Posts Tagged ‘MMA’

You Can’t Walk Away From the War, June 1, 2012


Patricia H. Parker “Bookwoman”

This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)

T. J. Dunn has seen much more of life than most women her age. Right out of college, she went on active duty as an Army Lieutenant in Iraq. When we first meet her, she is traveling in a UAH along a street in an Iraqi town. Her unit is attacked, they find themselves surrounded, and her Platoon Sergeant is shot in the head right next to her. She realizes that the unit’s 50 calibre gun is running low on ammunition, and the only supplies are strapped to the outside of the UAH. As she crawls out on the outside of the vehicle, she is shot in the arm and falls off onto the road, out in the open, and she knows she is going to die. As she watches her vehicle pull away from her, leaving her all alone, it explodes.

The reader next finds T. J., still in a drugged fog, in the hospital, three days later. The chaplain and one of her and her fiancé’s best friends, David Strickland, come to her, and she knows they bring news that her whole unit was killed in the explosion of the UAH. However, they also bring the news that her fiancé, Captain David Halle, has committed suicide. T.J and David were not stationed together, but he was also on active duty in Iraq. She is confused and distraught. Captain Halle was not the type to commit suicide. Also, he is the second man close to her who has taken this action. Her father, also an Army Officer, had committed suicide, without warning, a few years earlier.

Having been released from active duty, we find T.J. a year later, having run away from everything and everyone from her past, working as a stripper in a bar in Albany, New York and spending her spare time as a volunteer on a Suicide Hotline for a local charity.. She has no friends and keeps to herself. A few of the dancers and a couple of the other volunteers have become acquaintances, but she doesn’t let them get close, and she never speaks about her past. However, her past haunts her, and she is in counseling to help with the pain, but, to her, this is a new day, and she doesn’t want to even consider the old ones. Then, one night, she looks up during her performance, and thinks she sees David Strickland in the crowd. She looks for him later, but he has disappeared. From that point on, the story gets deeper and murkier. She finally realizes that, for some unknown reason, someone is trying to kill her, and it has something to do with Iraq, David’s suicide and secrets she may or may not know.

“Getting Dunn” is an intriguing book with a thrilling story. The reader is led from one point to another until the truth is laid out and the secrets are revealed. It is a well constructed tale with T. J. not knowing which are the good guys and which the bad until the very end. Mr. Schreck has written some other books which have won top awards in their genre. I recommend this book highly as it never lets up, and there are no down spots as this young woman fights her way back to some semblance of normalcy in a life which hadn’t known much up until that time.

This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)
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Good story and really appropriate for the time and generation. The mental health issues are brought out with compassion and frustration. T.J. is a perfect example of someone using their physical body to cover the emotional and mental damage done to them through no fault of their own.

Unfortunately, the bad guys are probably our neighbors and friends because they wear friendly faces. I will definately go looking for this authors other books.

Tom Schreck Brings It! Not a disappointment as usual, May 17, 2012
This review is from: Getting Dunn (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

Although tough, TJ Dunn knew the risk when she entered the army. Her team is ambushed in Iraq and when she’s the only survivor left, albiet physically and mentally tramatized she also finds out her fiance has taken his life.

When she comes back home, she drifts through life depressed and then she gets this anonymous call who says maybe her guy didn’t kill himself. Maybe the government or somebody else is making it look like suicide to cover up some drug conspiracy.

Life jumps back into her and she sets out to find the killer.

This was the second book by Schreck and I was burning the midnight reading this suspense! Good job … again!!

Ex-military topless pole dancer? Why not?, June 7, 2012

Unaccustomed as I am to heroines who relieve stress by kick-boxing, and then head for an establishment called “Taco” to entice men by topless pole dancing, I must admit that I was able to relate eventually. What makes this unusually interesting is that Dunn is experiencing a devastating grief for both her father and her love, who were both in the service, and who both committed suicide. The act was not something she would have thought either of them capable of – so something else was going on. She makes it her business to find out – all the while, in grief counseling with a psychiatrist who plumbs her depths with great professional precision. This process is aided by an author, who, himself, is a psychologist – so it’s all very real.

