• Punch Out Parenting! Boxing Your Way to Marital Bliss

    Dad and contributor Robert Bernal Del Rosario helps you discover the surprising health and bonding benefits that boxing can give to married couples.
    by Rob Del Rosario .
  • I know what you may have in mind. The sheer irony of a contact sport and harmony, it’s almost redundant. Coupled with the fact that boxing is not a team sport, as Freddy Roach doesn’t jump into the ring if Pacman is on the receiving end of a slew of combinations (very rare). The simple truth is, any martial art is a group effort; with trainers and stable-mates coming together to bring out the best in everyone. Thus, the same can be applied to modern day moms and dads.

    I’ve been boxing at the amateur level since college, competed as a finalist in the National Boxing Open, and recently, acquired my professional license from the Games and Amusements Board. I look at fighting as a discipline, and there’s never been an opponent I have not made a friend out of. No way do I condone violence. We leave all the slugging inside the ring.

    The Obvious (and surprising) Benefits of Boxing for Couples
    On off completion days, I train with my wife Michelle at a known boxing club in Makati, and sometimes, my young son tags along to watch and play when there aren’t many working out. The benefits are quite obvious in terms of health, as the sport is both aerobic and anaerobic, meaning that you train your endurance and thus your heart, as well as gain strength by developing muscles, the kind that don’t bulge but are functional and toned. With a regular regimen, one begins consciously or even subliminally acquiring healthy eating habits. It’s exertion that you can’t perceive, so a two hour workout in a great environment feels like a few minutes. It’s quite the enjoyable surprise!

    How it works
    A basic boxing workout is a one-on-one session with your coach. It begins with stretching and a few calisthenic warm-ups. On your first lesson, given that it is a good gym, they will teach you the fundamentals, proper footwork, punches and optimal positioning. The off to shadow boxing, focus mitts, bags, double end ball and speed ball. The workout commences with abdominal drills and a cool down. If you are advanced enough, you may start sparring “light”, or very low impact sparring, focusing on technique rather than power.  Much later, you may choose to engage in actual sparring with bigger gloves and durable headgear.  If not, you may adhere to your regular program.

    Sparring: Not your average couple bonding time activity
    For my wife and I, we find light sparring and “defense” sessions to be the most enjoyable. (She strikes, I cover up!). These workouts allow for a different level of bonding as a couple. We encourage each other, and believe me, affectionate trash talking (asaran) is commonplace!  It allows for the friendship part of the relationship to surface. When it’s my turn to spar with fighters, she’s in my corner observing and letting me know what areas need improvement. This level of togetherness, having something to do as a couple is already enjoyed by many others.  I also can’t wait for my son to be able to train with us if he so chooses to.

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