Jay Fury and Me (TGE)

Training With Fury

Jay Fury and Me (TGE)For the past six weeks Jay Fury has been kicking my ass for me in a gravel lot where I’m training for my next fight.

Yes, it’s his “fight” name, but it seems like everyone calls him that. It’s a bit incongruous in light of his quick smile and the glossy black curls looping down over his eyes, but it makes sense once you match gloves with him a time or two. He has scary-fast power and he can hit like a cement mixer. In some ways, he reminds me of Bonnie — they both have that heavyweight I-throw-knockout-punches style, but Jay also specializes in tiny, fast body shifts that give him incredible angles from which to shoot. When he’s coming at you with a flurry of those angled, backed-by-bodyweight punches you want to cover up and pray for rescue.

I connected with him because of the incredible people in Atlanta; Jay trained for a number of years with Xavier Biggs at the Decatur Boxing Club, and also pitched in leading classes there as well. But about a year ago Jay gave up his job, his gym, and his fairly serious metal band when he moved up my way to care for his grandmother as she was dying.

Since her death, he’s been working again, and he has begun to establish himself as a leader in multiple off-the-radar fight-training groups.

He’s well-versed in Ju Jitsu, Tai Chi, and Ba Gua in addition to boxing, and I think part of the reason he rarely competes himself is because he’s forever getting other people ready to compete. But most of this happens in gravel lots and other mostly-unnoticed spaces where two or three or six people can gather to push themselves to advance in their arts. Once in a while he mentions having been asked to leave a particular area, which I find fascinating. Rarely would a group of people playing rugby or practicing BMX bike tricks be asked to leave a field, lot or park. But martial arts and fight training — no matter how controlled — outside of a clean, brightly-lit gym scares people.

Mostly our empty gravel lot has been a good place to work (I fell in love with the chickens we discovered there), although we’ve also trained on a quiet wooded slope, on a concrete slab in an unused picnic shelter, and once in a wide grassy space near an empty playground. We keep a weather eye out for official-looking people who might be approaching to ask us to leave, but it’s only happened one time so far.

Sometimes we’re accosted by curious passers-by, but Jay handles them with diplomacy. On our last hard sparring day a man who seemed to know Jay waited patiently until we were between rounds and asked him, “Hey, when’s your fight?”

I bit my lip to keep from grinning, and resolutely kept my mouth shut.

“Not my fight, man,” Jay responded equably. “Hers.”

I counted a couple of heartbeats before the man stammered out his reply. “What? Hers?”

“Yeah. Saturday night. In Atlanta.” Jay bounced lightly in his boxer’s shuffle as we waited on the bell for the next round.

“Wow, really? Huh.” And he politely tipped his head in my direction and settled himself on a concrete lot bumper to watch us work.

I kicked it up about three notches in my pride.

During one of the next few rounds I heard our viewer speak directly to me. “He’s dropping his left glove a lot. Give him a straight right.” I considered the last few combination exchanges, bided my time, and soon enough caught Jay with my right, straight over the glove. I heard a satisfied grunt from the sidelines.

These kinds of exchanges have made me incredibly happy, in ways that I think I would never have experienced inside a gym.

One man Jay and I were talking to asked me if people actually had to buy tickets to get in to see my upcoming fight. “Hell yeah,” I told him. “VIP seats are a hundred bucks apiece.”

Jay didn’t say a word. He just put on his best Hollywood smile.

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13 Responses to Training With Fury

  1. Girlboxing April 20, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    Training is so chock-full-of gold! Thanks for showing the way!

    What you’re also showing is heart and focus — about the most important ingredients there are in a fight, taking it as a given that the skills are reasonably in place!!!

    All your hard work is obviously paving your way to a GREAT bout with Mischa on Saturday night. Enjoy the fruits, my friend, you’re earning them.

  2. niamh April 20, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Great post! I laughed when you got to the part about the by-stander, how great he joined in with some advice:) You must be so proud to be out there, showing your stuff.

    Jay sounds like a great trainer to have, and fun to go to new places too, right? Keeps it all fresh!

    Will be rooting for you from this side of the Atlantic missy 🙂

  3. Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 20, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks, both of you. I’m ridiculously happy — can’t imagine how I lived before boxing. And I just heard this morning that Jay will be able to be in my corner in Atlanta on Saturday night. He won’t be the official cornerman, but he can be there. I’m really pleased about this, as you can imagine.

  4. Laura April 20, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Great post!

    I’m so excited to see your hard work in action! And I’m glad he’ll be able to come down and support you. I know he must be excited to see you fight after all this training. I’ll be very glad to meet him.

    I can’t believe how soon it is! I guess I’ll see you at the weigh in?

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 20, 2011 at 11:22 am #

      Yes, I’ll look forward to seeing you at the weigh in, Laura! I don’t think Jason can be there until Saturday, though. So you’ll meet him at the after party, at the very least.

      • Laura April 22, 2011 at 11:39 am #

        I’ll be helping out at the show so I’ll be taking you from the dressing room to the ring! I’m sad I won’t be able to bring Justine out as I’ve been really into her training but I am very glad to be able to see you go in and then watch your fight 🙂

        • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

          I would really love to see Justine myself — I saw some of her training and she looks incredibly fierce. It’s gonna be a fun evening, I think, and I’ll be honored to have your escort to the ring!

  5. Margaret Reyes Dempsey April 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I just love your stories about training. This had me grinning ear to ear.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoy them, Margaret. I wish there was a plugin for hearts on WordPress. I’d scatter them everywhere! <3, anyway.

  6. Jeffry Hogberg April 21, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    You go girl! Your Uncle Jeff can’t be more proud. Did not know you you were a boxer.I will be pulling for you here in Afghanistan .Please let me know how you do. Know you mom must be going crazy. Get them Tiger.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      How awesome to hear from you, Uncle Jeff! I’m sitting here in the hotel, drying out to make weight in just a couple of hours. Looking forward to tomorrow’s fight and feeling pretty good. I’m so pleased you found this and dropped in to comment. I’ll be sure to post results asap!

  7. Amy Scheer April 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    You in the gravel lot is like Rocky out in the frozen fields of Russia. Your opponent trains in a sparkling, high-tech gym, right?

    All the best to you this weekend!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Actually she trains all over the globe. Gleason’s in NYC, Decatur Boxing Club in Atlanta, Canino’s in Florida, her home gym in Australia. She has had some incredible people working with her, including Lucia Rijker, Alicia Ashley, and more. But I feel pretty good, and I’m proud of my training, too! Ain’t nothing wrong with no chickens, right??

      Here’s to you, Jay “Fury” Abraham and Bonnie “Queen B” Mann!! And here’s to sparring in gravel lots, bay-beeeee!

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