I must admit, the pages were turning and I did get caught up in the intrigue. This novel wasn’t the best of its kind – but it was a departure from the usual – and I celebrate a plot that is creative. If you like tough heroines (I wouldn’t want to meet this one in a dark alley), you might consider this novel a “diamond in the rough”.


Great!, March 28, 2012


Richard A. Mitchell “Rick Mitchell” (candia, new hampshire United States) – See all my reviews

Other reviewers have compared Mr. Schreck to Coben and Parker. They are absolutely right. He is definitely in that league. I was shocked this is his third book. I immediately went and bought his first. This book has all the humor, intelligence and human warmth of their best stuff.

This book has a few intrigues going on at once. Like the best of Parker and Coben, Schreck’s main character, the professional sparring partner and social worker, Duffy Dombrowski, is well-developed and with great depth. This enables the plot to include some real human interest elements to go with the humor and the mysteries.

Although classified as a mystery, this is not a standard whodunit. Duffy is going through life in his usual take-it-as-it-comes manner. There is a parallel under story of murders of Mexicans in Las Vegas, but this does not impact him for quite some time. For most of the book, Duffy is dealing with the vagaries of being employed by the Russian mob.

There is a lot of good humor here to go with the good story lines. Duffy’s “posse” of four, who normally don’t leave their usual bar stools is priceless. Their conversations are laugh out loud funny while being perfectly believable despite their absurdity. Duffy’s bassett hound, Al, adds to the book in unforeseen ways.

I have only one caution. In the first 60 or so pages, there was a lot of scatological humor that would put a 14 year old boy on his knees with guffaws, but not so much for adults. I was pleased and relieved that after that start, the humor became much richer.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for a good fun read.

“Just Knockdown Refreshing”, April 17, 2012


John Mercier

I gave this story five stars because it was so refreshing in the truest sense of the word. The main character, Duffy Dombrowski, is the most likeable boxer that you could ever meet; being a social worker might have something to do with him being a people person. He helps people all throughout the story and being a professional heavyweight boxer and black belt in martial arts he is really able to help in some rough situations.

Duffy works as a social worker in upstate New York, but because he is a decent “South-Paw” boxer he is offered a chance to go to Vegas to spar with a Russian boxing heavyweight to get him ready for a championship bout for the best money that he has ever made. Of course he can’t turn it down; he just has to get out of going to a social work training camp in the Catskills. With Duffy where there is a will, there is a way. Nothing is ever simple for Duffy and his big heart and since he gets a whole house to live in at a “Brothel” he invites four of his friends to come on out. Oh yeah he couldn’t leave his basset hound, Al behind either. It’s so funny how he gets Al there. While in Vegas, Duffy helps out prostitutes, illegal, and legal Mexicans, with the help of Al, of course.

Duffy’s character reminds me of Nelson Demille’s John Corey, who always keeps me laughing. Tom Schreck is a very good story teller and his words go smoothly onto the paper and back to this reader’s mine to create a very refreshing story. I am going to read the two previous Duffy Dombrowski novels, since this one was so enjoyable. Like the author, Tom Schreck, I live in the Albany, NY area.

A Real Page Turner, May 30, 2012


Chris Warren

This is the first Tom Schreck book that I have read. I found ‘The Vegas Knockout’ to be a highly readable, funny and action-packed read with a very human element to it. The characters in general were very interesting, and Duffy Dombrowski, the main antagonist, was a flawed but likeable man’s man that would not be far out of place in a Hemmingway novel. I recommmend this light, highly entertaining book as the perfect laying on the beach with an adult beverage type read.

Loved It – Want More!, April 3, 2012


Brenda Frank “Eclectic Reader”

Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

This is my first Tom Schreck/Duffy book, and I loved it. J.A. Konrath who writes the Jack Daniels series is one of my favorite authors. Konrath’s stories are irreverent, funny (sometimes on a juvenile level) and the good guys win. Tom Schreck is a likely winner for me since he has collaborated with Konrath to write: “Planter’s Punch,” encompassing both the boxing and the mixed drink themes.

