In 1947 I started boxing, TV was almost unheard of for poor families. My father was a light heavyweight champion in the Armed Forces from 1937-39. He was my hero, a veteran of combat and a Mustang Naval Officer, a boxing champ and trainer. When my dad returned from the South Pacific, he took up his new life as a father after 6 years on fighting the Japanese. His passion was to teach his sons to box. So with war memorabilia and 2 pair of used boxing gloves, my brother Leo and I took up the sport. I was 6, Leo was 9. My passion at the time was baseball, but with a little persuasion, boxing became fun for me.
My father was put in charge as Athletics Director at North Island Navy Base, at Coronado, San Diego. He set up all of the sports events, which included the boxing competitions. My dad made it easy to learn (old school – practice, practice, practice) overcome your fears, hit harder and more often than your opponent – hit and not get hit. A broken nose, black eyes, a broken jaw, 2 broken ribs, and a few tears – not bad for 55 years – that was called “old school” or experience. I didn’t like getting hit so I learned to block, slip, and duck punches. I was by nature aggressive and strong for a young boy (I was larger than most kids my age). My basics were aggression and counter punching. I competed in local smokers and sometimes, more than not, street fights. I am sorry to say that was my downfall from time to time (juvenile hall and trouble), until I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps my boxing skills were redefined. Rules and proper conduct while participating in smokers were common place during training as a recruit and at permanent duty stations throughout the military bases. I loved boxing and fought whenever I could.
During my service in the USMC, I was injured during a landing when the Bell Copter we were being transported in surged upward (due to a heavy wind gust) and I was forced out of the copter by the jolt, fell 10 feet, landing on one leg, with 75lbs of gear on my back and carrying a 19.5 lb B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle) along with 14, 20 round magazines! I severely tore the meniscus in my right knee, thus ending my career as a combat Marine (MOS – Automatic Weapons Specialist – or a grunt, in a line company). Sometime went by and as a combat Marine my future looked grim. After this injury, I had to end my time with the Marine Corps that I loved, and the boxing that I loved, due to years of complications and the continual swelling in my knee, that resulted from the injury. I was left with little choice. Not until years later, after many years of disabling pain, when MRIs were invented, were doctors able to determine the actual problem. I was able to have it corrected through surgery – but too late for a full military career or a boxing career. After rehab I was able to restart my boxing. I was given the opportunity to start training and sparring again. My friend, Javier Mendez encouraged me and trained me for awhile. In turn, I trained some of his fighters. Javier is a 2 time Light Heavyweight Champ and a great boxer/trainer. He has many champions with various titles who have trained under him.
I have over 55 years boxing experience, both in competition and as an analyst. I’m second to none as a trainer and always a Marine by nature. My goal is to share my knowledge and skills to teach the art of self defense, to bring out the best in people who have the willingness to become the best that they can be. Boxing is more than just physical skills and getting trophies – it will test the heart and mind of individuals. Boxing strives to help men, women, and children to overcome any and all obstacles by controlling the mind and body and it teaches you to think and it instills discipline. This carries over to your relationships in your home, job, school, church – controlled strength, discipline, and respect being the core values to achieve success in life.
Remember, God has given us fingers to fight and hands for war and it is more blessed to give than to receive so (hit, don’t get hit) – fight the good fight.
I was raised from a young age with boxing as a part of my heritage. My father boxed as a youth in San Francisco and also during his service to our country during WWII. He was a great contender and I am very proud of him. I have fond memories of watching boxing with my dad every Friday night when I was growing up. It was always a fun time. A mental picture I hold dear in my mind is watching my dad begin watching the bouts sitting in his chair, then as the fights went on, he progressed to the end of the chair, and by the time the fight was almost over, he was throwing punches from the end of the foot stool. I can still see my dear mother as she walked through the living room, shaking her head and smiling, as my dad engrossed himself in the boxing he loved.
Those, and many more memories of fun times with my dad, built in me the appreciation for the “sweet science”. If girls were allowed to box “way back then” I probably would have become a good boxer. My dad was a good teacher and we had fun “putting on the gloves” and mixing it up. My dad is the one who chose the name Dreamland Boxing.
As years passed and time went by, boxing was always a part of my life. I continued to enjoy the fights on TV. But until I met and married David, the “Sarge”, I never was able to get involved. After we were married for a number of years, we began discussing the possibility of helping others through the avenue of boxing. It was something that had to wait until I retired from the high tech world, but once I did, my husband’s vision became my own. We worked with youth on a small scale for awhile, providing a way for many young people, and older alike, to fulfill their dreams through boxing. We were successful, but there came a time when we knew we needed to open a gym that would provide a place to train and allow many more to fulfill their dreams and goals through boxing. We agreed to take our life savings, re-finance our home, and take a chance on opening up a place, non-profit, staffed with volunteers, who also wanted to give back to the sport they loved. We knew we had to try.
Today, our community has benefited because of Dreamland Boxing. It is a place for families, fun, exercise, competition, offered in a structured, disciplined environment that produces champions in boxing, and champions in life. Come join the Team!