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Posts Tagged ‘Boxing’

I give you the information and techniques in a simple and straightforward way, and you put the information and techniques to good use by putting in the hard work.
There are no shortcuts.
There is a direct relationship between effort and results.  If you are disciplined and you work hard at learning, then you will get there.
   —     Fran Sands
From his book: “The Beginner Boxer Toolkit
Online at: www.myboxingcoach.com
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On This Day In:
2020 One Person’s Roses…
2019 In The Long-Run
2018 #NeverAgain
Doss II
Doesn’t / Does
2017 Talent Hates To Move
2016 Looking To November
2015 It Isn’t The End
Prospero’s Precepts
2014 Friends
2013 Learning Bitter
2012 Remembrance, Minstrels & Going Off To War
May I Have More Happiness, Please?
2011 There Is No God, But God
2010 Another Running Book…

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After a couple of days off resting my knee, I got back out and tried to get in a little heavy breathing.
The first picture is of the pull-up stand I had built.  It’s a fairly basic tri-pod (tri-pole?) stand with a solid steel bar running across the two front 4X6’s.  At just about shoulder level, I put in two “eye-screws” to hook things to.  In this shot, I’ve used a pair of bungees to suspend my punching target – a double-end ball.  This is mostly on the “Do-It-Yourself” project list to save money.  The basketball and black / orange nylon cord, I already owned.  The two screws were about $3 each.  The package of bungees was $10 for a pack of 14 assorted lengths.  And the basketball net was another $3.  So, all told, a functional double-end boxing target for under $20.  One of my neighbors moved and he was tossing out three basketballs, so I still have two more to use to set up a “double-double-end” with basketballs (instead of tennis balls).  (Reality check:  a “cheap” double-end ball runs between $12 and $20 on Amazon.  The “decent” ones between $25 and $40.  The “pro” models upwards of $80.)

Pull-up Stand with Double-End Target

This target is a lot more substantial than hitting tennis balls and is fine for the “rough” motor skills of a rank amateur like me (reading between the lines: that means I miss a LOT).  It’s a good target for jabs and straight punches from both a regular and southpaw stance.  It’s particularly fun for practicing side-slipping and upper-cuts.  I have also learned to use it to practice bobbing with following upper-cuts.  That is how I “learned” about wearing a mouth-guard and the abrasiveness of the basketball hitting you in the forehead and side of the head.  The image below shows the basketball in the net more clearly.

Close-up of Double-End Target

I’ve tried hitting the target with hooks (which are horizontal punches), but I’m not confident in the bungees ability to stay attached on the side the hook is going to.  I think it may be best to wait on those punches until I have the “double-double” set up vertically.  I’m also debating adding extra bungees to make the rebounding response stiffer.  Finally, I’m a bit concerned the bungees might unhook or the cord simply snap off the metal hook at the end.  I’m thinking of using duct-tape to secure the hooks to the eye-screws, but I haven’t yet thought of a way to ensure the cord doesn’t snap free from the metal end hook.  If anyone can think of something, please let me know…
I’ve been trying to get in 45 minute sessions.  Today’s was a bit shorter due to light rain / sprinkles.  The two days off really helped with my shoulder stiffness.  They still tire quickly, but they were definitely better than on day #2.  If anything, it was my hips and hamstrings which were giving me the most issues.  I felt like I was lead-legged and struggling to lift them in treacle.  LoL!  The price of being “mature” and trying to get a little fitter.
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On This Day In:
2019 Stand Up, Hook Up, Shuffle To The Door…
2018 Ridiculous Idea
2017 Waddle On!
A Severe Challenge — When The President Is A Liar
2016 The Best Of Circumstances
2015 Reverberating Silence
2014 Wrong Again?
2013 Improper Faith
2012 One More Rung
2011 Sunday Morning Earlies (Hugging trees and smiling…)
Hurry
Updates On Life
2010 It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

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No practice today.  I tweaked my right knee walking our dog and then aggravated it more with a LONG walk around Costco (and unloading the car).
Instead, I’m posting an image of the “precision” target I mentioned in my prior post.

Tennis balls adapted for precision punching practice.

