Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Greatest Passes On: What's My Name, Fool?

Mohammed Ali 1942-2016
Mohammed Ali

I looked at my phone this morning and here's the news: Mohammed Ali is dead.  

Mohammed Ali was and is the greatest. I'd say that he was one of the best-known individuals of the second half of the 20th Century up there with John Kennedy, FDR, Pele, the Beatles, Gandi, Mao, Thatcher, Castro, and so on.  I've been a fan of his for a long time watching the films and reading the books. Here's my martial arts bookshelf from a few years ago (it's moved forward since then) which featured two books about Ali: King of the World and What's my Name, Fool?.  

My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
Today, I'm indulging and watching ESPN2 most of the day: it is running Ali fights and stories, all day.  

What a life and history! A kid in Louisville who discovers boxing, an Olympic Gold Medal champion who is the All American kid, the professional boxer who is original and fast and beautiful, the personality and promoter, the striving identity when he adopts the Mohammed Ali name and beliefs, the twists and turns of alliances with Malcolm X and others within the Black Muslim movement, the incredibly principled political statement made by going to jail for over 3 years for refusing to go fight in Viet Nam, the years of comebacks and wins against both age and incredible fighters, the incomprehensible ability to absorb pain and to keep fighting, the astounding fights around the world, and then the long sunset as a legend and icon as his body and control disappears.  

And of course, he was a human like the rest of us with eras, inconsistencies,  vanity, evolution, some cheating, and some luck.

He was the Greatest. And the young Billy Crystal wasn't too bad either. Here's Billy Crystal presenting Mohammed Ali in 15 rounds.

Life and history does not get more interesting than this. If Gods walk among us than he was surely one of them. Truth is stranger than fiction.  And good biographies are among the best entertainment and study.  

Amazing Photo, Amazing Man, Amazing Life

Billy Crystal's Eulogy for Mohammed Ali: George Forman's Talk on hearing of Ali's death:

Boxing Training Videos

Here's a collection of training videos, first ones of son David (age 17) who is starting to learn to box.  He's being trained by Ace (Ada Velez, a retired national boxing champion) over at Kimling Academy.

Then for contrast, there are some videos of me (his dad) of boxing training videos from 2012 or 2013 when I was working out at Lavallees (I was in my mid 50s at that point).  They aren't sparing, they're just working on some basics which I had on my phone so I thought I'd post them.

Below are some pretty low key training videos which just remind me what those days were like.  A few years later, I started playing around with boxing (since my hip had frozen up and I could no longer kick or do any of the karate stuff).  Heres a  look at what I look like in the ring in a very low key training session.

The next drill is that little trick of dropping the head to catch a shot on the forehead instead of the face.