Author Archives: Melee

Practise

practise |ˈpraktɪs| (US practice)

verb [ with obj. ]

1 perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to acquire, improve or maintain proficiency in it: I need to practise my French | [ no obj. ] : they were practising for the Olympics.

I’ve started to realise that I’m (naturally) afraid of getting hit. I usually train with bigger guys, faster guys, stronger guys. Being afraid of one of them coming at you is completely reasonable.

But not helpful. You can’t fight effectively if you blink every time someone comes at you.

So… time to practise.

My buddy and I skipped to the park for some repetition training and (very light) sparring. My main goals –

  1. practise staying in stance
  2. start to use evasion (because I suck at it)
  3. get hit but don’t let it ruin everything

Tick, tick and tick.

There were some great lessons there about being and staying in control, keeping the eyes on what counts (the gloves) and not what doesn’t (everything else).

I got a round in there where I was actually going ok. Just one though! Its a very hard sport physically and mentally.

Even just being in the right stance, starting to try and move well. So hard! Standing on the toes, crouched on slightly bent knees, always in guard, always moving but keeping stance… looking for opportunities but not giving away that you’re looking.

Hitting is the least of it.

But it is there.

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What ifs

This is an old draft I didn’t release at the time I wrote it, thinking it was a bit full-on.  But reading it again, there are some interesting questions here.

I come in from a late night run, where I don’t thing I’ve burned enough energy to offset the wild chocolate fling I had earlier in the day.

Over the past week I’ve started reading two books by/about women recovering from eating disorders. One book I started after a search lead me to it, and the second was mentioned by the first. So I come in from my run, feeling a bit guilty about “all that chocolate”. And I wonder, just for a second, what if?

As someone who first discovered running to lose weight (and as a byproduct became awesomely fit and healthy), and now needs to again lose weight, i can’t help wondering about the path not taken.

What if?

Where do we draw that line between diet and disaster, exercise and extremism. Running is almost by definition an extreme sport. It taxes the body until it can’t take it anymore. Running gives (fitness, great calves) and it takes away (crappy knees, sore muscles, marathon crazies). It takes discipline and a fair amount of craziness to be a good runner (or even just a consistent runner). What if… what tiny thing would need to be different for me to slam headfirst into obsessive overdrive?

Where do I draw a line between calorie counting and “food restriction”. Probably it’s just the numbers – anyone restricting themselves to 700 calories a day is clearly sick. But Isn’t quantifying every bite also just a little bit on the edges of sanity? Has MyFitnessPal normalised eating obsession? Is it ok to log every meal, is it ok to memorise the calories in a sip of milk?

Of course not, but sometimes it feels like a fine line.

I just remember all those people (women, all women!) telling me that I had “lost enough weight” several times along the road. I remember the same people pointing out other fit, muscled, gorgeous women and saying they had “gone too far”.

At the time, I think they were just jealous. Even now, I still think they were just jealous. But what if I really was sick? (I wasn’t!) But if I was sick, I would probably just think they were jealous.

What if my view of ‘what I should look like’ is fundamentally wrong? I wouldn’t know, would I? I do think that I should be thinner. But really, I just want to be lighter and stronger. Mostly stronger! I don’t think anyone else has to be thinner. Or fatter. But isn’t that the hallmark of body image issues – believing that you’re the only one who needs to change to be normal.

Right now normal is so loosely defined, and we get caught up in letting everyone define their own version of it. I wonder if sometimes there isn’t too much room between the cracks for someone to slip down and never be heard from again.

Today I was at a cafe next to some very unhappy women eating, I’m not sure. It was pancakes, I think, smothered in Nutella, ice cream and other things. This plate looked like it could put a family of 5 into a diabetic coma. And they were… fat. They were also incredibly unhappy about everything. Now would you tell them they had “gone too far” in their body modification? Maybe a doctor would. But no coworker in the lift announce “you’re too fat!” But when I was steadily losing weight, toning up and gaining muscle, it was a constant comment – “you’re too thin! You’ve gone too far!”

These days there is a push to make women feel OK about being within a normal range, to get over the days where a starving Kate Moss was the height of being a lovely lady. Dove wants us to be happy not being sticks, which is awesome. I actually love when I see a poster or magazine where a model hasn’t had her teeny tiny fat rolls or skin crinkles airbrushed off. It always makes me jump at first – argh, real body!

But even Kate Moss just looked like Kate Moss.

