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Jay Goodwyn: Starting your Boxing Training at 60 years of age

About 5 years ago, at the age of 60, I had thought: I wonder if I should learn how to box. An odd idea for someone of my age. But I thought about boxing and what I read about how it is such an excellent way to get in shape. After years of running (and competing in a few marathons) and weight training, I thought maybe boxing is something I should try. I also thought, even at my age, if I ever got into a situation that I had to defend myself, I realized I really have no idea what to do. Wouldn’t it be good to get into shape and learn how to defend myself in the unlikely event I ever had to?


Here I am today at 65 years old and I have another thought: I am really sorry I didn’t take up the sweet science of boxing many years ago. Why did I wait so long? In fact, taking up boxing has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.


I am extremely lucky, and just by chance, to end up in the only gym in WNY that focuses on boxing technique, builds a community of like-minded people who support and help each other be not only bePer boxers but bePer people. Coach Kevin fosters a posiBve atmosphere where everyone in the gym learns from each other.


So, at KC fitness I have found boxing has so many benefits way beyond what I first realized. Here’s what I personally have found:


Boxing is indeed an amazing way to get in shape. It is incredibly demanding. It builds strength, speed, endurance. I used to love running – the “runners high” is a real thing. And I loved weight training – the feel of “the pump” is also a real thing. But there is a “boxing high” as well. And in addition, you are learning a craft.


Yes, boxing is great for self-defense, no question. It is the oldest martial art. You learn how to move, how to hit fast and hard, how to defend, and how to take a punch. You learn how to defuse situations as well. And as a side benefit, you learn some confidence.


Boxing is also great for stress management ... I can’t tell you about the actual science behind it, and certainly part of it is the demanding workouts. But there is something about hitting bags and mitts that is very satisfying. If you come into the gym stressed out you leave feeling loose and happy.


The benefits of boxing and improving patients with Parkinson’s disease is well known. But clearly boxing also is amazing for all of us for improving reflexes and balance. Boxing improves coordination and overall motor skills.


A little understood benefit of boxing is also what I call “calm in the storm” or what Coach Kevin likes to call “aequanimitas,” or by definition: Calm and composed. Boxing teaches us to react to incoming dangers, as punches are thrown at us, we learn to deal with it: Deflect, block, slip away, weave under, or step back from danger. You must react. And you may get hit ... and that’s okay. You deal with it and move on. This approach creates new neural pathways in your brain on dealing with stressful situaBons. It applies beyond boxing and into areas such as how to handle emergency situations (someone choking at a restaurant), how to deal with stressful situations at work (your boss yelling that your project is late), etc., and how to stay “calm in the storm” and react more effectively.


So boxing has been a game changer for me personally. And the beautiful thing is every time I come to the gym I learn something new. It is truly a rich sport with many benefits and rewards. And I am living proof it’s never too late to start.

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