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The pluses for training children in the world of boxing, was what I asked Coach Barnett about next. He replied, “The pluses are the discipline. It helps them as far as school. It helps them to get along in life; as far as being able to get along with other kids.” He gave a scenario, “Let’s say one of the kids in my gym… and some kid at school pick a fight with him. I don’t condone violence. But to me kids have a right to defend themselves; but only when it’s absolutely one hundred percent necessary. Of cause they should tell an adult first and let the adults deal with it.” Coach Barnett continued, “If it’s to the point where they just have no other choice. Then yes, by all means defend yourself. My rule when kids come to sign up is that they are not to brag about this, they’re not to post it, they’re not to go around telling everybody… yeah I box! Because you’re opening yourself up for people to try and challenge you. Your challenges should only be inside the ring and in this gym, where you’re challenging yourself to be better at what you do for the sport and to have fun.” Coach Barnett, who has raised children of his own, spoke on one of his top concerns for the children in his gym [without me even asking him about it]. “Another one of my rules is that education is the big thing here. Some of the kids if they come here and they didn’t have time to do their homework then they do their homework here at the gym. They don’t start any training until their homework is done. I have plenty people in here, including myself, who will help them with their homework. Once they are done with it we’ll check it for them, and if there is something wrong then we will go back over it with them and help them out. Then they can start training. We don’t close until 9pm. They can come every day if they want. During school I only require them to come in 3 or 4 days out of the week, and then every other Saturday.” Boxing is a sport that has been widely spread as merely a form of exercise for some people; men and women… young and old. Coach Barnett filled me in on that detailed aspect of the sport. “They’re going to get a lot of physical education. They are going to get a lot of cardio exercises. You name it… we do it in here. We do a lot of things here; like run at Mt. Trashmore.” Coach Barnett gave an example, “I can’t speak for all the boxing clubs, I can only speak for mine, but my kids have to be in top condition. They are in the best shape of any of the other kids that I’ve seen. We went down to North Carolina to a two day event in April. I took all of my little juniors down there and I took one of my senior boxers. They went down there and basically put on a boxing clinic. When they did they didn’t get tired. They were so excited. We won every fight the first night. The next day I had four of them to fight. We brought home 8 gold

medals and 2 silvers. They did pretty good. They were in shape. I make sure that they’re in the best shape.” 757 Boxing club owner and coach, Reggie Barnett began to elaborate on the competition portion of what goes on in the club. “I’m very selective on who they have their first competition against. It has to be someone pretty much new; just like them to the sport. It has to be pretty much on an equal playing field. You don’t want to break the kid’s spirit… you don’t want to break their confidence. Being in here… being in amateur boxing gives kids a lot of confidence. It helps them out as far as their day to day with being able to cope with things at school… being able to listen to their parents. That’s the big key.” 757 Boxing is different to different people. To some it’s about instilling discipline and integrity into their children. To others it may be solely about increasing their level of health with an interesting option of exercise. However, there are those that train in boxing and they do this because of their undeniable love for the sport of boxing. Coach stated, “This sport is not for everyone.” The ones it may be for are the ones that enter into the competitions and train relentlessly to get past mediocre. I asked Coach Barnett just what makes it obvious of who goes on to compete in the boxing competitions. Coach explained, “They have to meet the qualifications as far as competition. We don’t put people in competition unless we’re one hundred percent sure that they are ready; and it all starts in the gym with the sparring in here. When we feel like they’re ready to compete we will put them in the competition. The age for the senior boxers is ages 17 to 34. Then there are the masters… Coach Barnett explained. “Your 35th birthday you can continue as an amateur. There’s a division called the masters division; age 35 and up. You can play as an amateur until you’re 60 and 70 years old. There are some older guys that actually do. When they get a certain age if they decide that they want to take it to the next level… a professional level, then yes we’re going to go that direction. I have one of my amateurs in here who is 27. He started boxing a little late, but he was one of the top heavy weights around here. So, he is a professional now. He is undefeated, 1 and 0, and we’re currently getting ready for another fight in Atlantic City February 4th.” The average age for starting into the professional ranks are between 19 and 27, according to Coach Reggie Barnett. Barnett told Seven Magazine just how he got into the coaching aspect of boxing. “When I joined the Navy in ’79, during that time I

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