Arts & Life, Features

LBSU alumnus teaches martial arts to the community

Located in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center in Fitness Room B every Monday, students have the opportunity to train in martial arts on campus.

Boxing 101 was started by former CSULB student Anthony Gonzalez back in 2015, when he asked now current head of the Student Rec and Wellness Center, Maureen MacRae if it was possible to hold a boxing class. She agreed to let him hold the class, giving him a time frame and nothing else.

Gonzalez took what was given and turned it into a now seven-year-long running class.

Held in 6-week sessions every Monday and Wednesday, the class has four rotating stations to train in, with each student getting one-on-one time with the boxing instructor doing mitt work. With each station having multiple three-minute rounds to simulate a boxing match, these students will go through different workouts and drills.

Two stations are dedicated to boxing, such as shadowboxing and hitting the punching bags, while the other two stations are dedicated to other workouts and are rotated out weekly.

The class was a success and Gonzalez would soon find his class over the 25-limit capacity. He needed a way to be able to train his students who had paid for the six-week sessions. As a result, Anthony Gonzalez asked his longtime training buddy Brandon Giles if it was possible to hold Wednesday classes of Boxing 101, to which Giles agreed.

Acquainting with each other while both were attending CSULB, the pair started to train with each other. Giles, a mixed martial artist, taught Gonzalez a few moves from kickboxing and taekwondo, while Gonzalez showed him some moves about boxing. And when in need of help to train the overload of students, Gonzalez called on his old friend.

As a mixed martial artist, Giles regularly trained in MMA while also teaching boxing. With the help of his longtime friend, he was able to begin his own MMA class: Tactical Martial Arts.

Starting in the fall of the 2022 semester, Giles holds his class right after the Boxing 101 class, from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Following the same session format as the boxing class, with a six-week session, and a 25-person capacity.

Gonzalez and Giles describe the reasons why students take their martial arts classes.

“It’s pretty evenly split between these three: the folks that want a good workout, those that want to learn to fight and those who want to learn the sport,” Gonzalez said.

“They always tell me they’ve always wanted to defend themselves,” he said. “From my understanding, a lot of my students [take the class] because they want to learn to defend themselves if any situation to occur.”

While Giles hasn’t had any student use his training in the real world yet, Gonzalez described a moment where a student of his used his boxing knowledge from the class.

“I had a student that [went to my class] for three semesters and she had a situation at a club where a guy was touching her. And she was able to give the guy a nice straight right on his jaw and dropped him in the club,” Gonzalez said.

Both instructors have a deep love for their respective martial arts. Giles started at the age of six and Gonzalez started during high school.

“I have my full-time job, that pays the bills. This is just out of passion,” Gonzalez said.

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