Orthodox Jew, Unorthodox Boxing Teacher

Orthodox Jew, Unorthodox Boxing Teacher

Seth Vacirca, 26, looks and moves like a young contender, and he comes with his father Joe, 60, a lifelong boxing fan and former practitioner of martial arts. The two now work out together on their own, having grown closer as father and son. They even recruited Seth Vacirca’s cousin, Stuart Orenstein, 35, into the group.

“We’re all different personalities,” Seth Vacirca said. “We play off each other. You’ll be in class ready to die, ready to give up, and you’ll hear somebody making jokes, and we’re all cracking up.”

The group goes through a rigorous warm up session, followed by basic boxing instruction — stance, punches, defense, movement — with intermittent physical conditioning, such as push-ups, planks, and air squats. Mr. Foreman works individually with each member patiently, unlike the gruff stance taken by many traditional trainers. Still, water breaks are short and infrequent. Breathing is heavy and sweat pours. After the closing (and grueling) core session, the participants — as if they’ve been knocked out en masse- take to their backs to meditate.

“Sports unites people,” Mr. Foreman said. “Me being a Russian boy Jew and training with Arabs, I saw what happens when we have the same goal in general,” he said. “They stopped looking at me like a Jew but like a boxer, as one of theirs. That’s sort of what we have here. We are all together.”

Margaret Dillon, 37, another participant — and Mr. Morrison’s wife — who has a background in Muay Thai and kick boxing, agreed with Mr. Foreman. “I’ve worked in fitness and teach yoga. I exercise all the time. I like this class — the camaraderie and the people, from Yuri down, it’s a thread that binds the class,” she said. “If I could do this everyday, I’d be so happy.”

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