A few months ago, in a rash moment, I took up with an MMA team. I wanted to learn how to spar, and they seemed the likeliest teachers. The team—which includes a professional MMA fighter, several younger guys preparing for their first fights, a boxer or two, and a bunch of jiu-jitsu players—is generous with me, a permanent amateur late to the game, with more heart than skill. They welcomed me into their fraternity, sensing, I guess, that I wouldn’t (couldn’t) cause any trouble and might even prove useful as a moving punching bag.
I move pretty well, too. Setting aside my rounds with Matt, the one pro in the bunch (rounds that consist of him peppering my face from great distances with quick double-jabs and short hooks that scramble my brain and make me apoplectic with annoyance). Jameson, who has a few boxing matches under his belt, is too fast for me, but if I cover up and concentrate on movement and counterpunching, I can usually deflect most of his hardest punches and get a couple of licks of my own in. The other week, however, he caught me clean with a right cross that brought tears to my eyes. He apologized but I waved him off — my hands were down, not his fault. For my troubles I now have a Roman swell on the bridge of my nose, probably temporary, and I would be lying if I said it upset me.
Read the rest at FIGHTLAND.