Learning to Box at Key 2 Fitness
Packing in the Punches at Gym Formerly Known as State Street Boxing
By Jun Starkey | January 27, 2022
Known for decades as State Street Boxing Club, the gym on lower State Street near the freeway became part of the Key 2 Fitness facility a couple of doors down last year. But the coaching consistency remains, thanks to longtime fixture Manny Raya, who started working out there when he was just 16 years old, more than 20 years ago.
Easily recognizable as the heart and soul of the gym, Raya is well-versed in training the students he knows and quickly learning how to help his new ones. That included me, when I joined his beginner-level boxing class with six other students.
He showed me the basic punches and how to block, swivel, and stay in position while moving around the mat. Boxing required more focus than I expected; trying to keep my feet in position while bobbing, punching, and blocking was difficult, requiring plenty of repetition to get down. Raya took individuals aside every few minutes for quick solo lessons, guiding them through a series of moves that grew as the class went on. The session ended with some core and abdominal exercises, each in 30-second intervals.
Advertised as a “genuine fighter’s workout,” Raya’s class lived up to its name, providing a strenuous and rewarding exercise routine with the discipline and mindfulness of martial arts.
324 State St., Ste. C; (805) 897-0040; mykey2fitness.com