View Full Version : Seeing stars


EzzardFan
06-08-2010, 12:37 PM
Hi folks,

Haven't posted in a while as there's been a lot of changes in my life recently (about to become a Dad for one thing).

Anyway I was recently off training for a month after contracting two viral infections back to back. One was a flu type thing and the other was a tummy bug. Both were pretty nasty, and I'm left somewhat fatigued by the whole experience, might take a while to get back to full fitness.

I'm also about to turn 40 at the end of July, so no spring chicken any more. This is the longest break in training I've ever had, and today was my first sparring session since I returned.

Well needless to say I got my ass handed to me. My head movement was all shot to pieces, my legs wouldn't work, my feigns were gone, my movements were robotic, not good. To make matters worse the guy I was sparring with was about 15 years my junior (if you're my age you'll understand, if your younger then you'll understand one day LOL). He's quite new to the game, but naturally talented. At my best I need to rely on my experience to cope with guys like this, my defence needs to really be on top form to avoid getting caught. To make matters even worse he was wearing cheap 14oz gloves and I was kitted out with 16oz Everlasts... which didn't help with my reflexes or stamina. Finally he's at the stage where he's pretty much punching full force and looking for a slug fest, and not really letting up soon enough when he got on top of my rusty defences.

So basically I was getting caught left right and centre, lots of clean shots to the head. Very early on he hit my the hardest that I've ever been hit on the button, at least in the last 5 years. Reckon I was out on my feet for a split second, came back and everything was brighter colours like I'd dropped acid. Throughout the 30min sparring session he must have hit me on the head, ****, in excess of 50x. For a good many shots, and I mean a GOOD many I was seeing stars.

Now a few times I tried to give him the hint to lighten up. Being a man though that's not easy, so I danced around the subject indirectly with:

"I'm 40 next month you now"
"I've just been off a month with a virus and I'm really rusty"
"That's the hardest I've ever been hit, you nearly knocked me out there"
"I've been seeing stars with a lot of those punches you're throwing"
"Do you realise that you'r wearing 14oz gloves and mine are 16oz ones"

And so forth. But although he seemed a nice guy, he also seemed hell bent on using me as a human punching bag, and to be honest it upsets me that someone thinks it's OK to do that in a friendly backyard type sparring session.

Throughout this I'm hitting at my usual 50%(ish) force to his head, and perhaps 70% when striking his guard or midsection. I could have escalated it up to 100% but then I'd be as well just getting in the frigging ring LOL!

Anyway by the end of this I'm pretty concussed. My head feels tender, my balance is off, my reactions are all to hell, and I feel disconnected from reality. It's probably the worst beating I've ever endured. I was wearing a head guard but as most of you will be aware, this is only to protect my ageing and already badly scratched corneas; if anything that extra inch of padding only makes it harder to avoid shots. It does very little to limit the concussive force.

My question to the rest of your (aside from venting my frustrations and yes, whinging about getting my ass handed to me) is:

Do any of you ever see stars on a regular basis whilst fighting or sparring? If so how often? What do you consider to be acceptable in terms of getting hit in the head? Do you feel it is safe to be taking a beating like that? Does anyone else take that sort of punishment on a regular basis? What sort of a beating are people taking in full on competitive bouts?

Previous to this I'd probably get caught with a starburst perhaps once or twice in a session, an while it's never good I was comfortable with taking that level of damage, and didn't consider it a threat to my health. Also my sparring partners would generally know when they'd over cooked it, and lower the volume afterwards. This is the first time I've had the misfortune to be ring rusty and paired with a decent novice who doesn't understand the concept of pulling punches.

Rewind two months and I think my defence would have been capable of handling the onslaught. My main concern here is my health and wellbeing. At my age, and about to become a father I question whether I should be taking risks like these. Generally the other guys in the club including myself, we tend to hit hard enough to stun, shock, cause some pain, and create an opening, but nothing like the sort of forces that we'd unleash against the heavy bag. Usually I know I've been hit, but I'm not getting knocked silly. Today was nasty.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but my faculties are shot to bits and I'm not even sure what I've written makes sense.

Thoughts please?

Chip2006uk
06-08-2010, 02:29 PM
Wow that was a long post but an interesting read!

Sounds like that guy went a bit overboard. To be honest if he was hitting you with full on shots you should have just started throwing 100% back, especially if he wasnt showing any signs of letting up on you, sounds like he was just being disrespectful imo.