As you can see, it’s just two tennis balls strung up on a nylon cord with a bungee cord and a weight on the bottom end and more nylon cord (and rope) tying the top end to a hook in one of my rafters.  Simple, yet effective.  There are knots tied in the cord at either side of the tennis ball to prevent the ball from moving up or down the cord.  The base weight is just so I didn’t have to make any attachment (damage) to the floor.  The weight is just a single 10lb free weight.  I tried lighter and heavier weights.  Lighter (5lbs) and when the balls were struck, the weight moved  and banged into things.  Heavier (25lbs) was just too much of a hassle to move around to set up and take down.
This type of target is sometimes called a “double-end” target (“bag” when actual punching bags are used) or a “kangaroo” target.  My modification to the basic target was to add a second tennis ball.  This gives me a target at roughly chin height and one at roughly rib / solar plexus height.  This is the target I was using when trying on my gloves every couple of days.  Although it was “safe” in this location, it wasn’t particularly useful as I could hit it without “it” hitting anything else, but I couldn’t move around much (at all).  Now that I think about it, this was probably one of my earliest lessons:  “punching” is hitting things;  “boxing” is hitting things while you move around so they don’t hit you back.  (LoL)  Yes, I still learn the hard way every time!
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On This Day In:
2019 Yet We Should Keep Trying
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
Secrets
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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So, what did I learn from my first lesson (yesterday) and today?  This is hard training.  Even with a very basic session…  I am old, and I am sore!  I had a difficult night sleeping because both of my shoulders and my neck are painful when pressed on or when moved.  Net result: I’m even more tired today from lack of sleep.
I slowed down my punching (attempts) as yesterday I missed the target at least a third of the time.  The target is a basketball suspended with bungee cords.  You would think it would be “easy” to hit something as big as a basketball…  It ain’t!!  Particularly when it’s moving / rebounding from an earlier strike.  So, the first lesson is start slow.  Learn the correct form.  Form leads to accuracy.  Speed will follow from form and accuracy.  (Eventually.)
The nice thing about never intending to hit (or get hit by) anyone is I can take as long as I want to practice individual punches:  left and right jabs, hooks, upper-cuts, straight punches.  Standing traditional and “peek-a-boo”;  conventional and southpaw.  I can also practice slipping and bobbing to my hearts content.  (My heart is pretty content after about a 30 second stretch.)  Then, it’s pause for 5-10 seconds to catch your breath and then start something else (or do it again).
I learned I need to wear my mouth guard and I’m going to need to get a head protector.  The ball “hits” back.  Not hard, like a real person.  But it’s hard enough to bite your tongue or the inside of your cheeks if you’re not concentrating.  The lacing holding the ball can slice you (forehead and cheeks) if you’re not careful.  And, lastly, basketballs have a course “pebbled” surface which makes them easier to dribble, but it will chafe you pretty good if it hits you at the wrong angle.  It might have been smarter to start with a smoother surfaced ball, like a soccer ball.  Oh, well…
End result:  pouring sweat, exhausted, exhilarated – fun!
Wife’s reaction:  “You’re too old to be doing this everyday.  You need to start with every other day or just a couple of times a week.”  When I pointed out she made me promise to use the gloves if I was going to buy them, she replied:  “Yes, but you’ve already used them twice as much as I EVER thought you would.
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On This Day In:
2019 A Surprisingly Good Way
It’s Official X-mas (Tree) At Home
2018 Weight / Health Update
What’s Happening With You?
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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My wife isn’t sure if I’m having a mid-life crisis or just going into my second childhood…
This year I’ve been watching A LOT of YouTube.  Well, okay…  It started last year, but that’s just a detail.
I was viewing a bunch of videos on working out and I found myself going through reams of “30-Day Challenge” videos.  Of course, I decided to give one a shot.  My choice:  the “30-Day / 100 pushup per day challenge”.
Day One (Test):  Zero.  That’s correct.  I could not do a single pushup from the floor.  I could get into a plank position, (with effort,) and lower myself to the floor, but not get back up off the floor.
Obviously, some modifications would be necessary…  Inclined pushup from the back of the sofa.  Five.  Okay.  It’s a start.  First day:  20 sets of five, spread through-out the day (and evening).
Days 2 and 3 were more of the same.  Day 4, I was able to do 10.  So, 10 sets of 10, spread through-out the day.
To make a longer story shorter, about day 10 I was finally able to do ONE pushup from the floor.  By then, I was doing five(5) sets of 20 inclined.  At the end of 30 days, I could do 5 pushups from the floor.  (And shorter again…)  At the end of 60 days, I was able to do 15 pushups from the floor.  By way of comparison, Google says an “average” 65 year old man should be able to do between 6 and 16.  In other words, I went from abject failure to the top end of “average”.
And then I got hurt…  (But that’s another story.)
While browsing YouTube, it started feeding me boxing and martial arts videos (over and over again).  So, (of course) I started watching them…  Because I wasn’t able to do much other than walk, I started shadow-boxing in front of a mirror…  And then I bought gloves…  And then I bought hand-wraps…  And then I bought focus pads…  And then I started making home-made (read: inexpensive) boxing targets.  It turns out YouTube has videos on how to jury rig most of the expensive kit you need to practice boxing.
Here’s some pictures of my gloves…  They are RDX F12 Training Boxing Gloves (16oz.)

