Boxing Bootcamp Day 11 -- Why I Don't Keep Bouncing

At the request of our noble boxing leader, Simon Redmond, I'd like to explain why I occasionally do not continue bouncing after a long uphill run, even though I've been told to do so a billion times, and will continue to be told billions of times until The End Of Time (or The End Of July, 2007 -- whichever comes first).

Some background: To keep our calves agile and strong, and to maintain/increase lower-body stamina, we're encouraged to bounce alternately on the balls of each foot, essentially imitating rope-jumping without the rope, whenever we're not going somewhere or boxing. Basic premise: never stand still during a workout. When we bounce in place, Paul Wade says: "that's a boxer doing nothing." Amen.

But occasionally, after a strenuous run, or climb, or bout, or whatever, it's difficult to continue bouncing. Why? The short answer is: My feet hurt. Slightly longer answer is: We just ran up a huge hill, goddamnit, and I don't know about any of the other heavy-breathing, sweating lads and lassies around me, but I'm a little tired. Last and final answer is: I'm a big sissy. Which brings me to the point of this particular post-workout, mid-morning boxing rant.

I am a big sissy. But, that aside, part of the difficulty -- and, indeed, what makes this bootcamp interesting as an observer and participant -- is that there's only so much Paul and Simon can do to motivate a huge clan of aspiring boxers. We only have a little less than 2 hours every morning (which includes the 15 minutes before 6am when most of us show up), and, despite how much our feet hurt or our lungs ache, the human body is capable of doing an incredible amount of work, and, at some point, it's our choice to either follow their instructions, climb hills, run, listen, shell out cash, and so on -- or not. We don't really need to do anything they say. But if we don't, then what's the point?

I mention this because, today, as seemingly every day (but more so this morning), I was both amused and irritated by the two blatantly-French men in our class (referenced here; see "GĂ©rard Depardieu") who are ultimately jocular and fun, smiling and regularly making/taking jokes, but who try with all their might to avoid any physical exertion whatsoever. They're relatively young -- mid -to-late-20s maybe -- and they seem like they'd be a lot of fun to drink with, but they simply do not seem to give a shit; whenever they have an opportunity to fuck around (i.e. they'll giggle at each other, punch each other playfully, yammer on and on in whispered French about how tired they are or what they're doing today or how much of a goofball the other is) they do so. Exertion is relative, I suppose, but if you're not going to participate in the camp, why did you drop close to $800 for it?

I tried to get some answers from them today, after class, while they were smoking cigarettes outside, but they left before I could get changed.

By pointing this out, am I being hypocritical? Yes. Do I occasionally fuck round at bootcamp? Yes. Have I had a cigarette since we started the camp? Yes. A drink? Yes, many. But still: I like to think that at least 90 percent of the class (and I) are participating with the intention of bettering ourselves somehow. The French dudes? I don't get that impression.

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Boxing Bootcamp is a bit of fun orchestrated by 3rd Street Gym, SF Weekly's Matt Stroud, and Rob Quintiliani from the SF Bay Guardian; the fun involves Rob and Matt training for 6 weeks before pummeling each other publicly for everyone's amusement. Questions? Write to Matt Stroud.

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