If life knocks you down, what do you do? Get back up right? At least that’s what everyone says. For the past 20 years-going on 21, this is the motto I’ve lived my life by. I’ve faced many challenges for someone of such a young age. Through every challenge I’ve faced I’ve always reminded myself that I overcame worse and could make it through. Whatever challenge was thrown at me I always picked myself back up again.
But maybe my life motto needs some updating? Maybe if life knocks you down, you should learn how to get back up and fight back. Two Monday’s ago I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I decided to go to my first boxing class. With some bribing I convinced my roommate, Makenzie, to embark on this journey with me. We showed up to the athletic center not having the slightest clue what to expect. I had messaged the student who had started the UC Boxing Club asking details about the club and if it was too late to join. He assured me that we could still join and all we needed, was a pair of boxing gloves and a onetime fee to cover club expenses.
Makenzie and I walked with terror to our first practice last Monday night. I’m not exactly what you’d call an “athlete” by any means. I played league soccer when I was younger and was a cheerleader for five years but I never attempted a rough sport like boxing. We walked into the dance room and met the coach. We also began to meet some of the other members of the club. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. Coach told us to stand up after stretching and grab a jump rope. I hadn’t jumped rope since I was in elementary school, and even then I was never very good at it. It was intimidating at first but Makenzie and I made light of how bad we were and started having fun with it.
After a 15 minute jump rope exercise, began the really hard part. Coach made us all get in a big circle and start the most intensive cardio workout I’ve ever had. This work out made Insanity look easy. It consisted of running in place, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, power squats, high knees, cherry pickers, planks, crunches, bear walks, and lots and lots of pushups. It was one of the most physically demanding work outs I’ve ever had to do, and I honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it. However, with persistence I somehow managed to complete it.
When the work out was over, everyone started grabbing gloves and wrapping their hands. Members were getting ready to go down and practice sparring. Because my roommate and I were late starters, and still didn’t have any gloves, we had to start from square one. Square one consisted of coach teaching us the basics of boxing and the moves. Unfortunately, coach had to leave early the night so Makenzie and I had to wait till next practice to get a chance to box.
The next practice I could attend, was Friday afternoon. I was even more nervous for this practice because other members told us that we practice outside on Friday’s and tended to do a lot of running. Since, I have severe exercise induced asthma, running has never really been a strong suit of mine. I was really nervous about being able to complete the warm up.
Sure enough, we started with suicide sprints. We had to run up and down the field multiple times. Because I could barely breathe, I was the slowest one out of everyone. I’m very Type A and generally a competitive person. I like to excel and be good at everything I do. Being the slowest was really starting to get to me and started making me really frustrated. Although, somehow I managed to stumble my way through the warm up.
After the warmup, we all went inside and down to the gym in the basement of the athletic center. The basement gym has a big punching bag that we use for practice. I was feeling really frustrated after the workout and didn’t know if boxing club was the thing for me. I honestly wanted to leave and never come back. But I at least wanted to get a chance to put on gloves before I decided to quit.
Coach showed me how to put on the gloves and told me to come over. He started off by showing me the first punch which is called the left jab. I took my first stab at the left jab. Coach said “Not bad but you have to move your foot forward when you throw”. The next important thing Coach taught me was how to cover my face. “Never drop your hands from your chin, never ever get hit in the chin”, so every time I dropped my hands I had to do five push-ups. The next move was the right jab, same thing as the left jab, but only on the right. Once I learned these two basic moves, Coach had me practice these two punches in sequence.
“1, 2” “1, 2, 1, 2” “left, right, left right” “right, left, right, left”. I had never felt so strong in my life. Somehow hitting this little pad attached to someone’s hand gave me this exhilarating feeling. I had never felt so in control in my life. All my frustration from the outside warm up, melted away. It was an amazing feeling.
After practice I felt like all my stress and tension from school and my personal life had vanished. For the first time that week, I was really glad I worked up the guts to join UC’s boxing club. It’s turned out to be a great stress reliever and workout for my physical wellness.
I look forward to sharing more of my boxing experiences with my readers in the weeks to come. Always remember to never be afraid to try new things because you might be missing out on something you really love.