Fresh out of the box and still in plastic

Palm side up

“Business” side up

And, after trying them on a few times a week for the last month or so…  Today I did my first “workout” with the gloves.
Now to be fair,  I did actually try them on and use them for a few minutes when I would set up a new target and once for a few minutes of shadow-boxing in front of a mirror, but until today, my wife had put it down to another one of my “phases”.  When approached on the possible purchase, she did insist on a $50 limit on my gloves because she was convinced they’d be gathering dust by now.  So, yes, they’re an inexpensive pair.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.  And, no, they are not leather.  They are “engineered” leather.  (LoL!)
Today’s workout was about 45 minutes long, sweaty and exhausting.  But, it was loads of fun and I felt terrific after my hot shower.  Tired and relaxed and starting to get sore in strange (and not so strange) places, but all things considered – terrific!
I’m really not sure if this is a “phase” or not, but I’m going to put up a post every now and then about this “journey”.  I’ll try to come up with a way to let you know in the “post” title when I’m on this topic as I have no idea how many of my blog followers have the slightest interest in this side topic.
A final note (reality check):  I am a 65 year old man, morbidly obese, with a heart condition (AFib) and on blood thinners.  So, NO, I will NEVER be in a fight or EVER sparring.  This is just a way to try to add some fun to my efforts to raise some sweat (and maybe learn a bit about the “sweet science” while I’m at it.)
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On This Day In:
2019 I Think I’m Repeating Myself
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-mas!
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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The “growth mindset” in simple terms means that when students believe that they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger.
The student with a growth mindset put in extra time and extra effort and this leads to higher achievement.
The growth mindset student possesses the tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
     —    Fran Sands
From his online book:  “The Beginner Boxer Toolkit
Online at:  www.myboxingcoach.com
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On This Day In:
2019 Steps To Impeach #45
Science Upgrade Needed
2018 Come November 6th
2017 Hearts And Memories
2016 Tremendous Energy
Beyond Trying
2015 Tell Me…
2014 Live Forever (To Remember Me)
Orange October (VI) – Giants Win Game 4
2013 More Than Just Words
2012 Egotist, n.
2011 Good And Bad

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Push-hands: The Handbook For Non-Competitive Tai Chi Practice With A Partner”  —  book review
Today’s book review is for “Push-hands: The Handbook For Non-Competitive Tai Chi Practice With A Partner” (1997©), written by Herman Kauz.  This is one of those learn martial arts by pictures books.  Having said that, which makes my review sound disparaging – this is a valuable / useful book.
This is a very short book.  It is 128 pages (in my hard-bound edition), and the second half of the book has images on almost every page (at least a hundred images over the 50 pages).  If you are reading this book straight through, you can easily complete it in a day.  Unfortunately, you will get almost nothing from the book if you do this.  To borrow from Francis Bacon: this is a book to be “chewed and digested”.
I first became “aware” of push-hands as a teenager, when my uncle (who was taking Kung-fu lessons) demonstrated it to my brother and me.  Unfortunately, if you don’t have a partner close at hand for a LONG period, it is (IMHO) very difficult to get the prolonged experience necessary to learn from this practice.  I’ve never had such a partner.  At any rate, I have been a life-long dabbler / dilettante in several martial arts: boxing, wrestling, Hapkido, Judo, and Aikido.  I spent the most time playing Aikido, but even with almost a decade of intermittent practice, I was never very advanced.  With advancing age, I recently have become interested in Tai Chi as a form of exercise. I primarily wish to strengthen my ligaments and improve my balance.  “Push-hands” is one of the “forms” of practice which helps improve the Tai Chi students awareness of self and of others.
The author states early in the book, that one must have practiced the Tai Chi “first form” for a minimum of six months before attempting push-hands.  This is to establish the sense of self which will serve as your foundation for sensing others and establishing balance. I found this assertion to be very much in accordance with my own Aikido experience and from then on the book (author) had me “hooked”.  One note here.  The “balance” which I was seeking is not the same “balance” being used by the author.  I don’t want to fall down.  He wants more.  The author wants the reader (practitioner) to balance their personality and life – as well as – understand “balance” for martial purposes.
If the second half of the book is a picture-book tutorial of a martial art technique, what is the first half about?  History, philosophy, society and economics.  Huh??  Yup!  There are chapters on society, economics and history, the positive and negative aspects of competing, how we change what we think and why we should want to, the difficulty of doing so, seeing the world differently and then (finally) how we can use push-hands to develop ourselves as responsible / caring beings.
So, is this a good training / instructional manual?  Yes.  I believe it will be if you can find a partner to work with.  Is it interesting and / or well written?  Yes.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find it much better than (the many) martial art picture tutorials / books I’ve read in the past.  Final recommendation: highly recommended.  Of course, I do have qualifications, but they are mainly about trying to learn any physical activity by reading about it.  Having said this, I think most anyone who is willing to do the pre-training (the six months on the first form) will find this a valuable addition to their library and a source of material for deep thought about society and about Tai Chi tactics as a martial art – beyond it’s calisthenics / health usefulness.
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On This Day In:
2019 I’m Still Struggling To Rise
2018 Once Suddenly Free
2017 What Is Childlike
2016 The Latter A Lot Quicker Than The Former
2015 Notes On My Nightstand
2014 Generations
2013 Two For One
2012 Seen And Heard
2011 The Hazards And Vicissitudes Of Life

