If you’d have asked me a year ago I would have told you that boxing definitely wasn’t my thing. Hitting people definitely isn’t my thing.
But times change, people change, and I might just actually like it, a little bit anyway.
Three things got me wanting to give it a try.
First, there were Rebecca Kukla’s posts about boxing. See here and here. She makes actual boxing, not even just boxing training, sound fun.
Second, Sarah trains at News Girls and they’ve been in the news a lot lately. See Leslieville gym empowers women, inside and out: Club helps domestic violence survivors find new strength with practice on a punching bag. See Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club offers free classes to trans people and abused women and Toronto Women’s Boxing Club Plans To Crash Pro-Rape Rallies.
Newsgirls is an amazing place. See my favourite quote on normative thinness above. No other gym I’ve ever been in has that kind of thing on display.
I asked Sarah what she likes about boxing and here’s what she said,
There’s a lot to love about boxing. It doesn’t have a steep learning curve at the beginning. After just a few instructions to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, you get to hit things!
The hitting part is fun and surprisingly cathartic. But there’s a lot more to boxing than just throwing punches, and learning and refining both striking and defensive techniques, regardless of whether you ever plan to box competitively, could easily be a lifelong challenge.
And that’s another thing I love about boxing. It’s easy to change the intensity of your workout to suit how you’re feeling on any given day. I love that people of all different ages and abilities box at Newsgirls. I think that says a lot about how fun and approachable boxing can be!
Third, I’ve got a very practical Aikido related reason. My training in Aikido is being hampered by my inability to hit people seriously. Yes, Aikido is a gentle martial art. Yes, all the moves are defensive. But when you’re training, one person has to be the attacker. For the techniques to be effective you have to try to strike the person who is practicing the technique with some speed and force. Many of the advanced techniques don’t work if you just go through the motions of pretending to attack your training partner. You know, where your fist stops shy of where they are standing. Maybe, you don’t know that. But I do. I blogged about it about my struggles with uke’s role in this post about training with the brown belts.
(Oh, and then there’s this: 3 Great Reasons Women Over 50 Should Take Up Boxing — ASAP)
So last Sunday I found myself learning how to wrap my hands and punch various kinds of things.
I enjoyed the blocking session best, perhaps because it had the most in common with Aikido. I discovered I have martial arts instincts. A couple of times I took people off balance and I found myself thinking of the next Aikido movie I’d perform. I also don’t have the instinct I had when I started Aikido which is to back up. I’m good at moving into an attack. (Backing away is how people being attacked by knives end up covered in the stab wounds. Getting close to the person, giving them less room to work with, is better but harder to do.)
Punching itself will take work. Lots of work. But I’ll go back and keep at it.
Something must be working. I hit a black belt yesterday, right in the gut. According to club tradition, he owes me $5.