Options" icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

I will post more topical boxing stuff over the weekend, but this is a enhancement I have considered for a while, so now that I have implemented it, I want to announce it. I hope Snap Shots will make your visits here more enjoyable.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Brief Workout

Just 16 minutes today. It's something. Available time on weekends can vary a lot but, as I have mentioned earlier, I am still figuring out the routine. It's just great to be developing a new routine!

Friday's Workout

I'm really liking the new gym. The weather was kind of chilly on Friday, but I got there. I'm still working on developing the routine, but I will do that, too. Here's the recap.

  • 37 minutes of roadwork
  • 6 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on double-end bag
  • 2 rounds of stretching

Monday, September 10, 2007

So You Wanna Be a Boxer, Huh?

I guess I really do. It took some pretty strong effort to get to my new gym today. The transition has been a little harder than I had expected. The guys at my old club don't seem terribly excited about setting up any new workout arrangements right now. I think we're going off into different directions. That's understandable, but still kind of disappointing to me.

Since our club closed on August 31--and it hasn't even been two weeks since that date--it is probably still too early to predict accurately what will happen. I have pretty much done what I can to keep the guys together; the rest will be up to them.

Why am I mentioning all this? Simply because it has been affecting my motivation. I really need to accept this change in my life. It has happened and is the reality I am facing now. The old arrangement was nice while it lasted, but now we're in a new situation (at least I am).

I like the new gym. Everyone is friendly there, I fit in well, and it's already starting to feel like home to me. Work has been kind of nutty, though, and I was really on the fence about getting over to the gym today. Oh, the excuses a man's mind can generate!

After I had my bag packed and went out the door, I really thought about turning back and doing the workout tomorrow instead. It was miserable outdoors. The temperature had dropped significantly this afternoon, and a nasty, misty rain was falling and making the whole scene look like something from a horror movie. Alright, maybe I am exaggerating just a little.

Anyway, I didn't turn back. I went to my new gym and had a decent workout. Here's the recap.
  • 30 minutes roadwork
  • 4 rounds shadowboxing
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 2 rounds of stretching
  • 1 round on the speed bag
  • 1 round on the double-end bag

While shadowboxing, I got a few helpful pointers from Ray Pace, GoTime Chicago's boxing coach. He talked with me about doing some training with him and about meeting up with him and some of the other guys on Saturday mornings for sparring practice. That all sounds promising, too.

I don't know what will happen with my friends from my previous club. They are all great guys, and they're still my friends, but I don't know if we'll be pursuing our sport as a group. I cannot control that.

However, my experience today has taught me a valuable lesson. Even with the challenges, I am dedicated to this sport. I want to improve as a boxer. I'll stay with it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moving Ahead: A New Gym, A New Beginning

Finally, after all my talk, last Friday I joined a new gym. My former athletic club shut down officially on August 31, so I decided to waste no time in getting set up in a new place where I can continue my boxing training.

Although I am stating this in a matter-of-fact way, the transition is still somewhat painful. I left an athletic club where I had been a member for almost 17 years, and where I had been one of the principal instigators of the revival of boxing as a sport at the club in 1994. I have a lot of good memories from my years of membership, and I am unhappy about the circumstances under which we closed. Nevertheless, it really is time for me to move ahead.

On Friday, I found a new home at a gym called GoTime Chicago. Here's a link to their Web site.

http://www.gotimechicago.com

Chad Robbins, one of the co-owners, is a great guy who gave me a tour and orientation, explained all the details about membership, and talked with me about how we can bring in the rest of the guys from the Chicago Athletic Association's boxing team, if they are interested. I will work on that more this week. I don't know how many of our boxers will go along, but I'll try to get all of them.

Chad also told me he has been thinking of holding some boxing shows at the gym. I already told him I'd be interested in boxing in some of those events. That probably won't happen for a few months, but it's nice to know it will be an option. Also, I need to figure out how Bernard can join us. But I am not going to get bogged down with all the details and make it seem like yet another job. I'm just going to enjoy my workouts and have fun for a while.

I did my first workout there on Saturday morning. Here's the recap.
  • 20 minutes roadwork
  • 4 rounds shadowboxing
  • 3 rounds stretching
  • 3 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 3 rounds on the double-end bag

I have a lot more to say about this new experience. Details will follow over the next few days. This is good. I feel grounded again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final Workout At My Current Boxing Club

It was a pretty emotional experience. Yesterday, I had my last workout at my athletic club. I didn't do much of a workout because I was running really late and was lucky to arrive while some of the guys were still there. First, the recap of my very brief workout.
  • 20 minutes of roadwork (even this was short!)
  • 1 round on the heavy bag
  • 2 rounds on the focus mitts with Bernard

Yes, that's it. I felt incredibly guilty yesterday, but I got there late and did what I could to make the best of it. It was good to see several of the guys there. In addition to Bernard and me, Tim, Cory, and Bill were there. Kevin wanted to be there but had a dinner he needed to attend. Henry Coyle, a professional boxer and a friend of Bernard's, joined us to give us some help with sparring. Sadly, I was too late for sparring. Oh well, next time!

We all went to dinner afterward. Over dinner, we discussed some ideas for our future. I'd be really happy to keep all our boxers together. I am realizing it may be tough to do that, but I will sure try to make it happen. I will be talking later today to one of the owners of a fairly new gym in Chicago that might work very well for us. I'll post more about that here soon. I am determined to turn this difficult challenge into a great opportunity.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Good Luck to Another Lawyer-boxer, Marc Saggese

Marc Saggese, a fellow lawyer and boxer, will step into the ring tomorrow night in Sandy, Utah for his third professional bout. Saggese, who practices in Nevada, is unbeaten in professional competition, winning his first match by retirement and his second by a first-round TKO. That's quite an impressive start to his pro career. Marc will be facing Buddy Payne, of LaGrande, Oregon. On paper, it looks to be a fine match-up since the bout will be the third pro fight for both men.

