The Gentlemanly Art of Self Defense Training in Garland

The Garland Police Department formed its first gang squad in 1993, and put Officer David Swavey in charge. It quickly became obvious to Swavey that there was a need for something more to engage the vitality and restlessness of at risk youth. At risk teenagers too often make bad decisions that negatively affect their futures. They need to strive for positive goals and direction. Swavey himself had been a Golden Gloves boxer in his teenage years and knew the program and its benefits. He and his partner, Steve Martin, initiated Garland’s youth boxing program in a storefront on Lavon Road in 1993. Participation grew quickly and more space was needed. 


A vacant former supermarket site became the Garland Police Boxing Gym on the corner of Ninth and Main Street in Downtown Garland. In the beginning the building was shared with three other COG departments. It is currently in the hands of Garland PD, and David Swavey remains in charge, just as he was twenty-six years ago. Once the young boxers reach a certain level of proficiency they can participate in tournaments and compete with challengers from other communities. Swavey has come great success stories to tell and the fact that 72% of of the kids in his program are on the honor roll is a knockout stat in itself. Due to the fact that David Swavey is also founder and CEO of Guns and Hoses of Garland, an organization that holds an annual adult boxing event, we believe that he has earned the title of Professor of Pugilism. He has brought the sport to Garland and kept it alive for twenty-six years. In doing so he has certainly earned that honorary title. Another art of self defense being taught at the Garland Police Boxing Gym is the martial art of Karate, being overseen by Judge Bob Beasley. This program occupies its own space in the sprawling building. Much like Professor Swavey, Judge Beasley takes his students to tournaments, where they compete and advance in the sport. These two men, along with their respective teams, have worked tirelessly for many years to improve the lives of Garland’s at risk youth.

Nancy Ghirla