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Amateur (2018©)  —  book review
Over Christmas, my daughter gave me a couple of books as prezzies.  One of them was “Amateur“, written by Thomas Page McBee.  The premise of the book is that the author has gone from being a woman to a man and is seeking to become the first transgender person to box in Madison Square Garden in New Your City.  He is fighting in a charity event against a non-professional fighter (like himself), who is presumably non-trans – at least there is no mention of the male opponent being transgender as well.  Anyway, the book is autobiographical and describes the training and preparation leading up to the match.  The book also relates background information about the authors parents and siblings.  It also has a small amount about the stages of being / becoming transgender.
I asked my daughter why she got me this particular book and if she had read it.  She replied she had not read it and she just wanted to expose me to different perspectives.  The other book she gave me was the Michelle Obama bio, which I have not read yet.
Anyway, I found the book difficult to “get into” because I didn’t (and don’t) care for the author’s writing style.  I found the ideas being expressed unclear and the sentences “stilted”.  Several times I had to re-read a sentence or a paragraph because I wasn’t sure I understood what the author was saying or how it added to or followed on with whatever else was being said.  Eventually, I got the hang of the writing and had fewer problems reading along.
Although the book is “about” boxing and preparing for a fight, it is also about aggression and “being male” – or at least what the author believes is being male in modern society.  I found much of this to be “interesting” even if I don’t necessarily agree with everything the author was trying to relate.  That is, much of it makes sense / rings true, but I’m not sure it (the points being made) are uniquely “male” or modern.  I also don’t know if they are unique to western / American society.  “Interesting” because I am not transgender, did not grow up as a “tom-boy”, and have not spent a great deal of time thinking about being a “straight” “male” as opposed to being “gay” or “trans”.  To this extent, my daughter was successful in getting me to think outside the box.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  It is difficult for me to know who the target audience for this book is, so it is equally hard to recommend it to anyone stumbling on this post / review.  I don’t know that LGBQ folks would want to read about someone who is “trans” or about boxing and preparing for a fight.  I (personally) did find the writing about the training and preparation for the fight to be pretty interesting, enjoyable and well described.  In one way, the book made me chuckle.  Although I personally participated in a boxing tournament as a teen, I went into it completely unprepared, untrained and unfit.  LOL – and the results showed.  I guess, my question is would another trans person (female to male) find this book interesting.  I am not sure they would, except maybe to know there are others (like themselves) out there and they are adjusting to being their “new” selves.  And, maybe that’s enough…
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On This Day In:
2018 Feeling Both
2017 Just Start
2016 Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
2015 Restraint At The Inn
2014 To Not Discovering
2013 I Have Less To Say
2012 Not The Best Prediction I’ve Ever Read

