Black eyes and training tips from Mexico

Black eyes and training tips from Mexico




We weren’t supposed to be boxing. In fact this was supposed to be our relaxation time. 10 days In an all inclusive resort in Cancun. The plan was to eat, sleep, sunbathe and repeat. It’s going to be a crazy few months once the 12 Rounds Studio opens. So this was time to rejuvenate and prepare our selves for what’s to come

But the powers above had other ideas. After 1 day of sunshine then weather turned to continuous rain.

What were we to do? Hit the bars and clubs? Go sightseeing? Nah instead we rocked up to the local boxing gym for a bit of sparring with the Mexicans.

The gym wasn’t easy to find. It certainly wasn’t on the tourist route! Luckily we met a local who showed us where to go. After taking two buses through downtown Cancun we arrive at the gym. There’s no sign post or even a name on the building. Wed never have found this on our own!

We meet the coach, good news he says we can train for the week. He doesn’t speak much English so luckily our new friend Tito stays to translate.

Our coach, Adrian is Cuban. He shows us pictures of champion after champion he’s trained.

We tell him we also trained in Cuba at the Rafael Trejo gym. He knows it well and our coach Mirando we trained with…

Training starts with mobilisation and skipping. (Quite amusing watching John trying to skip 🙂

We then go on to footwork and technique. Moving forwards, backwards, sideways and in and out of range as we throw our combinations.

I’m partnered up with a Mexican girl and we run through a series of combinations and defence. I feel like a complete beginner. The girl is so fast and sharp and I feel slow and clumsy..

Then it’s into sparring where the fun begins!

The Mexican have no mouth guards, I guess they don’t need them when they move as fast as they do! My usual style of walking forward with my hands up is not going to cut it here. I just walk into a combination of 5 of 6 punches, one catching me nicely on the eye. We continue for a few more rounds then it’s on to bag work + abs.

When we get back to the hotel John notices I have a black eye coming up. A souvenir war wound to take home.

So here’s to my point (I know it’s taken a long time to get there) what is it that makes the Mexicans and Cubans so good?

Constant repetition and practice.

As we return to the gym throughout the week, we see the same faces going through the same training drills day after day. Continually practising their footwork, defence and combinations until it becomes second nature. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Continuos practice until we stop consciously thinking about those moves and they become second nature.

The Mexicans know this. They have no fancy equipment or advanced training drills. It’s the same basic stuff, over and over again. Simple, learn the combinations and learn to move. We can learn a lot from their perseverance + commitment.

I know I certainly have still a long way to go before I get my 10,000 hours in. I’ve learned I need to move my feet so I’ll be working on my footwork from now on. John will be working on his skipping 🙂


We had threatened to return to the gym for all out war before leaving, but the sun came back out so it was back to the beach instead…..lucky for that Mexican girl who gave me the black eye!






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