Day 8 - Not easy, this boxing caper

August 10, 2015

So I'm just going to outline the last two one-on-one training session's I've had since the Day 1 Training Camp grind. After my first session I felt horribly exposed, I guess for good reason, but I've pretty much been a perfectionist at everything, so the fact that I am coming unstuck so quickly is frustrating. I need to keep reminding myself it's only just been 1 week out of 8.

Straights, hooks, jabs, uppercuts, crosses, ducks, slips & weaves. This is where I'm completely out of my comfort zone and it's so far showed. For my 1-on-1 sessions with Dave, I may as well have brought two left shoes with me, because that's how I felt I was moving. And hey, who would have thought that skipping was so hard? I mean, despite the fact I've probably not done it since high school, and even then it had an element of "girliness" that precluded me from doing it too much: this was hard.

The champ showing how it's done

I quickly found with the skipping, that my weight and lack of conditioning, my calves aren't going to last more than it takes to cook a soft boiled egg, such is the soft boiled nature of my calves. I watched others in my last session from the weekend, as people seemed to effortlessly bound from side to side, alternating the leg they push off on. Clearly that was my ticket to marathon solo skipping sessions, but the rope may as well have been glued to my shoes. I was going nowhere fast.

Step in trainer Dave. He breaks down the movements and it makes me think about just that, the movements and not so much about getting the rope through. By my second session, it's already improved considerably. I'm even going to the lengths of practicing at home so as to not embarrass myself in front of Dave with my feeble foot placement and lack of co-ordination. So on the skipping side of things, we're on our way. I'll be doing "cross overs" and "double unders" before you know it.

Our sessions start with the skipping and then move into fast and furious core work. Cycle crunches and Alternating situps are a struggle as the as my small oak-barrel (smaller than a full keg) of a stomach get's in the way and resistance is almost futile. But I crank out the sets anyway, again, feeling as uncoordinated as someone....extremely uncoordinated. Other core exercises are made up with Commando's and Push ups, followed by full Squats and a set of burpees. These were all done in an ascending set of reps.

This ascending set of repetitions is known as "Progressive Resistance Exercise" and it's punishing (created by an Army doctor named Dr. Thomas L. DeLorme in the 2nd World War) . If you're spent at the start or midway, you're going to be fighting a very real physical and mental challenge to get through the rest. At the end of a couple of set's of reps, I've then be asked to focus on a series of punches to my trainers focus pads. Remembering the combinations of punches, with ducks thrown in was one thing. Doing it with the right body positioning and technique was another. I was being corrected time and time again, I still need to remind myself this is early days still and the form and technique will come. Or so Trainer Dave assures me.

The middle part of the session is focused purely on boxing technique and combinations with ducking thrown in it for good measure. Till today, ducking was ducking. In boxing, ducking is ensuring you are doing it away from the leading hand coming at you, getting your body weight and positioning right and using the momentum of ducking from one side to the other to your advantage when you come up to strike on your opposite side. No, this aint easy either.

Left jab, right straight, duck, left hook, right straight, left hook, duck... 15 minutes of this and I was spent. What's that you say? Only half way through the session? Oh crap!

We then moved back on to some more progressive resistance exercises and this one was a killer. 20 uppercuts, 2 pushups, 40 uppercust, 4 pushups, 60 uppercuts, 6 pushups.... just about thrown in the towel at this point... 80 uppercuts, 8 pushups, 100 uppercuts and rounding it out with 10 pushups. I've done similar to this where you work your way down the count, but working your way is absolutely devastating.

I didn't look this tough for too long

I didn't say as much to the trainer, but right there I wanted to give up, but there was 5 minutes left, so why quit now? The last 5 was spent doing bag intervals. Basically you punch the suitcases out of a punching bag for 20 seconds and then 20 seconds rest. Do that 5 times. But it needs to be done with the best form that you can muster. This is where boxing is so mentally challenging. When you are absolutely spent and your pushing your body and you still need to ensure you keep your hands up in a guard. Roll your arms over with straight punches. Keep your hook hand flat or open, but not in between. Keeping it together mentally is so, so hard!

In any case, what I did find from this session is that there is promise with my skipping and boxing technique in general. I'm clearly seeing more challenges ahead of me than I first thought. And as I type this, I can tell you that I have been very well reacquainted with my transverse abdominis muscles.

Rest now until Tuesday, for session 3 where I'm sure Dave has more darts of pain in his blow pipe of torture.