Several things seperate the Gods of ring wars from the mere mortals, even the very effin good practioners of the sweet and savage science. First and foremost, the genetic mashup the best and brighest pugilists were graced with when sperm met egg was a formulation that resulted in a best in breed physical package. The strength, the speed, the explosivity, the resilience of body and the sturdiness of brain, from the perspective of being able to soldier on when lessers would crumble, the best boxers have that. But even the best will find a need, along the way, after it comes a time in-ring when their physical attributes are matched, when they must adapt to a situation they haven’t seen, or foreseen. Same goes in the sphere of business, at times. The owner/overseer of the famed and fabled Gleason’s Gym, Bruce Silverglade, was humming along pretty nicely when his world was turned on end. The whole country’s was, of course, when terrorist attacked the World Trade Center in Manhattan and felled the symbols of superiority.
“After 9-11, membership dried up,” said Silverglade, the topmost ambassador in the US for the upsides of boxing for body and mental fitness. “I was chasing straws to pay rent. The only ones that had money were business persons.”
He had to adapt. The methods and ways and means of doing business, and succeeding, weren’t working. “So I had an idea to do a replica of an old fight camp,” Silverglade said. “Like Marciano would do, an old fight camp. The only place really in existence that had that still was Kutshers. I had been to a lot of the camps, with fighters. So we decided to create an old style camp, and have champions and Hall of Famers be trainers. I figured the business people, and the people at my gym, would love it. It was rather successful right away,” he said, of the 2003 incarnation. “Except that people from my gym really didn’t attend. I scratched my head, why? Then I realized, the trainers I had, Mark 2they were at Gleason’s, and people saw them every day! But from people in other cities and countries it was a huge thrill. Gleason's Fantasy Camp was born.”
The thrill isn’t gone; the 15th Gleason's “fantasy camp” will unfold soon, Aug. 10-13. Not at Kutshers, they closed down. Silverglade found a new spot, closer to Manhattan, and with even more bells and whistles for the folks not looking for a total immersion into the fight camp experience, if that is to say some chipped paint and deteriorated conditions. Honor's Haven, in Ulster County, on 250 acres. So you can expect to get your fill of nature’s restorative wonders while doing the boxing thing.
Campers can expect to get up early, do a run, get breakfast, let it settle, do a two hour workout, break for lunch, do a siesta, do another workout. Then dinner, and watch tapes of the trainers, the Brelands and Barkleys, and Yuri Foremans, and Heather Hardys and the like, in action. Saturday, there will be a fight card. Silverglade will match people up, for a bout.
Before that, folks can get one on one attention from all the ace trainers, he told me, and can dive into the deeper waters, spar for the first time, if they like. It will be super controlled, structured, overseen by experts in the art and science of pugilism.
Usually about 60 campers show up, but Silverglade–you can email him at [email protected]– will find a room for anyone who wants to attend, and get that once in a lifetime experience. Call the gym (718-797-2872), ask for Bruce and he will lead you through the process to get to feel like an old time Marciano…or give yourself or a loved one that unexpected gift, one that money usually can’t buy, an experience that has the capacity to change the recipient, for the better, and forever.