“I don’t count the days I have left; I make the days
I have count.” -Muhammad Ali
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects over 8,000 people in the local area served by the Parkinson Support Center and more than 1 million nationwide. While we acknowledge that there is no cure, what we are coming to realize is that there are some non-traditional means of slowing the disease’s progress. One of those non-traditional methods is boxing and Core Combat Sports is one of the most progressive gyms in this area for training PD patients. Core Combat Sports, is one of the first gyms to adopt the Rock Steady program in the Louisville Metro area.
Rock Steady Boxing first gained national attention in November 2015 when CBS news reporter, Leslie Stahl, told of the improvements her husband, author and scriptwriter Aaron Latham, was experiencing. She told of how Latham had experienced a slow-down in the progression of his PD after he enrolled in a Rock Steady program in New York City. He called Parkinson “an incredible shrinking disease.” “But it’s not Parkinson that’s shrinking”, he added. “It doesn’t shrink itself, it shrinks you.”
The Rock Steady exercise program has a goal of improving the quality of life for people navigating PD through non-contact boxing.
Abdul Jarvis and other trainers at Core Combat Sports in Louisville have worked for years to build young boxers for successful careers in the ring. Now Abdul, a top-level boxing and kickboxing coach for 22 years, finds himself conducting three-day-a-week, 90-minute-a-day lessons to people who are never going to climb in a ring with the goal of becoming a champion boxer.
“I’ve got to tell you though,” Abdul says while watching a recent workout, “some of these Parkinson people in here are just a step or so away from training just as hard as our real boxers. These people (PD patients) come in here just as motivated and just as hard-working as the boxers I train for championship fights.” That’s coming from a man who has developed five Golden Gloves and two world champions in his career.
Walk into the Core Combat gym at the Eastpoint Park Boulevard office park near Anchorage, and there is nothing that would tell you it is any place other than a boxing gym. Rolando Haddad opened the business 18 years ago and it has developed into a full-scale martial arts training facility. The PD patients who show up for each class sweat just as hard as the real boxers. When they punch 100-pound bags and yell “Yaaaaaaaa,” they’re not just making believe. The shout is designed to counter soft-voice syndrome, a frequent problem for PD patients. Each exercise, such as high jab, low jab, has a specific purpose. Stretching helps relieve stiffness; fast footwork leads to better balance; punching bags help relieve
tremors and so much more.
Back in the summer, Abdul may have wondered whether his required training at the nearest Rock Steady facility in Indianapolis would pay off. Less than eight months later, he has seen attendance surge to 20-plus PD patients in each class. Neurologists here and in other cities have become enthusiastic supporters of boxing for their patients and more than ever they are recommending that PD patients add boxing to their program of exercise.
Core Combat Sports
13124 Eastpoint Park Blvd, Louisville, KY 40223
Phone: (502) 489-5444
Additional Rock Steady Boxing Locations:
Full Moon Martial Arts
1430 Cedar St, Clarksville, IN 47129
Phone: (812) 258-9450
3684 US-150 Suite 6, Floyds Knobs, IN 47119
Phone: (812) 923-2348