Boxing trainer Roger Dorrington teaches 11-year-old Bailey McLean (left) and her mom Tara McLean many skills at the CANSA Boxing Club, including how to throw a punch while keeping themselves protected. Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Boxing is often used as a metaphor for life and in the movie "Million Dollar Baby"Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, played to perfection by Morgan Freeman, says, "sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back, but step back too far and you ain't fighting at all."
For some boxing is a way to get into shape, while for others it's as a way to experience life more fully.
For Tara McLean it's all of the above.
"It's a great way to get out and do something," McLean said. "Plus you get fit and you learn something new."
The mother of three has only been to a few training sessions but has already learned a lot.
"I've learned how to hold my hands, I've learned some foot work and I've learned the right way to throw a punch so I don't break anything," McLean said.
Mclean has brought her 11-year-old daughter, Bailey, to the CANSA Boxing Club and hopes her two other kids, aged seven and six can learn the art form as well.
"It's not just for myself, it's something I hope I can teach my kids some day."
The club is open to anybody aged 10 and up.
Trainer Don Estabrooks who has close to 40 years in the boxing business said, "You can teach anybody it they want to learn and put the time in."
The clubs main purpose is to teach the basic skills of boxing.
"We want to teach jabs, combinations, defensive skills and footwork," trainer Roger Dorrington said. "But most important what we want to instill is discipline and respect for other people.
Dorrington makes the need for discipline and respect perfectly clear when the class wraps up for the night and he tells his students to, "remember, what you learn in the gym stays in the gym."
Students who are wary of stepping into the ring to spar needn't bother it they don't want.
"They can learn everything, but they don't have to go into the ring," Estabrooks said.
Dorrington said students shouldn't be in the ring sparring for at least the first couple of months but, "if somebody wants to go in early and they have the gear on properly and they go in with me, then they can do that. Because I'm not going to throw any bombs."
The CANSA Boxing Club is open to students from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday nights.