“Hey Matt, come to my gym, I will teach you how to box” 

I looked up from my computer and Chuck Horton was standing over me in the library of the college we attend. The thought had never once crossed my mind; me, one of the biggest nerds (Chuck Horton’s own words) learn to box? No way. 

However the thought nagged me for a week or two, and I thought why not? I just lost 150 lbs. and I was getting tired of all this extra skin, no muscles, and running up the stairs would get me winded. 

The flame was lit. It started out small but grew every time Chuck Horton would talk to me, I saw his passion for the sport and I started thinking why not me. So one day a few months ago I thought why the hell not? So I grabbed my shorts and ratty t-shirt and went to the “Jungle Boy gym” in Duluth, Mn. 

My first impression of the place was “Man it smells like dude in here” but Chuck Horton and Zach Walters were, to my surprise, very welcoming. 

“Glad you could make it Matt” Chuck said “Now go get some gloves; you are going to sweat tonight” 

I did not like that sound of that, I hate to sweat but sure enough as though I was ordered by a drill sergeant, I grabbed a pair of green gloves put them and stood there dumb founded. 

A few other people filed in, looking excited. They all had work out attire on and were waiting for Chuck to start giving orders. “Shoot them up!” chuck yelled and everyone started punching the air above their heads, and jogging in place. After a minute I wanted to stop, walk out and never return, but I stayed arguing with myself. 

After “3 rounds” of shoot them up, Chuck Horton pointed to me and pointed to a bag, “Start hitting it” he demanded. I jogged to the bag and punched it as hard as I could muster. 

The bag flinched a little, but barley moved. I thought “Come on!” Chuck Horton walked up to me and started giving directions.

“Let me see you hit it” 

I punched it again, again hardly any movement from the bag, but much to my surprise Chuck yelled “Good form Matt, where did you learn to punch?” Chuck asked.

“I remember watching boxing on HBO, with my dad, plus it hurt the first time so I thought I was doing it wrong” I said. 

“No, you are lining up your shots well, just keep going, 1 2 1 2, remember that”

I stood in front of the bag and counted off my punches, left jab is one, and a hit with my right fist a 2, so I stood unmoving in front of the bag whispering 1 2 1 2.  After a round my arms were burning and I was panting like a dog. But I liked it. 

We did our work outs of chair squats and push-ups and planking and that was the end of the hour, I left feeling defeated unable to use my arm to even tie my shoes. But I had felt as if I started on a path to better myself. This was my first night on my endeavor to learn “The art of boxing”

Author: Matt Thiry