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Young kick boxers following dad’s path to worlds

Mack and Nathan Palzer are following in their father’s footsteps down the path of martial arts.

And they’re ascending the heights.

The Palzer boys, who fight out of Ringside Rehab, their family-owned martial arts/physical therapy business in Lebanon, plan to compete Aug. 3-5 in  Orlando, Fla. at the 2018 IKF World Championship Amateur Muay Thai and KickBoxing World Championship.

Greg Palzer, their father, is a physical therapist at Samaritan Albany General Hospital and also runs Ringside Rehab, a 24-hour weights and fitness gym at 495 Harrison St. that offers boxing and martial arts, physical therapy and chiropractic services.

He grew up in Queens, N.Y., where, he says in his online bio, he lost friends to “drugs, crime and violence.”

He began taking judo lessons and later moved to Shotokan karate.

“I started (martial arts) when I was 13 in Queens, N.Y. I needed it just to survive there and make ends meet,” Greg said. “I was very shy as a kid, so it got me to be more outgoing. After doing that I worked for my instructor (Tokey Hill), who was the first American was the first American to win World Karate Federation World championship in 1980.”

Along the way, he said, he got into boxing and kickboxing, which he’s passed on to the boys.

“Originally, I wasn’t going to teach them; I was just doing conditioning with the kids,” said Greg, who has over 35 years experience in the fighting world. “But Mack showed an interest in it and he wanted to do some, so we went from there.”

Mack, 12, now spars with training partners ranging from 15 to 25 and is looking to win his fourth IKF world championship. He has fought opponents from Ireland, the Netherlands, Morocco, Egypt, and  from all over the U.S. and has a list of 20 first-place finishes, ranging from IKF kickboxing to Oregon State Silver Gloves winner.

“I’ve been training for a very long time. I’ve been doing extra work just for a month for this thing, so I feel pretty ready for it,” Mack said.

The two boys train seven days a week, their easy day being Friday. That’s when they limit themselves to about 45 minutes of kicks and stretching. They’re wrapping up a 10-week training camp, in which they’ve boosted their aerobic workouts, running two miles a day three times a week, each time pushing the aerobics and strength training up a little.

“The consistency is the biggest challenge for them,” their dad said. “Keeping them focused. We try to make it a little bit fun for them too. We will do a hard workout then we will try to do something fun. The difference between my school and a lot of the schools in the area is we compete and travel, and a lot of schools have a daycare type of feel to it.

“Since (Nathan) has been 3 years old, we have traveled the world trying to work with the top instructors. To be the best you have to train with the best.”

Nathan, 8, said his favorite fighter is Thai kickboxer Buakaw Banchamek, a superstar in the sport of Muay Thai, a discipline become known as the “Art of Eight Limbs” because it uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins.

“They are great, and I want to fight them one day,” Nathan said of the Banchamek and others in the sport. His dad cautioned that Nathan wasn’t calling them out now.

Their mother, Janice Palzer, said she checks frequently to make sure the boys are having fun.

“It’s a tough sport, but they work so hard for it, so I’m confident that they won’t get too hurt,” she said. “I ask them every time if they like to do the competitions and they like it.”

Both boys said they want to be doctors when they grow up.

Greg said he pursued physical therapy after sustaining a serious injury. He got his PT training in a “premiere” Dutch program that had just opened up for Americans in the Netherlands.

“It was my dream to have a full-service facility to help train and rehab the entire fighter, from the ground up,” he says on his website.

“Most people don’t realize the specialty of the martial artist/ boxer/kickboxer as person/athlete and the rehabilitation process that they need; not just any therapist or chiropractor can meet their needs.”

Mack said he wants to win Olympics in boxing karate and become a pro world champion in boxing. Nathan said he wants to be the best and beat his brother in the number of world titles won.  He wants to fight professionally and become K1 world champion.

Greg invited anyone down to Ringside Rehab who wants a free lesson so they can try and appreciate martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing.

To see a video of the boys in action, visit www.instagram.com/p/BXk9me5gi2P/.