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Jun 26, 2018 | in Martial Arts News
man training with speed bag
Photographed by Adam Amengual
The speed bag is part of Peter Berg's morning routine at his gym, Wild Card West. "For a certain type of individual, sparring is a very active form of meditation," says Berg, photo­graphed on June 5 in Santa Monica.

Box-office bombs? Pummel away mounting industry anxiety as everyone from Rihanna to Peter Berg moves from Pilates to punching and kicking. Says one martial arts trainer: "I've never been so booked in my life."

Under the gaze of a caramel-mottled pit bull named Dempsey, Peter Berg is slugging his way — literally — through his morning ritual. After a warm-up of stretching and working the bags, the Patriot's Day director is sparring with Julian Chua, a former Golden Glove champion and taekwondo black belt. Chua works as a trainer at Berg's Wild Card West Boxing Club in Santa Monica, which counts some of the biggest names in Hollywood as regulars. Padded in protective gear, Berg, 53, ducks and crouches his way around the ring, throwing a pattern of jabs, hooks and crosses at the much younger Chua. It is a surprisingly friendly affair, considering that these two men are trying to make contact with each other's face.

It's been four years since Berg opened Wild Card West with the late Garry Shandling as his partner, and he currently finds himself with an enviable problem. After years of hemorrhaging money, the boxing gym is on a serious roll. "It's going great, it's going too great," Berg tells THR. "We don't have enough parking."