A New Era of Boxing in China

 

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Back in 2011, when seven-time undefeated boxing champion Michele Aboro came to Shanghai for the very first time, she intended for it to be a short visit. But upon seeing a number of opportunities in China, she wound up staying. At the time, more and more people in China were becoming interested in boxing, an interest fueled by Chinese boxer Zou Shiming’s spectacular performance in the Olympic Games where he claimed the bronze medal in 2004 and then gold in 2008 (and he would go on to take the gold again in 2012). However, despite this, the Chinese fitness and wellness industry was still very much in its infant stages; this was the opportunity that Michele saw, a chance to help develop the burgeoning industry and make boxing even more accessible to the masses, an endeavor that she felt was much more meaningful than running a gym in the West where the fitness and boxing scene is already well established. In 2014, she opened Aboro Academy in Shanghai alongside her partner Yilan Yuen.


2011年,七届未败世界拳击冠军米歇尔·阿魄罗(Michele Aboro)来到上海。本来,她只打算在这里作一次短暂的访问,但最后,却变成定居上海。当时,越来越多的人对拳击比赛感兴趣,而掀起这股拳击热潮的主要原因,正是中国拳手邹市明在奥运会上的精彩表现。他先是在2004年获得铜牌,然后又在2008年取得金牌(2012年,他还会再次去争取金牌)。然而,尽管人们对拳击兴趣渐增,但在中国,健身和健康产业仍处于刚起步的阶段。而对于米凯莱来说,她看到了一个机会,既能帮助发展中国的新兴健身产业,同时也可以向大众普及拳击运动,对她来说,这比在健身和拳击行业已经发展成熟的欧美国家开一间健身房更有意义。2014年,她和同伴Yilan Yuen在上海成立 Aboro Academy

Michele and Yilan were highly ambitious, aspiring to do much more than simply run a generic boxing gym. They split Aboro Academy into three separate branches: The first component is Aboro Recreational Training, which is a specialized regimen designed by Michele that allows boxing to be accessible to individuals of all skill levels and ages; the second part is Aboro Pro Boxing, which is geared towards preparing high-level athletes for boxing in a competitive setting; and finally, at the core of the organization, is the Aboro Foundation.


米凯莱和Yilan雄心勃勃,她们想要做的不仅仅是经营一间健身房或训练馆。她们将Aboro Academy分成三个独立部门:第一个是Aboro训练,这个部门由米凯莱负责,让不同水平和年龄层的人都能学习拳击运动;第二个是Aboro赛事,为那些准备参加比赛的高水平运动员提供训练;最后是训练馆的核心部门——基金会( Aboro Foundation)。

Aboro Foundation is a non-profit established to help provide career-orientated fitness and wellness training to underprivileged youth in China. For Michele and Yilan, it can be seen a way of paying it forward. When Michele first began boxing back in London, the coaches who took Michele under their wings were understanding of her financial plight – as she was one of seven children in a single parent family – and didn’t hesitate to train her. Without them, Michele wouldn’t have become the world-class champion that she is today. As a result, with the same knowledge and kindness that they shaped her life with, she yearns to channel that positivity back into the community in her new home of Shanghai. “If you have knowledge, it’s almost a sin if you don’t pass it on to someone else,” Michele says, radiating a kindred warmth as she spoke. “It’s only justified that I do the same.”


Aboro基金会是一个非营利性的组织,致力为中国贫困青年提供以就业为导向的健身和健康培训。对于米凯莱和Yilan来说,这是一种传递爱心的良性循环。米凯莱来自一个有七个孩子的单亲家庭,当初在伦敦开始练习拳击时,她遇到的教练了解到她在经济上的困境后,毫不犹豫就决定要培养她。可以肯定地说,没有他们,米凯莱也不会成为如今的世界级冠军。从教练那里,她不但学到专业的知识,也感受到了温暖的善意,她渴望将这种正能量回报给社会,回报给她现在的新家——上海。米凯莱说:“如果你有了知识又不将它传递给别人,这几乎可以说是一种罪过。所以我也必须这样做。”她的话语中也透露出了同样的善良。

Zhang Yifeng, one of the current coaches at Aboro Academy, met Michele back in 2012, two years before Aboro Academy even opened. At the time, Yifeng was only focused on fighting competitively. “He approached me to train him and I didn’t train anybody at the time, so I said ‘Sorry, but I’m not training anyone at the moment,’” Michele recalls of their initial encounter. “But he was very persistent, and eventually, I started training him, and he would still go fight under his shifu.”


