El Voz

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Devotional

Elias Ortiz Sr. is a good dad who only wants the best for his son. Watching your son compete in any contact sport, especially one like boxing is a difficult thing to do.  As a parent one cannot help but get involved.  Shouting instructions and pointers while his son is fighting, is a normal reaction.  Unfortunately, in the world of amateur boxing, this can be a coach’s nightmare.  Coach Luis Rosa makes it a rule that parents are not allowed to speak in the gym from the moment they enter the door. The reason is simple, he is the coach and a fighter must learn to listen and trust his directions.  When Elias Jr. gets in the ring, he listens for instructions and corrections so he can win his bout.  In the instant when he is backed up in a corner, and a thousand voices are shouting instructions, he must train his ear to hear only his coach’s voice above the crowds. 

Often times, the cheers and chants for your opponent deaden that voice.  It can even cause your mind and will to give up.  George Foreman shares about this same feeling when he fought against Muhammad Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo).  Foreman said he could hear the crowd shout a popular chant during the fight: “Ali bomaye! Ali bomaye!” Which means “Ali, kill him! Ali, kill him!” Picture yourself in the ring and all you can hear is the crowds chanting, “Kill him!” It is moments like these where the fighter must tune out all the other voices and tune solely into the voice of his coach. 

The young boxer must quickly learn to distinguish this new voice.  Elias Ortiz Jr.’s ear is inclined to the voice of his father, but his coach’s voice is the voice he must rely upon in the ring. Elias Jr. must put his entire trust into the voice of his coach over his own father: a tough decision for a son to make and maybe even a tougher decision for a father to accept.  However, this is the only way for victory to be won.

 A thousand voices shout out each day attempting to define our society, but more importantly our children.  In the day and age of broken homes, social media, celebrity craze, the Internet is raising our children.  Music, art and film are competing to define our children.  Within each one of these media’s are hundreds of different voices telling individuals what to wear, what to listen to, what is justice and what is righteous.  In John 10:27 Jesus says, “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

 ImageIn the life of a Christian, we are thrown into the ring of life.  Life throws its sucker punches and haymakers at us. The arena is full of doubters and haters, but the voice of the Shepherd is in our corner. He is not only our coach, trainer, and cut man, but He is also our promoter.  In the beginning, we do not want to submit to the authority found in his voice.  We all feel we know what’s best for us.  As our relationship builds with Jesus, we learn to recognize and trust His voice. With out fail, we always come out victorious when we listen to His direction.  And in the end, He has already won the fight for us. 

Round 1

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Boxing
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From the street, you would never know the boxing gym is even there. The only clue would be the large number of people disappearing behind this huge mansion of a house.  They stagger in by cliques and groups. They range from all ages and sizes yet each one is bound to one another for greatness.

As you open the gym door, the aroma of the room hits you like Tyson’s left hook. It is the smell of hard work and sweat; it is the mixture of champions in the making and the fragrance of fear leaving the body. Your head swivels around like a bobble head toy. The pictures of champions of past and future line the wall. You make your way through the maze of heavy bags and speed bags. The sound of the buzzer startles you. From the novice to the professional it is the sound of war and peace. To you the sound is an alarm, “if you want to leave we will completely understand.”

You finally get to the shadow boxing area where others are preparing for a day’s hard work.  They move with the precision of a ballroom dancer. Their hands speak a language that leaves you speechless. Their eyes have that thousand-yard stare of a soldier.

You wonder were the ring is.  You notice steps that lead to another level. You are not sure if you are allowed upstairs. Curiosity grips you, and then suddenly an invitation is given to you. You slowly make your way up the stairs. The ring is slowly revealed to you. Ropes and canvas consume the entire room. This is the place where giants fall and underdogs conquer. You climb into the ring and head to the center of the canvas. You find yourself dreaming of your arm being raised before a full-capacity crowd.  Suddenly the voice of Coach Luis Rosa quickly snaps you out of your daydream. With a huge smile on his face, he boldly speaks out, “If you listen to me, we can get there together.”

You are the newest person to attempt to join this family. There is uneasiness in your gut, but in a few weeks these men and women will become your family.  You will lean upon them to prepare you for battle and hopefully one day, they will lean upon you. Are you ready to be part of an exclusive group of men and women who will attempt to hang their names alongside the likes of Johnson, Tunney, Liston, Marciano and Ali? Maybe not, but are you willing to attempt to train with the best?

Come join us: Boxing in Faith Gym, 134 Grand Ave. New Haven, Connecticut 06513.  Where life’s champions are bred.