Hill Street Boxing

I’ve got a new addiction. It’s Hill Street Boxing.


If you’ve driven down Route 27 in Southampton, in a parking lot across from the Blackman building you’ve likely seen a forever parked Hill Street Boxing van, but the actual studio is next to the village movie theater. Walking in once to Avery Crocker’s Boxing Bootcamp had me returning four times in two weeks.

When did you open Hill Street Boxing studio?

The idea for Hill Street Boxing started over five years ago when my partner Tommy Haynia and I discussed the need for a boxing fitness gym in the area. We had been training privately at his home for years and always spoke of how great it would be for the community to have a place where people could come together through their interest in boxing, train hard, stay healthy, and learn the techniques and discipline of the sport.

What drew you to boxing?

I’ve always loved the sport. I watched the pros as a kid, and loved all the “Rocky” movies. I was always a scrappy kid and loved to play fight or “slap box” with friends. Boxing was a personal test of true mental and physical strength. I also played the drums throughout high school, and found this helped me tremendously with understanding the rhythms in boxing.

What’s your background in the sport?

I’ve been a student of the sport for over 15 years now. I started learning from a few older guys at the gym when I was a teenager and fell in love with the discipline of the sport. I moved to Brooklyn. It was then I began working out at the renowned Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO. I met and began training with former Middleweight Champion Iran “Blade” Barkley. I returned home to begin training other people who shared the same passion.

I have a USA Boxing Level 1 Certification and am heading down to Miami this month to complete a Boxing Fitness cert with former pro boxer and Olympian Tony Jeffries at the Box n Burn Academy. I’ve taught boxing classes at local gyms and trained private clients in their homes for years, but am so happy to finally have a place I can call home, where everyone can come down and workout together.

Who is your ideal client?

Anyone and everyone can take up boxing for many different reasons. Whether it’s to compete, cross train, learn something new, improve your self-defense and self-esteem, lose weight, shred calories, or just let out a little stress, boxing is beneficial for anyone at any fitness level.

Describe your coaching technique.

My approach is always focused on proper technique and form. Each client is different, but in order to really understand the sweet science of boxing, one has to understand how their body works. For example, learning how to stay light on their feet, maintain balance, shift their weight, keep their stance in line while throwing or taking punches, etc.

I use strength training exercises and conditioning drills mixed in with footwork, bag work, and especially mitt work to every session. I push my clients to reach their full potential and make sure they leave nothing behind when the hour is complete.

How many boxing bags do you have? What are their different uses?

We have over 25 bags in our facility: over 15 heavy bags, and water bags of different shapes and sizes for working your power punches. Speed bags, slip bags and double end bags for working your speed, eye-hand coordination, timing, and defense. And even a couple muy thai bags for those who want to come and practice their kickboxing.

What is the smallest class size you’ll take and largest class size?

We will work one on one with someone if they are the only one to show up to a class, and take up to as many as 25 for our Bag classes. Our circuit classes are structured in small group circuits, so the numbers are limited to 12 to 15.

What’s your power song to work out to?

I grew up in ‘90s listening to hip-hop like Wu-tang, Mobb Deep, The Lox, Capone-n-Noreaga, DMX, Nas, and M.O.P. But currently I’d have to say: “Purple Lamborghini” — Skrillex featuring Rick Ross.

Crocker seamlessly combines high intensity interval training, agility footwork, and traditional boxing training, all amounting to a real sweat session. Jump rope, treadmill, burpees, air punches, punching bag, ladder steps, box jumps, weights, boxing exercises, are a part of the mix. Each technique is designed to increase cardio, strength, and skillset.

One on one, Crocker taught me the numbers corresponding to punches and tightened up my form so I could really knock someone out and stand tall against a punch. It’s empowering, and he makes boxing fun and accessible to anyone willing to get their butts kicked.

Hill Street Boxing is located at 33 Hill Street in Southampton. Check out the schedule online at www.hillstreetboxing.com or call 631-377-3087.

