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Skipping the Skipping

Coach Iskandar with skipping ropes; in his hands, it becomes a performance piece.

Just recently, I was fortunate to be given the chance to assist my boxing coach Iskandar at my West Coast second home. While I was just training, some rituals just seemed natural, and routine to me, and I did it without questioning. But ever since I took up the learning ropes of being a trainer, I've started to notice that...


Some of our reactions when told to skip!

The avoidance of this all-important 15 minute ritual at Onyx has become a strategy game, where our dear members will pit their knowledge against ours to see if they can "beat-the-system". Let me list a few:

1. The Onyx Bell goes ~clang clang clang~ for skipping, you decide to start wrapping your hands instead.

2. You arrive 10-15 mins before class, but is reluctant to enter the gym, or change in the toilet, until you hear the ~clang clang clang~. A wise tactic to burn skipping time citing reasons of "uh, i go change first."

3. You hear the ~clang clang clang~, you do not move. You stay seated, and rooted wherever you are, and pray that the trainers do not notice you. When you eventually get caught, you pout at the trainers.

4. You arrive early, get changed for class early, and at the exact moment where the Onyx Bell goes ~clang~, you light up a cigarette. "Need to smoke first mah" you'd tell us.

5. You time your journey, driving off the car, or getting on the bus so that you'll arrive exactly 14 mins 30 seconds late.

We know. And we want to believe that we know all your tricks, but alas, I think the battle is evergreen. But if anyone has any new skipping the skipping strategy to share, feel free to let me know in the comment box below!

One of the prime outlets to avoid skipping.

But besides the deep hatred for skipping, a lot of us actually do not fully comprehend the benefits of skipping. Ask a few of them in Onyx on why do they skip, and usually the answer is either because it is part of the routine, or because "everyone else skips, so I also skip".

Where it comes to selling the actual idea of skipping, I am in tension. For starters, I was once like you, frustrated and annoyed at the notion of skipping. I am always in envy of those who could skip naturally, albeit not flowery like how Iskandar does it, but these blessed natural folks seem to be able to grasp the mystical kung fu of skipping right from the first swing.

I was not one of those who have received this blessing. When I started out boxing, I was constantly tripping over the rope and I could not time the rotating rope for the life of me. Worst of all, and I'm sure anyone who's ever skipped can agree with me on this; is the damned ropes hitting my toes. Vulgarities ensues.

I did become better at it. It wasn't easy, but I tried to make marginal improvements every time I skipped. It started by telling myself to time the revolutions of the ropes better, to get into some form of rhythm. Then as I got better at the swing timing, I then focused on not losing any of my toes in the skipping process.

Togetherness, in rhythm, in tandem.

The benefits of skipping is of course multifold. But I'm sure if you look it up on Google, it is not difficult to see heaps of articles telling you how it improves your coordination, trains you to be light on your feet, improves foot work, agility, endurance, stamina, blah blah blah.

But truthfully, think back to when you first started out, especially if you were generally unfit to begin with, the first class that you took for boxing, or perhaps Muay Thai, skipping was like a tsunami of "omg-what-did-I-sign-up-for" feelings. But lo and behold, sooner or later, you'll begin to manage skipping, though hot and sweaty, but definitely doable.

Looking and counting down at the Onyx timer is never a good choice.

The best benefit of skipping, in that religious 15 minutes that we set on the timer, is actually a self assessed benchmark of your progression. That once upon a time, when you struggled to skip continuously for 30 seconds, becomes 3 minutes, and eventually 10 minutes. The benchmark that somehow, you managed to last just a little longer than the previous time. The same benchmark that one fine day, you've finally managed to go through the whole 15 minutes without losing a toe. That one day, you hardly break a sweat after 15 minutes. And one day, you start skipping flowery patterns like Iskandar.

So, don't skip skipping the next time you come to Onyx, or 500 burpees please.








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