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Matinee: Tim Knox And The Women Of Gleason's Gym Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 December 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 127th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Tim Knox And The Women Of Gleason's Gym.

In this three-and-a-half minute video, which is just a little longer than a boxing round, photographer Tim Knox talks about his association with historic Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn.

Knox, who started his career as a photojournalist in England, looks for "the feeling on the outside of what is happening within." He's done a number of pieces at the gym and in this short documentary we follow him as he focuses on the stories of the women members.

We see him as he shoots portraits of several of them at Gleason's, which has welcomed women since 1983, when it was located in Manhattan. Today, there are over 340 women who train at the gym.

Gleason's describes that training this way:

A large percentage of our female membership has no desire to compete on an amateur or professional level. Boxing training gives an incredible workout, even for those who never strike another and are never hit in return! During Your training at Gleason's Gym you will use a combination of exercises to build cardio vascular fitness, strength, quickness and agility. Mental stimulation is provided by exposure to new techniques, which in turn, offer stress release, teach you how to overcome fatigue and give you the exhilaration and toughness of combat. Boxers develop a lean low fat physique, not unlike a dancer or long distance runner.

"Every one has an incredible story," he says as he sets up on the street outside the gym. There's the dancer whose injury ended her career and the woman who "got her throat slit."

The training, he says, doesn't just make them more fit. It gives them "a better sense of themselves." It's "really empowering," he adds.

The clip doesn't show us any of his stills but we do see video of the women training. And they are punching bags not skipping rope.

When he talks to them about their training, there's "a sense of dignity and pride and confidence" in their answers, he says.

There has long been this quote from Virgil's Aeneid posted on the wall at Gleason's:

Now whoever has courage and a strong and collected spirit in his breast, let him come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands.

The women of Gleason's gym show us what courage looks like and a strong heart as well. They have put on the gloves, answering the ancient challenge.

In this era when the fox is in charge of the hen house, the hens are fighting back. And they are providing no little inspiration to those of us who can't believe the world we wake up to each morning.

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