At least if you started to throw back hard you'd make him think twice before going on the attack. To me it read like you were just throwing soft 50% punches that he'd take and shrug off and then come back at you with full on power punches. To be fair to him its hard to tell how hard your sparring partner is actually going if its your first time sparring with him, he could have just thought you were throwing full power but were feather fisted?

I think in that situation you should have at least thrown one or two hard shots just to let him know you werent going full power, and hopefully that would make him chill out a bit, if he kept on going hard though you should have thrown hard straight back.

The only other option would be to ask him to calm down or ask the trainer, but then you run the risk of sounding like a whiner, but as you are nearing 40 and are just training and sparring for health and fun I guess talking to the trainer wouldnt be such a bad thing.

Incidentally I got hit with the hardest flush shot Ive ever taken last night, I was sparring a southpaw with a fairly mean left straight and he hit me with it right on the button, my vision went like a TV screen when there is no reception for a split second but I felt fine otherwise. Still though, its the first time Ive come close to seeing stars.

EzzardFan
06-08-2010, 05:29 PM
I'm feeling a bit better now :)

I hit his guard a couple of times full force towards the end of the session. There was no point escalating it beyond that because I would have lost. What I should have done was quit about 25 minutes sooner after the near KO.

I spar because I'm in love the beauty boxing. To me it's like playing a combination of chess and poker with my body. It's intricate, and depth and complexity, and we 're trying to execute every motion as smoothly as possible. It's about out thinking and out manoeuvring the opponent. It's the art of hitting without getting hit.

Well today I got hit. Lots.

My own approach to sparring is that vary the striking power depending on what I'm hitting. I'll hit the guard or the shoulders at around 90%, the body at perhaps 70%, but pull back to 50% for a clean headshot. I want the guy to feel my punch, enough to be jolted, and enough to setup my next punch. I want the punches to sting. But I don't want him seeing stars or going home concussed or with broken ribs.

When his guard comes down I'll usually open up with a fast flurry of disorientating light taps to his head and face, these are at perhaps 25% power, just to let him know that he's screwed up and he's exposed. Sometime's I'll wind one up then just back off altogether without unleashing it.

If the other person is less skilful than me, or less experienced, or tired, or having an off day, then I'll make it easier for them by trying out new stuff.

If I accidentally land one thats too hard, or they walk into something, or I catch then flush on the nose, then I'll back of and ask if they are OK. Occasionally if the other guy is looking flustered than I'll say "Are you OK, just let me know if you feel I'm hitting you too hard."

Today when I got into difficulty and my guard came down, this dude is launching like 5-6 unanswered bombs at my head before he lets up, and that happened on several occasions. Obviously the more of that I took, the worse my defence became. I'm proud that I stayed on my feet for the full 30 mins. This guy must have been wondering what it took to put me down. Must have been worried that he was feather fisted (he wasn't). But fact is that he was out of order. You don't treat a sparring partner like a piece of meat. Someone with less punch tolerance, he could have killed them. If there was a referee then he would have stopped it in the third round.

Anyhow, my question is: how common is it to see stars. I would hope that not many people see them in sparring, but what about the guys here that fight competitively? How often during a hard match do you see stars? Just interested to hear what sort of punishment a person can take?

EzzardFan
06-08-2010, 05:37 PM
Should also add that I have very short reach, so try to fight inside, and therefore have to wade through the other guys arsenal to deliver my own damage, so am exposed to more danger of getting hit than most people my height/weight. When sharp I have a tight defence that can handle most boxers, although I do tend to struggle with swarming fighters.

One more round
06-08-2010, 05:59 PM
At my gym when the fighters are sparring each other, we always go at full intensity, and only pull back if someone is hurt. All the other gyms I have been to do the same.

So yeah, if he hurt you, he should have been able to notice it and pull back. The coach should have noticed it too.

Migs
06-09-2010, 08:21 AM
At my gym when the fighters are sparring each other, we always go at full intensity, and only pull back if someone is hurt. All the other gyms I have been to do the same.

So yeah, if he hurt you, he should have been able to notice it and pull back. The coach should have noticed it too.

That is the red flag for me. How did the coach not see this? Where did the thought of "Hey this guy in his late 30's is taking way to much punishment from a young guy in his early to mid 20's" become elusive?