Consider Al, a “rescue” basset hound given anthropomorphic qualitites. like dogs and stories including dogs as characters. Al is a hoot and gave me many laugh out loud moments. Duffy, the lead character, is a boxer, sort of. He’s really hired as a sparring partner for really good boxers. Basically, he’s paid to be a piece of meat to pummel. More important, Duffy is a really good guy prone to help the needy.

Adventures ensue in Los Vegas, in a brothel, in the gym, in the ring, and in the casinos. There are subplots, tearful and touching moments, lots of jabs, hooks and low blows. In the end, of course, the good guys win and happiness prevails. It works for me.

Vegas Knock Out, June 26, 2012


Rebecca Townsend (Indianapolis, IN United States) – This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

Tom Schreck landed the perfect punch with Vegas Knock Out. His cast of babes, boxers and bassets grabbed quick attention, which was held by a rampaging murderer, a damsel in distress and a loud, ugly Russian in need of a good smack down. Schreck admitted to encountering a seeming impasse during his writing process. Glad he got over it. Maybe Elvis is watching over him with a little help from Boggsy.The Vegas Knockout

Exceeds Expectations…Once Again, June 21, 2012


Abby Mead “Abby” (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Once again, another fantastic book from Tom Schreck.

His narrative and writing style makes it seem that you’re right there in his head while he’s writing it. It’s as if while you’re reading it, you can imagine how a film version would be.

It’s great to see Al, Duffy & the gang back, because, honestly, I was going through withdrawal. If you haven’t bought this book yet, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. I think that this is the best one yet.

The Vegas Knockout

Short chapters full of suspense!, June 9, 2012


Kat “kttykat16” (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a great book and and easy read. With an eclectic cast of characters and 80 short chapters full of suspense, author Tom Schreck shows you the life of Duffy Dombrowski and Al, the basset hound and side-kick. Duffy is a social worker and professional boxing sparing partner who encounters the Russian mob, prostitution rings, illegal immigration and of course murder. If you love Vegas, boxing, or Basset hounds you’ll love this book even more. Chapter 7, and 13 and 14 where so funny I had to share those chapters with my wife and she was just as amused as I was. This is my first of the Duffy Dombrowski series and I jumped in not even realizing that there were three previous books. Tom knows his audience and how to appeal to the masses, with his master’s degree in psychology he keeps you reading, in fact after the first few chapters it was difficult to put the book down until I was finished.

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This One’s Got A Strong Heart And A Nerve Of Steel, May 15, 2012


W. Dolan (USA)

This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

I’m a fight fan, a rockabilly fan and rescue dog fan (anything with a white tipped tail and an annoying howl will do) so it was inevitable I’d find Tom Schreck’s ‘Duffy’ series.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the Duffy books and looked forward to reading ‘The Vegas Knockout’ since I heard about it.

The new setting opened up avenues that couldn’t be traveled back East. I liked the change of scenery and Las Vegas was a natural place for a fighter to end up.

Duff and Al have their usual dynamic that I’ve found hilarious and spot-on. Some of Al’s this-must-be-comic-relief-made-up-for-a-work-of-fiction antics are anything but fantastic. Live with a basset and you’ll laugh as you mentally commiserate with Duff (and know (some of) this stuff ain’t made up).

Happily, “The Fearsome Foursome” make their way to Glitter Gulch to hang out with Duffy. They are regulars at the bar back home and their conversations kill me every time. They’re the scene-stealers in all the Duffy books, IMO.

‘TVKO’ isn’t all fun, fluff an’ fightin’, though. Racism and nationalistic xenophobia figure into the story as well and the morality themes aren’t as subtle as in earlier editions of the Duffy Dombrowski series.

Not to worry, there’re hookers, mobsters, fights and breathless running through the streets of Sin City for you action hounds, too. It *is* a whodunit, after all.

I won’t go into the nuts & bolts of the story- Amazon’s ‘Book Description’ gives you that.

