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Thread: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

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    Default Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

    Last week I started going to back to Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy. It's been 5 years since I've passed through it's doors, and it's exhilarating to be back again.

    During my hiatus from boxing a lot has happened, I traveled, went to school, got married, started on a career as a house painter, but after all the gym beckoned me. The gym would often sneak into my dreams, and I longed to be back in the ring, and deep in the heavy sweat atmosphere of Joe Byrd's.

    My wife noticed how animated and excited I would get whenever I'd talk about boxing. She encouraged me to do what I enjoy doing most, and to go back to the gym. So here I am.

    This thread will be more of a news feed than a log, about the recent happenings and highlights in Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Mr. Joe Byrd Sr.

    First I'd like to briefly introduce Joe Byrd Sr. Some of you may know him as father of former heavyweight champ Chris Byrd. Joe was a former pro fighter himself (see Joe Byrd - Boxer). Now age 77, he's been coaching boxing for almost 50 years.

    Just scratching the surface, I found out that he was a sparring partner for Bob Foster for the Joe Frazier bout. Yesterday, I asked him about a Sugar Ray Robinson fight poster on the wall, he said he fought an exhibition with him back in '66. He's been in the ring with many fighters. It just goes to show that many interesting in-the-ring encounters are off the books, and you won't have any idea until you talk to them.



    P.S. I took a photo of that fight poster earlier today, see attached photo.
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    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 06-20-2014 at 04:26 AM.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Wink Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy



    A typical day at Joe Byrd's spells like this:

    Joe Byrd Jr. (His son, not a misspelling) gestures everyone to sit on the floor and we start our floor routine. We do some stomach exercises, windmills (toe touching), jumping jacks, running in place while punching, and a couple other simple calisthenics to get warmed up.

    Afterward, the guys finish wrapping their hands and go to a preferred spot around the gym, often going to the mirrors. Joe Jr. then starts the timer, and we sharpen up with a couple rounds of shadow boxing. During shadowboxing, I usual pick a roomy spot and I try to circle, step in to jab, using a slip or a roll before I go into a hook/uppercut. It's just coordinating the hands and feet instead trying to expand my repertoire. I approach shadow boxing different at the gym, than I do at home.

    At this point, everyone has a good sweat going which is also made easier due to a broken AC, we glove up and head toward the heavy bags. Joe Jr. says, "Okay, we drill". This is where we just throw straight left-right's for a round, or less. Guys tend to square up when they do this, but I try to keep my stance, and front foot pointed at the bag. Soon Joe tells us, "Box". Then I try circling the bag, stepping in and out, and working behind the jab. This phase usually goes for a full round before we go back to 'drilling'. When we drill, sometimes Joe'll tell us to work up and down, which is the same thing except we bend our knees and and throw short left/rights to head and body. We switch between drilling and boxing the bags which goes on for 5-6 rounds.

    We cap off the workout with more stomach exercises on the floor, which believe me gives you a challenge when you're spent from before. If I can I try to pick Joe Sr's brain before I pack up.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Wink Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy: Sparring



    Sparring

    The Friday before last was the first time that I'd spar I had in 5 years. For the four consecutive days leading up to that, I've been doing the regular routine described above along with running 4 miles in the early morning. I was still a little beat from the days before.

    Anyway, Joe Sr. didn't come in, so it was just me, Jackson (aka "Man-man"), DJ, Brandon with Joe Jr. left to run things. DJ and Brandon would get to move around first, and I was hoping that I could spar DJ since he is closer to my weight. I was 165 last week, and DJ says he's around 175.


    -DJ and Brandon Sparring

    I loaned my previous headgear to Brandon. DJ was finished with his sparring, so Jackson would be sparring with me. Jackson is a zippy southpaw who never sparred before but was eager to get into the ring. He didn't have any headgear, so he borrowed the one of mine that Brandon just got done using.


    It's funny, it looks as if we're both circling the drain. Man-man brushed me with a quick double-jab soon after the bell started the round. After about a minute we have a little exchange in the corner, which turns his headgear.

    I notice his chin strap was loose, as he just put on the headgear without fastening any of the straps. Soon I feel confident about throwing the right to the body as I'm getting lucky with them. I step on his right foot a couple of times, and my foot rolls. I keep throwing too many rights to the body, and the left hook, pivot move I was working on with Joe Jr. yesterday was too slow and I couldn't time it right. I go back to jabbing, I catch most of his punches on gloves.

    Overall was fun, but I see where I need to work on things with my footwork, cutting off the ring, and improve my defense. Afterward, Man-man was happy telling everone, "I just sparred a middleweight!"
    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 06-21-2014 at 07:59 PM. Reason: embed video
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

    The bad news about the sparring is that it's going to be a while before I'll be able to spar again. Mr. Byrd says that you need your amateur book, which looks like a boxing passport to be able to spar. He says it's because if there is an inspector that comes by and finds out that we are unlicensed or if our licences are expired, we can get banned and Joe would get suspended. Jackson has no license to begin with, and I need the forms so that I can renew mine.

