April 4, 2018

Entering the ring

One of my summer highlights is the Quest for the Voyageur Title Muay Thai kickboxing fights during the Saturday of Mattawa Voyageur Days. It’s scheduled July 28 this year, the sixth edition promising to be the biggest yet after having to cancel in 2017.

The new rules instituted last year messed up a lot of fight plans.

Most people who know me have heard too many times I retired from boxing unbeaten December 1982. The punchline is that I only had one amateur bout when I was 17 years old and it was a split decision. Best time to get the hell out, I thought.

My only regret was not insisting that I get self-defence fighting lessons when younger. Attending seven different schools between Gr. 2 and Gr. 12 to accommodate dad’s job site moves meant a lot of school-yard confrontations.

I’m certain my insecurities and natural combative nature would have benefitted from even the most basic striking and blocking skills.

Funny thing, as soon as I learned how to throw a punch there were a lot fewer scraps. Bigger and better boxers taught me humility and respect while reducing the internal need to prove myself. (I’m not saying it turned me into an angel, there were subsequent lessons to reinforce the reality of not being skilled or tough enough to live that life.)

Hitting the heavy bag is still one of my favourite exercises. My shoulders don’t like when I go high with the hooks anymore, and the jab isn’t quite as firm, but a couple rounds still gets the blood and lungs pumping.

I highly recommend, however, the “stepping into a ring” experience for any kid growing up (and even some adults out there).

Got a life-changing fight lesson to add? Email [email protected] or use the contact form to make suggestions to improve the story. Comments are welcome as well. Thanks for reading.

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