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

Hard Nocks: It Will Knock You Out

Growing up, my professional athletic aspirations in high school were equally divided between becoming a Rip Curl-sponsored surfer or a kick boxer — both of which never came to fruition, of course. The latter came after I joined a local gym where amateur boxers trained. Two of them taught women’s kickboxing lessons. Before and after my hour-long class, I’d sit around the boxing ring and watch the men spar. I became enamored, not by their physiques, but by the intense power and strength that was displayed.

During the three years of my membership at that gym, I went, on average, three times a week all 52 weeks of the year. I couldn’t get enough. Then college came along, and both my surfboard and boxing gloves began to collect dust.

That’s why meeting Jeff Nockelin of the School of Hard Nocks in Greenport was a welcome challenge after all of these years. I arrived at his boxing studio to a scene right out of Rocky (which happens to be both of our favorite boxing movie), with basic workout gear in the front and a full-size boxing ring in the back, and padded flooring between. It was nothing fancy but everything that was necessary.

Nockelin, an amateur fighter, who turned down two offers to go pro and once worked with three-time World Champion Greg Haugen, was exactly what I’d expect: an intimidating and beastly boxer’s build and an old-school, rough-around-the-edges, but friendly personality. The visual definition of what you’d want in a trainer.

Knowing my prior training, he gave me an extended 45-minute session spanning boxing, core, cardio, and resistance training — or what he calls Super High Intensity Training — to get “Fighter Fit.”

Basic dumbbell lifts, planks, and sit-ups were incorporated between the more difficult versa climber (like a StairMaster on steroids) and prowler push sled (like running on steroids) with hard beats playing in the background for motivation. To work out my back, Nockelin instructed me through a more primal exercise, sledgehammering a tire. Once the adrenaline kicked in, I was unstoppable: swing, hit, jump, switch; swing, hit, jump, switch. By the end of my reps I had nearly passed out.

Then I was led into the ring — “Eye of The Tiger” playing in my head — where Nockelin handed me gloves and guided me through several choreographed boxing movements. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, duck, and weave, all around the ring. Small motions, fast repetition, little rest times in between, burning fat while building lean muscle.

Nockelin got into boxing after training with his older cousin as a teenager, and has stayed true to it ever since. “I’ve spent a lot of years and have been through a lot of experiences putting my workouts together. I really have a passion for what I do because I’ve seen in myself and in my clients the benefits and great quality of life that comes from it,” he said. “I sculpt people’s bodies to look amazing and work even better.”

By the end of it all, I nearly threw up from pushing myself so hard. As truly exhausting as it was, I felt stronger physically and mentally. It was a feeling I had almost forgotten but deeply missed, the feeling of being an empowered badass.

Sessions are 30 minutes each at $40 a session. Since each session is guaranteed to knock you out, Nockelin recommends going with the 30 minutes before requesting a full hour.

The School of Hard Nocks is located at 74365 Main Road in Greenport, in the back, left corner. It is open Monday through Saturday by appointment only. Visit theschoolofhardnocks.com, call 631-873-9875, or email schoolofhardknocks@gmail.com.


This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

Daily Fitness: Spar Boxing

(This article first appeared in the August 9, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Juan Carlos Mancilla is an East Hampton native who has been competing in the boxing ring for 11 years. In 2016, the 27-year-old won by TKO at the Paramount in Huntington, officially turning pro and inspiring his latest business venture. As the co-founder of Spar Boxing, which opened its doors this summer, he decided to open his Springs location, found at 514 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, with a “start small, aim big” mentality.

“As not just an instructor but a professional boxer I am able to bring something unique to the table that you can’t really get out here in The Hamptons,” Mancilla admitted.

“I introduce the public to the hard workouts we boxers have to endure to mold our bodies to be fight-ready as well as fun but effective workouts. So we decided to start out small then in a year or so get a bigger place after we’ve established our clientele.”

Upon arrival to this new location I was given a set of Spar hand wraps to keep (for future use, and to make me look totally badass) and a set of gloves to borrow. My morning class only had four early birds but the studio’s capacity is 14 to a class — sign up early to get a good spot.

