Gleason's Members' Works Of Art
Artist & Painter
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Author and Women’s Boxing Historian
Author and Women’s Boxing Historian Malissa Smith’s love affair with boxing began as a young girl but wasn’t fully realized until she walked into Gleason’s Gym in January of 1997 and began to train. Boxing not only awakened her, but truly uncaged her soul, bringing her to her other passion, writing.
A continued presence in the early morning hours at the gym, Smith created the Girlboxing.org blog as a labor of love back in October 2010. She documents all aspects of women in boxing as well as to chronicle her own journey of motivation and self-care. Gleason’s has also been her writing home, having penned a portion of her critically acclaimed book, A History Of Women’s Boxing at the gym.
As a women’s boxing historian, she sits on the board of the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is a member of the The Ring’s prestigious Women’s Boxing Rating Panel, and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Women’s Boxing Modern and Trailblazer selection and voting panels.
Now in her mid-60s, Smith continues to perfect her boxing prowess a few mornings a week while cheering on her gym mates she calls the “AM boxing crew.” She writes and speaks regularly for various media outlets and podcasts, and makes guest appearances and speeches at public events across the country. She is also known widely on social media as @Girlboxingnow.
A HISTORY OF WOMEN’S BOXING
Malissa Smith is a Women’s Boxing Historian and Author of A History Of Women’s Boxing as well as a longstanding Gleason's Gym regular. Acclaimed by The Ring as “the bible of women’s boxing,” Smith’s book is the first comprehensive history of the sport. Rich in detail and exhaustively researched, this book illuminates the struggles, obstacles, and successes of the women who fought—and continue to fight—for respect in their sport. The book explores all aspects of women’s participation from the earliest contests in eighteenth-century London on through the 2012 Olympics when women’s boxing was officially added to the Games, and beyond. A History Of Women’s Boxing is a must-read for boxing fans, sports historians, and for those interested in women's history.
AVAILABLE NOW ON MULTIPLE FORMATS HERE
“Gritty and raw, with an overdose of confidence.” This is the quick way to describe songwriter and lyricist Mike Clevril also know as Stixx. However there is much more to this Brooklyn, New York native than meets the eye.
As Mike works on his sophomore efforts he releases UNTIL THEN a six song EP. Raised in Brownsville and Flatbush, Mike Clevril grew up with a passion for music. His family played everything from pop, reggae, R&B and rock & roll, but it was Hip Hop that struck a chord with him. By age 12, Mike was kicking freestyles around the neighborhood, but it wasn’t until he got reaction from friends on his first real song that he knew he could take his gift to greater heights.
Poet & Literary Powerhouse
(Bio provided by Daivid Lawrence...)
When David Lawrence went to jail for a two year federal bid he was a popular Insurance businessman on Wall Street. He was in with the top executives and was known for his hobbies--professional boxing, rap music and tournament tennis. He was seen dining at all the best restaurants and traveled by the Concord Jet over to London.
He came from a successful family and never imagined that he would become a prisoner. Still he took up boxing and had knocked a guy out on national television and knew that he could fight.He traveled with both billionaires and street guys. He operated well in either the upper class or boxing worlds.He was a Ph.D. in literature and was as sensitive as he was tough. He had acted in a movie about his boxing career, Boxer Rebellion, and had been featured in People Mag., New York Mag. and Time Out. Not to mention newspapers like the NY Times, the Post and the Wall Street Journal. He was well-publicized and famous for being different. People said hello to him for no reason.
Grace Baley has been working as a professional mosaic artist for the past 21 years. As a life long New Yorker, she credits the murals and mosaics found in the subway as a source of inspiration. The majority of her work is fabricated using glass, paper, ceramic and cement. She often collaborates with designers and architects to create site specific works and large installations and sells smaller pieces in gift stores around the NYC area.
She received a BFA from NYU and subsequently earned a masters degree in education. Baley resides in Brooklyn with her 2 daughters and their 2 rescue dogs, Jade and Benny Smalls.
Boxer / Artist
John Douglas is a professional boxer and boxing trainer from Guyana. His long an illustrious pro boxing career was punctuated by his love of wearing bright colors which matches one of the most colorful personalities in the field of professional pugilism. Also matching his electric personality & wardrobe is John's art. He creates uniquely colorful and imaginative creatures with which he enjoys entertaining people.
