Last Wednesday I crossed the San Pedro to Long Beach bridges, on my way to Cambodia Town for some lunch pho. Patti hates the stuff so I was on my own. Thai food is her current favorite. While on Anaheim Street I spot the sign above – Khmer Kick Boxing.
“He is victorious who knows when and when not to fight”. Sun Tzu
Vietnamese Pho is a type of noodle soup that everyone now seems to associate with Vietnam; much like tacos for LA and Cuban pork sandwiches for Miami. Though easy to spell – p h o – I have yet to master how to pronounce it correctly, does one say po or foe or phuuuugh? To top it off, today on my way for more kick boxing, I stopped at the Bionicos. I went in for a Diablo and quickly changed it to a Vampiro.
My coach Ron says he cured his Type II Diabetes with nothing more than eating or drinking fresh fruits and vegetables. In appreciation for a successful first week of kick boxing I was bringing him a Diablo; that is until I saw what she was putting into it (tamarindo, ice, sugar cane?) and then I said stop!
The guy wants healthy fruit juice; the Korean owner who bought the place from a Mexican guy said I was wrong in ordering a vampire when what I really wanted was a devil! In case you missed it vampiro in Spanish is vampire and Diablo is a Devil.
This is what she put in this Diablo. Beets, kale, spinach, brocoli; carrots; lemon; apples and oranges; cucumber; tomatoes and celery. The juice came out very much blood-red; hence the name Diablo.
The Pho was great and so was the $20 foot massage that followed. “Foot Reflexology called foot massage is a therapeutic foot massage that not only targets your feet but your head, arms, and back. Massaging these reflex zones improves the function of the corresponding organs or glands, bringing enhanced blood, nerve, and lymph conduction to those organs and glands. It also calms down an overstressed nervous system. The result is relaxation and improved body function, in addition to your feet feeling great!”
Note: Benefits people who have foot problems, chronic diseases, fatigue and stress, pain, and those with a desire for optimum health and you feel great afterwards. So, now that my stomach was content and my feet felt great I drove back the same way stopping in front of Khmer Kick Boxing.
“Never give up, which is the lesson I learned from boxing. As soon as you learn to never give up, you have to learn the power and wisdom of unconditional surrender, and that one doesn’t cancel out the other; they just exist as contradictions. The wisdom of it comes as you get older.” – Kris Kristofferson
Immediately I was introduced to the Master – Oumrey Ban; born in Cambodia in 1944. Over the years numerous titles have been bestowed on him to include winning the first Cambodian Kick boxing title in 1964; International kick boxing title in 1972; and over the years since opening his Long Beach Khmer Kick Boxing studio, training over 15 champion kick boxers. The guy is not only a living legend but a hell of a nice guy, as are all that I have met this week. The place is a United Nations melting pot of kick boxers. Some of my new friends now include Rasta Man, a Cambodian who loves Bob Marley music and Ron, the Samoan fighter.
On my first visit I was made to feel so welcome I signed up right there and started training on Monday. I show up at 0915 a.m. and train for almost two hours; other boxers start to show around 10:00 a.m. and either solo or partner train.
With this past training week completed my upper torso now feels solid. On the first day my hands were bound with a very long wrap and 16 oz boxing gloves. Training began with the correct fighting stance:
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart
- Left foot forward, right foot, at about 45 degrees back. To obtain your optimum stance you maneuver your foot (3 times) while keeping it on the ground resulting in a balanced stance.
- Your right foot stays off the ground with the ball of your foot planted.
- To keep proper balance, distribute your weight equally between your feet
- Keep your knees slightly bent
- Tuck your elbows to your sides
- Place your fists at cheekbone level
- Place your chin down and look up
- Roll your shoulders slightly forward
Easier done than explained. Your upper torso turns in the direction of your punches. Ron held the pads for me all week teaching me to strike with hands, elbows, knees and legs.
Wednesday evening I somehow managed to kick an up raised cement sidewalk with my front left toe while walking Lucy. As the left toe almost exploded with pain it took me down; left knee strike to the sidewalk. Now it almost seems comical, back then I blamed myself for wearing sandals at night and the cities decrepit sidewalks. This occurred on the sidewalk leading to Cabrillo Beach.
Still I showed up. When the Master (not what he is called; just my way of paying respect) saw my bruised up toe he led me into his office and brought out the Tiger Balm. This stuff is the go-to time proven stuff that works. Made to provide topical pain relief for sore muscles, arthritis, neck and shoulder stiffness and in my case toe pain. Oumrey Ban healed my toe allowing me to complete the first week.
Next week I celebrate my fourth anniversary of joining the RETIRED. Four years ago when i first retired i started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as a way to stay in shape. Months later the boat and subsequent projects took prominence. Let’s see how long this kick boxing lasts.
Mental strength is really important because you either win or lose in your mind. And I’m not solely talking about sporting matches, boxing events – anything you do, you do it first with your mental strength. And you can actually train and develop it, and I am responsible for what I’m saying because I have experience with that.