Seniors with Parkinson’s disease keep punching it out at the Odd Fellows Hall on Ladner Trunk Road every Thursday morning.
But there’s also room for more seniors who are battling the condition with boxing coach Carm Fulford offering a second class on Tuesdays.
So far, only a few people are interested, and he needs another half a dozen or so to get the class going.
Fulford has been teaching boxing to all ages and skill levels for the past five years at South Delta Recreational Boxing Academy based at the hall.
Every Thursday at 11 a.m., no more than 12 seniors, to ensure personal spacing, most of whom are living with Parkinson’s, put on their gloves and go through a workout led by Fulford.
Every lesson is planned out in advance, he points out. “It’s heavily orchestrated, big time.”
In addition to the physical workout, there are also mental challenges such as performing a combination of punches, learning footwork, which improves balance and agility, and working with the focus pads. Those are targets that the coach holds in each hand which seniors punch in different combinations.
“That’s what they love more than anything else, the focus pads,” said Fulford.
“It’s a social event as well. They all know each other. They look forward to it … and they love it.”
Many at the Thursday class are experienced with some who have been training there since the club opened.
“The only thing that stops them is their physical deterioration. It’s the same group that I’ve had for five years,” Fulford said, who is a Level 3 boxing instructor with more than 30 years of boxing experience.
He said previously that when he was starting up the club, he spoke with the local Parkinson’s support group and the class was born almost instantly.
By starting a Tuesday class just for beginners, newcomers with Parkinson’s can get trained up and then either join the Thursday class or stick with the Tuesday class. Cost is $16 a lesson, although that’s going up to $17.50 in January.
Seniors, who are raw beginners, who don’t have Parkinson’s, can also sign up for the new Tuesday class, then move into other classes later that are offered throughout the week.
South Delta Recreational Boxing offers entirely non-contact training, with no sparring, for adults, juniors and seniors. “Nobody gets a broken nose, no blood, no nothing,” he said.
Training instead is all done with bags, targets, drills and focus pads.
The club also is still following pandemic precautions, with each participant having to show proof of vaccination before signing up.
Most seniors though are full vaccinated, Fulford pointed out, and he only asks when a person signs up.
“It’s still a concern,” he said.
But he’s seeking more than just general assurance. “I want to see proof,” he said.
The club’s website is: https://sdrboxing.ca/home.