    Normally Mrs. Byrd handles the boxing licenses along with much of the business aspects of running the gym. She has been unwell as of late and I have not seen her in the last couple of weeks, but I heard that we should be seeing again her soon. She's a lovely person, full of encouragement and kindness, and more of a pillar than a fixture at Mr. Byrd's gym.

    At least on the bright side, that gives me time to prepare for sparring, and seeing where I am at there is a lot for me to work on. So whenever my book is ready, you'll see a much better version of me in the ring.

    As for some training advice from Joe, one thing he suggests is to run wind sprints. His version is to sprint 50 yards, and then jog backwards with your arms raised in a ear-muffs position. I don't know if there is more to this, but that's what I've been told when two occasions and when I asked about it recently. I've read about other versions, but main point is thinking about what your roadwork is intended to accomplish. Different kinds of alternating running/sprinting, or interval running (ie. running with a resting interval) is to condition you perform better under the rigors of boxing (ie. the lulls in action, the quick responses, and the rapid exchanges). This is different than the simple jogging/running for long distance, which can be good for cutting weight, and will-power.

    Joe's other suggestion is to exercise at the gym using work shoes/boots. The reasoning behind this is to become accustomed to the heavier weight while trying to move quickly so when you change into your boxing shoes you'll feel lighter and move quicker and more confidently. The work shoes are durable, and you can save your boxing shoes from wear and tear. Anyway, I have a pair that I saved in case I needed it for construction or tire changing. I've been using it the last couple of days and it does make things a little more difficult, especially when I am doing stomach exercises with my legs raised.
    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 06-23-2014 at 07:00 PM.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Talking Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

    Last Friday, Joe Jr. and Brandon were talking shop and I had the pleasure of eavesdropping.

    Joe Jr. was an ex-fighter like-father-like-son, and began talking about himself squaring up starting after his shoulder injuries. He now has pins in both of his shoulders. He then stands nearly side-ways and says I used to fight like this and then half-raises his left arm showing the rising-jab he used to posses. After throwing a rising-jab, he'd hook off of it.

    Getting to the good part, Joe used to used to have Houdini-like flexibility in his shoulders which allowed him to land punches from strange angles. His specialty-punch was like a pitcher's throw that started low and behind his body, and turned into an overhand right that they wouldn't see coming. It was his 'Sneaker-punch'. After his shoulders gave out, his punching power wasn't to same, and he lost his trump-card.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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    Default Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

    Body weight behind it, but out of line slightly and unlocked, so tonnes of stress on the joint eh?
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    But I cant understand it for you.

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    Default Re: Joe Byrd's Boxing Academy

    Update:



    Yesterday, it was just me warming up alone with the Byrd brothers Ron and Joe Jr. watching. Sadly, the gym's been nearly empty these days. The good news is that I renewed my boxing license online, and in accordance to USA Boxing law, I'm now allowed to step in the ring! So now I'm able to spar, the bad news is that there are no sparring partners. Well, there is Brandon- however Mr. Byrd expressed that he didn't want a heavyweight sparring with a middleweight (myself) especially since we are both amateurs. Safety concerns aside, he believes that sparring a heavyweight will give me bad habits.

    Brandon comes in late, after I've almost finished the warm-up and he notices that Mr. Byrd isn't there. Although Mr. Byrd wouldn't like us spar, we know that Joe Jr. won't object. Brandon is itching spar since he hasn't sparred since June. So when the cat's away, the mice glove up and spar!



    Brandon's fresher than me, but I'm warmed up. The first round we were just supposed to jab. I felt intimidated, jumping in to jab most of the time. My hopping jab became easy to spot, so Joe begins timing me with his hook. I see this so I move my hand from chin toward my cheek, but I'm still eating punches coming in.

    From the second round on things get shittier for me. I get tired, begin jabbing less and Brandon is getting confident. Brandon is throwing right hands, which surprises me since I thought we agreed on jabs only. Ronnie standing ringside tells me to stay on him, and to keep throwing. Staying close to Brandon doesn't work at all for me. I'm not aware of his punches when I'm next to him, and I close my eyes under the barrage of punches. Brandon says, "I know you're faster than that", but it's hard to keep up when you're tired.

    I guess that two rounds proved to be enough, but I agree to go one more. Brandon takes it easier on me, and I do what I can. Afterward, we go a couple rounds on the bags, our floor-work and then call it day. As we head to our cars Brandon says, "Let's spar anytime". I reply, "Sure, anytime."
    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 10-02-2014 at 05:35 PM.
    If you hear a voice within you saying that I am not a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

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