Lesson learned this week: Darlington Memorial Hospital A&E department is very efficient
Well, I almost successfully made it through my second week of boxing training unscathed. Actually, that’s a lie because I’ve picked up all manner of bruises and aches already. No pain, no gain and all that!
This week saw us use our mouthguards for the first time. “Ooh this sounds exciting!” exclaimed one member of the group. To be honest, apart from one rogue shot to to the head, we didn’t really need them but better safe than sorry. I previously detailed in the review of our first session, we played an interesting game of tag. Aiming solely for the shoulders and knees of our opponents. This ‘game’ has been turned up a notch with the addition of gloves and mouthguards, as well as a lot of bravado. Understandably, everyone wants to get as much from this experience as possible and puts all they can into the training sessions. Looking around the gym, you can already start to identify some weaknesses (many for me!) among the group. Despite training with your future opponent everyone appears open and honest. Some, like myself, have struggled with the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) type stuff such as multiple bursts of press-ups and burpees, others dread the running around the stadium, which I’m actually pretty comfortable with, but there is definitely a team mentality starting to build up.
Obviously, come fight night, we will all be on our own in the ring. It’s a well trodden boxing cliché that this is the loneliest sport in the world but as yet, that has not been the case. I’d like to thank the two lads who offered me genuinely helpful advice so far. I’m sure there will be a lot more to come over the weeks but simple tips such as advising me I was too tight and therefore easy to read gave me a lot to think about, which will hopefully hold me in good stead over the next few weeks. As was the pointer that my guard was a little low, although that was more straightforward! In theory, they could be facing in the ring in September (although based on ability I bloody hope not!) and didn’t have to offer their help. Maybe they don’t see me as a threat! Whatever the reason, it is very much appreciated.
While I’m thanking people, our Twitter outreach has seen a great response to my training, so I’d like to thank Mick Charlton for inviting me to Seconds Out Boxing in Ferryhill for a technical session. We worked on a lot of the basics, mostly defensive, which I’ve witnessed thousands of times but need a lot of help putting them into practise. It’s one thing seeing them performed at the highest level, another entirely implementing them myself. I’m currently in the funny position of knowing I’m a complete novice but still feeling frustrated at how little I actually know. The next 6 weeks are going to be a frustrating and rewarding journey no doubt, possibly not in equal measure.
Onto the lesson of the week. During our bodyshot sparring session, probably through a worrying combination of tiredness and poor technique, I managed to land a right hand to the elbow of my opponent. In my defence, or his, he adjusted well and blocked my attack. I can’t remember who it was (we swap partners at regular, and frequent, intervals) otherwise I’d do an obligatory namedrop but I remember the moment vividly. A sharp pain shot straight down my thumb and along my hand as soon as contact was made. I don’t think I winced too much and completed the full session, although I may have been subconsciously hesitant to let me backhand go as much. The smallest of small victories.
Anyway, after stopping off on the way home to get some ibuprofen gel, I noticed a slight swelling. The following day I could barely move my thumb so, I visited the local walk-in centre. I didn’t feel it was painful enough to be broken but thought I’d better check, as it was (and still is as I type) very uncomfortable. Official diagnosis is my hand is still in one piece, or however many pieces it’s meant to be, and I have strained tendons in my thumb / wrist. Not the worst outcome, but still annoying as I will probably have to miss the next session. Something I desperately didn’t want to do so early in the camp. I’ll speak to the coaches and see what they advise, as I may still be able to participate in some of the drills. Just not much that involves my hand; not ideal for boxing I admit!
I imagine there are plenty of boxers, pro or otherwise, that are looking down on me and thinking all sorts. I think that is important to mention as I am not a boxer. Even if / when I eventually step through the ropes, I still won’t be. I am under no illusions that will ever be the case. It is just another reminder of the sort of sacrifices they make for our entertainment and their love of the sport.
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