In the multipurpose room on the second floor of the Veale Center, a group of students throw punches with each stride towards the mirrored wall, with Chinese pop music playing in the background. Law student Ye “Duke” Li stops each member, adjusts their positioning as they go along. Neck not tucked, other hand not close enough to face, balance is too centered to one foot—there is always something to fix.
The member’s bodies tremble while holding the boxing stance, with the slight squat straining their thighs. Although there were no big movements or exercises during the sessions, some members were bending over and wiping sweat off wet shirts.
“Stance is important in boxing,” said Li.
The Boxing Club of Case Western Reserve University started when Li’s friends asked him to teach them boxing for fitness and self-defense purposes. He then founded the boxing club so he could teach all friends in one session.
“I feel good…coaching people.” said Li.
Li has ten years of experience in boxing as a boxer, referee and coach. He is one of the youngest out of the nationally certified boxing coaches in China. Li cites Zou Shiming as his inspiration, a two time Olympian who recently announced that he is considering retirement to coach the next generation of Chinese boxers.
After a one minute break, mouths dropped as Li’s smooth advancements while throwing punches looked like he was gliding forward. Li then added the extra challenge of a punch while advancing backwards, to improve spatial ability to adjust and center the balance of position while punching. His demonstration seemed like he was moonwalking while punching.
LI hopes to better the relationship between the United States and China through his passion of boxing.
“I have [a] strong will… to build a bridge through boxing [to] improve China-U.S. relations,” said Li.
His ultimate dream is to bring American boxers to China and Chinese boxers to the U.S.
Although the club is small right now, Li is comfortable with it being that way, since he can only spend so much time fixing each member’s stance. Then, he must switch back to teaching the entire group as a whole. He needs to balance his attention between the individual and group levels.
Li’s next goal is for the members to become trained enough to be able to fight in low level competitions, though members have not worked with gloves and pads yet.
The boxing club’s current meeting times are Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the second floor of Veale in the multipurpose room.