Past my prime
So I joined a “Boxing” gym today.
I backspace to put the word boxing in quotes. Its not really a boxing gym in the classical sense. For me that’s a subterranean dive in a mean neighborhood, that comes with the unique malodour of stale sweat and cheap disinfectant and the pallor is blood spatter that won’t mop out anymore.
This is definitely NOT that sort of place. Which is a little disappointing to the hardcore part of my psyche (but not the part that’s rampant with bacillophobia, which I developed after getting a staph infection once), but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think that ‘type’ of boxing gym exists anymore. Well, certainly not in the way that they used to. You probably have go on some sort of holy crusade to find one… and then you have to consider if your truck would still be parked where you left it when you came back out. I feel like I was the last generation that churned our way through one of those hallowed institutions. Which obviously makes me feel quite smug. Ha ha. I actually drove past my old gym the other day. Its now… a ‘church’ for the Jehovah witnesses. If only they knew what manner of darkness was advanced in those halls.
This place is… sterile. You could probably eat off the floor (if you were so inclined) and the heavy bags are… white (so weird) and not yet scuffed and held together with duct tape.
It has more of Crossfit feel.. with heavy bags.
On signing up the desk adjutant wanted to know what classes I wanted to sign up for. I said I didn’t want to do any classes… and really, all I wanted to do was to use their bags and weights and that I wanted to come and go as I pleased. And really, for the most part, I just wanted to be left alone.
I am not very fit. Mostly because I’ve been sad eating my way through Covid… and the extent of my calisthenics has been reaching for my Playstation controller. I’m also the heaviest I’ve ever been.
Back when I was fighting I could get myself down to under 204 by seriously dehydrating myself… which is the cut off for light heavy weight. Or at least it used to be. In any event. I am nowhere close to that now and I imagine that if I went running in plastic wrap and a raincoat tomorrow morning, I’d probably die.
In any event, my plan is to arrive here mid morning when there is no one else around so I can huff and wheeze around without… judgement. Ha ha. Until I get into to some semblance of shape. Its pretty bad at the moment. I tried to do a pull up off the I-beam that supports the heavy bags… yeah… it didn’t go so well… in fact, I’m pretty sure I heard something snap in my back.
Not being able to heave my fat-ass up for even a single pull up I resolved to at least dead-lift as much as I could… which came to about 120kg or… eh… carry the two… 270lbs (more or less)… although, maybe its more… do you include the weight of that… I don’t even know what you call that doohickey. I think it might be a hex-bar. Anyways, 270lbs is all the weight they had… without adding all the 5kg plates… which felt like a chore.
This is a place for soccer moms and metrosexuals. And you’d probably never need more plates than this. My max single is probably… I don’t know… three hundred something pounds. Low three hundreds. Back when I was leaner and stronger. Still, managing 270lbs for reps felt like some sort of achievement considering the sorry state of Joey. Also I think deadlifting with a hex bar is easier than the more ‘classical’ deadlift. I am not a gym intelligentsia though… so don’t quote me on that.
Also I might not be able to get out of bed tomorrow.
I text my Ju-jitsu buddy… we came up in the MMA scene together way back when. He still rolls regularly though… whereas I… well… I bred, and that makes my evenings less of my own these days and more about bathtime routines and Julia Donaldson bedtime stories…I hardly ever get to asphyxiate anyone in the crook of my elbow anymore.
I’ve had this particular friend in between my legs more times than any other person on the planet. Ha ha. Including my wife. Which is quite a dubious honor I suppose. But back of a napkins calculations, about 12 years of Ju-jitsu, training four times a week… sometimes five times if you were on the competition team… plus all the open mat sessions. That adds up to A LOT of time in very close proximity to my groin.
I do miss sparring though. Pure standup, be that boxing or kick boxing, but even I suppose ‘ground and pound’. Maybe I even miss it more than I’m willing to admit. As weird as it sounds, I never felt quite as alive as when someone was trying knock my teeth out of my head. Hitting the bag… or mitts… its not the same.
Its not even that I’m particularly competitive in personality. Its just… I don’t know. I know soldiers go through these phases where they miss combat. I can’t really attest to that, while with the Police/Army reserve, while there was some shooting, it was around me, nearby, never at me specifically. And I certainly don’t miss that. For some soldiers it might be the camaraderie and shared experience that they miss. Lol. I hated the people I served with… to a man they were racist shit-heads, so definitely not that.
Even the people I boxed with… a lot of them were really bad people. And I mean REALLY bad. I guess its an industry that attracts not only the masochists but also the sadistic and violent.
Hmm. I’d like class myself more in the former than the latter… if I had to place myself anywhere I guess.
Anyways, I don’t know why I miss it. I just know that I do. Although maybe I’m just romanticizing it all… and taking a few cranium rattling blows that splits your vision in two would potentially cure me of my idealism and fond reminiscing.
I’m not going to try relive the glory days though. I think I’ll settle for remembering that once, I was pretty cool. (Whether that is true or not doesn’t really matter, my narrative is the only one that matters… no matter how blurry) Ha!
Now I just want to be less of coach potato again.