Saturday, September 05, 2009

A first for me: stepping into a boxing ring

The dojo closed for the long Labor Day weekend so I had some free time and a need to exercise. I heard from a fellow student that I could join him and a few others to practice sparring on Saturday.

So in the somewhat seedy backroom of a local gym, I stepped into a boxing ring for the first time. OK, it was Golds Gym but it was in the backroom where the lights weren't working properly so it had some character. (No, the picture is not where we were).

Four sides, four corners, four padded ropes, a mat, and a timer. We did three minute rounds of kickboxing. Six of us round robin for an hour. Much like we do in the dojo only it's been stepped up a level in intensity and the rounds are longer.

Could I play with these boys? Well, kinda sorta. To be honest, no, not with the good ones. But of the six there, there were two in their own class and the rest of us were getting stretched to a new level. I now know what it feels like to step in the ring, to get stuck in the corner, and what that third minute feels (we only do two minute rounds in the dojo).

How much fun was it? Highlight of the week. And the month!


I'm curious about the yin side

The traditional martial arts world can be divided into the yin and yang.
Yang focuses on strength and striking. Ying focused on the internal, energy, sensitivity and control. I train at a mixed martial arts school which is a blend of striking techniques from kenpo, muy thai, krav mega, and kickboxing which are all hard or yang martial arts.

So what are the internals? What the yin side like? About a year ago, I chatted in a store with a guy who seemed to know a lot about martial arts. He told me that he trained extensively in the internal techniques. I drove over there on Saturday to see if I could find him and learn what he meant by the internal techniques.

Jimmy remembered me and started answering and explaining. The internal martial arts started in North China and consist of Tai Chi, Pa kua chang, and Shingi. (Also Wu Hao).

We did a basic software exercises of touching or pushing hands. Basically, we each try to touch the other person using only our right hand. We're close and we're each feeling and blocking the other's hand while trying to touch the other person. As a total novice, I do it by watching but he, with long experience, does it with feeling. He feels where I'm going and where I'm open. He explained that the great masters could avoid combat by simply playing this game. The greater master's dominance would be felt and the lesser would cede to him. He pointed out that this fighting in a higher plane appears in the Jet Li movies of today where the great masters, when they start combat, move to higher plane for the fight.

He told me that I want to learn more:
- Google Chinese Boxing International CBII
- contact James Cravens in Pompano who gives private and group lessons in this area.