Pioneer Valley Boxing School
  Genuine Empowerment Through Self-Reliance  
Boxing for Women
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Dear prospective student:

When most people think about boxing—to varying degrees, some become happy or even flighty, while others cringe at the thought. In other words, usually, folks either like it (boxing) a great deal, or just as much, they hate it. During the 1960s, a celebrated intellectual of the period insisted, "Boxing is the focal point of masculinity in America ". Yet, today, it seems that such an adage could be applied to most countries—and not just men either.

After all, boxing has true international appeal, from acclaimed statesmen like Nelson Mandela to locals like Joe Six-pack. However, the "sweet science of bruising," as its original British creators called it, is actually much more than a legalized way to vent human violence. To be sure, there are those who deny their potentiality for violence. Yet, no one could even call himself or herself a "pacifist," without relying upon the protection of violence afforded to him or her by our police and military. Moreover, the practice of this manly and womanly art/sport is an incredible method for self-discovery.

In fact, boxing allows participants to experience a level of self-discovery that few other activities permit. As a matter of fact, along with the persistence of the student and by combining both the patience and creativity of the instructor, anyone who is a conscious being can be exposed to abilities in himself or herself of which he or she may otherwise be unaware.

Additionally, at least—to me, a truly safe learning environment only exists when a student knows that he or she can ask questions—with his or her inquiry being taken seriously. In other words, he or she feels "safe" to take chances. Moreover, I strongly believe in what my brother Eshu Bumpus, also an educator, often says, "The range of a student's ability is seldom as wide as the range of encouragement that he or she receives."

I teach boxing in the context of a curriculum, replete with a syllabus. Therefore, students learn sequentially. For example, one cannot possibly know that 2 x 2 = 4, unless he or she first knows that 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4.  Likewise, beginning with a balance exercise and the proper method for throwing punches, I walk the student through the art of boxing in a way that will stay with the student for the rest of his or her life.

Ultimately, whether it be physically, intellectually, emotionally, or socially, we are all "challenged," in one way or another. Therefore, we all need some amount of cultivation. That is, no one is born to be a scholar, artist, or athlete. (Thus, far the highest expressions of individual achievement of which we know.) Rather, we become who we are through our contacts with other people and the activities in which we become involved (whether they are wanted or imposed). At the Pioneer Valley Boxing School, we address this issue like no one else.

I hope to hear from you.


Coach G. Djata Bumpus


Coach Bumpus on left and Reverand Marvis Frazier on right

"Coach Bumpus (right) with his lifelong friend and former sparring mate, Reverend Marvis Frazier. Besides being an ordained minister, Frazier is a former US amateur champion and former #1 heavyweight contender, as a professional."

Instructor G. Djata Bumpus, the founder of "Academic Boxing", is an educator who has taught on all academic levels while being a 45-year veteran of hundreds of street fights, which includes him at one time having been a legendary bouncer in Philadelphia and has, for over three decades, been a veteran of dozens of contests in the fighting arts—specifically boxing.

As an amateur boxer (under his fighting name-Djata Banks), Djata Bumpus was trained by a highly distinguished boxing coach, the late Val Boston, here in New England. As a professional fighter, he (Bumpus a.k.a. Banks) was managed by former heavyweight champion Smokin' Joe Frazier (and even personally trained by the famous fighter—occasionally) while being trained on a regular basis by George Benton and his co-trainer, Val Colbert. (These two men have also trained the likes of Pernell Whittaker, Evander Holyfield, Marvis Frazier, Leon and Michael Spinks, Jimmy Young, Bennie Briscoe, Sugar Ray Leonard, Willie "The Worm" Monroe, Pinklon Thomas, Rocky Lockridge, Johnny Bumphus, Meldrick Taylor, Smokin' Bert Cooper, and Oliver McCall—to name a few.)

Finally, Coach Bumpus is a licensed coach with USA Boxing, Inc., the official United States of America regulatory body of Olympic-style amateur boxing and is certified in both First Aid and CPR. Also, Bumpus has trained people with varying levels of ability over the years—from those with cerebral palsy to many karate Black Belts, as well as a number of amateur and professional boxers.

From the Front Page of the Sports Section of
Daily Hampshire 
Gazette on 5-19-03


Former heavyweight boxer, teaches his craft in Northampton

Related link:  USA Boxing
Michael Tillyer and his son, Paul, 12, spar Tuesday as boxing coach Djata Bumpus looks on during a boxing class at Pioneer Valley Boxing School in Northampton.

By AMY JO GRIESERT, Staff Writer, Monday, May 19, 2003, NORTHAMPTON—It was with his gloves on that G. Djata Bumpus made a name for himself in the boxing world. But the gloves are off now as his true legacy has taken shape - as a teacher. Over the last 15 years, 1,200 students in the Pioneer Valley have learned the sweet science from the 49-year-old retired professional heavyweight.

