Rock Steady Boxing has found a new home in the fight against Parkinson’s Disease, at TITLE Boxing Club South Loop. Owner Graham Goy and GM Justin Brown have a personal connection to Parkinson’s, with family members afflicted by the disease. When they both heard about Rock Steady they immediately wanted to be a part of the movement that’s giving movement back to those stricken with PD. After attending Rock Steady Training in Indianapolis, Double G and JB’s eyes were opened to a new therapy for PD that not only showed results, but invigorated, rejuvenated, and revitalized hope, that the fight could be won. Graham said, “We’re doing this!”

With the program just starting, it has already produced some of the most incredible people we have been blessed to work with. In the photo above you’ll see our “Four Horsemen” Stephen, Alvin, Jim, and Hector. These gentlemen have set the bar and created a team of leadership to welcome in all new Rock Steady participants. Their hard work, dedication, and humor has already give the class a sense of family and camaraderie. It more importantly has produced results for each of these gentlemen. With PD afflicting each individual uniquely the program tackles all aspects, thus allowing each person an opportunity to improve their unique afflictions. Currently we are only equipped to work with Level 1 and Level 2 of PD, but as the program and our resources grow we hope to assist all levels of PD in the future.

Jim Shapiro is a professor of genetics, and travels quite a bit for his work. It is imperative that Jim stays mobile, for his travels and rigorous work schedule. When Jim first visited us at South Loop he came in with the assistance of a cane, due to difficulty in walking and coordination with his legs. Within a couple weeks Jim was striding from bag to bag delivering vicious blows to PD. Now he walks in everyday without a cane, and even after a vigorous workout he proudly walks out head held high. He along with the other “Four Horsemen” come in 3 times a week and remind us how precious life is, and how strong the human spirit is! “I definitely have noticed an improvement and look forward to each session. Hitting the mitts is my favorite part!”

Fred and Yvonne Jackson came to us for a short period of time, from California, while visiting family for a month. Ironically, Fred and Yvonne were both stricken with PD after they got married.  However, they have leaned to use it as a way of bonding and fighting together. They both attend Rock Steady in California, where they work in large station style classes. Here in Chicago, JB worked one on one with them and created a very special workout catered to their unique afflictions. Yvonne walks fine but had a significant tremors in her hand. Fred was the opposite where he had no tremors but walking was slow going. So the workout consisted of hand/eye coordination and foot ladder drills mixed with mitt and heavy bag work, to focus on their unique issues while having fun. Yvonne told JB, “Fred came home and wouldn’t stop talking about it. I haven’t seen him this excited about working out in a long time. We wish we could take you back with us.”

PD is a disease that affects 10 million people world wide, where it sets in with symptoms that are practically invisible at first rendering individuals unaware they have it, until major symptoms show. Symptoms in the form of tremors, difficulty in walking, coordination, and even speech are caused by dopamine cells in the brain dying. The more cells that die increase the severity of the symptoms.

Boxing is a fantastic therapy due to it’s total body movement and high intensity levels forcing the body and the brain to work as one. These workouts have shown to slow and even temporarily stop the progression of the disease. The agility and hand-eye coordination necessary to perform the workout helps the participants with the simple movements of everyday life, that can become difficult with PD. It doesn’t hurt that hitting a heavy bag is a great way to take out stress and frustration.

All trainers who teach Rock Steady have been certified or already have certifications in corrective rehabilitation and neurological sciences. We make sure that we provide an environment that not only produces a workout, but creates an atmosphere of compassion, fun, and hope. That’s why Rock Steady will win the fight against PD; because we have hope in our corner.