Boxing, more than hitting
May 16, 2011
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - Women filter in through the doors of McVeigh Sports and Fitness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a Tuesday evening dressed in their gym gear, tennis shoes tied and water bottles full, ready to workout.
Women new to the class enter the boxing area of the gym, some alone with a look of nervousness, some in pairs chatting away about what things they might learn that evening. The ladies who have been to the class before pick up a hand wrap and immediately begin to wrap their hands.
Delbert Wong, assistant manager and boxing instructor at McVeigh, notices a woman standing alone with the wrap in her hands unsure of what to do. He shows her the proper way to intertwine the yellow wrap between her fingers, across her palm and around her wrist. He then gives her a quick disclaimer about the class she is about to embark upon.
Wong teaches the all women's boxing class proper technique, form, self-defense and helps build their self-confidence during the hour long class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The class is broken down into two groups, beginners and advanced. All women who come to the class for the first time start as beginners, even if they come with prior boxing experience.
"The advanced ladies started out just the same as the beginners," said Wong, a Kingston, Jamaica native. "Putting on gloves is a privilege. Why are you going to put on gloves before you know how to wrap your hands or know how to hit'"
Wong instructs in a format that is easy for all participants to follow, whether it's their first or tenth class.
"I warm them up first," said Wong. "Warming up frees the mind and the body. Then we stretch. Once your body gets warm you are ready to work so you pick up the intensity."
To pick up that intensity Wong, a former Army chemical equipment repairman, has the ladies work out on a two minute working and thirty seconds rest cycle.
"You tease the body for the first minute and a half and the last thirty seconds you work, work, work," said Wong. "I mean just work, feel that burn, then rest."
Muscular and cardiovascular endurance aren't the only things important in boxing. The ability to focus and listen is imperative to success.
"Boxing is a listening game; you have to listen," said Wong. "The moment you stop listening is the moment you stop thinking. These women took the time to listen."
Self confidence is vital for anyone to have says Wong. The all women's boxing class provides a place where women can work out not only their body but also their mind.
Sgt. Cassandra Owen, an Army Reserve signal support systems specialist, 1395th Transportation Terminal Brigade, Schwab Reserve Center, said she kept returning because she felt good after the first class.
"I get a lot of my frustration out in this class," said Owen, a native of Meridian, Idaho. "After I left the first time I felt awesome and positive. After the second class I felt the same again and thought I'm going to just keep on coming."
The students aren't the only ones who notice a change in their confidence levels. Wong said most students who come for their first class are timid and unsure of themselves, but by the second or third class they are a more headstrong women.
"Boxing gives you the confidence to stand up and take charge," said Wong. "You will become that go-getter. It's a delightful feeling to see the accomplishments that they are making."
Wong, both a teacher and a motivator trains women on proper boxing form and technique, but also motivates them with words of praise.
While helping a student Wong can be heard saying, "Left, right, left, right, take out all that frustration, work it out." As the student finishes her hits Wong motivates her with two words "Nice job."