The Coast News Group
Sea Notes

Boxing isn’t just about fighting, its benefits extend beyond the ring

It’s really windy today, without a decent wave in sight. Too windy even for the kite boarders it seems, since the Cardiff lineup is empty. And so my thoughts wander to other activities, like boxing, of all things. With few exceptions, like last week’s Swami’s parking lot brawl, surfing and fighting have very little to do with each other.
That’s what I thought until I began hearing about Joel Tudor’s Jujutsu workouts. Joel, it seems, has won some impressive tournaments and is now able to take care of himself on places like the North Shore. Having wrestled in high school, I knew that such close contact was not for me and I turned to the field of boxing. Actually, it seems to have turned to me.
It came thorough a friend, heavyweight boxer and trainer Billy Moore. Billy is the son of boxing legend Archie Moore, the man credited with more knockouts (145) than any fighter in history.
Archie was also the only boxer to fight both heavyweight champions Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. Ali was 21 years old and still known as Cassius Clay when he battled the nearly 50-year-old Moore, who managed to go four rounds with the champ.
While he was in an often-brutal game, Moore was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was also, in the estimation of many, a genius and a visionary. It was Archie’s vision that took him to the White House to visit three U.S. presidents, revealing his plan for AB&C (Any Body Can). Archie predicted a gang epidemic in the U.S. more than 50 years ago and AB&C was his brilliant response.
Teaching kids to step out with their “best foot forward” was only part of a plan that included staying in school and respecting others. Archie passed away Dec. 9, 1998, but his dream lives on through his son, who teaches children the AB&C program six days a week in his Southeast San Diego Mongoose Gym.
Billy and I met more than a decade ago, but it wasn’t until recently that we began spending a lot of time together. Then, when he wanted to learn to surf and I wanted to learn to box, it was on. So far, I have gotten the best of the deal, training two mornings a week with Billy, while he has yet to set foot on a surfboard.
The first thing I noticed when Billy put me into a boxing stance was that it was exactly like a surf stance-left foot forward, keens bent, weight centered. The rhythm of each punch also reminded me of riding a wave, as does the endorphin rush of breaking through your fears and moving beyond what you thought yourself capable of.
I am not a fighter, nor do I intend to become one. Fact is that learning the AB&C way helps hold the temper in check. I simply love the workout, the discipline and the aid it gives to my surfing in terms of balance, stamina, power and flow. I also value time spent with a man who has become one of my best friends.
Those interested in training with the great Billy Moore are welcome to contact me. Fees go from low to whatever you can afford.