After a quick stretch there were 10 boxing rounds on the aqua bags, followed by 10 rounds on a terra core, back and forth. The aqua bags (those teardrop-shaped bags hanging from above) are an innovative new technology for boxers that absorb impact much better than a traditional heavy bag, plus it’s better for the joints (for those with joint pain).

Throughout the rounds Mancilla demonstrated to the class how to properly punch, place their feet, and target their overall core and upper body as one. Having grown up with an affinity for kickboxing, I fell in love with the aqua bag. Not only did it have a trendier look (because that’s apparently a factor in my fitness routine) but it allowed for swifter movement around the bag and cleaner upper cuts.

The terra core was a full body exercise including jumps, lunges, squats, crunches, and push-ups. Aside from using individual body weight, the class incorporated two-pound light weights (this is for all, despite strength), medicine balls, elastic bands, and even lifting the terra core itself (also for all, despite strength). For additional cardio at the end of the class, we practiced high intensity interval training with a quick, powerful punches.

What made this class particularly enjoyable, besides the bag, the terra core, and the instructor, was the playlist. I didn’t want to stop moving. Men and women alike will mutually agree that the beats fuel the body. This is suiting, since the space at Spar has the look and vibe of an actual nightclub. Replace the stilettos with sneakers!

Mancilla noted, “As our building gives off a nightclub vibe with the dark room and different color lights, and top-of-the-line PA sound system, we will be having a few local DJs come in and spin some tracks as the class jams out to the music while burning a high calorie count. We hope to do it a few times this month.”

In addition to the boxing BPMs, every Tuesday Spar donates to Project Most by having kids from the camp come take a boxing class free of charge; a perfect combination of fitness and philanthropy.

By the end of the class I was revived and ready to take on my day. Fist in the air, sipping iced coffee from the other, I felt like a Total Knock Out!

Roll with the punches by signing up yourself at http://www.spar-boxing.com or email at spar.boxingeh@gmail.com. Follow them on Instagram @sparboxing.

Daily Fitness: Ruschmeyer’s Waves and Wellness

(This article first appeared in the May 31, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


While many in Montauk likely awoke Saturday morning with a hangover, Ruschmeyer’s kicked off the first official day of Memorial Day Weekend with their #CampRusch #WavesandWellness program.

Located outside on their Great Lawn, the commencement class was a Manhattan based BOX+FLOW. The mats were laid out and tired souls were still sleeping in their cabins, as a small group of ladies and gentleman prepared for an unconventional wake up call.

I walked over with coffee in one hand and water bottle in the other, then laced up my sneakers and braced for the next 55 minutes.

BOX+FLOW was led by Caitlin Delaney, an instructor ready to rev up her morning victims, I mean students. The first 40-minutes consisted of warmups and “shadow boxing.” Without any weights, though they are typically used in an in-studio class, there were several “rumbles.”

A rumble focused on 30 seconds of speed and power intervals primarily consisting of squats and air punches. Grooving to the beat of the music, Delaney called out students’ individual names to keep the motivation going.

As a former kickboxing student, the “box” portion of this class was familiar. Next was the “flow” portion. Described as the calm after the storm, the remaining 15-minutes included a quickened vinyasa flow of deep breathing and stretching. To some, and when I say “some” I mean myself, this was the bigger struggle of the class.

In a surprising twist of events, I was both relaxed and energized simultaneously. Even without using weights, my arms and shoulders were sore. The combination of badass self-defense movements and yogi flow resulted in a total mind, body and soul trifecta workout.

Finishing the class I grabbed a delicious Peanut Butter Berry protein shake, compliments of Indie Fresh.

As the summer season welcomes newcomers to Montauk, Ruschmeyer’s is providing a wellness program for locals and visitors alike. By including instructors from studios that are both on the East End and in Manhattan, fitness enthusiasts from all over can partake in programs during the week and on their weekend escapes.