Good luck to both boxers. It's always good to see one of my own kind stepping in the ring. I'll post some more news stories about amateur lawyer-boxers soon.

Club Update

I got the official update today: our athletic club will be closing for good on August 31. Yes, I am angry about it. I feel that we, the members, have been lied to. However, at this late date, there is really nothing I can do to stop the closing and the sale of the property.

Of course, this is no surprise to me; I have known it was coming for about a year. Even so, it is a sad time for me. I was one of the founders of the boxing club at the Chicago Athletic Association in 1994 when another member and I brought the sport back. It's hard to believe that was 13 years ago.

I am hoping we can keep some of our guys together. I will talk to Bernard in the next day or two and see what he thinks about the situation.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Training

1 hour and 10 minutes of roadwork and shadowboxing. It was cooler and less humid today, so that was a nice change.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Update

Did 34 minutes of roadwork and shadowboxing on Thursday, and 31 minutes today. The humidity was a challenge. Both days, I wanted to quit after 20 minutes because I was working hard, but I managed to do another 10 minutes and add a little more to it. :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Finding Friends Online, Finding Inspiration

There has been some difficult stuff going on lately; some of it is really unpleasant. I'll get through it--I know that--but maintaining a positive attitude has been hard lately. Again, I will get past this rough time, and I am usually pretty good at staying optimistic and looking for the positive aspects of a situation. Wednesday, however, I found myself feeling a bit low and engaging in some "woe is me" kind of thinking.

That's a toxic state to enter because the negative attitude tends to attract more negative experiences and things begin to snowball to the point where life starts to look ugly in all its aspects. Recognizing that I was starting to go in that direction and wanting to turn around and go the opposite way, I decided to reconnect with some online friends with whom I had lost touch for a while.

A few years ago, I used to frequent a site called Fit To Be Men. It's a really good site, focusing mainly on fitness and living life to the fullest, being the best we can be. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but work and various other things got busy and my participation dropped off. In any event, it was a natural place to return to reconnect with some friends and look for some inspiration.

I sought and I found. One of the friends that I haven't talked to in a while is a fellow named Rob, or "FishrCutB8," as he is known in various places on the Internet. Rob has a blog called, yes, Fish or Cut Bait. (I didn't even know Rob had a blog, that's how out of touch I've been.) I've been reading the blog and I know I have a lot of catching up to do, with him and with other friends, but I am writing about him now because he's a great guy and an inspiration to me.

Rob is a survivor of testicular cancer. His battle with cancer and his recovery inspire me. However, to be candid, Rob has been an inspiration to me before his cancer experience. Rob is one of those online friends I have been privileged to meet face to face. Even though we knew each other just from online contact at Fit To Be Men and a few other forums, Rob was always keenly interested in me, my progress with fitness, my struggle with depression (later diagnosed as bipolar disorder type II), and some other challenges I have faced in life (I'll blog about those sometime). He has always been very supportive.

Rob and I met in person in Little Rock, Arkansas at a men's fitness retreat hosted by our mutual friend, Jean-Paul "JP" Francoeur, in the spring of 2004. There's nothing quite like Little Rock in the early spring, and there's nothing quite like JP's fitness weekend (now called the annual "fitness summit"), filled with first-rate instruction about weight training and nutrition, JP's warm Arkansan hospitality, and some great food at the Flying Fish on President Clinton Avenue followed by a few cold beers at the Flying Saucer, also on President Clinton Avenue. Rob and I hit it off right away and I felt like I had known him since I was a boy. What a great time! I sure hope to go back to Little Rock and attend one of JP's events; they really rock.

Recalling these memories makes me happy. Hell, it does more than that: it inspires me to face, even embrace, the challenges that lie ahead. Rob and JP are both inspirational guys and good friends. Knowing I have their friendship helps give me courage to step forward and make the most of everything life has to offer, the fun stuff and the more challenging. Thanks, Rob and JP!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a ... Lawyer?

Over at Client Service for Law Firms, Mike Hellum is using the Rumble in the Jungle, the classic 1974 fight between George Foreman and Muhammed Ali in Zaire, as an example for the kind of persistence and stamina needed to follow a client service initiative through to successful completion. Hellum explains how Ali used his rope-a-dope strategy to win the epic contest and compares it to how you can win a client service initiative.

It's a clever analogy and one I'll use to remind myself to hang in there when things are going less than optimally, both in client service and in life generally. I've also added Mike's blog to my feeds aggregator so I can read what he has to say more often.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Lawyer-boxer-blogger is Now Blogging at JD Bliss

I'm happy to announce that I am now a guest author on the JD Bliss blog. JD Bliss has a simple, focused goal: "to help attorneys leverage their JD [Juris Doctor] degrees into satisfying careers, personal growth, and individual happiness."*

JD Bliss provides information about a wide variety of topics. Too numerous to list here, the various subjects focus on helping lawyers improve their work/life balance, create more satisfying careers for themselves, and grow as whole persons living rich, satisfying lives. The information on the blog also helps law firms to improve attorney retention and motivation.

My inaugural entry on the JD Bliss blog is about five established and experienced big city lawyers who, in the middle of their careers, left very large firms to join small firms or even start their own firm. Please read that blog post to see the success and happiness those attorneys found as they discovered that bigger does not always mean better in the practice of law.



* For more information about the mission of JD Bliss, see the blog's "About us" page.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pledging the Fistic Fraternity: A Brief Boxing Story

Several years ago, I trained at Chicago’s storied Windy City Boxing Gym. (It has since closed due to some building code violations in the old warehouse where the gym owners had rented space.) It was in a fairly rough part of the city and was a classic boxing gym, with a rich past, like something out of a movie.

Aside from Todd Collins, my first coach at Windy City, no one there knew my name. All the guys just called me “Lawyer.” It seems everyone had a nickname–Mad Dog, Underdog, Crusher–and “Lawyer” was mine.

