Blows to the Head: How Boxing Changed My Mind by Binnie Klein

By Binnie Klein

A provocative story of an not likely contender and her midlife transformation via boxing.

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My brains are useful here, as are my Slavic legs. I have found my place in the universe. Women are better students of boxing. Along with being nonathletic, all I’d heard all my life was that men were stronger than women. Men were stronger than women, Jews didn’t ski; the beliefs just went on and on. John hadn’t said anything about women’s innate strength; he said we were better students. Of course you’d hear, too, that women thought too much, felt too much; people still mentioned it in conversations about a woman being president.

Jab, Jab. ” I pushed at the air. “Don’t push! Snap it! Use your hips! ” He walked over to the corner to a plastic box with colored buttons atop it and pressed down. A brittle piercing sound ripped the air, and I jumped like Betty Boop fleeing a mouse. ” He smirked and shook his head. Yes, it was the bell, the clang, the buzzer, the call to action. “A lot of phrases come from boxing,” John said, releasing an impressive cascade of information. “Low blow, hitting below the belt, sucker punch, calling the fight, throw in the towel, the gloves 39 are off, punching your weight, give it your best shot—but, guess what?

He turned pro at the age of seventeen and had to fight illegally because he was underage for professional boxing, but he won twenty-two bouts in a row. 29 In the twenty-first century, from Brooklyn by way of Ukraine, and to the accompaniment of a live Klezmer band or the sounds of Chassidic rapper Matisyahu, twenty-five-year-old Dmitriy Salita strides into the ring. He’s an orthodox Jew with an undefeated record. He studies with a Lubavitcher rabbi and no amount of money would make him fight on the Sabbath.

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