When my trainer pulls out the big red boxing gloves from the gym locker, I get exciting. Another session that is not only super fun, but that brings great tone to my arms and legs. Yes legs. I dance around in a widening circle as we spar. Faster and faster like a spinning top. When I am alone and want to practice, there is the bag awaiting my arrival, but it is more challenging to work with a pro. He keeps me guessing. He can do a round of jabs, cross body punches, upper cuts, and the like in a new order each time. It is a great mental exercise for learning to focus and pay attention. I feel like an anime character at play, building up stamina for the next big fight.

On gym day, I arise promptly looking forward to my day. Boxing packs a punch in my life. It gets me going to face the world. I don’t plan on a bout any time soon; it is just my way of feeling strong and powerful. There is nothing like it to boost the confidence and also the spirit. You feel in control while you get fit as a fiddle.

What is it about boxing anyway? Yes, it is a popular spectator sport, but not as much as others like soccer or football. It used to be in the days of Ali and Frazier. The thriller in Manila. But it has changed. Maybe it will make a comeback soon. I hope so. It is long overdue. Meanwhile I want to get good at my newfound fun. When you enjoy something, it is automatic. You improve by leaps and bounds if your heart is in it. While exercise and fitness regimens can be a bore, boxing brings it up to a whole new level.

You are reading right. I am touting boxing for everyone. It is an efficient way to work out and keep in shape. Plus, its very affordable and space efficient – a set of boxing gloves and a punching bag are cheap and don’t take up much room in your home. Trust me, it leaves an impression. Once you put on those gloves, you are in the zone! Shadow boxing isn’t bad either. You can do it at home in your hard-earned spare time. Me, I have loads of it.

It is not about hitting someone in the face as you might think. It is about developing coordination, speed, and focus. These are agility and strength. Boxing isn’t easy when done well, but it is worth the effort, believe me. You can watch great videos to get inspired. Man, those reflexes are amazing! I know when I watch people at the gym, the regulars, I know that boxing makes fighters out of average people. And the really good ones—are they ever built! Serious practitioners are hard bodies and ripped. Not an ounce of fat. It is warrior courage for me, inspired by my favorite cartoons. You feel reborn, like you could face anything.

I am getting a little carried away. Boxing is all this and more, but for most people, it is a workout par excellence.

If you don’t moan about cleaning, you are not human. No one likes it—ever. You can use scented soaps that are kind to the hands and soft sponges that foam up with zeal. You can get state-of-the-art robot vacuum cleaners and floor polishers. Who cares! When I had to move out of my apartment a while back, I had to do a thorough overhaul inside and out so it was major work—with any kind of mechanical help. I put it off until the night before. Ugh. I had nightmares about it.

In one dream, I saw a cartoon character named Tomohiro. You won’t find him in Japanese anime. He is all my own. I was taking the car to the local carwash loaded with rusted appliances, dirty pots and pans, filthy clothes. It was filled to other gills and needed a thorough douse. I intended to open the windows, drive through the washing aisle, and presto, it would all be done at once, and for cheap. How ingenious.

Suddenly, I saw a little boy named Tomohiro playing in the nearby alley. He was only five, slight of build, and cute as a button with black straight hair and a sly smile. He snuck into the carwash one morning and hid behind some fake potted plants. When no one was looking, he grabbed a portable pressure washer and turned it on full blast. It created a deluge on high, the spewing nozzle pointed sharply at the ceiling. The tyke tried to get control but it got him instead. He was flailing about frantically. Tomohiro started spinning faster and faster like a whirling dervish of water. His hair was standing straight on end, his eyes were open wide. He spun with it in hand, never letting go as it fused to his grip. He finally became the pressure washer and disappeared into its mysterious innards. The motor went off and there was no longer a sound.

I awoke with a start, sweating bullets about the lost little boy. Would he ever come out? The power washer was the same small size at the end of my dream (something like this). Whoosh. He was somewhere within. It now lay quieting on the concrete floor, asleep. I was so startled by this strange anime imagery that I dreaded going to the carwash for months afterward. I was able to tote my belongings during my relocation in a borrowed truck and I didn’t care about the cleanliness status of anything one bit. As I unpacked, I dealt individually with each item, sorting piles of wares and apparel accordingly.

I still bitch about cleaning chores to this day, but got through the move intact. I laugh now at the crazy carwash shortcut I was about to undertake in my odd dream. Tomohiro had been a warning of sorts. My efforts at tidying up and restoring things is now done the old fashioned way, when I deign to undertake the required tasks. I even do the car by hand.