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 there-- richard s.
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. Go figure! Barbara S
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. Robert
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?? andrea
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 matches. Deb