Our Contender of The Month for December 2020 is Masaki Nakamura who has been training at Contenders since the end of February. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after Masaki joined Contenders, we had to temporarily close the gym due to the pandemic. While some people stopped training because of the uncertain situation we were all in, Masaki, despite being very new to Contenders, stuck to what he had started, and attended our online classes to keep up his training. He is humble, hardworking, and dedicated to his training. That’s why he deserves this recognition! When you see Masaki at the gym next time, make sure to say hello & congrats!
Here is our Q & A with Masaki.
Q: Had you done boxing prior to joining Contenders?
A: I had casually learned how to throw a jab and a straight from my ex-pro boxer friend and solely done heavy bag work-out for a year. Other than that, I had never been to a boxing gym and officially trained.
Q: What do you like about boxing or doing boxing?
A: That friend also told me about the match of Bernard Hopkins vs Felix Trinidad. As it is called “the sweet science,” I realized the movement of boxing is so beautiful and scientific. It also looked like they were playing chess. I was so shocked! Also, practicing boxing is very good as cardio and motivates me to do core training. Both in watching and practicing, it is hard to explain how much I love boxing!
Q: What motivates you to continue training?
A: I still remember the moment when I realized boxing was a beautiful sport. As I watch professional matches and training videos, I want to be able to move my body like them one day. This desire helps me push myself even further during the challenging moment of classes.
Q: What is your goal in boxing/fitness?
A: Besides getting in shape, one of my main goals in boxing is to be able to throw beautiful punches. I have realized that a beautiful punch requires lots of exercise elements, such as appropriate forms, strong core and back muscles, and stamina… It’s a never-ending challenge.
Q: What is your weakness in boxing/fitness you would like to improve?
A: My weakness is lower body strength. My legs cannot follow my upper body movement when I do combinations. I used to do Karate (I haven’t done it for 25 years, though), but boxing footwork is totally different. For smooth footwork and keeping balance during a combination, I need to strengthen my legs.
Q: What do you like to do other than boxing in your free time?
A: I am an international student, so I study English in my free time. As I learn boxing, I find lots of analogies between boxing and learning English. Grammar = fundamental techniques, Vocabulary = physical strength, pronunciation and intonation = proper form and rhythm, and so on. I am a slow learner, but I enjoy progressing little by little in both boxing and English.
Q: What is your advice for people who are thinking of joining Contenders?
A: When I visited Contenders for the first time, I was very nervous because I was already in my 40s and hadn’t played any sports for two decades. The language barrier made me even more anxious since it was only a few months after moving to Canada from Japan at that time. Despite my stereotypical image of boxing gyms as a stuffy dim place full of strict tough guys, the coaches warmly welcomed me, and the members were amicable and respectful. This might be a cliche, but you should definitely come in and do a trial if you are interested in practicing boxing. There’s a ton of fun waiting for you.
Q: Any comments for your fellow members and the Contenders Team?
A: I had no relatives or friends when I came to Vancouver. I felt the city was gloomy, rainy, and cold. Also, bad news about the virus started to spread. However, every coach and gym mates have been treating me like a family member. Contenders is now my home in Canada. Thank you so much for your generous support, Contenders!!