9 Round Boxing

A Workout at 9Round

You’re late. You’ve been running late all day. Computer problems. Train problems. All the problems. There is something off with the circuitry. Chalk it up to having one of those New York days.

Thank goodness running late is not a problem here.

9Round is a circuitry based kickboxing gym. You can begin a round every 3 minutes and they are open for 14 hours, five days a week. There is no schedule of classes. You can pop in and pop out on your own. Granted, you have to be a member.

Each of the nine rounds lasts 3 minutes and focuses on a different aspect of kickboxing. Break periods last for one minute and are reset each week. They correspond with a contest, called CHOW, where members can earn points and get prizes.  This week it’s jumping rope.

9Round was founded in 2008 by a husband and wife team. Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson, an IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing World Champion and his wife Heather. Under the franchise, they have 700 gyms globally, in 42 states and 16 countries.

This is the only 9Round in the tri-state area and when I inquired about the particulars of this location, Adrian, my trainer for the day, and partner in the franchise, gave me an answer that began with speaking of community and competition and that ended with;

“I am BROOKLYN all day every day. Right next to the map is a picture of me. You can quote me on that.”

The interior is dark with a couple of exceptions. Bright red walls, that remind one of a fast food restaurant; reflections from the large windows facing Nostrand Avenue; and the lights that go on wiht the sirens.  

After you deal with the legal rigamarole of signing your life away on the iPad twice, as noted previously: computer problems*, you can begin.

“Do you want to wrap your hands?”

Absolutely, yes. Take your rings off. Take your watch off. Take your hoops out. Get settled into this, focus on the mission.

Each wrap around the hand is part of the process of settling into the process. Follow the instructions. Around the wrist three times. Around the thumb. Not too tight. We’re here for the mission. The mission of making members stronger in 30 minutes. Physically and Mentally.

Take a breath.

The light and siren go off. That signals 30 seconds left. When at the rounds, you are instructed to take it out on the bag. In the beginning you’re thinking of exes and other anger inducing thoughts, by the end you’re thinking about form and getting to the next round.  

By the break after Round 8, you’re beat. Then, Adrian tells you,

“Round 9 is always core strength.”

Nope. Dead. Dying. Thoughts go to your weak core, but you continue. You’ve already made it this far. Adrian stands over you to signal that you’re not quite lifting the medicine ball high enough.

Finally, the signal flares, the last 30 seconds. Adrian hands you a heavier medicine ball. Keep going. Focus on the mission, the form, the finish line, the bell.

You ring the bell three times. You’re finished. You feel stronger. You will be sore for a couple of days. Hydrate, look around, and catch your breath.

Next to the bell, a white board hangs on the wall. It describes the challenges of the week and lists the leader board. Below is a calendar of events. A kick event that raises money for charity, and the information for the first year anniversary on May 9th.

After thanking Adrian for the workout, you congratulate him on the anniversary.

He speaks with a humble pride of the transformations that have taken place throughout the first year. “This is more than we expected. it’s very rewarding on both ends.”

First he mentions his students, and then speaks of his own transformations. He points to one of the students that has been there from the beginning, kicking the bag at Round 4.

“She wasn’t kicking like that. Dope. I wish I had video of her first day.”

As he points, he says again, "She was not doing that. She was not kicking like that.”

For his own transformations, he speaks of losing 25 pounds and being able to sustain his goal weight.  

As an outsider, you’re not surprised in the slightest that he’s sustained the weight loss. While you were punching away at the uppercut bag at round 8, you glanced over and saw Adrian. He was running back and forth with one member and then dodging punches with another.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

He is right about being Brooklyn. His energy is Brooklyn,  a strong combination of hustle and focus.

*Consent forms are highly typical in such fitness classes. Your author should know, she has been sizing up gyms for the past 7 years. Trying new classes and workouts on a monthly basis and taking advantage of every free trial class she can find. **

**Though most days she feels fit, the reality is that your author is not.

– Carla McAlary