Q: Dear martial arts fans today I will pay a really special visit to Jack Shaw. The man also known as "Chainsaw" was born in London - England but currently resides in Las Vegas where he has made his home in the light heavyweight division of the world-renowned Global Association of MMA, or GAMMA in short. I am actually doing this interview in his gym to see Jack sparring for his upcoming fight and perhaps he will even let me do some sparring against him!
Walking into the rowdy gym, I see people sparring in a little cage, some guys running the treadmill and one Jack Shaw struggling to tie his boot laces on a bench right next to the wrestling mats.
Q: Hey Jack, would it be possible for me to do some sparring with you?
Jack: Long time no see! Sure, I can do some light boxing sparring no problemo. Have you ever sparred before or do you need a few tips?
Q: I’ve been an MMA enthusiast for quite a long time now but I’ve never been in a real fight before so a few tips would be handy.
Jack: First things first, in fighting you should avoid getting hit as much as possible! That’s why having a good defense is critical. Now you’ve seen fights before, put up your hands to guard yourself.
I put my hands up to the top of my head, squinting my eyes a little as I’m bracing for impact.
Jack: That’s quite a high guard, for the basic stance you should lower your hands a little. Keep your chin down and try to keep your eyes focused on your opponent so you don’t get surprised. Good, now bend down your knees a little bit.
Q: Damn this is hard, I’m already starting to sweat and the sparring hasn’t even begun yet.
Jack: Nobody said it was going to be easy. Now you should try not to stand still in front of your opponent or you’ll end up being your opponent’s punching bag.
Jack stretches his left hand out for a snapping flicker jab as a voice rings through the gym.
Alika: Sparring gloves, Jack!
Jack stopping his punch just a few inches away for my face: Oh yeah right, I’d better put them on.
Alika: Hey, sorry for the scare. The name’s Alika Webb, I’m Jack’s manager. By now he should know to put on his sparring gloves but he’s a bit of a bellend so sometimes it takes him a while to think things through, or at all I’m afraid.
Q: No problem, I doubt he was going to punch me for real.
Alika laughing a little nervously: Yeah, I’m sure he wasn’t but safety first you know.
Jack: Ok, I’m back and I got my sparring gloves on.
Alika: I’ll be leaving you two to it then.
Jack: Sorry for Alika, he’s a great guy but he can be a bit of a Nervous Nellie sometimes.
Q: That’s alright, are the sparring gloves different from your usual fighting gloves?
Jack: A bit yeah, they give a bit more protection. If I hit you with one of these you’re going to feel it but not as hard as with my normal gloves. Moving on now, don’t plant your feet on the ground. Try staying in motion and when you punch …
Q: Stop! You’re going a little too fast for me!
Jack: Ok, here I’ll just show you with a punching bag, it’ll be much easier if you see how to do it.
Jack takes his stance and stares intently at the punching bag: Just focus on your opponent and get yourself mentally ready. My opponent wants to destroy me and the only way to stop him is to crank that chainsaw and slice him up! Brum Brum Brum. Attack! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.
As Jack starts chopping away at the punching bag in his chainsaw style I can feel every cell in my body try to run away. Just as I slowly start to walk backwards he stops his crazed assault and calls me over to give it a try.
Jack: Now you do it!
Just as I take my stance and get ready to punch the bag, a voice bellows throughout the gym.
Alika: Sparring gloves, Jack!
Jack: Oh right, here put my gloves on first.
As I successfully complete a series of punches my confidence rises and Jack says it’s time for the actual sparring.
Q: You’ll go easy on me, right?
Jack: Of course, trust me. I’ll start slow and if you feel like I’m being too rough just say stop and I’ll stop right away. Let’s do this!
A fist rose up from out of nowhere going straight for my face. As the lights went out I could hear a voice echo from far away: “Sparring gloves, Jack!”