Monday, August 24, 2009

Hajime no Ippo- Part II

Ippo is successful at catching the ten leaves and Takamura gives him a training schedule to follow for a month: push-ups, sit-ups, and running. Ippo works hard during this time and, at month's end, Takamura introduces Ippo to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. Coach Kamogawa is a little reluctant about allowing Ippo to train at the gym, despite Takamura's recommendation. They yell a little bit, but set up a sparring match to test the newbie. Ippo's opponent-- boxing prodigy, Miyata Ichiro.

The First Spar

The fight is three, three minute rounds with a three down limit, which means that the fighter who falls three times during a round loses. Takamura tells Ippo that he is to cover up for the first round, in a plan called "Operation Turtle." Ippo is pushed hard, with Miyata pounding his fists into Ippo's midsection so that he drops his guard. Once that happens, he goes straight for the head. Ippo is fighting an opponent that is more skilled and more experienced than him. It would be a long road to travel in order for Ippo to win in this scenario. However, I think it is necessary to always use an opportunity to spar with an opponent more skilled, experienced, or powerful than yourself, so that you may bring yourself to a higher level.

The second lesson we can take from the first round of this sparring match is to listen to your corner or your coaches if they are available to you during a sparring match or fight. They are there to help you and they can see things you cannot.

During the second round, Ippo begins with the technique he acquired from the ten leaves training: the jab. The jab, if you'll remember, is the most basic and fundamental technique in boxing. Ippo lets loose a flurry of jabs, but Miyata dodges them easily. Takamura tells him to throw the right, but Ippo swings wildly, falling to the mat. Takamura reminds him of the right straight, and Ippo let's it fly after another volley of jabs, smashing through Miyata's guard. However, Miyata dodges and attempts to return fire, but the bell rings, ending round two.

Ippo starts round three off by moving in slowly and throwing several 1-2 punches. Miyata pops Ippo on the chin to show that strength isn't the only way to box. Ippo goes down, but he manages to get up by hitting his own legs until they work again. Miyata lays a beating on Ippo for the remainder of the round, forcing Ippo to throw his right straight; however, Miyata throws a counter. Countering means hitting your opponent just as he is attacking, using the force of his own momentum against him. It's a high-level skill that requires timing, speed, and a hell of a lot of courage. If you mess up the counter, your momentum gets added onto your opponents attack. This attack ends Ippo's sparring match with Miyata. Ippo wakes up a little while later, disappointed, but happy to hear that he passed the test. Miyata washes up in the bathroom, dwelling on how interesting boxing has just gotten.

Ippo heads home and gets a well-deserved rest.

Some Key Points:
  • Find sparring opponents (in whatever style you take) who are better than you in some way.
  • Don't forget the fundamentals. The fundamentals, if mastered, will make you a great fighter.
  • Technical skill, when added to power, creates a dangerous combination in a fighter.
  • Getting hit in weak points, like the chin or the groin, will cause extra damage, so remember to keep them protected.

Until next time! Have fun, and train hard!
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