Gym Entry

Training in Atlanta

Training for this fight has been rocky, and not the Sly Stallone kind, either.

So last week I called the promoter, two-time Strawweight World Champion Terri “The Boss” Moss, for a serious tête-à-tête. I related the details of my bumpy progress, she invited me to drop everything and come down to Atlanta for a week of training with the rest of the tough, serious women boxers at her boxing club in Decatur.

I gave her precisely 24 hours to get ready for me, then I checked my gear bag, gassed up the Blue Toaster and hit the road. I drove south for seven and a half hours, arrived at her doorstep at 4 pm, and I was in the gym and sweating by 5. Nothing like a little time in the ring to shake off the stiffness of a long-ass drive.

The Decatur Boxing Club is the kind of authentic boxing gym every weekend warrior dreams of, the kind of joint where serious fighters work with world-class trainers on a daily basis. It’s housed in a small brick warehouse with a roll-up loading bay, a single ring, a row of heavy bags, and a thousand fight posters, announcements, and inspirational slogans papering the walls. Banners proudly proclaiming the names of local boxing champs hang from the ceiling, stirring slightly in the current of the industrial-grade fan. A dozen dogs from the kennel in front of the gym bark wildly whenever anyone pulls into the 6-slot parking area, where the tantalizing aroma of a nearby coffee roastery overlays the odor of hot asphalt. Inside the gym smells faintly of Pine-Sol, and the surprisingly powerful sound system pumps out a steady stream of instrumental jazz mixed with a few downtown rhythm-and-blues club beats.

It couldn’t be more perfect.

Terri Moss (pictured above) and her partner Xavier Biggs know what they’re doing. They have incredible amount of history, experience, and know-how. Terri isn’t just a phenomenal fighter, she’s a powerful coach. Highly intuitive, she knows exactly what is mentally driving her boxers, and she understands precisely what sort of approach will help each fighter shift their thinking about the highly stressful, potentially damaging dynamics of this sport. And for technique, she is unmatched. I had called her earlier about an injury to my shoulder sustained during hard sparring. Before I had even described the injury, she said, “You were throwing those right hooks, weren’t you? You have been boxing too much with your arms and not with your body.”

Damned if she wasn’t right.

And it took her about 2 rounds of coaching me through a sparring session to help me discover the refinements I needed in my stance. Getting her changes into my muscle memory will take weeks and months of hard work, but each adjustment she made will dramatically improve my game.

Moss and Biggs have also connected me with Jason Abraham, aka “Jay Fury” — a man who trained at DBC for several years before moving to Raleigh. When Fury and I arranged to meet for the first time I knew him by the black Decatur Boxing Club tee shirt he sported, and I’ve since found comfort in the periodic references he makes to his former trainers as we circle each other in the gravel lot where he’s now giving me some training.

I have so much to learn. I know I can’t do everything I would like before this particular fight, but I definitely have some good things going for me.

And all of you who have been following this saga, leaving comments, sending me messages of encouragement, and writing about this fight have been just as big a part of my journey as my trainers. I can’t imagine doing this without all of you. I know many of you aren’t local to Atlanta (although quite a few of my new gym-mates are there — hollaaaa!), but that doesn’t seem get in the way of your boundless enthusiasm and continual cheering.

Thanks for that, truly. You’re incredible.

If you would like to help me pay for some of the expenses of this fight, you can make a contribution of any size with this link or the button below. I will be deeply grateful!

Need tickets to the fight itself? Here’s the link to get ’em.

I’ve also created a page with some more information about sponsoring me in this fight. More links and information there!

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4 Responses to Training in Atlanta

  1. niamh March 24, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    Oh! I want to go there! It sounds just like a gym should be – what a great description Lisa. Delighted you’re getting some help, it’s crap when training gets disrupted or put-out by outside stuff. Sounds like the long drive was more than worth it though! And you definitely worked out, I imagine that vest went straight in the washing machine!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe March 24, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Girl, you know I couldn’t make the long drive home with all my evil-smelling clothes. I washed most of them before I left, but the ones I was working out in the day I left had to go in a plastic shopping bag in the back so as not to destroy my drive, lol!

      Yes, I got some great help in Atlanta; I’m reminded again how full the world is of awesome people.

  2. Amy Scheer March 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Will you continue to train there, or is there a new plan? (forgive me if I missed it in another post). Being new to all this, I’m curious to hear how you approach training–how often, etc. As you said above, it takes so long to build memory in the muscles; I’m finding this, and I only have one night a week to put into it (I’m also not training for a big promoted fight). And I swear the minute I get something down someone else tells me otherwise. Yet it feels right, it feels I’m moving forward. Last night I got in the car thinking it wasn’t too tough of a session, and about at the second light I suddenly realized I couldn’t really move my upper body. In a good way, of course…

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi, Amy — all good questions and observations.

      To begin with, normally I train with my boxing team at my home gym. I start training for a particular fight about 7 weeks in advance. Unfortunately, my main trainer moved to NY when my training “camp” (the 7 weeks) began this time. I was connected with the Decatur Boxing Club people in Atlanta — who are also promoting this fight card I’m on — and they invited me to spend a week working with them so I did. As it turned out, they had a guy who used to train people at DBC who now lives where I live, and we got connected and he started training me here. He doesn’t currently have a gym so the two of us train in a gravel lot. I need to post about that soon. Anyway, I’ve managed to work it all out but it’s a bit messy this time.

      Regarding muscle memory, yep it takes forever and every trainer will tell you something slightly different. In the end you sort of adopt some bits and the mishmash comes together. Kind of like my current training camp!

      During training camp, I train 4 days a week, sometimes 5. When I’m not getting ready for a fight, I train 2 or 3 days a week. So you’re doing fine, getting started the way everyone does. You can also read a post I wrote about how I organize my training here: http://www.theglowingedge.com/a-look-inside-boxing-training/ In the comments of that post you’ll see an addition to the system that I’ve definitely incorporated over the past few years.

      You’re doing great! Keep up the hard work and keep posting and sharing your story!

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