Although I was a “serious” amateur boxer who competed, I guess some of the guys there at first dismissed me as someone who was just trying the sport as a fitness regimen and was not going to work hard. I didn’t even perceive that until the first time I sparred at Windy City, but that experience let me know some of the men thought I was merely dabbling in the sweet science and not to be taken seriously.

In those days, I was training regularly with the rest of the amateurs in the late afternoons. The coach we had was a smart guy; he would not just “throw me in there” for sparring until he was convinced that I really had boxed before and knew what I was doing. Even so, after a week of training with the guys, our coach told me I was going to spar that day.

After putting on my foul protector, headgear, and gloves and inserting my mouthpiece, I climbed into the ring and began to move around a bit as I waited for my sparring partner to get suited up. I had sparred in that ring before (while training with my previous coach), so I felt comfortable there. As I did a little shadowboxing, I saw a few of the other boxers standing outside the ring talking quietly and chuckling. Two of them put their hands over their mouths and pointed to me and laughed. They expected me to get my ass handed to me and may even have been eager to see that happen.

Eventually, my sparring partner entered the ring. He was a Hispanic kid whose nickname was El Gallo ("Rooster"). I was 33 at the time and he was about ten years younger than I. The other fellow clearly felt as comfortable in that ring as I did. He was friendly enough, but I knew he’d be all business in the sparring. My assessment was accurate: El Gallo was all business in there, and so was I.

He and I mixed it up for three hard rounds before our coach said, “Good work, men,” and told another pair of boxers that they were to be next in the ring. Although El Gallo and I were pretty evenly matched, I felt good because if it had been a scored bout, I was pretty sure I’d have won every round. It was close, to be sure, but my partner had a habit of holding his right out a bit too far from his face and that made it fairly easy to score with my left hook. Taking advantage of his surprise, I was usually able to follow up the hook with a quick jab to the face, and once or twice even with a good right cross. It was good work, as boxers often call sparring, and we were both fairly tired at the end of it.

After shaking hands and congratulating one another on some good practice, El Gallo and I climbed out of the ring to let the next boxers have their turn. The same guys who had been laughing and pointing before the sparring came up to me. To my surprise, they were all enthusiastic and full of praise. “Great job, man!” said one of them, high-fiving me. Another added, “Yeah, you really looked good in there. Dude, you know what you’re doing. Wow!”

At first, I was a little taken aback by the comments. “Well, what the hell did you expect?” I said to myself. My initial resentment didn’t last long; it was melted by the enthusiastic smiles of the men who clearly considered me a new friend. The price for entry into their brotherhood was clearly to do well in a sparring session, or at least to have the courage to get into the ring and trade some punches.

Their congratulations were sincere. Although they had been skeptical, the guys who had expected to see a young lawyer get his ass kicked by a “real” boxer were happily surprised to see the lawyer hold his own and even do a decent job of pressuring his sparring partner during a tough three rounds.

After that day, I was treated differently. I could sense the changed attitude those men had toward me. In a place where what one does for a living counts for little, if anything, the guys enthusiastically accepted me as one of their own. Everyone still called me “Lawyer” for the duration of my stay at Windy City, but that had become an affectionate nickname rather than a skeptical, even somewhat derisive moniker. I had passed my initiation into the fraternity of fisticuffs. Yes, I was still a lawyer, but far more importantly, in the eyes of my gym mates, I was a boxer. A real boxer. Just like them.

Good Luck to Everyone Taking the Bar Exam

On Wednesday, July 25, 2007 (and the day before and after, depending on the state), candidates for admission to the bars of the various United States are taking the bar exam. I join with David Lat at Above the Law in wishing good luck to all the bar exam takers. Do well, then take some well-deserved time off.

It has been 15 years since I sat for the Illinois bar exam. I still sometimes have nightmares about it. The bad dreams are almost always variations on a simple, yet terrifying, theme. Two hours into a three-hour segment of the exam, I am racing desperately to get to the place where the exam is being held. No matter what the other circumstances of the dream are, I never arrive; I just keep running. That is, of course, until I wake up in a state of panic and cold sweat, only to realize--quite happily, I might add--that I am sitting up safely on my bed and I already have my law license. :-)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sports Psychology at About.com

As I give more attention to the mental game, I continue to seek new resources to help me use my mind more effectively in sport. Here's a page I found this weekend that contains a number of sports psychology pages that look like they will be useful.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportspsychology/Sports_Psychology.htm

Weekend Training

Pretty basic stuff this weekend. Did shadowboxing and roadwork for 18 minutes on Saturday and 33 minutes on Sunday. Also did two 10-minute visualization sessions (more about this later).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looking at New Gyms for Training

As I have written before, my athletic club is closing down and our boxing club is going to need a new home, at least temporarily, but probably permanently.

Meanwhile, Nerd of Steel has recently published some really good entries on his blog about finding and evaluating a boxing gym, so the timing is great for me: I can read his reminders and be able to use them right away. Here are a few links to these topics on his site:
While I have listed a few links above to share the blog entries that have been particularly helpful to me during this transitional time, Nerdcore Boxing is a fine blog as a whole, and I hope you'll visit all of the site.

Updated at 1:07 p.m.: I forgot to mention earlier that my friend Russell Newquist mentioned about a month ago that he, too, is looking for a new training facility. He has two blog entries on his search.

http://philosophers-stone.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/quest-for-a-new.html

http://philosophers-stone.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/quest-for-a-n-1.html

Although the specific things he is talking about are somewhat different than what I'm encountering in my search for a new gym, there are some similarities. Not the least of those similarities is that sense of being unsettled and not getting as much exercise as I normally would. I am hoping to have my search concluded and be settled in a new gym within a couple of weeks. I would be very happy about that. If for some reason that doesn't happen, I will join a gym that is pretty close to where I live, at least temporarily, until Bernard and the rest of our boxers figure out what they want to do.

