Security guard doubles as boxing instructor

Security guard teaches boxing classes

By Meredith Chapple and Izzy Hedges

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Not many people think about punching a black gym bag, working on ab strength, or doing combo kicks and punches when they think about interacting with their school staff members.

But that’s how it seems to be with security guard Michael Anderson and students who take his classes at Uppercut Fitness in west Lawrence.

“I’d seen him [Anderson] there before and then I saw him… between passing periods [at school],” junior Cyara Le said. “But then he started being more involved with security so I think I just recognized him from when I was going.”

Freshman Noah Ginsberg attends a boxing class at Uppercut Fitness on Saturday, April 30.

Addisson Thornsbury
Freshman Noah Ginsberg attends a boxing class at Uppercut Fitness on Saturday, April 30.

Anderson has taught boxing classes for five years to help participants get in shape, but he said he started the sport for a different reason.

Anderson got involved in fighting and boxing because he was bullied when he was younger, he said. He said wanted to learn how to defend himself. He has gone from learning to defend himself to breaking up others’ fights as a security guard.

“I started competing in MMA or mixed martial arts when I was 17,” Anderson said. “So I started learning how to kickbox, wrestle, and jiu-jitsu.”

Anderson teaches classes at the gym on Fridays and Saturdays. He said he began to notice that a few students from LHS were taking his classes there.

“I just happened to notice kids in the hallways that were taking classes at [Uppercut],” Anderson said.

Junior Cyara Le has been taking classes at Uppercut for a little over a year, she said. She started taking the classes because it was a fun type of exercise to incorporate into her daily routine, she said.

“I’ve always wanted to integrate exercise into my daily schedule but it’s hard to find an activity that you enjoy,” Le said. “So my mom and I thought boxing might be fun to try out.”

Some students take Anderson’s boxing classes to get in shape for high school sports. Sophomore Lacey Greenfield said she attends the sessions to condition herself for track and cross country.

“Before track [in the spring], I went every week and on Saturdays and some nights during the week,” Greenfield said.

Security guard Michael Anderson instructs boxing students at Uppercut Fitness on Saturday, April 30.

Addisson Thornsbury
Security guard Michael Anderson instructs boxing students at Uppercut Fitness on Saturday, April 30.

The classes are good to take to release anger and learn self defense skills, Anderson said.

The boxing classes are also good to create a stronger relationship between students and staff members. Getting to know staff and students outside of school makes a more comfortable, easy-going relationship at school.

“I didn’t know him before I went there,” Greenfield said. “So I guess it just allows you to open up to them. I didn’t talk to him, but now we say ‘Hi’ every time before we go into class.”

Freshman Noah Ginsberg said he likes taking the classes because it allows him to create a new relationship at Lawrence High with Anderson.

“I’ll get to be more social around Lawrence High, make more friends and better relationships so when I heard he [Anderson] works here, so I’m like, maybe this will be good,” Ginsberg said.