Aboro Academy成立2年前,即2012年,馆内的现任教练张一峰认识了米凯莱。当时,张一峰一心只想参加拳击比赛。米凯莱回忆他们的第一次相遇:“当时他找我,要我训练他,但我那时候没有在训练任何人,所以我说‘对不起,但我现在不想训练人’。 但他很执着,最终,我答应开始训练他,但他仍然会在他师父的名义下去打比赛。”

In traditional Chinese martial arts, the dynamic between shifu and disciple is quite interesting; it’s similar to the relationship between coach and athlete, yet quite different at the same time. For disciples, training under a shifu is often considered as a lifetime commitment where they uphold the teachings of their teacher. Unfortunately, as time went on, the concept has been bastardized, with some shifu in China now regarding their athletes as property to be owned. “It was shocking and eye-opening,” Michele describes. “It’s a different mentality from the West, where trainers and coaches looked to sharpen their athlete’s skills rather than using them as a device to feed their egos.”


在传统中国武术界,师傅和徒弟之间的关系很有意思,有点类似于教练和运动员之间的关系,但又截然不同。对于徒弟来说,跟一位师傅学习是一辈子的承诺,他们会一直遵循师傅的教导。不幸的是,随着时间的推移,这一种观念已经过时,在中国,有一些师傅现在只将他们训练的运动员视为自己的财产。米凯莱说:“这种现象真的是令人震惊。这一点跟西方国家很不一样。在西方国家,教练的目的是提高运动员的技能,而不是利用他们来满足自我。”

With different motivations behind wanting to develop Yifeng’s skills, he and Michele’s relationship went beyond just coach and athlete or shifu and disciple. They became family. Michele wanted nothing more than to see him succeed. She not only wanted to improve his athletic skills but sought to better his life skills. Eventually, rather than only focusing on training him as a competitive fighter, Michele saw that he had massive potential beyond duking it out in the ring. Harnessing his determination and passion for boxing into a different direction, she began transitioning him into the role of a coach. This was Michele’s way of ensuring that he can remain in the boxing environment and maintain his love of the sport outside of competitive matches in the future. Hesitant at first, Yifeng has become an important part of the Aboro team and continues to coach there to this day.


对于提升张一峰技能这一点,两人有着不同的想法,所以,他和米凯莱之间的关系从一开始就非常不同。米凯莱不仅想提高他的运动技能,同时也想改善他的生活技能。除了将他当作一名拳击比赛选手来训练,米凯莱还看到了他在拳击场之外的巨大潜力。她将他对拳击的决心和热情引向别的方向,开始训练他成为一名教练。米凯莱希望通过这种方式,让他将来能够在保持比赛能力的同时,还能继续留在拳击界,在赛场之外,些这种对拳击运动的热爱。张一峰起初犹豫不决,但现在,他已经成为 Aboro Academy 的重要一员,并且一直执教到今天。

For Yifeng, his foray into boxing and his serendipitous meeting of Michele altered his entire mindset towards the art of boxing and changed his life for the better. Boxing began for him as a way of venting his frustrations through aggression. But now, he’s no longer fueled by this frustration, and boxing isn’t a way of venting aggression. The sport has taught him how to stay clear headed and find peace. When he’s in the ring, rather than mindless aggression, it’s more like a choreographed dance, disciplined and strategic, and each move is executed with precision. Rather than solely relying on pure strength and landing hits, he understands that staying calm, remaining focused, and maintaining mental resiliency is even more important. And now, as he coaches new fighters, he imparts this same zen-like philosophy.


对于张一峰来说,他进军拳击界和他与米凯莱的偶然相遇,改变了他对拳击运动的看法,也让他的生活变得更好。一开始,拳击只是他发泄不满的一种方式。但现在,他不会以挫折为拳击的动力,相反,拳击能帮助他保持清醒和平静。当他在擂台上时,他不会再盲目进攻,而是更像是施展精心编排的舞蹈,有规则,也有策略,精确地执行每个动作,再不是单纯依靠力量和打出拳。他明白到,保持冷静,保持专注,保持灵活的心理调整能力更为重要。而现在,他作为教练训练新的拳击手时,也会将这个充满禅意的理念灌输给他们。

As Yifeng continues to grow and learn alongside the Aboro team, Michele and Yilan are moving full steam ahead, continuing to pave the way for the next generation of boxing enthusiasts in China. Their ultimate goal is much more important than profit, fame, or winning – it’s to foster a community of passionate, like-minded individuals who can all take part in a sport that has done so much for their lives.


张一峰会继续与Aboro团队一起成长和学习,而米凯莱和Yilan也会继续全速前进,为下一代中国拳击爱好者铺路。拳击运动让他们体验了精彩的生活,而他们的最终目标不仅仅是利润、名誉或胜利,更重要的是努力培养出一批同样热爱拳击运动的人。

Website: aboroacademy.com
Facebook: ~/aboroacademy

 

Contributor & Photographer: David Yen
Videographer: Damien Louise


网站: aboroacademy.com
脸书: ~/aboroacademy

 

供稿人与图片摄影师: David Yen
视频摄影师: Damien Louise