Diary of a while collar boxer - week 7
Martin Theobald

One day I will look back on the last seven weeks and reflect on the challenges, the ups and downs and the faces that I've shared a room with while the steam bounces off the walls and ceilings. It will be nice to reminisce about the training, how at the stage of week three or four you start to have the self doubt about making it to the end and fitting the training in around your pre-existing lifestyle. But for those that have overcome the mental hurdles as much as the physical, I can only assume they have had a similar experience to myself through the seven weeks to date. One of at times being overawed (thank fuck I don't have to pretend I remember the combo drills any more), of teamwork and group ethic, of pain and the battle against giving up but mostly an experience of being able to do something most people will never replicate. Dedicating yourself to a regime that requires self discipline and motivation just to get to the door of Total Dojo each session. Once there the motivation stands in front of you, all those people who are willing to put themselves through the pain barrier just as you have to.

The reason I say that it will be nice to look back upon it is because frankly, I haven't appreciated quite how far each and every person in the group has come from day one. You cant. Training sessions come thick and fast, four times a week for some. Add in the home workouts and then everything else that goes on in life and the whirlwind swirls around you whilst you go with the flow.

So now we enter the last week. We're all weighed in and for nearly all, they have an opponent (only the flash fucks who are too good for the rest of us are left hanging). When the gloves come on and the sparring commences you can now visualise the person you will face off with on the night. It makes a huge difference. I have tried to hand pick sparring partners of a similar height and build to replicate the style of my opponent and get the last minute rounds in now. Of course it's not that simple, everyone has a unique style and distinct ability but you do the best you can with limited resources.

For the record my opponent is a lad named Andy Smith. What do I know of him? Shorter than me, bit stockier, good quick hands on him when I've worked pads together. I'm not 100% sure we've sparred together before - if we have and he remembers then I guess it's 1-0 him already! You see so many faces through the sessions that my sieve like brain doesn't work well when recalling specifics. Seems a nice bloke, we are now friends on Facebook and he has a beautiful looking family at home (of course I stalked him) something I both respect and replicate with my own wife and kids. All that said, we are going to go and knock lumps out of each other for six minutes in a weeks time. What happens in the ring stays there, we already have a loser buys the beer pact in place.

I will miss the group. I've met some truly lovely people, people that when I've stopped and spoken I share many facets of life with and have mutual friends. It's these little things that make it a rounded experience, not just lacing the gloves up and punching each other. I'll miss the camaraderie and laughs that get you through the sessions. I'll miss the trainers who work so hard to inspire you to get the best out of yourself (then quickly expose your flaws when sparring starts). I'll miss all of it. First though, one more week and a big night ahead of us. Hopefully the first beer will be free, but win or lose, Cancer Research come out on top of those whole event. Over £10,000 raised as a group so far, the achievements spread way beyond the ring.

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