CANADA/HEALTH - Last night I had a date with a girl in which we went cycling down to Queen Street West (in Toronto) and went to try a Thai restaurant (Bangkok Paradise at 506 Queen St W, I give the food 4 stars but the service was only 2 stars). Afterwards we stopped to talk at the park in Kensington Market, leaning our bicycles up against the side of the bench.
About half an hour later I was in the midst of telling a story to my date when a young guy approached and asked if we have any cigarettes.
I said "Sorry, I don't smoke." My date said "Yeah, I don't smoke either."
He started walking away and I went back to telling my story... Then he spun around and shouted at me: "Are you talking about me behind my back? Its not nice to talk behind someone's back!" (This guy was obviously on drugs.)
"What?! No, I am just finishing my story." (For those who know me, I love a good story.)
And then he said: "What, you think I won't hit you 'cause you're wearing glasses?"
"We're not talking about you."
"I am not afraid of your gloves." (I was wearing my cycling/weight lifting gloves at the time.)
I started to say something and then he punched me in the side of the forehead, knocking my glasses and my toque off (it was a tad chilly last night). Only one of the glasses stems remained, dangling off my right ear near to the spot he had hit me. I picked them off my ear and looked at them for a second, feeling a bit of anger rise as I realized this guy was wacko and was looking for a fight. (Anger and adrenaline is often a good thing when your defensive instincts kick in.)
I stood up. "You just broke my glasses. I am going to beat the sh*t out of you now you little b***h," I said as I took several steps forward and raised my fists in the classic boxing pose (I admit that pose may sound corny, but I do know the fundamentals of boxing. On the plus side I do have a fair bit of experience from getting into fights in high school and I've never lost a fight.).
He backed away a bit and I stepped closer, maintaining the pose and trying to get in close so I could land a solid punch. (From my knowledge of boxing I know there's no point throwing idle punches at someone as they're easily deflected or won't actually hurt the person, thus timing and footwork is essential.)
He tried to kick at me and punch at me but I deflected all his punches and kicks easily. I continued to get closer so I could attack back with solid punches but he kept running away.
At this point I should point out I was also trash talking him. "Come on b***h, is that the best you can do?"
He realized none of his punches were doing anything and I was still advancing on him confidently. He got scared and said "You're not worth it!" and started backing up really fast before running away in a hurry.
At this point I had to make a split decision: Do I chase after him and possibly tackle him, or do I just not worry about it and let him go? I decided to let him go, but I did shout after him: "Come back here you little b***h!" and "Coward!" (I want to point out I don't believe in calling women b***hes, but I see no reason why I can't call a man a b***h because frankly it is far more insulting for a man.)
So I turned to my date (and I admit at this point I was feeling a combination of pride and exhileration after calmly staring down my opponent and him running away like a scared little b***h due to nothing more than some well-done deflections) and we looked for the pieces of my glasses in the grass behind the bench. I found the stem that I had dropped and she found one of the lenses and the other stem, but there was a chunk of the lens missing and it was beyond repair so we didn't bother searching for the rest of it.
My response is oh well, I was thinking of getting new glasses sometime anyway. I am more upset about the fact that they were the lenses I bought in South Korea in 2005, and so there was some emotional attachment to the loss. Plus, it should be noted I seem to have good karma when it comes to these things. In one pocket and out the other.
On the plus side my date continued and ended with lots of kissing, so I can't complain about that.
FYI: I recommend Sherbourne Optical (near the corner of Bloor and Sherbourne). 600 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, ON M4X 1W4, Phone 416-925-7186. The guy who runs the place gave me a discount for being a returning customer and was very nice and helpful when I bought new frames last year.
A BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT CLASSICAL BOXING
I admit I am a boxing fan (I can't get enough of Rocky Balboa, Ali, The Boxer, Fight Club, The Hurricane, Play It to the Bone, Undefeated and Snatch). My favourite is Snatch:
As a sport classical boxing goes back to Ancient Sumeria, Greece and Egypt, but its presumed that as an activity it dates back much farther all the way cro-magnon man smacking each other around with their fists without any finesse. The more modern finesse-based boxing and the use of leather straps (and later boxing gloves) to protect the hands came much later as boxing evolved into a martial art and a sport. (In the same context classical wrestling developed in parallel to boxing.)
Bare knuckle boxing, also known as fisticuffs and prizefighting, first started to be documented as a sport in the 1700s. In 1743 heavyweight champion Jack Broughton introduced rules to protect fighters in the ring (now known as Broughton's Rules), although these rules are frequently ignored in what is known as streetfighting. More rules to the sport were added in 1838 (London Prize Ring rules) and 1867 (Marquess of Queensberry rules).
