“I coulda been a contender.”

Marlon Brando from “On the Waterfront”

I first got to know Chuck Dismang through his Parkinson’s boxing program in which my sister participated years ago. It was as inspiring then as it is now.

For over two months this past year I was studying the art and science of boxing. Grueling exercises like chainsaws and burpees were my opening workout. Jumping rope added to the burn. If you are not familiar with these forms of physical torture, they are a part of boxing conditioning.

Do enough sets of these and you feel like crying in pain. Do a few more and you just might. At some point in the conditioning, you decide to continue almost breathless and with leg lifts enduring the pain until you drop them to the floor.

I went 15 rounds with the big punching bag until then trying to connect to the flying mitts with different punches and combinations of punches. On some nights it seemed like the bag won a unanimous decision.

At 66, I was getting in my best shape in decades. Then life happened.

I cannot get too specific since it would violate HIPAA laws and get into personal issues that parties might not want public. Suffice it to say there was a total interruption of my training schedule. My time as a caretaker took precedence.

Tashi “Chuck” Dismang has spent his life as a practitioner, ring fighter, and teacher of martial arts — a passion since he overcame a serious childhood injury. His accomplishments found him inducted into several different martial arts halls-of-fame.

Dismang’s operation, like all such gyms and in-person training, took a hard hit with COVID. His dream of working with youth and teaching the arts burns stronger than ever. In a podcast discussion we talked about the anger so many young people seem to have these days. They need to channel that into something positive.

That is what many forms of the martial arts and boxing programs can do. The anger and aggression can be channeled into a positive, non-violent, controlled aggression.

I also trained and worked with Marvin Bostock for many hours in the gym on footwork and technique. Marvin is an old school coach even though in age we are contemporaries. When my jab and footwork were not jiving his remedy was for me to throw 100 jabs in a row and film my inadequacies in footwork and hip movement to more resemble a choreographed dance move than a knockout boxing technique.

Since I was originally scheduled to be part of the Re-Grand Opening on June 18 and had to drop out of my scheduled performance, I feel I owed to Chuck and Marvin to continue to support this endeavor. I always try to support entrepreneurs whenever possible. Many times, over the years I have profiled them and told of their stories of sacrifice and risking it all for a dream. It takes special people to roll the dice and attempt to make something good out of a passion, idea, or dream.

My time with Chuck and Marvin was very educational. I learned and actually practiced the art and science of boxing. There is so much more than just trying to beat someone up. My respect for the sport has grown exponentially. I watch boxing matches now to evaluate techniques of footwork, combinations, and not just the quantity but the quality of punches landed.

Mostly I learned about myself. I evaluated my limits for my age and exceeded my own expectations. I would have never had expected to have endured the pain and physical exertion that became routine during my workouts.

On June 18, the event in which I once aspired to box is still taking place from noon – 2 P.M. in the gym at 706 E. Lewis and Clark Parkway. It is a post-COVID restart for Chuck and Full Moon Martial Arts Academy. Bring the family as there will be something for everyone. Food, music, drinks, martial arts demonstrations, free giveaways, and some attempts at record-setting brick breaking. Entertainment for the kids.

And, hopefully, the Re-Grand Opening can kickstart a local entrepreneur who took a body blow during the pandemic but keeps on fighting.

Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at lindon.dodd@hotmail.com

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