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Opinions: Next Week, Tuesday, 7:20 pm, Sweet Science?

We really made some progress and have probably found the best options to start. Below we discuss the pros and cons of all four spaces, but it seems to be shaping up that Greg Ardon’s Ardon Sweet Science in Brooklyn is where we should come together. Upon explaining our mission to Greg, he embraced it completely, and generously offered to keep his gym open for us in order to make it happen. We certainly need to hear from others, on their needs and opinions, but as a base framework perhaps meeting there 3 times a month, and once a month at Church Street for variety (they have openings mid-week one week a month) is what we should pursue. As things evolve we can adjust on the fly. And certain gyms, for instance the Wat, suggested that they will be available later in the Fall.

So this is what we are thinking. How about Ardon Sweet Science on Tuesday at about 7:20 (July 28th), for our first sparring meet up?  Tuesday seems to be one of the better days for most (Thursday is another very good day). If you would please let us know if another is preferable, or if this day is not at all possible in either the comments or by email, that would be great.

There are several additional things to work out: our format, the level of contact want, trainers who might come, transportation issues, etc. But let’s just see if this time and place is something we can agree on. Once we meet, we’ll all know much better what we like, and what we want more of.

We visited a number of gyms today, trying to get a feel for each space.  The four we saw are actually not that far from one another, although commuting within Manhattan and to Brooklyn might pose different pros and cons for each option.

[Click on any of the photos below to see a larger image]

Ardon Sweet Science

The first place we visited is Ardon Sweet Science 861 4th Ave (and 32nd st.) in Brooklyn. It’s within walking distance from the subway and the gym itself provides ample room for sparring in and out of the ring simultaneously.  What’s most impressive about this space, however, is Greg Ardon, the owner and operator of the gym.  Greg does not believe in advertising his place, he has no website, there is no sign on the door. He has been incredibly supportive and positive about our sparring circle and has offered us full use of his gym every week, starting at 7:30 pm, at no charge.

Pros:  good space; boxing ring; the gym would be pretty much all ours for at least an hour; available every week; no fee; Greg embraced the idea of hosting us

Con: being located in Brooklyn might be a problem for some, although some of you live in Brooklyn, so this could be a pro, too.

Peelo gives the subway directions from Manhattan (we’ll post more details later):

take the N/R/D/M to 36th st and its only 3 stops from union sq so pretty easy to get to…or take almost any train (i.e 4,5,2,3,b,q) to atlantic (one stop from the city) and transfer to n r d m and the next stop is 36th

440 Studios

The second location is 440 Studios, which is located a few blocks from the 6 train at Astor Place (440 Lafayette st).  The building holds two floors of studios available for rent by the hour, at pretty good rates.  There is a lot of activity in the place, mostly theatre and dance rehersals it seems, but we saw martial arts training as well. The initial experience when you walk in the room is that it’s a very large, clean space (as you can tell from the photos), which can accommodate a lot of people. There’s windows in the room, so you don’t feel closed in, and feels very autonymous. The way it works is that you a group rents the space for an hour at a fairly low rate.

Pros: space is potentially available at a great variety of times; easy location; no interference with other classes or gym closings, etc; plenty of space; it would be our space with no external authority.

Cons: no ring; no mats; small cost (˜$36 to be divided among us).


Another option is Fighthouse, located at 122 W. 27th St.  It’s a huge gym with a ring and plenty of floor space.  Their schedule is pretty heavy, so exclusive use of the space is limited, but there’s more than enough to go around.  Because there are always things going on, in different sections of the flooring, Muay Thai, BJJ, interesting other sorts, so the energy of the place itself is very high, which is nice.  There’s a small fee for using the space, which is at the moment assumed to be about $10 per visit/ per person.  We have not yet spoken to the owner, so that number is not a quote, but is likely accurate.

Pros: the gym is open pretty late, so if we need to meet up later in the evenings, we’re not keeping anyone;  lots of space; boxing ring;

Cons: it’s a bit uptown from the three downtown gyms, where some of you usually train; potentially a small fee; unclear if the ring would be available to us.

Church Street Boxing

And one of my favorites, because this is where I’ve been sparring for the past several weeks, is Church Street.  It’s located at 25 Park Place and the area for Muay Thai is in a quasi-annex to the back, which allows for a bit of seclusion if other things are going on at the gym.  The space is enough for a small group to spar outside ring simultaneously, and we’d have use of the ring.  Aside from the space, the idea for this sparring circle grew out of the generocity of Jason’s spirit towards female fighters (boxers and Muay Thai).  I met him at the WKA and, when he heard that I had very little opportunity for sparring in my personal training, he immediately invited me down to spar with his girls, free of charge.  His enthusiasm for “the more the better” and my experience with his welcoming female students has given permission to the idea that girls from all different gyms should spar with one another. This makes everyone better. (Maybe I’ll have to write about this later.)

Pros: boxing ring; downtown subway stop right on the corner; secluded space; an inclusive attitude toward this sparring circle; no fee

Cons: limited schedule (once per month) when we could have the space to ourselves;  not a great deal of space for continuous sparring outside the ring;

Updated Profiles and Schedules

Please let us know if any of this is inaccurate, and of course feel free to suggest other women to the list. Boxers are welcome too, and some have expressed the need to simply kickspar by reason of injury, which is good as well. We’ve yet to hear from girls at the Wat, though Susan expressed sincere interest in our circle. Spread the word.


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