Join the PD Fight Club Family! Determination is one punch away.

Updated: Apr 7

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a PD Fight Club class hosted by Martin Juarez at his gym, Juarez Boxing, in Irondale, Alabama. Immediately upon entering the gym, I felt energized and inspired by the warm welcome I received from owner, Martin Juarez and his team, Dany Egli and Molly Swain. But nothing could prepare me for the inspiration I was going to witness from more than 25 people - all with Parkinson's - gathered to take their Friday class.

I was immediately embraced as a family member, welcomed by all, and had a chance to connect with each of the participants about their distinct journey with Parkinson's. As the participants gathered their materials, boxing gloves in hand, I could overwhelmingly sense their love and support for one another.

The class began with updates of fellow class members and a role call for all participants, using their PD Fight Club names. After stretching and warm-up, each of the team members were broken into groups of three or four, where they would rotate amongst stations carefully crafted to provide the exercises they needed to help them sustain their balance, improve their gait and minimize tremors. The exercise program is designed to attack Parkinson's at its vulnerable neurological points. While focusing on overall fitness, strength training, reaction time, and balance.

No boxing experience is necessary, and people of all ages are invited to participate. The class also works with memory and vocal strengthening through challenges within the routine. Fun music also keeps everyone energized and engaged.

One gentleman remarked, "I know I would be in bed or restrained to my recliner if I didn't have this class to attend two or three times a week. It has helped me significantly." Another volunteer and wife of a participant said, "I knew this worked when I saw how much all of the class participants regressed during the COVID lockdown. It has been quite remarkable to see the improvements and comeback they have been able to make in their overall participation and well-being since we have been able to meet again in person. I have no doubt my husband's entire well being is greatly improved by participating in this class."

It is obviously fun for the participants. With a volunteer and trainer at each station, participants are given the opportunity to tailor the exercises to their level - but that doesn't mean that they aren't pushed to try harder in everything they do. "We like to think of it as providing tough love," says Martin. "The most important thing is that they keep moving, and we encourage them to keep moving -- working all areas of their body with proven techniques found in boxing that helps minimize Parkinson's progression."

Most importantly, it's an opportunity for camaraderie and social interaction with a family that genuinely cares about each other's well-being -- encouraging each other in the fight against PD. Immediately I couldn't help but wish that my own dad had a group like this when he was on his journey. It is clear that they adore their trainer and leader, Martin, with his energetic and compassionate approach.

Martin Juarez has been providing boxing instruction workouts for clients at all fitness levels for more than 10 years. A retired professional boxer, he began his training at age nine in San Diego, California. He went on to compete in more than 100 amateur fights, eventually becoming a two-time Golden Glove Winner. Martin's passion for PD Fight Club is to help people with Parkinson's stay active, practice balance, focus, and coordination. Juarez Boxing's most important mission is to HAVE FUN!

This class isn't just for the guys, there were many ladies in the gym having a blast too. PD Fight Club has classes available at 12pm and 2pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, a 10:30 am class on Thursday, and a Friday class at noon. The gym is located in Irondale, Alabama at 1630 Crestwood Blvd. To learn more about PD Fight Club - contact Martin Juarez at 205.307.8992, or email him at Learn more and see videos and photos on the website at

I strongly encourage you to attend this class - and assure you it is worth the drive. Volunteer opportunities are also available!

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