A boomer becomes a knock-out without getting knocked out

What do we preach here at BoomerCafé? Be active, stay young. But really! Our friend from Redondo Beach, California, Erin O’Brien, takes it to the max, as she writes in this story she calls, Teacher Becomes Student (or Becoming a Knock-out Without Getting Knocked Out).

“Go ahead, hit me.”

Erin O'Brien checking her boxing stance in a mirror.

Erin O’Brien checking her boxing stance in a mirror.

I can only stare at him.

“It’s O.K.,” he assures me.

Erin's pink boxing gloves can deliver a wallop.

Erin’s pink boxing gloves can deliver a wallop.

Unconvinced, I stand motionless.

“I know it’s hard, because … well, we’re friends.”

He also has a nice face, I think, but I raise my pink boxing gloves and lightly tap him with a left jab.

Then I apologize.

“I’ve never hit anyone before,” I confess, “except for once in my 20s, I hit a guy with my purse when he grabbed my arm.” He smiles. Now I suppose I can say, “Here, hold my purse,” before I take someone down.

Color-coordinated wraps ... check!

Color-coordinated wraps … check!

At 8:00 in the morning, whereas I used to be saying the Pledge of Allegiance with my class, now I’m unrolling my hand-wraps to suit up for kickboxing. (My trainer is even younger than my podiatrist.)

Checking my stance, he instructs me to stand sideways to be a smaller target.

“Gee, thanks.”

Then he asks if I have asthma. “No, just catching my breath.”

He was impressed when I arrived one morning with a plastic cup and straw that I could manage easily with my gloves. “I felt like I was in the hospital the first time when you had to give me a drink.”


My lessons have progressed from drills to combinations to sparring. Bobbing and weaving, slipping punches, it’s more than a workout. It’s anticipating my opponent’s next move and testing my reflexes. My stamina improves with each lesson.

Today’s workout includes an invisible jump rope. I chant one of the jump rope rhymes I learned on the playground, and heard years later while on yard duty.

Watch out for Erin's hook.

Watch out for Erin’s hook.

When my trainer says, “Good job,” I feel like a kid again with a gold star on my paper. I like being the student for a change. There’s even homework: push-ups against a wall, fifty jab-crosses, jump rope for five minutes, fifty upper cuts, jump rope, fifty hooks, jump rope.

At least I’ll have a few days to recover.

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  1. Love your posts, Erin! Thanks for another great one. I also love the color-coordinating boxing gloves and cool beverage 😉

  2. Reading this story has motivated me to step up my work outs … though I don’t think I’ll be punching anyone! I didn’t even know you could buy pink boxing gloves!

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