It's reassuring to know that I am certainly not the only one who is making this type of transition. I hope Russell's quest ends soon and he finds a place where he'll be happy!

Quick Training Recap

Roadwork and shadowboxing on the following days:
  • July 17: 18 minutes
  • July 18: 25 minutes
  • July 19: 32 minutes
  • July 20: day off

I will be happy when my new gym arrangement gets settled. It's a little frustrating to be in transaction now, but I know it's a temporary situation. I spoke with Bernard, our coach, yesterday. He is also investigating another possible location for our training: a new gym at 16th and Michigan. Hopefully, we will have a new training location soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Update on the Pro Game

Over at Bad Left Hook, Scott Christ shares his thoughts about the state of professional boxing. With his usual mix of knowledge of the sport, skilled writing, and sharp wit, Scott presents his views about the current state of boxing and some upcoming fights.

If you haven't yet visited Bad Left Hook, I recommend it. The guys who blog there are knowledgeable and eloquent. You don't have a lot of hype, it's all substance. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just Let Me Take this One Call...


Mobile phones really are everywhere these days, aren't they? I sent this to my friend Chris, who lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I will be visiting him soon. Chris and I have agreed to put the gloves on for a friendly match while I am there. In my e-mail to him, I assured Chris that this picture would not give an accurate depiction of our bout.

For one thing, I would not be so rude; I would definitely use a hands-free unit! :-P

For another, I can't imagine that Chris would let me get away with a stunt like that! The old rule, "protect yourself at all times," comes to mind! Chris is a good guy, but I doubt he'd let me take a break to yak on the phone. (Would he have to go to a neutral corner while I was talking?) More likely, I'd be looking at the lights pretty darned quickly, so I will let voice mail answer any mobile calls that I might receive during this epic bout!

(Clipart Copyright © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Used by subscription license.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Recent Move to a New Situation

I don't usually like to cross-post material from one blog to another. A lot of cross-posting can create the perception, whether accurate or not, that the blogger either does not have enough to say or is too lazy to generate content for multiple blogs, or even that he is not really serious about his blogging. Nevertheless, I'll share one post from one of my other blogs, Steve's Midlife Crisis, because it is relevant to my practice of law and offers some specific information about where I currently am in my life.

I originally posted this three months ago, so it talks about an upcoming move. That move has already happened and, for the most part, it is going well, although I am still learning to adjust to the new routine.

Getting Ready to Move On to Another Situation

At the end of April, I will be leaving the office I have rented for the last ten years. It's a charming little office in a building designed by Henry Ives Cobb in the revived Venetian Gothic style and completed in 1893. The office is just the right size for me. It has a hardwood floor and is filled with solid oak furniture: a heavy desk, a tall bookcase, a file cabinet, a small conference table, and a printer stand. I bought the furniture in 1994 from my friend Steve Oster at Oster Contemporary Furniture. Steve's a great guy and, although I don't see him or talk with him very much these days, I still consider him a really good friend. Also, he did set me up with some excellent furniture.

Perhaps naively, I had hoped to stay at my office until I was ready to retire. Some of that was no doubt due to everything that was happening during that week, ten years ago, when I moved. During those days, my mother was quite ill, my maternal grandmother passed away, I had an oral argument in the Illinois Appellate Court the same week I moved, and I was waiting for the state to pay me on a case I had litigated as court-appointed counsel for an indigent prisoner. After that convergence of events, I wanted never to have to move my business location again. Of course, things are rarely that simple and it was not to be so. Ah, impermanence!

I suppose a change is in order, considering my last office move was at the end of May, 1997. Nevertheless, I am taking a leap into the unknown here because I am choosing to be without an office for a while. That is something new because I've worked in an office environment since my IT career began back in 1985, and I've had my own private office since I started my law firm in May, 1994.

Since I don't have room for all of my office furniture, boxes of files, and law books at home, I'm going to rent some storage space for a while and keep everything there. That's not my preferred way of handling these developments, but my head and heart are just not into looking for new office space now. I don't want to force myself into finding new space until I have a more clear vision of what I want to do and how I want to do it. I can write and do technology and blog consulting almost anywhere, and the nature of my law practice is such that I don't really need to have a fixed office. I have the luxury of being able to wait.

Instead, at least in the short term, I'll be joining the ranks of the "neo-nomads" or new "bedouins." (Hat tip to Jim Ware at The Future of Work Weblog.) I'll be like the mobile professionals in the San Francisco Chronicle article, and like Chris Brogan and Alan Weinkrantz. Brogan says his office is a coffee shop, while Weinkrantz likes to work at Apple Stores when he is traveling.

Becoming a technomad makes sense for me for a few reasons. First, I've used laptop/notebook computers as my main machines since I was in law school. I haven't worked with my own desktop PC since I was in college. (However, that will change soon because my dad is going to give me a spare computer he has so I can network it with my laptop at home.)

I like being mobile. For a long time, along with my laptop computer, I was almost always pretty heavily armed with a cell phone, wireless PDA, and RIM device for text and instant messages. For those reasons, my good friend Philo Janus, the author of the excellent, recently published Pro InfoPath 2007 (Berkeley, CA: Apress, 2007), has referred to me as the Compleat Connected Attorney(tm). Philo is right. I like being able to work in a variety of places.

Second--and this may be a midlife issue--I feel a strong impulse to simplify my life. For a long time, the meaning, nay the sentiment, of this passage from Mr. Thoreau's Walden eluded me, but now I think I understand it in my bones.

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.

* * *

Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.

* * *

Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and
so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow."

Life really is at once complex and simple. As a younger man, I reveled in complexity. Complexity equaled delight for me. Whether it was the integral calculus, polyphonic baroque music, intricate literary subplots with many characters, recursive software algorithms, multidimensional arrays, nuanced and multi-part arguments in constitutional law, or trick plays in football, my mind was in a state of bliss when I had complex, really tough problems to solve. Nowadays, having endured the slings and arrows of the labyrinthine, I appreciate, even yearn for, the simple.

