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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Boxing Bootcamp Day 17 -- "It stays White out later, if you get my drift."*

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2007 at 9:05 AM

"I see a lot of whiteness in this room."

--Paul Wade

That expression seems to be one of Paul's favorites during pre-boxing workouts, and I guess it's true -- there is a lot of whiteness in boxing bootcamp. My estimation, for what it's worth, is that the room is filled with about 85 percent Caucasian Dudes like myself, and about 95 percent Caucasian People in total. But Paul's not talking about our ethnicities.

No, he's referring to our lack of rhythm and coordination during drills. And I can really take everyone else out of the explanation and make a fitting analogy using myself as an example: Doing jumping jacks and squat thrusts and really any drill where you jump from site to side or shake your booty is very much like me standing alone in a discotheque, da club, or anywhere where it's generally dark (as opposed to light, not white), but there are lots of flashing lights and loud pounding music and people are expected to dance: I'm here at da club, and I'm listening to the loud rap or techno or drum&bass or whatever percussive music that largely inherits syncopation from 1970s disco era, and I'm trying my hardest to feel the rhythm and move in some way that won't make me look pathetically stupid, but it just doesn't seem to work and I end up, indeed, looking pathetically stupid and very, very white in front of whoever, including lots of other very white people, but perhaps some who aren't quite as overly self-conscious as I. Big frown. I think, therefore I am; I don't dance, therefore I am very white. And so on.

Anyway, this morning, while listening to Paul say "there's a lot of whiteness in this room," I wondered for a moment: is there a better way to say that? A better way to imply that the group needs to inherit more rhythm? To imply that we need a better sense of physical musicality? Not really. "Quit being so rhythmically impaired!" might sound a little weird coming out of Paul's mouth.** But then I wondered: is that possible? Is it fair to imply that we can have a rhythmic transformation, a la Save the Last Dance***, where simple exposure to hip-hop instills in us -- we rhythmically impaired Caucasian folks -- the ability to... act... less... white? My God, I have no idea. In the meantime (until I figure it out), I'll continue to do my jumping jacks like a white person -- to the beat of my own drummer, and not the bass-heavy electronic ticking behind Ludacris' "Rollout (My Business)."

Other points of note:

--Rob Q is back in class.

--Punching someone in the kidney during a boxing match is illegal.

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*Many thanks to David Cross for the headline. Thanks to you, David, I will never forget how truly white I am.

**I am truly, truly sorry for making a Julia Stiles reference

***Paul's Irish, I'll remind you, which, in terms of ethnicity, makes him quite white indeed; but he boxes well and actually has rhythm, so.

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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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