Thursday, January 28, 2010

Help Nerd of Steel Find a New Boxing Gym

Dodger StadiumImage via Wikipedia
I'm a little late with this, but we do what we can, right? My buddy, Nerd of Steel, who publishes the Nerdcore Boxing blog, is looking for a new gym in the greater Los Angeles, California area. Most recently, he has blogged about his quest here.

I'm taking the liberty to ask my readers to help "Nerd" with his search. He hasn't asked me for any help--and by offering, I don't mean to imply that he needs it--but I know how it is to be displaced from a boxing club where I trained for a long time, and to start over at a new place. Others, including my former coach, Bernard O'Shea, and Chad Robbins, one of the owners of Go Time Chicago, helped me during that transition a few years ago. Therefore, if I have the chance to try to help a fellow boxer who is going through the same thing, I will take it. That's especially true when the boxer is an all-around good guy and is becoming an online friend, like Nerd of Steel.

So if you can help another boxer find a new place to train and minimize the interruptions to his training resulting from the move, please visit Nerd of Steel's blog and offer your suggestions in the comments to a blog entry such as this one. Thanks.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday's Training

drop1.Image via Wikipedia
I had a good workout on Sunday. As always, Glen was his enthusiastic self, and I had recovered enough from my cold/flu to actually put in some hard work. We have a new boxer in the group, Howard, who is also a lawyer. Like the rest of the boxers, he's a very likable fellow with decent boxing skills. He's also a southpaw, so it's great to have the opportunity to practice with another left-handed opponent.

We did a lot of drills. In addition to the attack and defense--the punches, slips, blocks, and other maneuvers that make up a boxer's arsenal--I paid special attention to balance and footwork. I noticed I was moving more smoothly and positioning myself a lot more effectively. Footwork and balance are really basic, and they seem basic after I do them well, but I don't think one can practice them too much. When I am well-positioned on my feet and in a state of balance, I can move a lot better, punch better, protect myself better, fight my fight (rather than the opponent's), and stay more energized. It can be surprising how tiring poor technique can be!

Howard and I sparred a spirited three rounds. He's a skilled strategist and knows how to use his left-handed stance to his advantage. Still, with the recent practice I've gotten with Scott, who is also a lefty, I was pretty confident during all three rounds. After those rounds, Glen gave us each a few suggestions for improvement, and Howard and I shared with one another our assessment of the work. It went well. We finished by doing a few rounds of heavy bag drills, abs, and then the crown jewel of the workout: the thirties.

I'm pleased with my progress, even though, as always, I see lots of things I can do better. We've got a good guys in our group, and everyone is very encouraging, so that's a huge help. I'm making some new friends, so that's a bonus. It's great to work with Glen. He's upbeat, keenly interested in our progress, and willing to explain and demonstrate moves for me as many times as it takes for me to get them right.

Often when I am close to doing a combination well, I'll ask Glen some questions about strategy I can use in case my opponent anticipates or counters any of my punches. I always want to stay a step or two ahead of the other guy. Glen always enthusiastically explains defenses and counters I'll likely face, and gives me concrete pointers for beating them.

I'm keeping up my training fairly regularly, despite my blogging about it less than I prefer. As some other things in life quiet down, I hope to write more here. I had also hoped to play hockey this winter, in a league, but there are only so many hours available. With the economy in the recession, I am really having to hustle to generate new business for my law firm. When I have fewer clients, my writing becomes a lot more important so I need to focus on that. At this point, boosting income and wealth is important, so I have to emphasize my professional life more. While I might play ice hockey next winter or in a summer league, or roller hockey in the summer, sadly that sport will have to stay on hold for a while. For now, my athletic endeavors will be aimed at becoming a better boxer.
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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Grandfather

Alpine Ibex, picture taken in the Julian Alps ...Image via Wikipedia
On January 9, 1895, my grandfather--my dad's dad--John Sebastian Imparl, was born in a small peasant village in Slovenija. At the time of his birth, Slovenija was occupied by Austria, so he grew up bilingual: he spoke his ancestral Slovenian at home and the required German in school. Sometime during the first decade of the 1900s, my grandfather and his immediate family left Slovenija and moved to the United States.

My grandfather had a hard life. A naturalized United States citizen, during World War II, he served in the U.S. Army in the Western Pacific. After he returned home, he faced considerable suffering. His beloved wife and my grandmother, Genevieve Kolenc Imparl, passed away in 1947. Their oldest son, my dad's brother, John, followed her in death about one year later, while serving in the U.S. Army and stationed in California. The remaining three children thrived, but I can only imagine the pain my grandfather must have felt during the last few years of the 1940s.

Even in the face of all of that adversity, my grandfather persisted, determined to make a good life for himself, his family, and his later descendants in his adopted homeland. I remember, as a boy, listening to his stories, such as his tale about having been visited in the "old country" by his guardian angel when he was 13 or 14 years old. He also shared several pearls of wisdom such as, "The biggest room in your house is always the room for improvement," and "No news is good news." With my propensity to interpret things literally, I must admit I puzzled over those little maxims until I was a grown man before I really understood them. Even so, those wise words give me fond memories and food for thought today.

I remember my grandfather was always kind to my parents, his remaining children, my brother, and me. In his later years, he didn't have much but he always offered the best hospitality he could and I always felt welcomed and safe at his home. He passed away on January 27, 1978, when I was freshman in high school. I miss him.

Rest in peace, Gramps. You live on, not only in your descendants' fond memories, but also in our very bodies, in our DNA. We're working to make you proud of us.
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