Finally, in my spiritual practice, I am cultivating the intention to feel at home anywhere. Maybe that's why I have attracted this move into my life. Perhaps I am ready to put that intention to work, to take it out into the larger world and start living it instead of just thinking about it. It won't be all coffee shops and quaint cafes; there are a variety of other quasi-office arrangements available. Ever since I was a boy, I have thrived on variety. It seems this change of work setting will give me even more variety.

I will also face some new challenges. I'll be hanging out in places where I can meet many new people, both prospective clients and sources of referrals. I have plenty to offer those people, too. While I am not exactly sure I can call myself an introvert, even if I am, I can improve my networking skills by learning from others like Rob May at BusinessPundit.com.

Of course, I don't know how all of this is going to play out. I do know, however, that I am ready for the challenge.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Thoughts About the Mental Game

Here's an interesting quote about mental attitude and visualization.
Your attitude is vital. Imagine a match between two evenly matched boxers. One has a positive attitude toward the game and is confident that he will win. The other boxer has a negative attitude and hopes that he won't make a fool of himself. Which boxer do you think will win? They are of equal ability, but only one has a positive attitude. That boxer is confident that he will win. Add visualization to this positive attitude, and he would become virtually unbeatable, as he is focused on a successful outcome.
Richard Webster, Creative Visualization for Beginners: Achieve Your Goals and Make Your Dreams Come True (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2005), p. 23.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Roadwork Recap

Here's the update from the last few days.
  • June 21: 36 minutes
  • June 22: 31 minutes
  • June 23: 32 minutes

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday's Return to Practice

Today, I finally got back to the gym. (The story is too long and complicated to post here.) It was great to be back. Here's the recap of the workout.
  • 24 minutes of roadwork
  • 10 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 5 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 3 rounds on the uppercut bag
  • 2 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 2 rounds of stretching
  • 1 round of situps

That's 23 rounds plus the roadwork. Not too bad for the first time back. It was a good practice. In addition to Bernard and me, Jack, Cory, and a new guy named Ted were there. Ted has boxed a bit before, so he seemed to slip into the workout routine easily. Andrew also showed up but it was after 7 p.m. when everyone had already finished his workout. Hopefully, he'll be there earlier next week. We're supposed to do some sparring next week. That will be fun.

Bernard also mentioned that he has been exploring some possibilities for places where we can continue our training after we lose our CAA home. Bernard said he has found a few locations that seem promising. He will check into them and let us know how they might work for us.

That's all the information I have now, but it's really good news. The powers that be may be able to sell our athletic club out from under us without our consent. However, they cannot stop the CAA boxing team!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Roadwork

A light, springy 40 minutes today. I am looking forward to returning to the gym tomorrow and rejoining our team practices.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Roadwork and Shadowboxing

45 minutes today. A fairly hot day again. I love summer!

My Friend Jeff's Bout Finally Happened! Woohoo!!!

My friend Jeff Gilbert had his long-awaited bout on Saturday. I'm not going to say a lot about it, since I wasn't there. Instead, you can read all about it here. While you are there, I hope you'll post a comment congratulating Jeff on his fine accomplishment. Based on my own experience, I think he'll be riding that endorphin rush for another two or three days. Ah, what fun! Good job, Jeff!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Roadwork and Shadowboxing

1 hour and 26 minutes today, punctuated by punching and shadowboxing. A pretty hot day out there!

Good Luck, Jeff!

Undaunted by cancellations due to his opponents calling in sick, backing out at the last minute (I think the guy was scared), and other hassles, my friend Jeff Gilbert, of Seattle, heads into the ring tonight for his master's bout in Langley, BC. Good luck, Jeff! Do great in there! Send video and photos!

Brief Training Update

Roadwork and shadowboxing outdoors have been going well. Here's a recap of recent work.
  • June 8: 53 minutes
  • June 9: 1 hour, 13 minutes
  • June 12: 46 minutes
  • June 14: 45 minutes

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Winning the Mental Game

Do you frequent RossBoxing.com and RossTraining.com? If you don't, you should. At his Web sites, Ross Enamait offers a wealth of information about boxing and other combat sports. In addition to his blog, his discussion forum, numerous free articles and videos, and free newsletter, Ross has some excellent training manuals available at prices that are very reasonable, considering the amount of useful information Ross packs into each of them.

Now that you've probably gone to Ross's site, started surfing it, and adding it to your favorites or bookmarks, allow me to point out a specific blog post that I find very helpful. I recently wrote about the mental game in boxing. On his blog, Ross offers his insight about the importance of the mind in combat sports. He also links to two of his articles that discuss the value of mental training in more detail.

On the important subject of dealing with nerves and the pre-fight "butterflies," Ross observes:
"As for dealing with nervous energy, nothing beats experience. You need to become comfortable inside the ring (or cage). This won’t happen in the gym. You need real/competitive experience. A fighter isn’t developed overnight. It takes time."

Ross really knows his stuff. My experience agrees completely with his comments. There really is no substitute for experience. As I gained more competitive experience, I started to feel at home in the ring. As one of my former coaches, Todd Collins, put it, a boxer has to feel like the ring is his workplace, his office. In that space, he must be comfortable. I don't know if Todd and Ross have ever met, but they have taught me many of the same things.

I always feel I have much to learn; I absorb training tips and new information like a sponge. I hope I'll always continue to learn about training and technique. As I mentioned in my earlier blog entry, I will be focusing even more on the mental game in the near future. I will use Ross Enamait's articles and training suggestions to unify my mind and body and become a better boxer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

And...in the blue corner...it's Photographer-boxer!

