Just a girl, and training with fellas

I’m just a girl

Its something I say in jest sometimes, and hey, working in tech it can be a bit funny when I solve a super hard problem and declare don’t ask me I’m just a girl.

Sometimes I say it to flag that I’m aware of there is some obvious sexism, but CBF addressing it. Because addressing it gets you nowhere.

Anyway, I’m just a girl. And guys have different reactions to that in a boxercise/boxing context.

I get it that someone experienced will pull punches for anyone less experienced. But then when I’m training with someone who’s on my level, or maybe slightly better, and I notice this ‘tap tap pap’ instead of ‘jab jab cross’, it kind of miffs me. I have to stop and say “excuse me but is that as hard as you can hit?” and there follows a little convo about not wanting to hurt me, etc.

Now, I appreciate when an actual boxer holds back, or a guy with a foot height, 20kg of muscle and 3 years of training on me holds back; but when someone of roughly my size and experience tells me they don’t want to hurt me, I get kind of mad.

So, I make sure they work haaaard. I dance them around more, I bark “harder!” a lot, and I generally make fun of them because they all have a crappy jab (very few people get a nice hard crisp jab). I call them Fiddler Crabs.

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Fiddler Crabs… because I’m mean like that

My favourite kind of guy though is the one who will call me out when I say “I’m just a girl”. He’s the one who will stand up and tell me (and everyone in earshot) that women can do anything, even hit it a little bit hard.

Bless that guy.

Maybe its terribly manipulative, but I don’t really mean to set up these situations. I just notice that sometimes the dumb girl act will flush out the blokes who are actually worth my time.

I’m smaller, I’m weaker, I’m less experienced, but so are half the guys in the place.  

Being a girl has zero to do with it.

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Just a girl, fighting to find a class

I’ve got lots of options for classes around me, none of them completely satisfactory.

I’ve decided to try ALL of the possible options, even the hard to get to ones, and see what is going to work for me. At the end I’m going to draw up a 2 week schedule and spread my training around a bit. Because I don’t think I’m going to get everything I need from any one gym.

The local

Locally, there’s a boxercise class that’s attracted some ex-boxers and some sort of serious guys who I can watch and learn from.

But it also attracts a lot of people who have zero interest in doing any kind of boxing. As I don’t have a regular partner, I train with them a lot. Its fine, but I am not learning. Sometimes I can teach them something, sometimes they listen, but usually I leave frustrated because I’m not learning and am going backwards because they can’t hold the pads, they can’t take a hit and they look completely terrified when I try to throw even a soft jab.

I’ve partnered with a few of the guys there, and they kind of have the opposite issue with me. I’m not yet strong, fast, or knowledgeable enough to let them get a good run on. But they sometimes train with me when they want to take it easy. As it should be.

Boxercise generally

I’ve got to the edge of what I can really learn in these kinds of classes. They do cardio, call 4-5 punch combos and you work mechanically through about 4 of these per class if you’re lucky. And that’s without the patchy mess of partners.

Actually the local is probably one of the best here.

The pros

There’s a gym in my sort-of-local area that I was completely excited about trying. They even have a woman boxer that they trained who did very well, and make a big deal of her “smashing stereotypes” on their website.

So I called, and they don’t have mixed classes and don’t currently have a female class. Not that I would join an all female class.

boop 😦

Get fit and maybe get hit

I’m steering toward 2 gyms in the city (where I work) who have boxing classes. The times and such are a stretch for me, but needs must.

They both have 10 or 12 week programs designed to get you into the ring for an amateur match. I don’t want to be in one of these just yet. I’m still getting my head around the idea of actually becoming serious. Something about these programs seems a bit, well, cheesy. I dunno, its probably really good.

But they don’t seem to have a problem with women, which is especially awesome.

PCYCs

All the PCYCs have boxing. Some have excellent programs. But they all start at 5pm, and I can’t make it home in time for a 5pm class.

Except for the one closest to work… WHICH STARTS AT 4pm. 

#losing.

Other non-specific gyms & training at home

Most gyms have a bag, ropes etc. When I get more confident, this will be a good option.

At home though, I can use a timer app to measure training rounds to focus myself on different boxer-type activities.

Confidence. It all hinges on the confidence to move forward and make it happen.

Just a girl, who wants to learn boxing

This year is the year I start boxing. For realz. Although I have a late start, so I might make it FY1617, because I’m trying to learn a skill here and bulling through just will not satisfy this desire.

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Boxing is many things.

  • It is a calorie black hole – I drink a beer and eat a bag of m&ms after a workout and I’m losing weight somehow.
  • Its been a way to meet new friends (after I lost so many when I changed jobs – as it goes).
  • Its a technical and intellectual sport, and I am in kindergarten. While I hate the feeling of being stupid I relish the feeling of being invited to learn. There is so much knowledge to be gained.
  • It is an art form that can never be captured or repeated. Skill, luck, technique, stamina on both sides determine the outcome.
  • Its also a back door back to running, because I love running but have found it really hard to spend time in my own head lately.

So, after being in boxercise classes for years now, I am graduating myself into actual boxing. And there’s a problem.

You can’t just go from being able to smack a static focus pad to getting into a ring. You need to be coached, trained and you need opportunity to practise, practise, practise.

So, I need to find myself a class.

Spent

Well yes i am completely spent today. Two nights in a row training with a strong focus on skipping  (and some skipping on sunday too). I’ve had it. 

Today i spent most of the day with my hand in tape holding a cold can of drink. Coconut with chocolate… I’m really looking forward to trying it tomorrow. The good news here is that my left jabs are hard enough to hurt me. Bad news is well… I’ve hurt myself. 

Maybe… even though I only just.upgraded, maybe I need bigger gloves. Oh geez. 

It’s time 

I’ve been on a massive emotional journey for some time now. Lots of difficult things have happened to me and I’ve not always reacted well. 

I’ve felt unmotivated. Or imotivatedion fits and starts, signing on for the wrong reasons. Dropping off for differently wrong reasons. 

A few times over these 2, almost 3 years, I have prematurely declared that the tunnel was ending only to have it twist away from the light again and again. 

Today though, it is over. 

I’ve taken myself far enough from the terrible places. I’ve broken contact with not only the terrible people but with everyone else around them. 

I’m insulated. 

Today I declare that I can breathe again. I can live again. I can run again.

Because when I run, I choke on all that sadness and fear and hatred and impotence until I can’t breathe. I run wheezing at top volume,  struggling not to be overwhelmed by it. 

This morning is the first day in ages without a moment of fear or hate. Not an easy thing to admit. 

However I am glad to feel it’s lifting. 

Today I’m going to declare it over. For good. No looking back, no regrets, for vengeance fantasies.

No excuses. 

Next stop: reclaim my arms

Starting to click

I’ve found someone who doesn’t mind training little ole me, 1:1 sometimes on a weekend.

We had a really great session today – a couple of hours boxing in the park. Some combos, some footwork, a bit of offence/defence.

I AM STARTING TO GET IT.

It feels amazing when it all flows, when the combo extends from the formulaic to into natural instinct.