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Cover Down On Your Buddies

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Under the watchful eye of Coach Michael, twenty-three young boxers are hitting heavy bags, jumping rope and and performing various calisthenics. One hard working teenager is hitting the bag exceptionally well. He is changing levels, transferring his weight and pounding it with a force that pleases his coach. Next to this hard hitting boxer is a lad on a neighboring bag only seven feet away. This is only his second time in the gym, and he is struggling to snap his punches and leave dents in the bag like the more experienced youth next to him. None of this goes unnoticed by the coach. Coach sees everything, and most of the kids know this about the man they admire so very much. He asks the kid hitting well what he’s doing. The student is surprised and asks, “Don’t I look good coach?” Coach Michael responds, “You look very good, but your man next to you is new and needs help. You need to cover down on your buddies in this great place.” Coach announces that class is concluding a few minutes early and gathers them in a circle. “Take a knee”, he says. It’s time to end the session, and he wants them to understand what he expects to see in all future moments. Michael tells them that there are at least two, or three potential state champions in the room, and there could be a national champion in the next two years. This military expression is exactly what it means, and the act of covering down on your people means that you protect them. Protection comes in many forms for this former army sniper and highly decorated soldier. It is sharing what could be better and pointing out where your mates are falling behind. Treating each other with kindness and respect is also covering down on your buddies. “We need to bring out each other’s best” he says. All of them know he was in the military for many years, but few of them know that much about the amount of life that he has crammed into his thirty-three years. He has been trained to see everything, and it was this ability that allowed him to fast track in the military in Iraq and other countries. His nine years as soldier and military contractor taught him the value of teamwork and the importance of loving your people. He believed in service to his people, and the importance of protecting his fellow soldiers. He expects total engagement from his class and uniting together to help each other be the greatest versions of themselves. Most of them will not be competitive, and pursue this activity for exercise, and as a cross training modality for high school sports. Still, Michael expects their participation to be one that pursues excellence. “How you box is how you do life”, he shares with them. Covering down on your buddy means that you invest in something other than yourself. Great boxers need sparring partners, coaches and opponents to bring out the greatness that is inside them. Michael believes that the strength and practice of investing in others only makes you stronger. Class participants are expected to give each other input, and that even includes coaches. Pointing out areas to improve is a constant theme in his classes. Coach Michael says, “We point out the weaknesses and strengths of our team so that we can rise up together.” In his former life, this practice increased the odds for survival, and became a binary choice; you live or you die. The latter incentivized hard training and an investment in the lives of your people. At his core, Michael believes that each of us have gifts that the world desperately needs to see. His service to others did not stop when he stopped wearing a uniform and serving his country. Service to others never stops, and it is truly a great thing to see him applying his gifts and service to the great people in our gym. We can do few great things alone.
Be Great, Kevin

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Over the years, KC’s in Buffalo and Orchard Park have offered a great range of classes. Boxing for exercise, Competitive Boxing, Submission Grappling, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Tai Chi, Aikido, Brazilan J

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