Amateur Boxing at the Fitness Center
By Meredith March, 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 12, 2008
HANSCOM AFB, Mass. -- There is a new discipline in town for health conscious individuals looking to rev up their fitness routines -- amateur, Olympic-style boxing. Members of the Hanscom community can experience the boxer's workout first hand through group and private classes, taught by Gregory Leschishin, 66th Services Squadron School Age program assistant and Olympic-style boxing coach, and available by appointment at the Fitness and Sports Center.
Participants must take a water bottle and towel to class, but are advised to leave preconceptions about boxing at the door.
Because many individuals' exposure to the sport of boxing is limited to Hollywood dramas about professional boxing, such as the "Rocky" series, "Million Dollar Baby" and media coverage of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson's bad-boy antics, people often confuse professional prize fighting with the heavily regulated and highly cerebral amateur version of the sport, Mr. Leschishin said.
"The problem with recruiting people for amateur boxing is people say, 'I don't want to get my nose broken.' I say, 'If you don't want to get your nose broken, don't play basketball,'" he said.
"Amateur boxing is actually one of the safest contact sports. It has similar rules and a similar environment to martial arts, but nobody really knows that. The workout is really good, but it's got to be done in a supervised and safe way. That has always been my philosophy."
For individuals interested in the boxer's workout, Mr. Leschishin, who is also a certified personal fitness instructor and USA Boxing Level II official, offers both non-contact and contact classes. Non-contact classes are offered in group, semi-private and private formats, and contact classes are offered in semi-private and private formats.
"You do not have to actually spar with someone to participate in this sport," Mr. Leschishin said. "I teach the sport with the goal of teaching anyone how to successfully box/spar with someone their own size and age -- only if they want to."
Though he hopes to eventually hold Olympic-style matches, Mr. Leschishin's present goal is to help the Hanscom community achieve optimum fitness. "I'm very interested in helping the military achieve their goal. If the Air Force's motto is to be 'Fit to Fight,' then of course I'll do anything to help active-duty servicemembers be the best they can be, mentally, physically and athletically," he said.
The advantages of boxing training are not limited to those hoping to do well on a physical training test, however. Potential benefits will affect participants' daily lives as well as fitness level, Mr. Leschishin said.
"Boxing is like the ultimate physical chess game. It has all of the elements. It develops balance, coordination and is a great way to blow off steam."
All classes utilize USA Boxing approved equipment, including speed and heavy punching bags. For optimal safety, an orientation session with Mr. Leschishin is required before individuals can be approved to use the equipment.
A free aerobic boxing class is offered at the fitness center Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The class has limited space available, and is on a first come, first served basis. Participants must sign up at the front desk by 6:15 p.m. to reserve a space.
Private classes are fee-based, and can be arranged by calling Mr. Leschishin at (617) 595-8141 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on class availability and fees contact Mr. Leschishin. For information on future class availability call the Fitness and Sports Center at (781) 377-3639.