Hi, and a very warm welcome to my page. Thank you, all very much for stopping by. Today I felt like sharing something personal. I will be telling you a short story on how I got involved in becoming a boxing trainer at a very peculiar place yet one of the best gyms I have seen around the area. This gym is in the suburbs of Tijuana, Mexico just south the border from California. Colonia El Pilpila 5ta Seccion is one of the places where you see much poverty. Yet, the city built a recreation center with basketball courts, soccer field, place for volleyball, a baseball field and a great brand new boxing gym. It is a city funded gym just built a few years ago. Former World Champion Manuel Mantecas Medina did the inauguration and I believe he was supposed to be in charge of running the gym as well. I said peculiar place since it was all built at a site where gang bangger, drug users and dealers hanged out next to a canal. During the day was fine a lot of people enjoyed the park but during the night it became somewhat dangerous.
In search of something to keep me busy, I decide to become a boxing trainer
I happened to move about 3 blocks from the park and decided to give my old friend Medina a visit. Since I have no relatives in the city and my brother has passed away. I needed to focus myself into doing something productive and stay busy to avoid the loneliness. I thought of training kids how to box and so I head to the park. A very nice park, well taken care off. As I got to the gym, I just stood by the door watching for about a minute.
A gentleman standing next to the ring invited me in and introduced himself. He happened to be Danny the park administrator. The gym was huge and clean and since it was city funded, you would guess they had the best boxing gear available right. Not quite, and being Mexico home to some best boxing gloves makers in the world. I thought boxing training was over and the kids running in and out of the gym, some hitting the heavy bag with no boxing gloves and then climbing the ropes of the ring playing around. As, if it was a playground. In the ring was a gentlemen talking with two young girls doing mitts work out.
With the only two pairs of gloves available for training.
It gets better, so please stay with me while I continue to tell you the story. While, some kids were sparring one was a boy the other a girl. The girl was bigger and had some boxing gloves bigger than the little boy, although a little too big for her. Neither had a head gear and were sparring as if just playing around. There might have been like 20 kids in the gym all together.
Shocked on what I was seeing, I decide to offer to give a hand to guide the kids. A while later I walked back to talk to Danny and pointing to a poster of Manuel Mantecas Medina, I asked is he still training here. I was told he was running this gym. He was for a while and then just came about twice a week since he had another gym of his own he no longer comes, he said.
Then continued to talk saying, this is a gym for beginners to do boxing training as a sport. Kids come and train and after they learn the basics of boxing. If, they want to continue to box then they go to other gyms in the area. The coach in the ring is actually the person that stays overnight to watch over the gym so it won’t get vandalized. What about equipment I mentioned, and sadly said that’s all that’s left, which was available to use.
It kept missing and the rest was put away. I put those up in my office when I leave, we also have for sparring only two of the world finest boxing gloves and two head gears and two cups only to be used when sparring. Since there is no trainer or any boxers to use them I have them put away in my office.The Police department had bought the boxing equipment and since there is no trainer after 5pm they put them away.
Danny the park administrator got happy when I told him who I was and the reason of my visit.
What about getting another trainer I said, thinking to myself this is a great opportunity to give back to society what once was given to me. I wanted to train there due to all the danger kids are being exposed to, hopefully make a difference in a few. I know that once you grow up in a certain way its difficult to change and I did not want to force anyone to stop what they were doing, instead try to make them see the difference in them when they experience doing what’s right.
Danny was telling me he had no budget to pay for a trainer, When two young guys walked in the gym with a skateboard on their hand. You guys are late, I’m about to close up. Danny yelled, to the two boys who quickly replied, Give us a chance and let us train we had our scheduled change and we just got off work at 6 and by the time we catch the bus here, this is as early as we can make it. Plus the gym closes at 9 pm, the boys said.
I was about to leave too when Danny closed up and when he told the boys there was no one to look after them, and he had to go. I noticed the boys face had a sad disappointment look, and also saw they still had their work clothes on. I interrupted Danny and told him, I’m a former Professional Boxer Danny. The reason of my visit here was to see Medina and since he is no longer here I can stay and not only to watch over them but to train them.
If, you let the boys keep coming to the gym at 7pm, I will come at 5pm to 9pm to give you a hand with the rest of the kids here. About the pay, don’t worry about it. I will come as a volunteer and if you ever get a chanse to put me on the city’s payroll it will be great. You should have seen the faces of all three. Allright, they can keep coming and just make sure everyone is out by 9 and lock up the door. I will send someone to stay at the gym at 9pm said Danny, with a smile still in his face.
As I become the new trainer there was rules I made and Danny accepted to help.
