I LOVE my boxing! It’s probably about 14 years since I first put on my boxing gloves. Not Taibo. Not Boxercise. Not girls in a room wearing pretty pink gloves doing circuits. Boxing. Punching people and being punched. To many people, and especially women, it’s a “not quite nice sport” – something that very few women understand. To those of you who have done martial arts or self defense courses, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed at least one sneaky thrill from hitting something or someone! Admit it!
I first got into the sport through a friend who introduced me to kickboxing. Some Hollywood celebrity had touted the weight loss benefits of the workout so I was in! Kickboxing is an amazing leg workout and the cardio is off the charts but my love-affair with boxing came from its speed and aggression. No philosophy here of ancient mystique and respect that you’d get with a martial arts dojo, just a workout that had you hitting fast and hard from day one.
Boxers are among the fittest athletes on the face of the planet. You’re working feet non-stop, moving around the ring without resting and body always in motion – to stand still is to make yourself a target. Boxers may not have the reputation of being the sharpest tools in the shed, but you better believe it is a sport of strategy! Being a simple creature, I love the aggression of it all! I often jokingly comment that “violence is always the answer” and when I had a defective screen on my laptop last year and the only way I could get it to work was to punch it, I knew that I was vindicated!!!!!
Now I could tell you lots of stories about how amazing I was as a boxer – winning this, winning that, being generally awesome and amazing – but I’d be lying! I boxed for years and I trained under some VERY good fight coaches and I am knowledgeable about technique and the sport. Was I brilliant? Well, sadly no! But I loved it and I trained hard and I kept working at my sport for years.
A typical class or training session would include various hot-blooded 20 something males, buff and tough. And me. A 40-something Mum who just loved hitting things. And who was a damn sight fitter than many of those boys who were just a little older than my kids, I’m proud to say!
I remember once sparring with a lovely young man of around 21 (at the time I was about 35). He was obviously very well brought up because he just couldn’t bring himself to hit me. The conversation went something like this
“I can’t hit a woman!” (him), so I’d punch him.
“Now try” I’d say.
“No, no, ith not nithe to hit a woman” (lisping because of the mouth guard), I’d punch him again!
“Do you thtill feel that way?” I’d ask, (I was wearing a mouth guard too).
To and fro we went, and then I had to give up on him, he wasn’t any fun to play with! There were others who weren’t so polite, and the toughest were always the girls!
For years I had blood stains in my gloves from all the broken nails (cut my nails???? Are you JOKING!!!) and the only “makeup” I wore was petroleum jelly smeared around chin, nose and eyes to minimise “grazing”. I’d often end up with major headaches from getting hit in the head – and a hard punch can cause real whiplash! Now that I write this and look back – I just wonder at myself!!! What WAS I thinking? Ah well, it was a passion for the sport and an addiction to the high that came with the intensity of the workout!
I used to spar with my husband (no delicate scruples on his part I would like you to note!!!) and that was just messy! He’d always slip a body punch in under my guard – drove me crazy! Same combo, week after week, and he’d always get me! I may recall some Lisa tantrums occurring! A truly, good loving husband would have let me WIN!!! Ah, good times, the couple that trains together, stays together! I know that’s true because we just celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary!
I actually gave up boxing for a couple of years during my “mid-life crisis” and it was my sport that really saved me. I had started training seriously again in the gym and thought I’d go along with a client to a boxing circuit class during the holidays on one of my precious free evenings. I was on a major high from that class for the next 24 hours. Totally hooked all over again!
Why do more burpees? Need to be fit to box. Upper body strength training? Need to be fit to box. Why do hill sprints? Need to be fit to box! Want to beat Da Boyzzzzz at boxing? Got to be fitter, faster, stronger!
Nowadays I’m happy to train once a week and restrict my workouts to punching a heavy bag. My nose may not be perfect, but I’d rather not have it hit anymore! But there’s still a point to the training – it’s a point of pride, in not forgetting my technique or getting lazy about my guard. I want to be able to walk into a boxing gym at any time and still feel I “had it”.
If you’ve trained seriously in any sport you’ll understand how I feel. If you’ve trained seriously in ANY endeavour, physical or not, you’ll understand that concentrated effort that keeps you going, whether anyone else feels it’s right or appropriate or believes in you. It’s enough that you believe in yourself!
Now ladies, be honest, there is a satisfaction that comes from hitting stuff – I cannot be alone on the planet in feeling this? What’s your endorphin rush?
And I wish that I’d known about THIS program for dealing with neck and shoulder pain, when I was boxing!
Lisa Bullock is a Personal Trainer based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s run her successful fitness business for over 15 years and has trained over a 1000 clients helping them reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. Married for 27 years and mother to a daughter (22) and son (19), she is a proud proponent of the philosophy “keep on keeping on”. She believes that consistency is key to achieving goals. Lisa loves weight training with a passion; she’s boxed for over 12 years and sees no reason to stop soon! She’s faced her own health and weight issues and come out fighting. “I believe in training for the long haul” she claims, “I fully expect to be doing handstand push ups when I’m 60!.”