In Northwest Wanderings, photographer Alan Berner explores places and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Do not be fooled by pink gloves.They do pack a punch, but not for fighting. They’re for fitness. Liping Ye is pummeling and kicking a 150-pound heavy bag during an intense one-hour workout led by coach Lorren Dullum at the UFC Gym, Roosevelt, in Seattle. The gym calls it a “daily training boot camp, tailored for the whole family to enjoy.” Definitely, it’s a boot camp. Dullum yells encouragement. “No love taps. GO. GO. GO. Four hundred hits. Only 10 seconds more.” That’s followed by a one-minute catch-your-breath break, then back to the bag. Fitness director Stanley Phan says, “There’s no other sensation from hitting something hard. There’s instant gratification putting leather on leather. “It’s the best combination — not just lifting weights or running a mile. It’s the sensation of alleviating aggression, letting it all hang out. Just smash it for an hour … There’s a physicality and mental toughness that comes with it.” When Ye is done she’s off to a job with a more caring touch — she’s a nurse. Ye says she “used to do regular fitness but found it repetitive.” She was often glancing at the clock. “Here, time goes by quickly. The hardest part is the right positioning for the punch.” There’s plenty of sweat, but participants say the sessions are addictive and that they’re paying to play. Andy Lewis’ feet are crimson from the repeated strikes to the bag. He goes five times a week. His pace and punches are the fastest and most resounding of the four in this class. In rapid succession: thwack, thwack, thwack. His T-shirt is soaked. Why does he do this? “It’s fun.”