Thursday, December 16, 2010

"You have good punch speed."

I heard that on Monday after a sparring session and swelled with pride.  I was also swelling because of body shots I took from the guy as well.  I've come a long long way with boxing since I started last February.  That body shot sparring session was one of the best workouts I've had in a while.

Usually, when people hear "body shot" they think of Panama City Beach or the E! Channel.  I suppose there was a time in my life where I would think the same way too.  Nowadays, when I hear "body shot" I just wince. 

Anyway, back to the body shot only sparring session.  Most of the people in my boxing class are "headhunters".  The term is self explanatory, so when we were faced with the challenge to only land body shots I was at first concerned that I would be terrible, but also relieved to not get hit in the nose.  (Note: being hit in the nose never becomes palatable) First, one guy would be on defense...cover up, move around etc and basically just take it.  The other guy was on the offensive and would work combos.  We did this for two different three minute rounds.  One minute rest in between.  Even when you are on defense it's a great work out, because you see a punch coming, tighten up your abs and shift your body to protect the blow.  Obviously, throwing punches is a tough workout on your back, elbows, wrists, legs......your whole body. 

I prefer to go second.  Sometimes people want to go full speed if they have a fight approaching, and sometimes they want to go 1/2 speed or 3/4 speed because they are coming off of a fight.  Don't think for a second that 1/2 speed is slow to these's not.  It's still pretty terrible.  Anyway, I prefer to go second so I can match the guys power/speed etc.  I have no desire to be a "practice hero" and I also have no desire to enrage a professional boxer or high ranking amateur boxer. 

Any boxer will tell you, body shots hurt more than head shots.  It's true that you can "shake off" a head shot, but a punch the rattles your intestines is impossible to get past.  You feel things move that you didn't know existed much less existed and were movable.  Then you feel like you have to use the bathroom, and you know that is just not the case, so it's weird as heck.  Sometimes, you get a tin can taste in your mouth after you belch.  Not good things.  Whereas with a head shot, you can shake your head and make a "wuhwuhwuhwuh" sound at that usually does the trick.  I'm just concerned about head shots, because raccoon eyes are bad for the acting business. 

After the three minute one way rounds were over, it was time to spar for another two sets of three minute rounds.  My focus was to protect myself and try to land a few one handed combos here and there and explore the uppercut.  I found some success with the jab/left hook combo and right/right upper combos.  I even landed a left hook/right hook/left hook combo.  The guy I went against is really quick and has been boxing for quite some time.  He has a boxers body.  Long, lean muscular arms with emphasis on forearms and shoulders and a short torso.  This means not a lot of target space and a lot of reach.  He is maybe 4 inches shorter than me, but I wouldn't be surprised if his reach is close to mine.  So he got me pretty good a few times as well.  I learned that I need to keep my forearms more parallel and closer when I am defending myself, I have a tendency to splay my elbows out.  This could also be a product of me needing to lose more weight, we'll see. 

"You have good punch speed."
"Thanks man (spitting out tin can taste)"
"For real, though."
"Like, for a big man?"
"No, just in general, you have good punch speed"

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