The Boxing Diaries

In August 2018 I started going to the Rydal Boxing Gym on Stanley Road here in Liverpool. The first reason for this new adventure was that I’d always wanted to try it and I figured that 50 was about the right age to finally get started! I’d also heard about Rock Steady Boxing and how boxing really helps with Parkinson’s. From the very first day I got a great welcome from Robbie, Sean, Duck, Dee and everyone involved and I fell in love with the sport. It has never been a chore to jump out of bed and head over there for a morning work out. The first year was great, but it wasn’t until I started working one to one with Coach Duck that things got really serious and that’s when I started the boxing diaries on my Facebook feed. I figured I could share them here too.

#BoxingDiary9 Parkinson’s primarily affects the left hand side of my body, although when it has a mind to, it can take over the whole show. There have been a lot of times when I’ve been working on my footwork, stance and punching that it was tempting to say, “Oh, that’s because of Parkinson’s. I won’t be able to fix that. Let’s skip it and make do.” But that was never going to happen. I’ve stuck with it, pushed through and Duck’s kept pushing for more. As a result I am getting a lot better. Every time I walk into Rydal I’m punching Parkinson’s lights out. And there’s a lot more to come! Never settle for second place. Be your best!

#BoxingDiary8 Duck has said something to me a couple of times now that I take as a huge compliment. He said, “Imagine if you’d started this 20 years ago and you didn’t have Parkinson’s. It’d be scary!” It has never occurred to me to think of this as a cause for regret and it still doesn’t. 20 years ago I did have Parkinson’s and even if I hadn’t I was a very different person who wasn’t ready for boxing. This sport that I have so quickly come to love has arrived in my life at exactly the right moment, for exactly the right reasons and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The fact that I appear to have some talent for it is a source of pride and the fact that I can push through Parkinson’s to make that talent shine, even if it’s only within the confines of Rydal, is a very real victory that serves to spur me on rather than fill me with any sense of injustice or loss. Make the most of today, it’s all we’ve got! Give it your all! #RydalGym #PunchingParkinsonsLightsOut #NothingBeatsUs

#BoxingDiary7 1.5 hours physical therapy done! Body and mind reset! Ready for the day! #RydalGym

#BoxingDiary6 ‘Guard tight! Stay low! More hips! Soft knees! Get those fists straight back to where they’ve come from! Guard tight! Elbows in! Don’t throw it then stand there admiring it! (Dozy voice) “Ooh, did you see that? That was a good one.” Straight back! Snap ’em out! Don’t step, slide! Slip! Roll! Back hand! Left hook! Guard tight! That’s it!! Now keep it like that! I want more!’
What can I say, I LOVE IT!
#IDoItBecauseILoveIt #PunchingParkinsonsLightsOut

#BoxingDiary5 Did 2 and a half hours on Friday and an hour on Saturday. Pretty much addicted by now! Working on slipping, rolling and counter punching, which I’m absolutely loving! Found switching off my mind and letting my body run with it gets the best results. Got up some good speed on the pads! Certainly a lot faster than I should be after 25 years with PD. #BeatParkinsons #TrainHardFightEasy #RydalGym

#BoxingDiary4 Fatigue is a brutal thing. All the sleep in the world won’t make it go away. Every morning I used to stand in the shower and say to myself, “Keep moving. Keep moving and you’ll be ok.” Every single day I had to force myself to move. I used to do that. Not anymore. Now I box. #Rydal #FindYourPurpose

#BoxingDiary3 Today was what Duck rather euphemistically called a “a naughty workout”: Started with the usual 2 mile run, followed by some shadow work, followed by a heavy bag work out consisting of 30 seconds going hard on the heavy bag immediately followed by 30 seconds burpees alternating for a total of 3 minutes. After a 30 second rest that pattern was repeated with heavy bag and dips and then another set with heavy bag and press ups. That was followed by pyramid upper cuts and hooks – 1 left, 1 right, 2 left, 2 right, 3 left, 3 right and back down again – until I thought my arms would fall off! That was followed by footwork drills and pad work. And just for good measure we finished on a leg circuit! How did I feel at the end of all that? Like a million fu*king dollars! God, I love this! 🥊🥊 #InYourFaceParkinsons #RydalGym #EveryDayIsTheNextAdventure

#BoxingDiary2 I really should be writing all this down. Today was session number 8 with Duck and I’m now running minimum 2 miles on the treadmill before our hourlong sessions start. My footwork is coming along nicely and I’m getting used to switching to south paw. Lots learned, a whole lot more to learn, but I absolutely LOVE it!! I love the feeling of having to dig deep and once I’ve pushed through those barriers, just when I think I’m done, finding I’ve got plenty more in the tank. It’s an incredible high! I can’t thank Duck enough, he’s a great coach and a great guy! Really looking forward to getting in the ring on Friday and pulling it all together with a session on the pads. 🥊🥊 #FcukParkinsons #RydalGym #LandOfLegends #EveryDayIsTheNextAdventure

#BoxingDiary1 My punches are landing OK, but my footwork is terrible, so yesterday I started some 1-2-1 sessions with Coach Duck to start putting that right. First one was yesterday and I loved it! I could literally ‘feel’ the Parkinson’s parts of my brain mercilessly being forced to activate and work, the rusty cogs grinding back into life! Back again next week! #BackInTheRingToTakeAnotherSwing 🥊🥊