I can’t not mention the old stage hand at the Imperial, though. My favorite part of the story, and the parts I found most touching, involved him. Duffy (or is it Al?) is the hero we love and root for but the old timer gives TVKO huge added touches of heart and humanity.


Every thing you could want in a book., June 11, 2012


Siobhan Bourbeau (Billerica, MA USA) –

Another great book by Tom Schreck. I’ve been waiting anxiously for another Dombrowski book and this one did not disappoint. The story takes Duffy to Vegas for the opportunity of a life time and of course his best 4 legged friend, Al and the 4some have to come along as well. As a basset hound owner I found myself laughing out loud at Duffy and Al’s journey through the airport. The book delivered it usual great story line, filled with humor and suspense. Tom has a way of really bringing his characters to life and making you care about what happens to them. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down, I need to know how it ended.

Life imitates art imitates life


M. Hegeman (New York State)

This review is from: The Vegas Knockout (Paperback)

I’m also a social worker, drug counselor, Elvis lover, rescued basset hound parent. I don’t punch or get punched as a side job, but other than that have found my Doppelganger in Duffy Dombrowski. The scenes at his job, as a hapless therapist trying to help people who are too messed up to see how messed up they are, are bittersweet funny and true. Duffy has wit, good sense, and a heart for helping others. Plus he’ll kick your ass if he has to.

Schreck has created an original, endearing character. Duffy doesn’t want trouble; he’d just like to do his job, hang with his friends, and tend to his dog. But if you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place. Duffy is a reluctant hero; often as not he’s literally pulled into his adventures by his rambunctious basset hound, Al. But once he’s in, Duffy is in all the way, and the reader cheers him on.

Enjoy your wild ride with Duffy and Al. I defy you to read the scene at the airport check-in without laughing out loud!

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I haven’t sparred in a couple of months because of travel,my trainer’s schedule, judging fights and vacation. I’ve been working out but I haven’t been sparring.

Sunday I got back into it and felt awful.

I was sore from a Friday boxing workout and that might have made the joints creakier than usual but I think it had more to do with muscle memory. Sparring felt foreign, not at all natural and my movement felt clunky.

I figured the first round would warm me up.

It didn’t.

The toughest blow wasn’t a head or body shot it was to the ego. I could tell my trainer was holding off. He always brings it to my ability but I could tell even if he didn’t say much that he was being careful.

I went straight back. I left the jab out. I gave ground too easy. I clinched stupidly.

I’m glad i did it. I’ll be better next time if not too much time goes by which is a big if.

My shoulders tightened up bad that night which also told me how tense I was.

I hope this isn’t the week Holyfield calls.

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Okay, you’re threatened by an imposing character. it is going to get physical.

You have no choice.

But your opponent is a talker and makes the mistake of leaving himself open for one clean shot.

Where do you strike?


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I’m not a parent.

At the age of 17 I began to train in karate, eventually got a black belt and then got involved in boxing. The fighting arts or sports or whatever you want to call it are a large part of my life.

Since I started training 33 years ago I haven’t got in a street fight, despite jobs in bars, pro boxing and rehabs.

Still, I feel good  knowing I’d be better off with the training and I believe it does something for your spirit. There are clichés like, “The best way to insure peace is to be prepared for war…” but I don’t know if that explains it.

Not everyone shares my view. Some don’t want their children any where around fighting.

Others want their kids able to protect themselves. And what about how the children feel about things like fear and bullying.

I’m curious–how do you feel?

For a fun video showing boxers fighting karate guys click here.

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The diary of a 50 year old never-was gym rat who wants to keep sparring and is working with a couple of pro fighters as trainers and sparring partners. A look at the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of boxing.

I slept well and I was well rested having budgeted my workouts intelligently this week.

My trainer just signed on for a pro fight and he is well into his training camp. He lets me know that he’s getting a lot of work in but he’s glad to work with me because I’m left-handed. Southpaws give him trouble and he likes the practice.

Now this may not seem like a compliment to the uninitiated but it is and it is a significant. This pro thinks there is something worthy in my sparring to give him work. Nothing more, nothing less but it is something and it means a lot to me.

