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I used to train at King Boxing Gym in oakland, right near the
fruitvale bart station. It is a real boxing gym (andre ward, the
olympic gold medalist trained there) and as far as I know the only
serious boxing gym in the east bay-- but it also serves kids and
middle aged adults as well. One of my students (I'm a teacher in a
local middle school) trained there. The deal is your kid will sign up
for lessons with a personal
trainer who will guide them through all the aspects of the sport--
working the heavy bag, speed bag, conditioning, etc, for no more
monthly cost than a berkeley ymca membership. They never have
to get involved in contact if they don't want, but if they have
a prediliction for it, it is possible as well. I think it is a wonderful
outlet for anyone, as well as some of the best conditioning you can
get. But it is a serious, funky gym--I haven't been there for about 3
years but I'm sure it hasn't upgraded much--just an old school
boxing gym (think of the gym from the movie million dollar baby
and you got a picture). It really depends on how serious your son
is about the sport. I think it is worth checking out if you can get him
My son an Instructor at the West Wind Karate School in
Berkeley where they do train boxers also. I asked him
about your questions and he said twelve is the youngest he
would consider allowing a kid to box and only if the
student was VERY serious about pursuing it. Generally the
students take martial arts and then box at some point in
their training but he said sometimes students just do the
boxing. Martial arts proved, for him, to be a fantastic
way to develop discipline, confidence and physical
skills. I must say I worry when he is boxing because I
don't think people's heads and necks are prepared for
being knocked around like that but he seems to enjoy it.
As a neuropsychologist I would say you are correct in
assessing boxing as a ''brain damaging'' activity. You may
know that there is a specific dementia that boxers are
susceptible to called dementia pugilistica. Why risk it?
How about martial arts? These programs often include
teachings on ethics and health, can provide very good
exercise, strength and flexiblity, etc. My son just got his
black belt after five years in the Berkeley Kuk Sool Won
program (Korean martial arts) on Sacramento near Dwight,
which I'd recommend.
My 10-year old son is interested in boxing lessons and a gym where
he can work out. I would also like to be able to work out there if possible.
Has anyone heard of such a place in Oakland, Berkeley or nearby??
Check out Emerson Fitness in Oakland - they are near 51st and Telegraph.
Phone 653-8256. I work out there as well as my son he is 13 now. It is a
small botique gym with trainers - very knowledgable. Owner is Mike Emerson -
ask for him to help you find a trainer for your son, he is good at making
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