I never thought the girliest thing from my child hood would be the hardest challenge when starting boxing.
Having to learn how to wrap my hands, throw a decent jab and get the confidence to shadow box around a room full of people probably was and still is 10 times easier than skipping.
As I attended my first boxing class in February I stepped onto a mat with about 4 guys, 2 girls and a couple other guys behind us on the ring. They all seemed in their own space, quietly hopping as their ropes all cracked against the white mat in a certain rhythm, that was until I came along with my “oh skipping, I use to do this all the time as a kid” sort of attitude, as I brought the rope over my head for the second time it collided with another rope of this shaven-head guy with an irritated look about him. “hehe sorry” as I shuffled a little back into a space. “okay, you can do this” ran through my mind as the rope motioned again. This time the plastic string collided with my shins, or big toes, oh I can’t really remember but all I know is that it happened a lot and in both places… a lot. Needless to say the beginning of my first class was humiliating, as I wasn’t even girl enough to be skipping, so how could I even think I could be man enough to punch a bag.
The class went onto my second worst fear when Matt, the trainer, shouted “Okay everyone pair up, find a partner” aaarg yeah who else here is the weak link, and like I said there were only 2 other girls who had paired up, so I was put with some guy who didn’t seem too impressed when paired with me because he unfortunately was standing by the new girl. Now you could have put me in a bedazzled pink tutu and that wouldn’t even be girly enough for how girl pants I felt, trying so hard not to giggle and throw a punch like a ‘serious man’ would.
My confidence slowly chipped away with every one-for-one jab. Finally the round ended. “What could possibly be next for me to suck at” I thought.
Luckily for me with all the giggling I do all day, I was prepared for the last part of stomach exercises. I kept up with the class, doing Russian twists, knee touches, legs up, all of it. So it wasn’t all bleak by the end of my first class.
I went home feeling pretty run down about how lame I was but I couldn’t help replaying in my mind something one of the girls told me during shadow boxing, she said to me “Don’t ever feel like you are doing something wrong, just punch” Not only did this resonate with me to box but also with my work. I have a start-up business and a lot of times I second guess myself so it felt good to get that push and have that ‘fake it until you make it’ mentality. I realised that I must just throw that punch, jab or whatever and if my technique is wrong the trainer is there to help correct me. Also I have to think of training as that – training – this makes me want to get better and go back again and again.