Leon Rose, a 38-year-old professional photographer in Auckland, New Zealand, is going to have his first bout on June 16. According to this news story, Rose and 15 other regular guys will be boxing in a Corporate Fight Night sponsored by Ringside Boxing Ltd. in Auckland. Ringside's Web site has more details about the event at this page.

In the article, Rose says, "[Boxing] is great for anyone who runs a business or has high levels of stress in their lives." I couldn't agree more. I've run my own business for the last 13 years and have had plenty of high levels of stress, and the boxing workouts have always been perfect for me. They also appeal to my competitive side; I really enjoy the intensity.

Leon Rose says he's ready and mentally prepared for his bout. I believe him. Those photographers are tough! Several years ago, I had an intense sparring session with a photographer named Art at Pug's Boxing Gym. Art and I spent 3 rounds in almost nonstop, toe-to-toe action, much to the chagrin of my coach who was telling me I needed to move more! Patrick, my coach, was right, but for some reason I felt compelled to get into a slugfest with that mild-mannered photographer. What can I say? I learned from the experience.

Therefore, I have no doubt Mr. Rose will be ready for his match. I hope it goes great for him, his opponent, and the other boxers in the event. I certainly hope they all will have as much fun in the ring as I've had. Good luck, guys!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday, Monday...

And a very rainy, dark one at that! It was raining on and off most of the day. For a while, there was a heavy downpour. Still, I managed to squeeze in 26 minutes of roadwork and shadowboxing. Not great, but not bad. Keep going!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Mental Game

Since I am in a rather strange time of transition, I am going to start focusing a lot more on the mental aspect of my boxing training. I've worked a lot physically on punches, footwork, balance, movement, defense, counterpunching, and strategy. However, I always feel I can do much more with the mental game. Therefore, I am going to be doing more of the following activities to help me improve as a boxer:
  • brainwave entrainment,
  • relaxation,
  • guided imagery,
  • affirmations, and
  • visualization.

Meditation is part of the regimen, too, but I have not listed it here because I already meditate regularly to practice mindfulness and to relieve stress. Since I'll be giving the mental game more emphasis, I will start blogging about it here more frequently. I'll post some of what I am doing and share the valuable resources I find along the way as I work to unify mind and body for boxing and in all areas of my life.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Training Update

On Thursday, May 31, 2007 and Saturday, June 2, 2007, I did 23 minutes and 51 minutes of roadwork respectively. Life has still been a bit busier than I like and I am sort of in transition with my boxing club now, but things ought to stabilize soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hot Summer Weather is Here

I did 24 minutes of roadwork outside today. The temperature was 88 degrees and fairly humid. It will be great when I figure out my new gym arrangement. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunny Sunday

Got out and did 41 minutes of roadwork today. Great day outside!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Rainy Saturday

It has been raining all day today. I waited until evening to get out and do some roadwork. I squeezed in 27 minutes between periods of rain. The whole day has been like that: pretty intense downpours punctuated with short periods of no rain or just a light drizzle. It's kind of an easy day today. The good news is that I have no soreness from yesterday's workout. Yay!

Friday Workout

I did a workout with my friend Roger today. He did not have his mouthpiece with him, so we didn't spar, but it was a good session anyway. We started out with 2 rounds of shadowboxing and 1 round of stretching. Then we did about 10 rounds of practice drills. We stayed with the basics and did the following drills:
  • Left jab and defense against left jab;
  • Left jab, defense against left jab, and immediate counterpunch with left jab; and
  • The old one-two punch and defense against it.

I wasn't sore after this workout, but my left arm was a little tired from throwing so many jabs. My coach, Bernard, always talks about drilling the basics: throwing the left jab for an hour. It's an important punch; since it provides the foundation for my offense as a right-handed boxer, it is worth practicing it over and over. We may spar next time to put everything together.

I also did 40 minutes of roadwork today. It was a sunny, mild day--a great day to be outside.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

101 Blogging Tips

Since, in addition to being a lawyer and a boxer, I am also a blogger, from time to time I'll share some thoughts about blogging and some useful sites, blogs, and books about blogging. Here's the first of those recommendations from your friendly neighborhood lawyer-boxer-blogger.

At his excellent blog about blogging, Bob Walsh, the author of Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them, points us to "101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger," posted at lifehack.org. That's a very useful list and I am going to implement many of those suggestions on my blogs, including Lawyer-boxer's Blog.

Also, I highly recommend Bob's book, Clear Blogging. I have not finished reading it yet, but I already reaping benefits from the book's practical content and easy-to-follow guidance. I cited Bob's book in an article I wrote about Internet radio yesterday, and I have used suggestions in the book to help with the blog consulting work I do for some clients. If you're interested in blogging, Clear Blogging will give you tons of useful information in an easy and accessible format.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sparring Update

I recently had a good workout with my friend Roger. We sparred a total of 6 rounds and did a lot of rounds of practice drills. We first sparred 3 rounds at a moderate pace. Then we did many rounds of practicing basic punches, defending against them, and counterpunching. The punches we practiced were the left jab, straight right, and left hook. After that, we sparred 3 more rounds at a somewhat quicker pace.

All in all, it was a good workout. I like doing the drills because they provide a great opportunity to reinforce the basics through repetition. Schedules can sometimes be difficult to coordinate, but I am hoping to do some training with Roger fairly regularly. Thanks, Roger, for the good workout!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Amateur Boxing Event in Seattle, WA on May 19, 2007

My friend and fellow boxer, Jeff Gilbert, mentions an amateur boxing show that will be held in Seattle on Saturday, May 19, 2007. Visit Jeff's blog for the details. Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff!

Online Friend and Fellow Boxer Returns!

I am happy to report that my online friend and fellow boxer, Duncan Higgitt, who lives in Wales, has returned to his boxing training and, perhaps even more importantly for our purposes here, to blogging. Woohoo! Great news, huh?