Admittedly, and I'm not proud of this at all, I had a similar experience where I went a little harder than normal on a guy similar in age to you and it still bugs me to this day (I'm 26). I've been on both ends of a beating (unfortunately more on the wrong end) and now know when to take it easy. I will throw my body shots harder than head shots as I don't want to wreck someone upstairs. I have taken hard shots like that and I honestly feel like they have taken a toll on me as I feel like I can't absorb a punch as well as I once could and I get dizzy when I turn my head left and right quickly, something i don't recall happening prior to taking these type of shots, so I understand your concern about continuing to do this in lieu of your health. I contemplate this myself as even though i am young, I'm not trying to go pro or even fight in the amateurs as a serious fighter. I just love to spar but it is hard to find someone who matches up well against you sometimes in the sense that you push each other and get the back and forth without going home feeling like you don't know who or where you are. We all know what we sign up for in this sport though I guess...

EzzardFan
06-09-2010, 01:10 PM
That is the red flag for me. How did the coach not see this? Where did the thought of "Hey this guy in his late 30's is taking way to much punishment from a young guy in his early to mid 20's" become elusive?

Thanks for this reply. We're backyard boxers, so there isn't really a coach as such. Generally whoever isn't sparring is (meant to be) looking out for everyone else. Where we fall down is in taking time to explain the etiquette of sparring to new 'members'. Those of us that have been doing this a long time, know each others styles inside out. Assuming that both guys are sharp and on form then they can pretty much go all out at each other without any real risk of serious injury... in fact often without any chance of landing an effective shot, unless they've managed to incorporate something new into their style. The old "this past three sessions my new secret weapon against you has been XXXX" type deal.

In the course of the past 5 years I've been involved with this group, I've had three previous similar encounters where for whatever reason someone took to using me as a punchbag. My response was to sharpen up, figure out their stylistic flaws, and go in there and do it back to them. In each instance within 10 mins the guy A) quit the session on me, B) quit the session altogether, and C) never showed up at the club again. So from my limited experience these types are only comfortable when it's one-way traffic. Be interesting to see with this guy.

With this guy there were several occasions where I had opened up his defence, and he had adopted an off balance, immobile position, bent forward at the waist, staring at the floor, with his guard down. With hindsight I should just have teed off on his cranium with big licks. Problem is that when your brains are scrambled you automatically fall back on learned behaviour which is to ease up. If there's a part two to this then he is going to experience a little of what I took yesterday. Doubtless I'll have to take some to dish it out, but it'll be worth it :) I figure that he's unlikely to have punch resistance comparable to mine, and he certainly won't be familiar with operating in that zone. Yesterday was the worst beating I have every taken, me going for the KO (usually taboo for us) will be a real possibility. Two wrongs don't make a right... except in boxing where it's almost an unwritten rule that you go out to avenge your defeats or call it a day their and admit that you've lost heart.

This gets harder for me to accomplish every year, the wheels start falling off once you get past 42, and I suspect I just lost another one LOL. Following on from that I'm going to take steps to ensure that there is no repeat of this type of incident, and that nobody in the club is every used as a punchbag again. It's something we should have done a long time ago.

Migs: thanks for sharing. Bizarrely it made me feel better, you probably understand why :)

NinjaMan!
06-09-2010, 03:00 PM
Hi folks,

Haven't posted in a while as there's been a lot of changes in my life recently (about to become a Dad for one thing).

Anyway I was recently off training for a month after contracting two viral infections back to back. One was a flu type thing and the other was a tummy bug. Both were pretty nasty, and I'm left somewhat fatigued by the whole experience, might take a while to get back to full fitness.

I'm also about to turn 40 at the end of July, so no spring chicken any more. This is the longest break in training I've ever had, and today was my first sparring session since I returned.

Well needless to say I got my ass handed to me. My head movement was all shot to pieces, my legs wouldn't work, my feigns were gone, my movements were robotic, not good. To make matters worse the guy I was sparring with was about 15 years my junior (if you're my age you'll understand, if your younger then you'll understand one day LOL). He's quite new to the game, but naturally talented. At my best I need to rely on my experience to cope with guys like this, my defence needs to really be on top form to avoid getting caught. To make matters even worse he was wearing cheap 14oz gloves and I was kitted out with 16oz Everlasts... which didn't help with my reflexes or stamina. Finally he's at the stage where he's pretty much punching full force and looking for a slug fest, and not really letting up soon enough when he got on top of my rusty defences.

So basically I was getting caught left right and centre, lots of clean shots to the head. Very early on he hit my the hardest that I've ever been hit on the button, at least in the last 5 years. Reckon I was out on my feet for a split second, came back and everything was brighter colours like I'd dropped acid. Throughout the 30min sparring session he must have hit me on the head, ****, in excess of 50x. For a good many shots, and I mean a GOOD many I was seeing stars.