Bumpus' passion has evolved from teaching a class sponsored by Amherst Leisure Services in the early 1990s to a full-time business called the Pioneer Valley Boxing School located at 518 Pleasant Street in Northampton.

"This is the best spot I've ever had," said Bumpus of the Northampton location he opened in November. "I've eaten lint out of my pockets for many years, but I'm finally in a situation where things are really going well and I have a great spot and I have good community support and it's constantly growing."

Before relocating his school to Northampton, Bumpus owned the Boxing Salon in Springfield from 1996 to 2002. At either gym, most who venture into Bumpus' school haven't looked to be the next Evander Holyfield or Laila Ali. "Ninety-eight percent of the people that I've taught are doing it for personal development," said Bumpus, who lives with his brother Eshu in Holyoke. "They're not doing it to enter the ring to compete. They're doing it for themselves. There are a lot of powers inside of us that we don't recognize and what I do more than anything else ... is help people recognize those powers within."

For Michael Tillyer and his 12-year-old son Paul, taking lessons together from Bumpus has helped them grow closer. "It's been awesome," Michael Tillyer said. "It's such a new discovery of our relationship in a way that is very intimate but structured."

That structure is something Bumpus identified from the first day he met an actual fight trainer. "When I was 15 years old and first started getting into it, I said 'One day when my career is over, I want to be a coach and I'm going to teach people,'" Bumpus said. "... I'm going to teach people to learn this sequentially, like you take math."

After fighting as a pro for 21/2 years in the late 1970s and training with the likes of Joe Frazier and George Benton, Bumpus hung up his gloves for an education. He enrolled in Temple University and graduated in 1985 with a degree in Russian studies. Bumpus, a Roxbury native, still recalls going back to visit Frazier during his sophomore year of college. "My sophomore year I stopped by Joe's gym and Joe was there with Marvis, his son who's also a lifelong friend of mine," he said. "I had 16 credits, a 4.0, (and) Calculus and International Finance were two of the courses. I showed Joe the report card and he looked at it and he grinned and said 'Wow man, I'm really proud of you.' Then he said, 'When you gonna get back in the ring?'"

About three years after graduating, it was a phone call that got Bumpus back in the ring - but this time as a coach. In 1988, local high school students who were putting on a production of "The Great White Hope" about boxer Jack Johnson, called him seeking boxing instruction. Bumpus agreed to help and after that he was hooked.

His students have ranged in age from 6 to 86. He has taught a man with cerebral palsy and trained a number of martial artists with black belts. "I've seen people who are totally uncoordinated and by the time they finish with me they're doing rock climbing because they're taught," Bumpus said. "They're doing things that they never did."

Only a sixth-grader, Paul Tillyer is broadening his horizons at a young age. "Not many kids are doing this," he said. "It's really fun." Paul enjoys learning from the best. "He's funny and he helps me a lot," Paul said of Bumpus. "... It's like training with Mohammed."

Bumpus still reminisces about his years as a boxer, but it's when speaking about his students that his eyes gleam and his smile broadens. It seems his greatest accomplishment - being a teacher - has also become his lasting legacy. "The one thing that makes me proud is a number of the students that I've taught over the years have become boxing teachers. But what makes me even more proud is that a number of the students that I've taught have just become teachers in general who didn't plan on that," Bumpus said.

"... Teaching is an art and that's really what I'm about. That's what I am, I'm a teacher more so than a boxer or anything else." For more information on the Pioneer Valley Boxing School visit


Each level consists of 10 private one-half hour sessions,  although levels above the first level can be repeated before moving on to the next level. I do classes by appointment only, at a time that is convenient to you (as long as no one else has a class at that time). Classes are normally taken three times per week. Consequently, it takes less than four weeks to do each level. Tuition is paid upfront, as Coach Bumpus guarantees to give you classes at a time convenient to you.

Level 1 - $300 (Absolutely NO CONTACT)
a.) Learn balance and throwing punches properly - and hard.
b.) Learn how to prevail, in a street-fighting scenario.
c.) Learn basic techniques of attack and defense.

Level 2 - $300 (pre-register $250) (Absolutely NO CONTACT)
a.) Learn how to shadow box. (boxing an imaginary opponent)
b.) Learn how to use heavy bag and standing speed bag.
 Introduction to shadow sparring. (shadow boxing with a real opponent)

Level 3 - $300 (pre-register $250)
a.) Learn how to develop attacks.
b.) Sparring light, then heavier (gradually)
c.) Introduction to fighting

Pre-register for all three levels - $700 (a $900 value)

Email or Visit Us Today to Learn More!

Pioneer Valley Boxing School
518 Pleasant Street, Suite 102
Northampton, MA 01060-3997