Taking precautions for COVID, man diagnosed with Parkinson's continues boxing training

Nari Ishii does Rock Steady boxing from home
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 14, 2022

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — In these two years of the pandemic, we've had to learn to adapt in countless ways. What if your very well-being depended on your normal daily schedule being uninterrupted? That's where one group of people has found themselves. With a determined spirit, a couple believes there's a way to pull through many things.

"Time flies, yes," said Nari Ishii, thumbing through a photo album of his wedding to wife Eko.

"This is actually us forty-something years ago," laughed Eko. "We had longer hair. We both did."

"When I met her, she looked to me very cute," smiled Nari.

"A guy with a car driving impressed me a lot," said Eko.

Nari and Eko said building a great life takes work, persistence, focus, no matter what happens. It was four years ago Nari got a hard diagnosis. Parkinson's.

"It's a shock," said Nari. "At the beginning, I thought I was unlucky cause I have to have this disease."

Losing his strength, Nari no longer wanted to even walk in his neighborhood.

Eko remembered thinking; "There should be some way to slow down the progression."

She was right, but she didn't expect to find that way where she did.

"We use elements of boxing to fight back against Parkinson's," said Colleen Bridges, speaking in a gym of people with Parkinson's training in boxing. "It's because everything a professional boxer trains for is the same thing someone living with Parkinson's is struggling with every day. They're struggling with power, strength, agility."

Bridges runs Rock Steady Boxing Music City.

"The more diligent they are in fighting Parkinson's every day, the slower the progression will ultimately be," she said.

Nari's come a long way since he started working with Bridges. With COVID and now the surging numbers of the omicron variant, Nari doesn't feel he can go to a gym to continue the training he needs. Still, this was no time to give up.

"COVID definitely threw a few punches, but I'd say my fighters threw a lot more punches back at it and even harder," said Bridges.

Nari's one of the Rock Steady boxers doing their training from home.

"Nari did over 450 hours of classes in 2021 alone," said Bridges.

Nari didn't know it was that many.

"I'm quite surprised," he laughed.

"He works out every day over internet," said Eko. "It makes a big difference over two years."

Like building a great life, it's work, persistence, and focus no matter what happens.

"You can be very successful no matter what comes your way," said Eko.

For more on Rock Steady Boxing, click here.