Now a few times I tried to give him the hint to lighten up. Being a man though that's not easy, so I danced around the subject indirectly with:

"I'm 40 next month you now"
"I've just been off a month with a virus and I'm really rusty"
"That's the hardest I've ever been hit, you nearly knocked me out there"
"I've been seeing stars with a lot of those punches you're throwing"
"Do you realise that you'r wearing 14oz gloves and mine are 16oz ones"

And so forth. But although he seemed a nice guy, he also seemed hell bent on using me as a human punching bag, and to be honest it upsets me that someone thinks it's OK to do that in a friendly backyard type sparring session.

Throughout this I'm hitting at my usual 50%(ish) force to his head, and perhaps 70% when striking his guard or midsection. I could have escalated it up to 100% but then I'd be as well just getting in the frigging ring LOL!

Anyway by the end of this I'm pretty concussed. My head feels tender, my balance is off, my reactions are all to hell, and I feel disconnected from reality. It's probably the worst beating I've ever endured. I was wearing a head guard but as most of you will be aware, this is only to protect my ageing and already badly scratched corneas; if anything that extra inch of padding only makes it harder to avoid shots. It does very little to limit the concussive force.

My question to the rest of your (aside from venting my frustrations and yes, whinging about getting my ass handed to me) is:

Do any of you ever see stars on a regular basis whilst fighting or sparring? If so how often? What do you consider to be acceptable in terms of getting hit in the head? Do you feel it is safe to be taking a beating like that? Does anyone else take that sort of punishment on a regular basis? What sort of a beating are people taking in full on competitive bouts?

Previous to this I'd probably get caught with a starburst perhaps once or twice in a session, an while it's never good I was comfortable with taking that level of damage, and didn't consider it a threat to my health. Also my sparring partners would generally know when they'd over cooked it, and lower the volume afterwards. This is the first time I've had the misfortune to be ring rusty and paired with a decent novice who doesn't understand the concept of pulling punches.

Rewind two months and I think my defence would have been capable of handling the onslaught. My main concern here is my health and wellbeing. At my age, and about to become a father I question whether I should be taking risks like these. Generally the other guys in the club including myself, we tend to hit hard enough to stun, shock, cause some pain, and create an opening, but nothing like the sort of forces that we'd unleash against the heavy bag. Usually I know I've been hit, but I'm not getting knocked silly. Today was nasty.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but my faculties are shot to bits and I'm not even sure what I've written makes sense.

Thoughts please?
You've got a lot of excuses but sometimes I get light headed and see stars when I take a huge ****. You probably shouldn't spar him anymore but if you do you got to go 100%. That's boxing. It doesn't do him any good to half ass it. If you want to play patty cake you have to find some other weenie and agree on that before hand. Guys that are looking to compete need to box for real.

dannnnn
06-09-2010, 03:30 PM
You've got a lot of excuses but sometimes I get light headed and see stars when I take a huge ****.

Haha, nice.

11wordisbond
06-09-2010, 05:08 PM
Don't worry brother. By the time your son turns 20, that jerk should be in his mid forties, and your son can avenge your defeat lol. Congrats on you soon-to-be fatherhood.

EzzardFan
06-09-2010, 05:35 PM
Don't worry brother. By the time your son turns 20, that jerk should be in his mid forties, and your son can avenge your defeat lol. Congrats on you soon-to-be fatherhood.

Be even better if it was my daughter ;)

One more round
06-10-2010, 03:39 AM
To be honest I've been a bit of a sadist in the gym giving some of the bigger newer guys a bit of a flogging. The smaller younger ones I always go very easy on, but the bigger ones my age seem to get ****y and load up big shots, so I've touched up a few. But really, you could say they deserved it.

fghtguy123
06-10-2010, 04:52 PM
Man, you need to be more straight forward with people. Tell him to cool it down, or just get out of the ring if he refuses. You aren't training to compete, there's no reason whatsoever for you to stay in there and get the crap beat out of you by somebody 20 years younger. Boxing is a sport, not a penis measuring contest. People forget that.

If you want to stick it out because you think you can learn something from it or because you're enjoying the full power sparring session that's your call, but I gather that it wasn't a very good experience for you on the whole.

It's your body, your health, more importantly it's your brain at stake, and your children who will have to take care of you when dementia starts setting in at age 60.

dannnnn
06-10-2010, 07:27 PM
We're backyard boxers, so there isn't really a coach as such.

Here's your problem. Boxing isn't a game and the risks are serious. I guarantee this wouldn't have happened with a coach there to monitor your sparring. Get yourself down to a proper gym if you want to train, otherwise you've nobody to blame but yourself.