Architect / Designer
THE ART OF BOXING AT GLEASON’S
Boxing has such a bad rap. In boxing movies, there’s always blood flying and someone is down
for the eight count. But there’s a whole other side to boxing when you approach it from the inside.
That is, inside a real boxing gym like Gleason’s.
Training like a boxer betters you in ways you never thought exercise could. Here are some of the ways:
DEVELOP YOUR INSTINCTS
Don’t ever think that knowing when to hit or not won’t come in handy. Boxing helps you uncover that natural knowing called instinct. The best leaders have the keenest instincts.
Your hand/eye coordination and reaction time visibly improves training as a boxer.
BUILD YOUR CORE
Boxers’ bodies don’t look so artfully sculpted for no reason. The act of boxing means moving your body with strength in every direction imaginable.
By facing your fears, directly and physically.
FEEL LIKE A BADASS
Because you can.
IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
Partly because of the core work and development of so many affected muscle groups, you end up standing straighter.
WORK YOUR ANGER OUT
Contrary to popular belief about the angry boxer, it actually works anger out, not in. Punching the heavy bag does wonders. Most boxers are quite chill as a result.
IT’S NOT MINDLESS
For me, if I do another repetitious class, I’ll shoot myself. This is the opposite. 1 ½ hours fly by because your body and mind are engaged.
Believe that Virgil saying about “whoever has courage and a strong and collected spirit in his breast” because it’s true, most boxers have heart, something this world needs more of. IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS: Concentration requires less effort as your mind and body become more in sync through boxing training.
WARRIOR SPIRIT: In the documentary Free Solo, the climber Alex Honnold defines a warrior spirit as “giving your 100% because you know your life depends on it.” A bit melodramatic for boxing training, but it applies nonetheless.
MEDITATION IN ACTION
Mind/body. It’s exactly the same as meditation in that you are fusing your mind and heart into boxer’s instincts. They are both about being in the moment. If you’re busy in your head wanting to hit your opponent, you have a better chance of not being present for what’s actually right in front of you at that second. With boxing, you learn to be less willful and allow things to come to you.
Boxing training can have a ripple effect in your life. Think: if you become less fearful physically, it can’t help but mean you become less fearful in other parts of your life, your relationships and your daily decisions.
Boxing at Gleason’s is not just exercise.
Lacing Up Those Bootz
There's always a time when a boxer has to lace up their own boots, it could be their very first time... Once in a while or all the time. Some people have the opportunity and privilege to have others willing to do it for them. I'm pretty sure you understand the point I'm trying to make. When a boxer lace up their boots it shows that he/she knows the risk they are taking with their lives before anyone else can ask, "You know what you're putting yourself in?"
He/She already know what they are putting themselves into before anyone knows about it or asks about it. Some may choose to do it because it's fun and others may do it to make a statement. But within all boxing if you don't have determination you can't do either even if you tried. Nothing is impossible but if you have determination within your doing, who knows, maybe you will be the next "World Heavyweight Champion"- - - -
But that all falls down on you to make that decision just like every boxer had to make. Are you ready to finally lace up those bootz?
Inside A Boxer's Mind
Getting inside the ring.
Brings another vibe that is different and unique.
The very first time you wrap your hands with
your wraps you mess up a bit because you're nervous,
You hesitate to ask for help because you don't want to
sound like a newbie.
You eventually relax and adapt to the loud noisy
environment where they say there isn't any breaks
You meet your trainer learning that he is nothing
else but a role model who wants nothing but the best;
He gives you the basics of the sport which sounds like
nothing but a piece of cake.
You begin to realize that this sport is intense and
recognize that this is nothing like a game. But
only in this game someone wants to take off your head.
Boxing is not a sport for everyone but can be taught to
anyone, depending on how much effort you put into the sport.
We all want to be the best but don't want to put the effort
in to be the best.
In order to be the best you got to tell yourself that you are the
best and focus on boxing to accomplish that goal.
The true best knows that it takes time and work to achieve that
Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk
Painter / Visual Artist
Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk, one of our gym regulars, is a Surrealist Artist based in New York City. Most of the images are simply a frozen private moment. One frame of a film of someone’s life captured by rituals. Jo Ellen has been influenced by The Police Gazette, Mexican Ex-Votos, everything Victorian and all the Surrealists. But who hasn’t? LEARN MORE...