By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
The next Muhammad Ali or George Foreman may just be from Moapa Valley. If you’ve ever wondered if it might be you, Clark County Parks and Recreation (CCPR) is now offering a class to help you find out.
CCPR Recreation Specialist Elmer Lopez has begun teaching a Boxing Basics class for both the young and the young-at-heart. The class is held on Fridays at 3 pm in the Moapa Valley Recreation Center, formerly known as the Senior Center. The first six-week session is free of charge for anyone who wants to come try it out.
Lopez has been boxing for most of his life and loves the sport. He said that he is excited to teach this class.
Lopez began in martial arts when he was very young and added boxing when he was about thirteen. Although he has a black belt and is qualified to teach other martial arts, he feels that boxing is the most approachable for many people. It is a great sport to practice for exercise and entertainment, he said.
“I wanted to teach boxing because it can be done by anyone,” Lopez said. “You can do it by yourself with a punching bag or you can practice with a partner. It’s a great sport, a great form of exercise, and a lot of fun.”
Lopez’s classes will begin with the basics to teach students the fundamentals and correct techniques right from the start. He said that the first several classes will work on form and balance as students learn the correct way to deliver a jab, right cross, hook, and an uppercut. As students progress, they will practice throwing punches, work on proper balance, and work on proper stance. Eventually they will progress to shadowboxing, rounds, and add in blocking techniques.
Although the Rec Center does not have the facilities for participants to spar, Lopez has safety gear so students will have the opportunity to practice their technique on him.
Lopez hopes to eventually be able to offer a separate adult class and teen class. But for now, the classes are combined.
He realizes that Friday afternoon may not be the best day and time for everyone, so he encourages interested individuals who would like to participate on other days or at a different time, to call the Parks and Rec office and leave their suggestions.
Lopez also encourages everyone interested in boxing to come try it out. “This is a great opportunity to learn about the sport and to learn boxing basics for yourself,” he said. “Although this class mainly focuses on boxing as a sport, there will be some talk of self-defense as well. People who have taken it in the past not only have enjoyed learning the moves, but they also are able to understand the moves as they observe them in others and have a greater appreciation of the sport overall.”
Even though the first six week session is free, Lopez encourages those who are interested to begin coming as soon as possible so they aren’t left behind. Registration for the class can be done on-site during class and Lopez asks those who want to participate in this session to please begin attending and register by March 9.
Participants should wear comfortable clothing and tennis shoe. The rest of their equipment, such as gloves, will be provided for them.
Those who attended Lopez’s first class last week were full of praise for the program. They unanimously agreed that it was a lot of fun.
Jo Henriksen, a MVHS exchange student, attended and said, “I really wanted to take this class because I’ve always had an interest in boxing. It’s a great way to exercise and a lot of fun.”
More information on this class can be obtained by viewing the Moapa Valley Rec Center program brochure at www.clarkcountynv.gov/parks and clicking on Community Centers in the sidebar. Choose Moapa Valley and then click on the center brochure for a complete list of activities. Or call the Logandale office at 702-398-7480.