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Monday, June 18, 2007

Boxing Bootcamp: Day 1

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2007 at 11:21 AM

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It's not in my job description, but today at 5:30 in the fucking morning I biked from my squalid, shared apartment in the Western Addition over to 3rd Street Gym to participate in the first day of their 6-week boxing bootcamp with 40 other aspiring non-fatties and trainers Simon Redmond and Paul Wade. Ostensibly, the purpose of my participation in this camp is twofold:

1) It's personal: I am totally out of shape. And this isn't because I spend all my time working on quantum physics, or finding new solutions to age old conundrums that will enhance our world if solved. No, it's because I smoke a lot and drink way too much and eat with absolutely no regard for my health. My hope is that after six weeks of brutal training, I'll be totally buff and sexy and less inclined to continue abusing my body with poisons like cigarettes and alcohol that happen, also, to cost a lot of money in bulk.

2) It's political: The Online Sales and Ad Services Manager for the Guardian, Rob Quintiliani, is also enrolled in the bootcamp. We exchanged handshakes today, and he seems like a nice guy, but the SF Weekly Powers That Be have made it known that it sure would be super if I could go ahead and kick the shit out of Rob once this is all over. Whether or not that'll happen is up in the air -- as I mentioned, I'm overweight and out of shape. And while I'm an inch or two taller than Rob, he claims that he's been taking some recent boxing courses (and he growled at me), and I have absolutely no experience fighting anyone -- the only time I ever punched anyone was a couple years ago, when a friend and I got drunk and he asked me politely to punch him as hard as I could in the face. So I did. But then he laughed at me psychotically and beat me up. So yeah, we'll see. Anyway, take a look at this video from 3rd Street Gym.

Notice that everyone looks very beat -- like they're part of some weird slave trade or trying out for the Bengals. That's because they are, in fact, very tired. Part of this bootcamp's draw is its lack of constraints -- you're not required to know anything before you enter the door. You're not even required to be in shape. You're just required to pay. Which brings us to:

It should be mentioned somewhere (so why not here?) that neither Rob nor I are paying full price for this bootcamp. It regularly costs a whopping $650, plus $150 for equipment (boxing gloves, headgear, mouth guard, hand tape, groin protector, other stuff), and we're only paying for goods, not services. You can say what you want about that -- positive or negative -- and I'll likely agree. That said (beware: there's fine-print, high-horse declarations on the way), my job, in all capacities as Web Editor, is purely editorial, not promotional, and my words are not edited or directed by anyone except myself and my editors at SF Weekly. Participating in this camp was a choice I made along with, though separately from Rob (who, I'll remind you, is not in the editorial department at Guardian) to get in shape and then fight each other. I plan to blog my experiences Monday through Friday, and I've made no promises to anyone about what I'll write -- what happens happens, and I'll report it as accurately as I can.

On that front: today's workout was very basic -- an hour of group calisthenics, some general training ("keep your fuckin' dukes up," said Simon, as we practiced punching invisible opponents), and a slow jog at the end. Murmuring swelled at the end of the morning -- "if you thought today was bad, you ain't seen nothin'" -- and I nodded my approval of that prediction. I've got my vomit bag ready for tomorrow.

Next: what it's like to get hit in the face by someone you've never met, and why this is likely making Simon and Paul stinking rich.

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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Matt Stroud

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