And Dove has to stop short of glorifying women who are unhealthily overweight. What kind of positive message would that be? So there is an opening middle ground where women from 10-14 are feeling kind of ok, but to be honest they probably felt kind of ok anyhow. They could always shop at Sportsgirl and Portmans. Ok they aren’t wearing Cue, but really, who is wearing Cue? Pencils. Maybe biros.

Thin-thin girls are on the slow train out. Fat-fat girls were never ever in and won’t ever be. Women who have very damn nice bodies are learning that they are ‘courageous’ by showing them off.

Actually, I don’t think that’s ok. It shouldn’t take any courage at all.

A back door back to running

I haven’t felt great about running for some time now. There’s a few reasons, but safe to say we don’t want to get into them!

One of my hopes for boxing is that it is a back door back into running. Boxers skip, and they run. Run to create cardiovascular endurance (beyond the 2 minute round), strip fat and strengthen the legs.

So today I ran. Not for the first time in a while, but certainly the longest run in a LONG while. 7km around the neighbourhood. Not at all fast, but a respectable 6:30 average per km that didn’t feel at all forced. I did a couple of pickups, a jog to the top of a multilevel parking station and some fancy footwork around pedestrians.

Not at all bad!

Arriving back home, I felt tired but as though I didn’t have to stop. That is such a good feeling. Taking it a bit easy, not needing to spend every last cent.

Pink gloves, no thanks darling

I bought new focus pads the other week. I tried on a bunch, trying to find some that had velcro (none did) or a small fit that wouldn’t come off my hands when I catch an angled punch like a hook.

At the close of the sale, the helpful assistant asked “How’s the colour?”.

They were white and black. Not setting the world aflame, but ok. Then, “would you like them in pink?”

My very first reaction was “no one really wants pink”.

Sorry!

I get it that to transition from something ‘feminine’ to ‘masculine’ some people need to bring pink along for the ride. But pink is a colour I’ve never ever related to. Its not my favourite, or even in my first 5 favourites. I’d probably buy gloves in a nice dusky rose, but definitely not in the sickly neon porno-Barbie shade you find them in.

Speaking of porno-Barbie, I’m conflicted by the sexy chick in pink boxing gloves trope.

Ok, she’s hot. Ok, she’s got abs to kill for. She might have a slightly dangerous side and she has the confidence to work out in her knickers. Maybe she is a competent boxer who can score points with tactical precision. 

But who would know? She always seems to be resting or posing wetly next to a piece of equipment instead of ROCKING IT.

Searching for actual female boxers on the other hand brings up a bunch of women who (like the guys) come in different shapes, sizes, hotness and dampness. 

And few of them rock pink gloves. Maybe that’s just because they don’t make competition gloves in pink? 

Probably there is a similar thing going on for the guy side. Not all guys into hitting things look like the rippling whippets you find on gym ads and websites. 

They are yet to get their own glove colour though. 

Violence?

I’ve been talking to a friend about whether boxing is violent or not, or encourages violence outside the sport.

Thinking about it, a lot of sports are violent. The State of Origin wouldn’t be complete without a little biffo. Playing hockey as a girl (I was terrible) – all I remember was girls bashing me with sticks at speed.

Even doing karate, I am not sure anyone would call that violent.

I don’t think I’d like to do MMA – being kicked in the face doesn’t appeal (but I think I could probably deliver a sound backward roundhouse).

Boxers are all padded on their heads and hands. Ok, they whack each other. But so do lots of other sportsmen and women. I think the only reason that marathoners don’t hit people is they are TOO TIRED at the end! Also maybe that the majority of runners only compete against their own limits.

Do you see violence in this video? 

I just see awesome technique, stamina  and skills I wish I could possess.

Sparring sort of

So I am continuing my tour of all the gyms, boxing or otherwise, that will let me get my rock on. Last night I went to a class at a friend’s gym.

This gym is going into the rotation. Even without the classes there is a room with bags I can work on alone on the weekends. 

 A quick run down is … 45 mins of warm up + circuits..i liked the circuits. Heavy bag, light spar  (taps), pad work. Interspersed were crunches etc. Everything ran to boxing rounds. 

Sparring

I LOVED this bit. I scored a point or 2 and got tagged a lot. 
The thing is that it’s so mentally stimulating. You’re learning in real time and even now I am thinking “what could I have done better? What could I do better next time?”

So good! So much better than just working through combos on the pads. Not that I won’t keep doing that. It is completely necessary to work the drills until they become second nature.