Man with Parkinson’s continues boxing training

FRANKLIN, Tennessee — The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Nari Ishii’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. The determined spirit of Rock Steady Boxing allows Ishii and dozens of others to continue their fight online.

Ishii and his wife, Eko, have been together for about 40 years. They say that building a great life takes work, perseverance and focus no matter what.

Four years ago, Nari Ishii received a challenging diagnosis: Parkinson’s.

“It’s a shock,” said Nari Ishii. “At first I thought I was unlucky because I must have this disease.”

Because he lost his strength, he didn’t even want to walk near him anymore.

“There has to be a way to slow down the progress,” Eko Ishii recalls thinking.

She was right, but she didn’t expect to find that where she did – in Rock Steady Boxing Music City.

“We use elements of boxing to fight back against Parkinson’s disease,” said Colleen Bridges, who runs the gym.

Rock Steady helps people diagnosed with Parkinson’s to slow the progression of the disease through boxing workouts.

“It’s because everything a professional boxer trains for is the same thing someone with Parkinson’s struggles with every day,” Bridges said. “They struggle with strength, power and agility. The more diligent they are every day in fighting Parkinson’s, the slower the progression will eventually be.”

Nari Ishii has come a long way since he started working with Bridges. But with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and now the numbers soaring due to the omicron variant, he doesn’t feel like he can go to a gym to continue the workout he needs. Still, it was not time to give up.

“COVID certainly took a few hits, but I would say my fighters threw a lot more and even harder at it,” Bridges said.

Nari Ishii is one of the Rock Steady boxers who trains at home – and he’s been busy.

“Nari has had more than 450 hours of classes in 2021 alone,” said Bidges.

Ishii didn’t even know how many hours he had trained online.

“I’m quite surprised,” he said.

“He trains every day via the Internet,” says Eko Ishii. “It makes a big difference in two years.”

Like building a great life, it takes work, perseverance and focus no matter what.

“You can be very successful no matter what comes your way,” said Eko Ishii.

For more information on Rock Steady Boxing, click here.

This story was originally published by Forrest Sanders on Scripps station WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.

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