The bell rings for the first round and we start to move. Very soon into the round I notice something disturbing and I would love to hear from other fighters about if they can relate to this: I can’t concentrate.

I’m pushing my thoughts out of my head, I’m internally demanding to concentrate and still, I find myself thinking of other things–my day, my writing, my headgear, the noise in the gym. I think demanding in my head to concentrate is making it a bit worse.

Three quarters it is still going on and I find myself with my back to the ropes and my trainer throws a three punch combination that i catch mostly on my gloves by they rock into my headgear and i feel their force. they don’t ring my bell of register as pain but they register as force and as danger.

Instantly my concentration problems disappear.

Funny how that works.

Danger is an important and effective motivator. It let’s you know what is important in the here and now and it involuntarily narrows your focus like nothing else. I guess it occurs outside of the ring and it may explain why some people seem to get addicted to stress and trauma and may even seek it out.

It wasn’t pleasant being scattered mentally. it felt orderly to have my concentration back.

Anyone else feel this?

For other sparring diary and boxing blogs click here.

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The diary of a 50 year old never-was gym rat who wants to keep sparring and is working with a couple of pro fighters as trainers and sparring partners. A look at the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of boxing.

My trainer was out of town and it was too late to find someone to spar with this weekend.

So what is there to write about?

Well, as you know most of this diary is about the psychological and emotional aspects of fighting. Not sparring has very definite consequences.

There are some weeks where I’m looking for my trainer to cancel. That way I don’t have to do the work (both psychological and physical) and I don’t have to feel guilty or cowardly for calling it off. This week I wanted to fight and I felt pretty good.

The consequences of not fighting are very clear. i feel a bit more listless and I feel like I lose my edge and not just boxing wise. I feel like I didn’t do something exceptional, I didn’t test myself and I didn’t feel like I faced any adversity.

I did one of my p90x workouts as a substitute. It was physically challenging but not emotionally or psychologically. I felt like I worked out and I felt the right amount of fatigue and soreness.

I don’t feel any of the exhilaration. I don’t feel like I did something out of the ordinary.

Monday I felt a little irritable and I little more anxious about things. I also didn’t feel as sore or fatigued and in a weird way I missed that. The body soreness reminds me of what I did. it reminds me that I fought and I like that feeling.

I didn’t get it this week.

Click here to read other sparring blogs

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The diary of a 50 year old never-was gym rat who wants to keep sparring and is working with a couple of pro fighters as trainers and sparring partners. A look at the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of boxing.

I hadn’t sparred since 12/11. There were holiday events and then the holidays themselves fell on the weekends. The weekdays were caught up in, well, the holidays and i took the time off.

I write this diary mostly to take a look at and share the psychological angle of sparring. I think the reason most people who train in boxing or want to train in boxing never get involved or quit sparring is because of psychological reasons. Mostly it is fear.

It is something that people just don’t talk about. Mike Tyson talked about being scared to death every time he went through his ring walk but he’s the exception to the rule.

The fear is the opposite side of the coin of exhilaration I feel from doing it regardless of my performance.

I notice things when I miss more than a week. I found myself wishing my trainer would cancel. That way it wouldn’t be my fault. I found myself feeling anxiety about everything in my life on the way to the gym. Not so much about sparring but about work, school, the future, the health of my family and pets. I’ve noticed over the years that there are times when my anxiety goes sideways and doesn’t focus on what’s in front of me.

All of this becomes a metaphor for dealing with adversity in my life. I know that dealing with emotions ahead of times is hard, the activity is reinforcing and exciting with a little danger and the feelings afterwards are going to be great. I just ignore the feelings before hand.

This translates to just about every challenge in life. ignore the fear and anxiety, act consistent with what i value and want out of my life and carry on.

Now to the sparring.

I felt weird at first like I had lost what i was concentrating on when I was working every week. I remembered I wanted to “see’ my opponent at all time. I remembered I wanted to recoil the jab and I remembered I wanted to be on guard on the ropes. My trainer, a pro fighter, just signed for a bout so I also knew he’d be working on some things for his own game.

