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July 6, 2012 at 6:34 PM

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Northwest wanderings: Zen and the art of landing a punch


47th in an occasional series

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jen Hamann spars for two rounds with Zakiah Hughes, delivering a shot to the head at Cappy's Boxing Gym. The poster in the background is of the great heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in his prime working out on a heavy bag.

With a degree in philosophy and a preference for the French existentialists, Jen Hamann is not a typical boxer.

Versed in the Socratic method she compares getting into the ring "to having a conversation with my opponent."

But, it would seem more like an argument she intends to win with head and hands. "It's one question after another, but in the form of punches," she says.

With the body of a soccer player or the 800-meter runner she was at Seattle University, Hamann says, "I'm not a brawler. I don't have the power to put them on the mat and brawlers wear themselves out."

"My strength is quickness and I have to be lean and faster."

Her best punch is an angle jab to the body and endurance.

"At Golden Gloves (earlier this year in Tacoma) when I won, it was all in slow motion." In spite of the noise of the crowd "all I could hear was my coach."

Head coach Cap Kotz, and owner of the gym where she trains, says, "she's aggressive, a competitive athlete who pressures her opponent."

And he likes that women are boxing in the Olympics this summer for the first time. "It gets us past the idea that women can't be aggressive and strong."

While the Olympics aren't on her radar now, Hamann is putting on muscle and working towards a national tournament in the fall.

She says, "I'm very zen in the ring."

Zen with a record of nine and one.


For more photos, visit the gallery.


This player is designed for mobile phones and tablets. Created for Project Mercury, December 2011.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Raw video of Jen Harmann training at Cappy's Boxing Gym. "I'm not a brawler," Harmann says. "My strength is quickness and I have to be lean and faster."



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