There’s a building in Boulder, and if you are from here or if you live here, you know it because you have no doubt driven past it thousands of times. If you head south on Foothills parkway, just before the Pearl street exit on the right hand side of the road there sits a goofy tan building looking like a grain silo resting on its side, tied up among a tangle of irrigation ditches. It has been there for a long time, since the war, I reckon, and as you drive past at 50mph, you might have looked at the sign on one end of the building saying something about boxing.
Having read this sign hundreds of times on my way through Boulder, this shabby building has always been what I associate with the word, the sport, the pow, of boxing. The building belongs to a business called the Front Range Boxing Academy, and even now a flash and a whisper of *boxing* goes through my head as I zoom past. I thought of how it would be to box, to train, to hit somebody. Somewhere in the back of my head, I always wanted to go. I always wondered, and until very recently it was all just fantasy.
Hanging out with a friend last week, he told me how he got a membership to a boxing gym for Christmas. I asked him “to what gym?” And he told me about FRBA. I was excited. I said I would go with him. Workout buddies!
This past Sunday, I called FRBA and talked to a man named Dave, who runs the place, I found out.
Dave: “Good! Well, you’re in luck. We have a free intro class every Sunday at 1:00”
Me: “Great! I’ll be there!”
When I got there, I met two other people who would take the intro too. One, an attractive grad student gal, and the other was a 13 year old pianist. Dave put the three of us to work, learning the proper boxing stance, learning how to move, learning two basic punches. Later we would learn about the fundamentals: workouts and equipment involved in shadowboxing, heavy bag punching, speedbag punching, double-end bag punching, and skipping rope (sparring is optional).
As a coach, Dave is splendid. And as a person all around, I suppose. He’s been boxing since ’67, winning all kinds of championships, and has been running this studio here in Boulder for the past 18 years, training pros and enthusiasts. He knows his stuff, which is apparent as soon as he begins to harp on your crummy stance, and as he, a man of 50-something years, moves so gracefully and powerfully around the ring.
But its all about enjoyment. There are, no doubt, plenty of serious fighters who frequent the place, being trained for their league fights. But for every one of them there is a greenhorn like myself who can’t quite figure out how to put the ‘speed’ in ‘speedbag’, or the ‘jump’ in ‘jump rope’. Also, the place has atmosphere. The equipment is worn, the place is old, but it has tons more character than one of these super-gyms a la Globogym in Dodgeball. Very quickly does one find that everybody and everything there is very welcoming and helpful, following the glowing example of Dave, the owner.
I have just finished my second real workout day, and I am sore. Good sore. I plan to attend some of the more exhaustive training classes (which come along with a one-month pass) later on, once I have a grip on the basics. Also I found out that Dave has a degree in comparative philosophy, so I hope to pick his fighting brain as well as his thinking brain. He’s already given me the digits of a boxing studio somewhere in Australia in case I find myself in the area in the coming months.
So I’ve got one month to work on boxing, the intricacies and physicalities of which are already drawing me in, before I leave for a while. I even have my own fist wraps! But, nay, I won’t call myself a boxer, at least until I get to hit my workout buddy.
Already I feel that I should have started boxing years ago. If you’ve ever wanted to try boxing, take the free intro class to get a taste.