Check in, check out,
East to West.
Those are some of the best drills (in my opinion) that we do on the heavy bag because it helps the coach see who's doing it right and who is doing it wrong. We all should be doing the same thing when the coach yells out, "Hit em with that butter sandwich!" I get called out a lot for doing the wrong thing, but that's why I like it; I'm being taught to improve on the basics.
We mostly do these types of drills with Coach Joe.
Coach Joe don't play either, just like I said in a previous article that Coach Rey don't play. Coach Joe will stand there and smile at you while you suffer. I want to be like that someday.
We usually have periods where we get water and catch our breaths, but when Coach Joe is teaching, he warns us before class starts that when he says "rest" what he actually means is punch the bag and walk around it; keep your feet and hands moving. I bet a lot of people secretly pray that Coach Joe will stop doing this, but honestly, I think the new policy is helping us grow into the boxers we want to become. Most of us are not even ready to get in the ring; this is helping us gain endurance.
Sometimes I wonder whether or not this coach is psychic. I was on the treadmill warming up and thought, "I'm going to ask Coach Joe if he will help me with footwork, it's horrible, and I want to get better." Coach Joe, who is several feet away from me with his back turned, turns around like he heard someone speak and is trying to figure out who might have said his name. He looks at me, out of everyone around me and asks, "Did you ask me a question?"
Nope, but I was thinking it.
We do our class, and by the time it's over I'm pretty much dead which excites me because to me, that can only mean my limits are higher than they previously were. We get done. We take a knee. They make announcements and say, "That's all I go for ya. You can't go home but... well, I guess you can stay here, just don't be trying to bring a mat to sleep on." Coach Deshon said this. He's always saying something witty, and that's what makes him so epic. We all laugh and get up and do our own things. I ask Coach Joe if he can help me with my footwork (out loud this time) and he says yes.
He shows me a drill, telling me to walk in a square in a boxing stance. Rhonda, my friend and fellow gym member who is so epic she used to be a trainer at another boxing gym but came here to get more serious (cough cough American Pride is the best...Totally not biased) shows me how she does the drill, and I try to repeat it. "Like this?" I say, trying to mirror her. Rhonda says nothing, but Coach Joe pipes up with the most realist thing I've heard a coach say to me yet: "I know you think you're doing what she's doing, but you're not." He was right.
The two of them continued to work with me. I sighed and said, "I'm so awkward." Oh, hell no. Big mistake. Big. Mistake. Coach Joe comes to a halt. Rhonda looks at me like "aww naw, it's about to go down." Coach Joe says, "You just made an excuse for yourself. Stop doing that. You saying 'I'm awkward' is an excuse to never get better at this," He showed me the drill again and had me practice for a while. Later I went up to Coach Joe to say that I was sorry for making an excuse, and that I knew better than that. I was sort of apologizing to myself too. He said something that shaped me that night.
"You are not made of glass. You can do this. When you get hit, you're going to feel the pain, but you're going to come back up and say 'oh, you hit me? That's how it's going to be?' and that's when it's going to happen. Baptism by fire." I told him that I used to feel like that a lot, like glass. That I'd die if someone looked at me funny. That I used to be lazy and someone who didn't try, but that I am coming out of that and never want to be that way again. He said, "Don't think about what you don't want to be, think about what you do want, cause what you think about will be stuck in your mind forever." He explained that dwelling on what you don't want to happen and what you don't want to be only makes you think about it more and you feel those negative thoughts. He paused, and instead of saying what I did not want to be, I listed a few things I did want to be. "Good," he said, "keep thinking about those things." Out of nowhere, he gave me another bit of advice, as if he read my mind yet again. "The people who are your peers are sometimes going to seem like giants to you, but if they can't get in the ring or show you what they are made of then, they just doubt themselves. They aren't that big and bad as they make everyone think. Don't be that person, but also know when to spot that person."
Having good mentors who can almost magically read your mind is important, so it seems, especially in the world of boxing, and luckily I have a few good ones who can't wait to see the kind of fighter I will become. If you haven't yet, take a moment to thank your coaches and mentors for taking the time to put up with your crazy self. These teachers sacrifice a lot to do what they do.
Hit that butter sandwich! Okay, we call it a bacon button, but butter sandwich just seems more appropriate for this one.