There is also a variety of different fighting styles (sometimes they mix together):
Boxer-Puncher (ie. Joe Louis) - Well rounded, variety of technique combining strength and maneuvrebility. They tend to wear down their opponents.
Out-Fighter or Stylist (ie. Muhammad Ali) - Prefers to distance himself and relies heavily on footwork, long range punches and jabs. Usually win by wearing down the opponent, but often have a very good knockout count because they're able to reserve their strength for the big punches.
Brawler / Slugger (ie. Mike Tyson & George Foreman) - Brawlers general lack finesse and footwork, but make up for it with sheer strength and punching power. They use beatdowns, hooks and uppercuts, but are predictable and slow. Their best asset is often their ability to keep taking hits (this ability is known as "chin"). Knockouts are more common.
In-Fighter / Swarmer (ie. Rocky Marciano or Julio César Chávez) - Also called pressure fighters their goal is to get in close and throw intense flurries of punches, combinations and uppercuts. Like brawlers they need chin because they're going to be taking lots of hits in close range. The advantage however is that they have a tendency to slip past their opponents arm reach, making their punches ineffective. Swarmers are very aggressive and use bob and weave tactics.
Counter Puncher (ie. Salvador Sánchez) - This style is a very slippery, defensive style, focusing more on letting the opponent make mistakes and let the Counter Puncher take advantage of the moment. Counter Punchers often win by knockout by scoring solid hits when their opponents leasts expects it (like Micky does in the film Snatch). Counter Punchers are incredibly fast, have good reflexes and accuracy with their punches.
There are 11 common punching techniques (best used in combos):
Bolo Punch - A short circular arc that hits on a weird angle, rarely used because its more difficult to hit a solid hit.
Jab - A quick straight punch, usually with the left hand.
Cross - A powerful fast looping punch, usually with the right hand.
Hook - A downward cut with either hand (I used this once in highschool and gave the guy a scar under his eye where the skin ripped).
Uppercut - A hard punch to the chin.
Overcut or Overhand, goes over the shoulder high in the air and is sometimes used against taller opponents.
Short Straight-Punch – A short close range punch, often aiming at the chest or gut.
Cross-Counter (or Counter Punch) - A punch that goes over your opponent's punch, simultaneous dodging their attack and countering.
Half Uppercut - A shorter version of the Uppercut, similar to a straight punch.
Half Hook - A shorter version of the Hook, similar to a straight punch.
Check Hook - This punch combines footwork and is similar to a Cross Counter and a Hook. Its use to prevent aggressive fighters from moving in closer by dodging them like a matador while giving them a downward hook while they pass by.
There are 10 basic defensive techniques:
Bobbing or ducking directly under the punch.
Blocking or Parrying, deflecting the punch with one or both arms.
Cover-Up, using both gloves in a defensive posture.
Clinching, getting in close and grappling the opponent so they can't swing properly.
Drop or Break, ducking down slightly so the punch glances off harmlessly or misses.
Footwork, dancing backwards so the punch misses completely.
Pulling away is leaning backwards slightly so the punch misses.
Slipping under the punch, more to the side.
Sway or Fade, anticipating the punch and moving backwards to 'roll with the punch'.
Weaving is moving horizontally(similar to bobbing which is a vertical dodge).
If you're interested in learning more about boxing check out boxing rings in your local area: Toronto Boxing.
There is also a variety of other boxing styles (ie. Thai Boxing, Kickboxing) and other martials arts people can learn. Practicing boxing (just for fun, not necessarily in the ring) is a good way to get exercise, learn self control and useful should the need ever arise.
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali.
"If you screw things up in tennis, it's 15-love. If you screw up in boxing, it's your ass." - Randall "Tex" Cobb.
"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't." - Jack Dempsey.
"I'm scared every time I go into the ring, but it's how you handle it. What you have to do is plant your feet, bite down on your mouthpiece and say, 'Let's go.'" - Mike Tyson.
"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill." - Muhammad Ali.
"Boxing is the ultimate challenge. There's nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you step in the ring." - Sugar Ray Leonard.
"A champion shows who he is by what he does when he's tested. When a person gets up and says 'I can still do it', he's a champion." - Evander Holyfield.
"If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove. That's all I am. I live it." - Marvin Hagler.
"To me, boxing is like a ballet - except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other." - Jack Handy.
"I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on." - Muhammad Ali.