ST. CHARLES – Several of Pat White's disciples have followed the accomplished boxer and martial artist to Tri-City Fitness' upcoming boxing program.
For much of the rest of his clientele, the sweet science is about to meet sweet rolls. To White, that's just as encouraging.
Beginning after Labor Day, the St. Charles gym will offer boxing training at various levels, serving aspiring professionals and trying to form a Golden Gloves team. But that's just the glitzy ring card stuff. What especially drives White is working with beginners.
"Even if you get the average housewife who never has any intent of getting in the ring and sparring, she's still going to learn something," he said. "In my experience, that always makes your workout more fun."
Enjoyment is the ultimate goal of Tri-City Boxing, which officially begins three-day-a-week classes on Sept. 4 but already has started working with early registrants.
Some fitness magazines report boxing is the second-most effective total body workout around, trailing only suspension training, another service offered at Tri-City, 1505 W. Main St.
"We like to stay up with the latest trends, so it was just a natural to get it in here," gym owner John Young said. "And the right person, Pat White, became available."
A self-deprecating native of "the rough and tumble streets of Oak Brook," the 45-year-old White warmed to martial arts at 15 and took up boxing a few years later. He trained with friends in Chicago then, so the prospect of bringing his craft to the suburbs is especially encouraging.
The emergence of Mixed Martial Arts has popularized that sport and, to an extent, boxing among the mainstream. White doesn't lament the change, but remembers the not-so-distant days when the only martial arts fights you could get were overseas.
Retiring from a full competitive career in 1998 – after amassing such titles as U.S. and world Shidokan karate champion and Midwest Thai boxing champ – White turned to a career as a trader and broker on the Mercantile Exchange. He trained and coached fighters part-time and eventually encountered Young, along with his old in-ring instincts.
"The kind of cool thing about it is I'll be teaching or coaching and something will come back to me, a certain drill that I used to do or different exercises," White said. "It'll all come back to me and I'll remember that that's exactly what that situation calls for."
Now living in Aurora, White since has returned to full-time work in the fight game. He's enticed about what he calls a unique opportunity at Tri-City, which houses a ring and other new equipment in a room adjacent to the main gym.
Workouts project to about an hour in length, and include the requisite jump-roping and calisthenics that build adrenaline and cardiovascular strength.
Again, any mamas don't have to say "Knock you out," upon walking in. For every aspiring pro, there are a handful of beginners simply looking to move around.
"It's been amazing how many people stop into the room to see what's going on and ask questions," White said.
For more information or to register, call 630-513-2000 or visit www.tri-cityfitness.com.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.