Here's a link to his new blog.

http://boxingaches2.blogspot.com

I hope you'll visit his site, wish him well, encourage him in his training, and urge him to update his blog a little more frequently. ;-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Boxing Club Blues

Things have been a bit strange and difficult at the club where I box. We are suposed to be shutting down for a year for some major construction and renovation. That has been delayed because the closing on the related real estate transaction was supposed to happen on May 7, but the deal has not yet closed. I am not entirely sure what is happening.

Setting up arrangements for our guys to train at another location during that year of construction has not progressed as I had hoped, so I have no clear idea of where we'll be training after another month or so, or even whether we will continue training together as a club. I hope we do, but there is no meaningful assurance that will happen.

I am exploring other gyms where I can train, even if I have to go on my own. For a lot of reasons that I won't explain now (but perhaps I will at some point), this situation has been really emotionally difficult for me. It has been aggravated by the stress of my recent office move and my uncle's illness.

Even so, I am determined to maintain a positive attitude. I will find a way to be at peace with the situation and derive enjoyment from my experiences.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday's Brief Training

The office move is coming up. Today's training was brief: 30 minutes roadwork in the great, glorious Chicago spring weather, along with some shadowboxing.

Friday Roadwork

57 minutes today. I am making a comeback...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brief Update

Not too much happening here. Things have been hectic with the office move and everything else happening. Our boxing club will be losing its home in a few weeks and I am not sure what will happen at that point. Here is a new gym I am considering joining if we can't keep our club together (although I really hope we can).

http://www.jabbboxing.com/home.html

Friday, April 06, 2007

Emerald Gloves 2007 Photos Are Online

Actually, they have been online for a while, but I've been scrambling just to get basic stuff done and haven't been blogging--or training--much. At least I've been training more than blogging, so it isn't all bad.

Some of the photos from Friday's Second Annual Emerald Gloves international boxing tournament are online. Here is the link to them:

http://glennfaust.smugmug.com/gallery/2599275

They include photos of the bouts in which our CAA boxers participated: Matt, Kevin, and Bill. It was good to see our club's boxers in action. I didn't get to box in the event this year, but I hope to be back to it in 2008. Way to go, Matt, Kevin, and Bill!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Freezing April Roadwork

1 hour and 6 minutes today. It has been so cold here, I had to throw punches just to stay warm! Is this really April? Anyway, I think, I hope things are easing up a bit and I'll be able to resume attending practices next week. Things have been just nuts lately!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some Thoughts on Healthy Eating

I haven't said anything here about the importance of proper nutrition in health and fitness. That surprises me because I am definitely conscious of that importance and I try to make wise food choices consistently. Good nutrition might be something we can take for granted if we are developing and maintaining good eating habits, but as with all things, it is easier to sustain that practice when I take some awareness to it and live consciously rather than unconsciously.

Over at The Philosopher's Stone, Russell Newquist, my friend, fellow athlete, and health-and-fitness kind of guy, shares his observations about the increased availability of healthy foods when we are away from our homes. This is one of those nutritional subtopics about which I've been fairly unconscious. Let me put it this way. Although I try to select healthy foods away from home, I don't often remember that it is more difficult to make those choices when I don't have direct control over the ingredients in the menu or the way the food is prepared.

Happily, as Russell points out, it is now easier to find one's favorite healthy foods in various places, even while eating meals away from home. Thanks for the reminder, Russell! Here's to some good eating for everyone, everywhere.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2007 Emerald Gloves Update

On Friday, March 16, my boxing club sponsored our second annual Emerald Gloves boxing tournament. It was a great time. We had a team comprised of amateur boxers from Ireland and England competing with a local team of champions. The bouts were excellent and, except for one, demonstrated a high level of sportsmanship. As far as I can tell, the event was an even bigger success than last year's tournament, so I'm happy about that, even though I was a lot less involved in the planning this year.

Three of our boxers boxed on Friday evening. Bill and Kevin boxed in an entertaining exhibition bout, while Matt competed against one of the Irish boxers whose opponent pulled out at the last minute. It was Matt's first bout and he did well, too. It was great to see my friends in the ring and doing so well. I hope to have a link to photos of the event in the next day or two.

I sat out the tournament this year. In fact, I watched the bouts with my friend Tim, who was my opponent in last year's Emerald Gloves, after enjoying a great dinner of Irish cuisine with Tim's friendly and charming wife.

Although I did not box this year, it was nice to see my bout mentioned in this year's program. There was a section called, "2006 Emerald Gloves Recap" which gave the following summary of my bout with Tim:
"2 attorneys and everyday friends, battled it out in the ring rather than the courtroom. They took the audience by surprise with their skill and all out effort. The roaring crowd declared a tie."

I certainly did not expect any additional recognition a year later, but it was nice to be mentioned. Here is a link to the rest of the 2006 recap:

http://www.chicagoathletic.com/Files/Library/EmeraldGlovesRecap.pdf

I wrote my own account of my experience at last year's event:

http://www.steveimparl.info/wiki/index.php?title=Emerald_Gloves_Report

Finally, there are some additional photos of my bout with Tim at the following page:

http://www.steveimparl.info/photos/thumbnails.php?album=1

Enjoy!

Roadwork Update

Yeah, I am still focusing on the roadwork and basic conditioning. Lots of stuff has been going on, some of it pretty difficult, so my workouts have not been what I want them to be. (For a little information about what has been happening, see this entry at The Manly Teas blog.)

In any event, I saw my coach, Bernard O'Shea, on Friday night. I told him what was going on and mentioned that I am still doing some basic, though limited, workouts with the roadwork, shadowboxing, and jumping rope. He seemed more concerned about the family stuff that's happening now than about my workouts and progress; he knows I'm pretty committed to this sport. It was good to have his overall reassurance and to have him gently suggest that I return to our team practices when the time is good for me.

