Randall “Tex” Cobb, was a legendary boxer who was known for having an outstanding chin. That meaning, he could take a ballistic uppercut to the chin and act like you just did him a favor. And even with Cobb’s unbreakable jaw, his lighthearted quote explains what getting hit actually felt like from the “big-time slugger” Earnie Shavers, “[He] could punch you in the neck and break your ankle.”

Friends HUG; boxers CLINCH.

Husband and wife team Dave and Cate Hodgkinson of Legends Boxing in Trolley Square, SLC are hugging for real.

 

Rocky, Raging Bull, Rocky II, Million Dollar Baby, Rocky III, The Good Son, Rocky IV... Okay, I’ll stop, but for the record, there have been eight sequels in the Rocky series, five of which portray the Philadelphian “The Italian Stallion” or Rocky Balboa as played by the actor Sylvester Stallone. Also, it’s likely that you have watched a boxing match on television or during the summer Olympics, with dinging of bells, lots of sweat, split-open brows, puffy faces and generally lots of hugging. To clarify: there is no hugging in boxing. Known as clinching, an opponent’s arms are placed over the other and foreheads are placed against shoulders in a tight hold and leaning in hard.

Entering into my first boxing class at Legends Boxing Gym at Trolley Square, I was a bit apprehensive, the ring, the hanging punching bags, and glancing up at the wall to see a blown-up picture of a super-fit gloved badass going at someone.

But let me assure you, these guys know how to set you up for success. Dressing in comfy fitness clothes and running shoes, Dave Hodgkinson, Manager at Legends got me started by wrapping up my hands, which is done to protect them: from sprains, breaking the skin on knuckles and heaven forbid, breaking small bones. Once wrapped the gloves come on and it’s time for one-on-one. My trainer was Matt Searle, Head Coach—three-time state/three-time regional Golden Gloves Champion—who uses a numbering system to guide you through, works on your stance and eventually, you get to spar with him. A jab, cross, hook and uppercut may look straightforward, it surprised me how hard it was, especially on hits leading with my left or non-dominant side and how awkward they felt. Being as relaxed as possible was Matt’s advice, who continued with visual guidance as well as explaining the reasons why those techniques and placements can benefit you in a fight, giving the most bang for the buck.

Chin down, eyes up.

With loose fists, hold your right hand by your chin, and left hand down in front of your face.

And remember, elbows stay in and keep those gloves up to protect a “knock out” on the chin.

At the start of class, we started jumping rope for three sets of three-minute intervals. Tripping throughout, my rope kept hitting my top of the head ponytail, at one point started to get into a rhythm. While instructor’s Matt (watch below) and Cate makes skipping rope look effortless. Afterward, placing on gloves we proceeded to the big hanging punching bags. Partnering up we were directed on a numbered-sequenced set of punches, like: 1 (left-hand jab), 6 (right uppercut), 3 (left hook), 2 (right jab). These sequences are carried out for the longest three minutes of your life and by the end, your heart is pumping hard while your whole upper body is demanding a break.

My time at Legends was a great combination of mental and physical fun. It is also highly interactive, in which you can encourage and applaud the hard work and efforts of those around you. My next-day soreness is mainly radiating from arms, my upper body and the left (my less dominant) shoulder (no surprise here), but most likely I’ll be coming back for more. Do yourself the favor and wrap up, try on some gloves, and skip with sweaty friends to get in shape and relieve some stress by hitting something.

FUN FACT: The movie Rocky was filmed in the city of Philadelphia, and we recently posted about a taste-off and ranked our staff top picks of Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches (including vegan) from a selection of local eateries. Read all about it, here.

Matt of Legends Boxing, Trolley Square from Salt Lake Magazine on Vimeo.