Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mama said knock you OUT!

I had my first boxing class this morning! It was so amazing I wanted to cry. Here's how it went down.

For a while, I've been interested in boxing. My great uncle Dick was a boxer when he was younger (Stage name: Fighting Joe Young or something like that), and I've had a huge fascination with this whole idea since I heard that he would box secretly. Aunt Virginia didn't want him to box, but because he is a Connell (Family pride!), he did what he wanted to anyway. Gotta love a man who knows what he wants! So, this image of a boxer in my family has run pretty strong in my mind since I can remember.

Fast forward to this summer when I would watch Biggest Loser episodes on Hulu while I worked/cleaned/whatever. That show is a common theme in my life these days, so just get used to that reference. There were new trainers for season 11 and they started boxing and doing martial arts, capoeira, etc. It was pretty cool to me, so I asked Erin while she was training me if we could box since it was really an exciting idea, but they didn't have the equipment. After Erin and I ended our sessions, I really wanted to investigate this, so I looked online and found Austin Boxing Babes. It was clear to me what I needed to do, so I made plans to start my boxing adventure.

The pops gifted my brothers and myself some "Halloween money" this year (Dad, you rock SO hard!) and I knew exactly where that money was going. I set out to buy my boxing kit of gloves, hand wraps, and a mouth piece, and marched my prissy-looking self into a few stores looking for the best deal. It was pretty noticeable that most of the store attendants were thinking, "Who is this lady in a dress and heels buying boxing gear?" And, of course, I delighted in that moment. So, I got my red gloves, and I think my moment of empowerment was right when I realized that these gloves are going to take me on not only a physical journey, but an emotional journey, and I am more ready than I have ever been in my life for both of these. [Note: This same day, I also purchased a bike foot pump and a u-lock. I'm ready for that, too.]

5:30 am this morning, I woke up with excitement to get down to the boxing studio. I was a little intimidated simply because it looks so - I don't know - real? You don't know what to expect for things like this, I guess, but it was really cool. I got my paperwork filled out and proceeded to follow whatever the sweet instructor Grace told me to do.

Before we began, Grace gave me the low down: We don't wear shoes on the mat. YES! We bow before we get on the mat and before we leave the mat. DOUBLE YES! We do a specific motion before and after every practice. YES YES YES! All of it sounded really fun - and it was.

We started with jumping rope. I couldn't help but laugh the whole time because, to put it plainly, I SUCK at jumping rope. Erin used to laugh with me when we would attempt, so it made me laugh even more that I've been through this already. I didn't give up, though. I just kept laughing and screwing it up, repeating internally, "Patience. You are going to master this, girl!" I was glad when that drill was over.

We went through a few drills, and since I haven't been working out in a few weeks, it took me some time to get into it, but I stayed positive. That little Grace kicked my ass! It was amazing! We did all kinds of weight drills and cardio. It felt really good to sweat like that. Then, it was time to box. Oh yeah, I was ready. And I'm pretty sure I looked like a huge dorkface the whole time because I couldn't stop smiling, but I could care less. It was exciting for me! And I'm excited just talking about it!

Grace sort of taught me how to wrap my hands, which was the most interesting part to me. Before class, while I was filling out paperwork, the other 3 ladies were wrapping their hands. I couldn't help but watch a little bit because it seemed like such a beautiful ritual to me. They took their time in wrapping the black cotton around their wrists, through their fingers, and over their knuckles, as they were preserving their essential limbs and preparing themselves for their class. These women are strong. They each are the warrioress, wrapping their hands so diligently to engage in battle. So empowering! My blood was pumping through my veins faster and faster. I was ready.

Putting on the gloves was a little awkward, but like everything else, I kept it light and just laughed through it. You use your teeth to put on your gloves. That, right there, is another reason why I love it. Don't ask why. (Oral fixation, maybe?) Grace taught me the stance and some techniques and we did rotations. When I got to the punching bag part, I took a moment to be grateful as sweat was pouring from my body, with my heart rate lively. My smile was bigger than before, and I might have started tearing up. You know, just a little bit. It was one of the most amazing feelings, and I am so excited to have this experience, unlimitedly, for the next 3 months.

The hour went by quickly and I met one of my fellow boxing babes before we left. She had been out for 4 months, but one would never know that from her practice. These women are inspirations to me, and I cannot wait to continue this process and see my strength majorly increase, both internally and externally.