So here is a little update on roadwork for the last couple of weeks.
  • March 9: 20 minutes
  • March 11: 36 minutes
  • March 12: 30 minutes
  • March 14: 30 minutes
  • March 16: 30 minutes

Again, it's not exactly how I want things to be, but it is something to keep me in the routine. Hopefully, the rest of life will get less complicated soon and I'll be able to get back to the more regular schedule I had been following.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Taking Today Off

I'm mentally tired today.  It was a reasonably nice day outside, but my mind feels wiped out.  Physically, I feel great.  Mentally, I have some fatigue.  I'm not very worried; it is temporary.  Perhaps things will be back to normal as soon as tomorrow.  Here's hoping. :-)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Roadwork Recap

I am kind of in a slow period lately: mostly roadwork and some shadowboxing. That is largely because work has been really busy. Here's a brief recap.
  • March 1: 30 minutes
  • March 2: 31 minutes
  • March 3: 24 minutes
  • March 4: 32 minutes

The State of the Sport (at the professional level)

What is the state of the sport?  That's an interesting question.  I've got some answers, courtesy of two men who share a first name.

First, Mike Houser, a sports writer at the Nevada Appeal, tells us, "Boxing needs to be cleaned up."

Next, Mike Casey, a writer at Boxing Scene, presents an impassioned and persuasive plea for such a cleanup, pointing out that nothing less than the sport's future is at stake.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Roadwork in the Snow and Freezing Rain

I got out there for 25 minutes today. I need to crank things up. I will. The weather was a bit odd. It was warm, but messy. My shoes were really wet when I got home! Oh well, spring is only (how many?) weeks away?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday's Workout

I had a decent workout today.  At practice were Kevin, Bill, Cory, Bernard, Andrew, and me.  It was good.  I didn't work on anything new; rather, I focused on improving the basics and that was helpful since I had missed our practices for the last few weeks.  Here's the summary of today's workout.
  • 15 minutes of roadwork
  • 9 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 5 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 2 rounds on the double-end bag
  • 2 rounds on the uppercut bag
  • 2 rounds of shadowboxing 

All in all, not a bad workout for the first day back in a few weeks.  Our next practice will be on Thursday, so I hope to increase the intensity then.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good Luck, Jeff! (Again)

My buddy Jeff Gilbert had a bout scheduled for a few weeks ago in Langley, British Columbia. It was postponed and rescheduled for today. So good luck, Jeff! Do well and have a blast!

Brief Roadwork Update

Lately, my workouts have not been what I want them to be. I will change that. For now, it has been cold and snowy recently, so roadwork has slacked, too.
  • February 14: 23 minutes
  • February 15: 38 minutes
  • February 16: 20 minutes

It's something, but not nearly enough. Oh well, there is always room for improvement.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Shivering Monday Roadwork

We had a high temperature of 6 degrees Fahrenheit today. That's rather cold, even for February. I managed to get out there and do 32 minutes, throwing some punches along the way. I am ready for summer!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Good Luck, Jeff!

My good friend, Jeff Gilbert in Seattle, WA, has a bout coming up tomorrow, in Langley, British Columbia. I am thrilled for him! He's been training hard and eagerly anticipating this match. I know he will do well and I sure hope he has a blast with it. Jeff will be going up against a Canadian opponent. The match will be at the Langley City Boxing Club. Here is the information; if you happen to be in the greater Vancouver, BC area, stop by and cheer Jeff on. He's a good guy and he is really psyched for this bout.

Do well, Jeff, and above all, have a great time!

Roadwork Summary

It has been cold this week and roadwork has meant getting around snow and ice and braving the cold weather. Here's the update on roadwork and shadowboxing for the last few days.

January 16: 17 minutes
January 17: 21 minutes
January 18: 37 minutes

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday's Workout

I had a good workout today, but I was the only one at practice with Bernard! I don't know what happened with the rest of the guys. I hope they will be there on Thursday. (Our next workout is on Thursday this week instead of Wednesday, but unfortunately, I won't be there because I have to attend a meeting.)

Here's the recap for today:
  • 25 minutes of roadwork (yes, it's still cold out there)
  • 9 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 4 rounds practicing slipping with the rope (actually a string) across the ring
  • 2 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 1 round of practicing the left jab while holding a 3-pound weight
  • 1 round of stretching
That's 17 rounds plus the shivering, I mean roadwork. Working on the pads was challenging today. We worked a lot on hooks and uppercuts, in groups of 5. We also used the punch shield to practice a quick attack and retreat, an effective move to use against taller opponents. We'll be doing more of that, but today's routine consisted of stepping in with a double left jab and hard straight right, then backing out with two quick steps, moving in again, scoring, and moving back out. Getting the footwork down was kind of challenging, but I'll master it. It's great to have new challenges and to feel I am making progress in this sport.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chilly Sunday Roadwork

Winter is back! I managed only 12 minutes today. It's freezing out there. I did some shadowboxing, too, but it's still cold.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Roadwork

Did 33 minutes today. Surprisingly, I am not sore from yesterday. That's a good thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday's Training

Today's workout was pretty good. At our practice, it was Bernard, Cory, Kevin, Andrew, and a guest of Bernard's named Chance who came in to give us some sparring practice. Kevin sparred 3 rounds with him. I didn't spar because it was my first time attending practice in about two weeks, so I wanted to get my timing back. Even so, I had a good workout. Here's the breakdown:
  • 22 minutes of roadwork
  • 9 rounds on the pads with Bernard
  • 3 rounds of shadowboxing
  • 2 rounds on the heavy bag
  • 1 round on the double-end bag
  • 1 round of stretching
That's a total of 16 rounds plus the roadwork. I am easing back into the routine and into blogging about the routine, too! :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Into the Winter I Go

Ah, the holidays are over. They were great fun, but they also played havoc with my workouts. Roadwork continues throughout December and the beginning of this month, but gym workouts were spotty and inconsistent. Now that we're into January, though, I am hoping to get back on track. I know I can do it; I just have to be consistent. Happy New Year 2007 and let's go for a good year of training and improvement of skills!