my statement

If I get hit by a truck tomorrow and die, this is who I am... I am The Mighty Kat. I choose the weightroom for my fight. I pursue the personal glory of strength, and steel my spirit out of the intensity I can only reach by defying gravity with weight. And if I am not the best, I am legitimate, and I cannot stop pushing hard for more.

I do not do this because I am paid to do it.
I work in order to support it.

I do not do this because others before me in my family have done it.
I am the first.

I do not do this because someone said I should try it.
I sought it out.

I do not do this because I happened onto the resources.
I built my gym from nothing.

I do not do this because it is my natural talent.
I possess many different talents.

I do not do this because it is popular.
Most people are not aware of it.

I do not do this because I think I will turn pro.
That would never have been an option for me.

I do not do this because I am told to do it.
I direct myself.

I do not do this to impress others.
This is my private life.

So why then? The truth is, I do not know exactly why I do it, but I do know it is who I am. This is what I do. This is me in my most natural state.

And the world is a better place because of it.

University trains musicians with boxing

And now for the coolest story you've heard all day... if not longer. This just goes to show working the body and the mind is just that. BOO to the artists vs. athletes mindset. We are whole, complex organisms. Boxing crosstraining with bass playing? This is a beautiful marriage.

Eastman School double bass professor

proves to students that

pugilism boosts performance

Excerpted from March 30, 2011 University of Rochester News Release

When internationally renowned double bass soloist and Eastman School of Music Professor James VanDemark took up boxing two years ago, he saw immediate crossover benefits to his playing. VanDemark, a "lightweight" at only 5'6" and 138 pounds, immediately thought of the impact boxing could have on his students, so he sent some of his women students for a conditioning and strength-building session. They, too, came back with greater bow control, more confidence and stamina, and more energy, producing an even bigger and more focused sound from their big instrument.

This Saturday, April 2, Van Demark is sending 18 more of his double bass students, male and female, to Rochester gym ROC Boxing & Fitness for an introductory regime of boxing basics, exercises, and strength training. According to VanDemark, it's a unique sports-and-music crossover, the first collaboration of its kind between a world-renowned music school and a boxing gym.

"Boxing is the most rhythmic of sports, and many of the basic gestures of boxing have an immediate relationship to string playing," said VanDemark. "Learning how to punch involves very rhythmic use of the hands and arms. The speed bag necessitates an internal rhythm and excellent eye-hand coordination. Boxing also offers complete conditioning, building upper body and leg strength and giving a huge cardiovascular workout, all of which have a really immediate application to playing a large upright bass.”

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I can't get enough of this campaign.

this inner life

All day long I am training.

In my head, I am squeezing the bar, feeling

the good drag across the thighs

the sock-it-to-me dig into the ribcage

and then the explosion

nipped quick, ass to grass.

The push.

I lean back and shrug

in my office chair

while we’re talking,

so slight you cannot see,

but it’s the movement

the pattern

the neurokinetic pathways

I’m paving as we speak.

I am thinking of how the bar feels

in my hands.

I am hearing the swell of music

from my speakers

when I drive under the bar.

A chunk of day down.

I’m making the money

that will pay my coach

and pay for the airline ticket

to the big meet

and buy more chalk.

Keyboard clicking,

inbox filling,

to-do list with bullet points.

I glance at my palm and it centers me.

It’s my hands that bear witness to my inner life,

the calluses and torn blisters,

the strange brown marks set in over time.

Steal a moment on the computer

to watch lifters like me

bend under the bar,

throw up the weight

tumble or triumph

and teach.

A chunk of day down.

I am eating to make sure

I will have energy at 5:30.

I am drinking water

So my body will be ready.

As I straighten my collar in the mirror,

I plan what will happen tonight

in the gym,

rehearse the movement I need to learn

replay the words

I need to hear

from fellow lifters

from my coach.

Replay the emotion

I let him see,

that somehow he understood.

Know I scraped the ground

and he helped me back up.

This struggle

this inner life,

it is comfortable alone

it is vulnerable revealed

and from this, growth can come.

This inner life

intensely private,

intensely shared,

intensity breeding intensity

Drives me.

Drives lifters like me.

There is lifting,

there is thinking about lifting,

and there is interruption in-between.

Weight over my head

This is life. This is real life.

One-hundred pounds

is always one-hundred pounds.

When the house is quiet

I like to turn off the TV

and go to bed early

to be in the dark,

lost in the lifting,

the gym,

the lifting talk

from the day

from last week

from what is to come

and what is to be.

Spring begins