The following day, I went earlier to have a word with Danny. I wanted to talk about the rules that the gym have and
make my own too. To make it clear for the kids that the park is outside and not in the gym. Danny started to make a bulletin to put on the gym’s door. Saying the gym is off limit, to everyone that is not going to be training from 5pm to 9pm and no visitors allowed, unless they were to be on the benches and do not disturb the boxing session.
Danny agreed and posted the paper. Also, made it clear to everyone that was there to train. I was in charge of the gym, whatever I said needed to be respected. That helped out from getting into a fight with some gang bangger that would come in and wanting to start hitting the heavybag and smoking cigarretes.
Other rules I gave the boxers as they would come to put their name on the sing in sheet, write the time they will be showing up at either 5pm or 6pm and that anyone coming after 6 :15 pm will not be training until 7pm or will not train period. Anyone that will be horse playing will be asked to leave and if I see anyone smoke will not be allowed also drinking alcohol or using drugs. One more thing that I asked of every kid to bring a parent or sibbling responsible for them so that I can make sure they knew they were there and to come get them when it got dark. Due to the dangerous environment after dark.
About 20 kids and two sets of trainning gloves and how I managed to train them
According to the scheduled the kids put on the sign in sheet was when they were supposed to show up. That way I had enough time to help them one by one. Not one knew proper way to stand or throw the punch it was the same with all so I started everyone from scratch to show them my style. For two weeks I started everyone on the basic right posture stance and foot work, throw and block a punch. The majority wanted to just go and put on the gloves and do sparring. Without even knowing how to protect themselves.
I told them boxing is not about who is more tuff or brave and just throw punches. That it was about being smart enough to throw punches at the right moment and not to get hit while doing so. They understood and wanted to do defence intead which was basically what they wanted to do. I put one to throw what he was learning the other was to block those punches and then the other way around. They were amaze how they can make the opponent miss a punch. Some were tuff kids to teach but after a while were more disciplined and easy going not just trying to fight anyone.
Remember about the two 18 years old who came after work.
Those two youngsters were going to the gym for about 4 months and told me that they would be doing sparring with a coach from the morning and always rocked them both. I don’t doubt it I told them and them too did not know how to block one single punch. I started them from scratch, and told them what ever they thought they knew forget about it and do the routine exactly as I tell you, and next time you two do sparring with him I promise you that you will be doing the rockin this time.
They laugh and clowned that I was exagerating and I proved them wrong. Since, the beginning every combination taught in shadow boxing, and then the heavy bag, and on the double ended ball. twice a week I work them with the mitts to assure them exactly where they needed to land the punch.
After that I got on the ring with both one at a time with the boxing gear on and thru punches at them so that they can block. That took a while to learn and stop my punches since felt intimidated, once I told them to throw a jab at the same time of blocking they noticed it was harder for me to move in. About two months pass and guess who showed up wanting to do sparring, yeah its on I said. But, in fact the sparring was for an officer he was trainning.
So I got the boys ready since they wanted to do 4 round and I told the ex pro by the way his name is Juan just like me. I told his let them do 2 each you know they have no experience, launghing in the inside though. Well, the first guy stop the officer and to help them on continuing the sparring I told my boy practice what you and I worked on. Work your defense no need to attack we already know you are greater now is time to help them work.
You will also benefit from this too.
That’s what sparring is all about not how Juan used to beat you. So only 3 days was the most the officer could hang and did not come for a while. Although Miguel and Juan did come the next day and said if I wanted to, he would spar with both my boys. Once again, I said now its on. Sure thing just like I trainned them to box in two months that was exactly how they boxed Juan. He kept coming back for more trying to get even and again would get rocked. The more they sparred the more experience they got to a point where Juan could not even touch them. One day he brought someone else to spar and was stopped too.
Big surprise the boys and I got one day going to do sparring in the day time with Juan.
The big surprise I got when going in the daytime to do sparring with Juan, was as we walked in the door a cage with about 15 pairs of gloves, ropes, speed bag, some small weights and all that time I only was given two smelly old pairs of boxing gloves. I even had to buy two pairs of my own money so that the little kids and two little girls would use instead of the smelly ones. I pretend that did not bother me but it did.
I asked Miguel why he has access to the boxing equipment Danny said the police department had picked up and put away. That’s when Miguel said he don’t work for the park and recreation that he was hired by the city but to work for the department on helping them train since every once in a while they compete against the fire department.
Miguel, pass last year, he was a great friend may he rest in peace.
I want to thank you for given me so much of your time, and showing me support on visiting my page this time was really long I know. But, I felt like writting today, your suggestions will be truly appreciated if you have anything you want me to assist you on go ahead and leave a message and I will be pleased to get in touch.