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I like rom-coms and I like fantasy movies.  Today’s reviews are for two movies which combine the rom-com and the guardian angel (fantasy) genres:  “Here Comes Mr. Jordan” and “Heaven Can Wait“.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan  —  movie review
This movie came out in 1941 and (as far as I know) was one of the first movies where the idea of an angel or guardian angel featured as a prominent plot point in the film.  The movie stars Robert Montgomery as Joe Pendleton / Bruce Farnsworth (a boxer and the “hero”), Rita Johnson as Julia Farnsworth (Bruce’s wife and “bad-guy 1”), John Emery as Tony Abbott (Farnsworth’s personal secretary and “bad-guy 2”), James Gleason as Max Corkle (Joe’s friend / trainer / manager), Evelyn Keyes as Bette Logan (the love interest for Joe / Bruce), Edward Everett Horton as Messenger 7013 (the angel in training) and Claude Rains as Mr. Jordan (the main angel in charge).
The premise is a convoluted “love will find a way”, “angels make mistakes too”, and “our fates are predetermined but the details are flexible”.  Basically, a boxer dies before his championship fight because the angel takes his spirit out of his body to avoid the person suffering the pain of death.  But, somehow, the person (Joe) wasn’t supposed to die and so he needs to go back to earth to complete his destiny (becoming champ).  The problem is his friend (Max) has had his body cremated so there is no body to return Joe to.  The head angel (Mr. Jordan) assumes control of the case and places Joe in another body of someone physically suitable.  The “someone” is Bruce who has been recently killed by his wife and secretary.  Blah, blah, blah, laughs ensue; the guilty are found out and love blossoms.  And, of course, Joe wins his title and lives happily ever after with Bette.
This is a black-and-white film which is overacted and simple to follow, but also genuinely funny and enduring.  I am quite certain I’d seen this movie in my youth, but I have no idea when it would have been.  I watched this with my wife, (who likes old movies but doesn’t normally like comedies,) and she both enjoyed it and actually laughed a couple of times.  You could knock me over with a feather…  Her reaction:  “This is the kind of movie I would have watched with my nana when I was young.”  Final recommendation: strong.  While not intended to be a “period piece”, this certainly is one – and it’s a pretty good one on that alone.  Throw in the rom-com and you’ve got a movie worth watching with your family.
Heaven Can Wait  —  movie review
This movie came out in 1978 and is a pretty straight forward remake of the original with minor character changes.  The movie stars Warren Beatty as Joe Pendleton / Bruce Farnsworth (a American football quarterback and the “hero”), Dyan Cannon as Julia Farnsworth (Bruce’s wife and “bad-guy 1”), Charles Grodin as Tony Abbott (Farnsworth’s personal secretary and “bad-guy 2”), Jack Warden as Max Corkle (Joe’s friend / trainer), Julie Christie as Bette Logan (the love interest for Joe / Bruce), Buck Henry as “the Escort” (instead of “Messenger 7013” – the angel in training) and James Mason as Mr. Jordan (the main angel in charge).  I have no idea why two Brits were chosen to play the main angels in both films.  I think it was for the accent – to make them sound more heavenly.  (LOL)
The premise(s) remain a convoluted “love will find a way”, “angels make mistakes too”, and “our fates are predetermined but the details are flexible”.  Basically, a quarterback dies before his championship game (the Super Bowl) because the angel takes his spirit out of his body to avoid the person suffering the pain of death.  But, somehow, the person (Joe) wasn’t supposed to die and so he needs to go back to earth to complete his destiny (winning the Super Bowl).  The problem (again) is his friend (Max) has had his body cremated so there is no body to return Joe to.  The head angel (Mr. Jordan) assumes control of the case and places Joe in another body of someone physically suitable.  The “someone” is Bruce who has been recently killed by his wife and secretary.  Blah, blah, blah, laughs ensue; the guilty are found out and love blossoms.  And, of course, Joe wins his Super Bowl and lives happily ever after with Bette.
This is a color film which is somewhat overacted (particularly by Cannon and Grodin – for laughs) and not as funny as the original (Warden isn’t as funny as Gleason), but it was nominated for seven Oscars (including Best Actor and Best Picture) and won one (not one of the main Oscars).  I saw this movie in my youth during its original release.  I did not watch this version with my wife who felt she didn’t want to “spoil” the memory of the original by watching the updated version.  Final recommendation: strong.  While not quite up to the original, it’s a pretty good remake.  And, again, a family film.
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On This Day In:
2017 All Greek To Me
2016 Judgment
2015 I Love Bacon, Too
2014 The Wee Bit
2013 Reading Rules
2012 Cadet Prayer
2011 Easy To Tell
2010 A NEW Lion In The Senate (Channeling Mr. Smith)
Inception Redux
A Quick Hit Of Stats

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