It wasn’t the 2 hour open session slot that got me in the end. That was actually pretty civilized. I had a shower afterwards and made myself a cup of tea and sat in the lounge while I waited for the kids class to finish. It was the sparring. Those old hurts got to me in the end. Someone cuffed me on my bad elbow and I could feel that nerve crippling numbness shooting straight up my arm. Anyway, I just shelled up and moved around for the rest of the round waiting for my elbow to stop throbbing.
It was a touch too busy. You’ve got like sixteen or more people waiting to spar and the whole thing is like masochistic speed date where you find a partner, spar 3-minutes and then a minute’s rest and then find another partner. The other problem is that if you’re not in a ring you’re just fighting to find some open floor space. I can count a handful of occasions where I must have bumped into a hanging bag or some other guy. I watched as one guy moved backwards, tripped over something and flew backwards straight onto his back, onto the mat.
I was so conscious of where I was in relation to everything else I didn’t feel like I could move feely enough at times. It’s not like a ring where you know its set dimensions.
It does seem like a weird speed date because there’s such a mix of people of different abilities. One kid had the strangest movement you’ve ever seen. It was wild. It was like watching Ben Stiller when he’s dancing in that movie Along Came Polly and he’s jigging side to side. If I wasn’t concentrating so much I may have actually smiled. I can’t see me going to something like this again any time soon.
I preferred the open training because it’s still only 4pm – people are at work, there’s only a handful of people – maybe five or so. You can just walk up to someone and ask them if they fancy a spar. I don’t know how to describe that – it just feels like a more natural, organic experience.
I did actually approach someone with his trainer at the open training but he apologized and explained he’d just had laser eye surgery so he was strictly only doing pad work for a while. That was a good conversation actually!
The speed dating-style sparring… I got through seven rounds with different people. I missed having the guidance of one-to-one with someone watching over me pointing out stuff. If you’re up against someone better they’ll give you some advice and there was a couple of people who spoke to me afterwards and I appreciated that.
… people learning to box are some of the friendliest people you’ll come across. Everyone’s helpful. Maybe it’s because it’s a hard sport to learn or that it can take so much out of you. It’s like a strange family you don’t know but you share something underneath.
I was driving home and I was trying to think about what I had learned from that session. Well, I tried using a Philly Shell defence and I actually really liked it so I think I’ll persevere with that kind of a style. I managed to roll off a few blows to my head that glanced harmlessly off my shoulder. There’s a whole lot of stuff to learn though. Like when someone jabs I need to practice jabbing back over the top of it or hooking with my lead right and not just ducking. General ring craft stuff. There’s nothing like being humbled by other boxer to make you concentrate on how hard you have to work in future.
I’m looking forward to next time I’m home and Gary’s back from his holiday and I can hopefully show him some more stuff in the ring and he can give me some constructive feedback to work on. Like I say, that’s what I missed most of all. I don’t think I did too badly for a someone who’s just been boxing for a little under half a year but there’s a lot of learning ahead.
My elbow’s still sore this morning. I had to brush my teeth with my other hand! I need to rest.