Living on an island 30 miles to sea, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine and become stagnant in what you do. To up-skill and learn new things, it takes a little bit of extra effort (ferries, buses, flights) and with that, quite a bit of extra investment ($$$). But I'm a firm believer that to be truly good at what you do, you must be open to learning constantly from people who are better than you.
"If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room," - Steve Jobs
I've been successfully teaching boxing fitness on Nantucket for a year but inside I've been itching to improve my skills - to learn and be as good as those I look up to. With that in mind, I spent months online scouting out boxing certifications and trainers all over the US. I wasn't willing to make the big trip off island until I found one I knew was the real deal.
My standard is high because back home in Ireland, I worked at my brother's gym The MMA Clinic. At the MMA Clinic, even the boxing for fitness classes had a strong foundation in coaching correct boxing technique and boxing specific training. This is how I learned and it's how I want to train others. Learning to box correctly is not only more fun (who doesn't love the empowering feeling of throwing a good strong, technical punch?!) - it's also safer and a better workout because you're using your whole body in a functional way. The Hatton Academy in London gave me a great basis to work from with my boxing classes but I had come to a point where I felt I was good at what I was doing and wanted to push myself to be better than that. That's when I found Box 'N Burn one day while scrolling through mitt work videos on Instagram and I immediately knew I had to train with these guys.
So, I booked their Level 1 Box 'N Burn Academy certification course and on March 25th I hopped on an 8 seater propellor plane to escape the Nantucket winter followed by a flight from Boston to LA to spend four days soaking up as much boxing knowledge (and maybe a little bit of much needed Vitamin D!) as I possible could. It was the best decision I could have made.
The moment I set foot in the door of the gym the morning of the course, I was filled with excitement. I hadn't been in a real boxing gym for a long time and I missed the buzz, the energy that filled the air. It reminded me of my days at the MMA Clinic all those years ago. I was greeted by Tony Jeffries - English Olympic Bronze Medallist, owner of Box 'N Burn and all around super nice guy - who made us all feel so welcome and at ease. I've taken many certification courses over the last few years but none has ever whizzed by as quickly as this one. From the get-go it was straight into practical, hands-on work. With the help of Tony, Kevan Watson, Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie and Josh Polit, we were schooled on the basics of not only how to box but how to each others to box.
"You don't have to be a boxer to teach boxing," - Tony Jeffries.
As someone who got into boxing a little later in life (my short-lived white collar boxing 'career' shattered by a shoulder injury in my first fight - haha), Tony's philosophy "You don't have to be a boxer to teach boxing" filled me with confidence. I've always felt strongly about this but to hear it from someone as well respected as Tony Jeffries was awesome and really gave some weight to the idea behind the Box 'N Burn Academy. Some of the best coaches out there have never boxed competitively. At Box 'N Burn Academy, the focus is on learning how to be the best boxing trainer, not how to be the best boxer.
The Box 'N Burn Academy Level 1 course strips everything back to basics yet by the end of the day (thanks to the excellent coaching by the team), participants are confidently putting each other through quick, flowing combination work on the mitts. I went there hoping to learn new things and in reality it was the stripped back drilling of the basics that made me better than I was when I walked in the door. Level 1 lit a fire under me and left me hungry for more - so much so that I'm already looking ahead to Level 2 in Austin, Texas.
Of course, I wasn't going to fly 3,000 miles from home without getting in some sessions on the mitts myself. I booked in for one to one sessions with Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie and Mati Parks - all of whom gave me a serious workout and a humbling reminder that I have much to learn. Only when you live your life knowing that you always have more to learn and there is so much growth in the vulnerable feeling of being around those who are better than you can you ever progress to being the best you can be. How exciting that is!
Thanks so much to Tony Jeffries, Kevan Watson, Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie, Josh Polit, Mati Parks and everyone I met at Box 'N Burn (especially my awesome assessment partner and fellow shortie, Kaycee Duale!) for the most amazing experience. I can't wait to be back!
If you would like to experience the empowering feeling of boxng for fitness, I am now taking on new clients for one to one and small group training. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508 680 2216 for details.