The bell sounded and I got my jab going right away and tried to double it up. I threw hard lefts (I’m a southpaw) even if I knew they were going in to his guard to get the respect and keep him from coming in.

He pressured me and I went to the ropes. I lost sight of him and got out of position. It reminded me I had to work on this. This more than anything else seemed to respond to time on task–when i get away from sparring this happens.

Something cool happened in the second round. He came in on me to pressure  me and he came in with a fast step. I was ready and countered with an uppercut with my left hand. It landed hard and on target and a couple of the guys watching ringside gave me some props. My trainer acknowledged it as a good shot. (Which goes to show the quality of his training–he didn’t go to pay me back right away or really put it on me.)

At the end of the round i got my best compliment. A couple of the coaches gave my trainer some pointers. it wasn’t so much that i was challenging his skills but that he was working toward his fight. I felt a measure of respect because I was good enough work for him that he was getting to do some of his work in and I was presenting some questions for him to answer. That’s a huge compliment in this world.

At the beginning of the third another trainer gave me water and very sternly said, “This is always where you tell yourself you’re tired. Don’t do it.”

He was right. I did my best to stay strong and not give in. It worked.

For awhile.

I stayed busy with the jab even though I could feel the fatigue in my lat. That meant I had to really pay attention to recoiling because my body didn’t want to. I could also feel my legs and they didn’t want to crouch as much as they should.   I was too tall and not in position to move effectively.

With about 45 seconds to go I was out of gas. I did everything I could to tie up and hold on. Fortunately i didn’t eat a big one–probably more a tribute to my trainer than to my luck or defense.

When we got done my other trainer said, “that’s the best I’ve seen you look.”

Not sure if he was right or being nice but I’ll take it.

For other sparring diary and boxing blogs click here.

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Three weeks ago I started to write about my sparring sessions with my trainer, a pro fighter. You could read the first  entry here and the second entry here.

This was the first time I’ve sparred three weeks in a row in years and I already noticed something important–I was less anxious. I was aware I was about to get in the ring and see punches but it was more like I felt before a softball game. I wanted to perform well but I didn’t feel as  much concern for my safety. (I couldn’t bring myself to type the word “fear.” psychoanalysis welcome here.)

Actually there was more concern than softball.

Saturday night I watched two great fights for studying boxing technique. Pawel Wolak vs Delvin Rodriguez and Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito. Wolak and Margarito both stalk their opponents while Rodriguez and Cotto score their points while backing up, evading and counterpunching. Saturday night the two evaders won.

My trainer is smaller than me, is obviously a better fighter and he never ever takes a step back. It’s exhausting to fight an opponent like that. if I stand and trade with him he’ll out score me and it will hurt. My fight is to move side to side, jab to keep him off me and somehow try to make him pay for coming in on me. I try to be an evader. The difference is the guys who do it really well have unbelievable stamina. it is freaking exhausting and knowing the strategy is one thing while applying it with your conditioning is a world of something else.

I know this. I really do.

In the ring Sunday I did it until I got tired which was within the first 45 seconds of the first round. I tried to stay relaxed but it isn’t easy. The tension wastes energy and makes you less fluid. When a hard punch comes in on me I tend to back up instead of going to the side because that’s reflex. Hopefully sparring a lot will make going to the side more natural.

Like last week I’m trying really hard to not ever lose sight of my trainer but in the first round I ducked and found myself out of position. I wasn’t where I could be hit but that was just luck. My jab worked well and somewhere in the second round I landed one off the ropes that i felt in my knuckles. I say it felt hard to me because sometimes you can feel the bone of your knuckle hit the bone of face. My trainer acknowledged the shot verbally but showed no physical reaction to it.

There in lies the problem. In fighting a peer a good shot calms the action. A good shot against someone at the level makes them think, it makes them less aggressive and they often back off for a little while or they charge in out of anger and become even easier to hit. In a me vs the pro that’s not happening so I get no break.

