1/08/2006 11:31pm, #1
Argh, Tae Kwon Do wins over boxing
PAL trades in boxing ring for taekwondo space
BY J.D. HILLARD AND TARMO HANNULA
The Watsonville Police Department’s Police Activities League, whose boxing ring gave professional boxer Carina Moreno her start, has retooled its Rodriguez Street storefront, putting away the boxing ring to make space for taekwondo classes.
PAL provides after-school sports coaching to Watsonville youth. The program began 11 years ago with its boxing program. Now that boxing program, which draws about one-third as many students as the newer taekwondo program, has been put on hold. The boxing program, which has used the storefront exclusively, will now share with taekwondo classes, said officer Carmen McCartney, who oversees PAL. But with a lack of available coaches, no boxing classes are immediately scheduled, and the boxing ring, where Moreno practiced for years, has been stored to make room for the martial arts classes.
McCartney was busy in the building Thursday afternoon, helping paint it red, white and blue in preparation for reopening, which is scheduled for Monday. The change allows PAL to serve more neighborhood residents, McCartney said. The idea arose when the taekwondo class lost the site it was using on Airport Boulevard, she said.
"I thought, ‘You know what, we have 75 kids in our taekwondo program and 26 in boxing,’" she said.
Students aren’t allowed to use the boxing ring until they begin sparring, and they don’t begin sparring until they are about 12 years old, McCartney said. With the remodeled center, more kids could use the program and begin as young as 4, she said.
When Moreno’s coach, Rick Noble, who also coaches PAL boxing, heard about the change, he scrambled to find a new site for her to practice for her upcoming world championship fight in Louisiana. He assembled his own ring in a warehouse off Freedom Boulevard. The change was disappointing, he said.
Noble grew up in the neighborhood and takes the shift personally, he said.
"When I see those kids out there running around, I see me," he said.
As many as six PAL boxing students had trained in expectation of using the ring this year, he said. He disagreed with McCartney’s suggestion that boxers could train without a ring.
"A ring is kind of essential," he said.
Boxing without a ring is like playing football without goal posts and yard lines, he said.
While just six to 10 students would come to the PAL center on a regular basis, the advantage of daily boxing was social, he said.
"The kids had someplace to come to," Noble said.
In addition, both Moreno and Noble attested to a number of neighborhood kids who took part in the physical training to prepare for boxing at the center and managed to lose weight.
The future of boxing at PAL depends on finding a coach, Noble said. He had planned to retire and take up more PAL coaching but changed his mind. He said he can coach boxing for a few weeks, but he expects his work schedule to change and soon won’t have time.
At the center, Juan Espinoza, 11, stopped by to watch the remodel project unfold Thursday. Espinoza has been visiting the center during the past year, and his older brother, Oscar, used the boxing facility numerous times, he said.
"A lot of kids from the neighborhood come here," Espinoza said. "It’s easy because it’s so close. There are a lot of kids in the area that can come by."
After conversing with McCartney, Espinoza said he would come by and look into the taekwondo classes, which are scheduled to begin Monday.
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1/08/2006 11:35pm, #2
If they do boxing they are liable to hurt someone.
1/10/2006 12:38pm, #3
I think it has more to do with not having a boxing coach...
But what do I know?
1/10/2006 12:41pm, #4
I hope they find a new boxing coach before they lose the ring. Unless they happened upon a decent old school TKD instructor, it's likely the kids are being taught crap, and would be better off with boxing.
1/10/2006 12:53pm, #5
i used to play football in the neighborhood without goal posts and lines all the time.
1/10/2006 1:38pm, #6
Mav, I hate to tell you this, but that wasn't football. The neighborhood kids hated you, and wanted an excuse to knock the **** out of you, so they put a football in your hands and tackled you. Whenever the neighborhood kids played without you, it was on a professional field with sponsorship by Bud."Emevas,
You're a scrapper, I like that."-Ronin69
1/10/2006 1:41pm, #7Originally Posted by Emevas