We wound up doing 2 minutes of additional round for 3 2/3 rounds. It was tough catching my breath and in the last round I couldn’t execute the evading counterpunching that I wanted to.

Still, I felt more comfortable and though I didn’t feel it my trainer said this was the best I’ve looked.

Did I mention I pay him?


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I felt better going to the gym yesterday.

I slept better and though I did a lot of yard work the day before my body loosened up well.

This week I wanted to focus on “seeing” while I was sparring. last week I took a right hand that was hard and needless because iI backed up tall, didn’t have my legs under me and lost sight of my opponent.

I was determined to not let that happen this week.

In the first round I concentrated on being relaxed and staying busy with my jab. if you’re busy with the jab it keeps your opponent from coming in on you…for awhile. My guard was high, my legs were bent and I was moving well. My stamina felt good. The round ended.

My trainer said he was going to pick up the intensity and try to score on me when I left my jab out and when I squared up. That meant this round was going to be harder. i stayed focused on keeping my balance, bending my knees, getting the jab out…and back.

He kept at me harder and i took a right hand early. No problem, I saw it and it landed but I was ready. My trainer is shorter than me and never, ever backs up. Now he was n me forward and I was doing my best to stick and move. The problem with that is it is tiring…very tiring. It was getting harder to focus on all of the things I wanted to do because my legs were fatigued and my arms were tired.

I got caught in the corner but handled it well. My guard was high and my knees were bent but due to being tired i let my elbows get just a tad wider thab they should’ve been. I paid some tuition with an uppercut.

Later, I timed him coming in and landed a good solid uppercut and spun out. that felt really good.

The third round started and I was heaving. i tried to stay relax and keep my legs underneath me but its hard to stay in a crouch when you’re beat. I forced myself to throw combinations to keep him off me. He answered back and my guard was high so he through three punches into my sides. I felt them but it was better than getting hit in the head. i tied him up three times in the last minute and the round ended.

I asked my trainer how to keep from making fundamental mistakes when you’re really tired. he answered with a real gem of genius.

“There’s no secret. That’s boxing.”



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“No more 40-year old debuts” I heard someone say.

A guy with a shredded upper torso was lying unconscious in the ring. His 20-something opponent was dancing around celebrating

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This 40 year old decided to try pro boxing. He looked like he had 4% body fat. It looked like he could box and I bet, most of the time, when he was in a room, he could probably kick everyone’s ass in it. Not in this room and not tonight.

Why would a 40 year old try the world’s most demanding sport at an age more appropriate for retirement? Should we admire the bravado or mock the lack of common sense? Is it reaching for everything life has to offer or is it a grasp at trying to defy the immutable laws of time.

I’ve been sparring more lately. I don’t like getting hit, but then again, I never really liked it all that much.

It takes a lot of psychological energy to fight. I could always have used more sleep, been less sore or not have had the nagging injury before I climbed inside.

But that feeling is easier to take than the feeling of knowing I avoided it. I feel it in my gut and it goes through me. I feel cheap. I feel like a fraud. Lately, if i skip it, I feel old.

After I spar I’m usually elated. I’m not sure if it’s from the sparring or from having sparred–that is, I faced it and did it. I don’t know if I like that. I think I ought to do it because it is enjoyable and challenging–not because I’m not good enough or cowardly if I don’t. It torments.

Seems to me a man my age should be secure enough to choose an activity because he deems it fun not because of some fear that it will define him if he chooses not to.

I took a hard one again the other night. I’m not sure what I did wrong and i might not have done anything wrong. It’s boxing and you get hit. Taking a hard one, at least a certain type of hard one dampens the elation a bit for me.

I feel a little stupid, a little defeated and a little scared. Scared that I might be losing what I had, that I might not be as good as I was and that I might indeed be getting older.

I’ve done fighting as a hobby. I’m a never-was, not good enough to be a has-been. I fully understand why the elite of the sport (and the not elite) stay too long and make poorly-advised comebacks.

There’s a lot of identity in fighting. There’s a lot to lose by giving it up.

Being around it, watching it, officiating it, isn’t the same as doing it.

It’s a complicated thing.