Like most women in this country, I struggle with my weight. Food is just too delicious and exercise requires me to… do things.
I get motivated to try to get in shape, but after a few times of doing the same thing over and over, I get bored… and smell doughnuts.
A few of my friends kept talking about how they go to this boxing gym. Now, I’m 34 years old and I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never punched anything. Even in my dreams, I can’t connect a hit to the serial-killing, cheerleader swamp monster that has just chased me through the office building/school with the stairs that lead nowhere (don’t judge my dreams, you don’t know my life)
So, as you can imagine, stepping foot in a boxing gym never entered my mind. But, I looked at my friends, and they’re all bar owners and bartenders and djs. These people stay up late, drink heavily and eat crappy food. These are my PEOPLE! If they can go to a boxing gym, maybe It won’t be so bad for me.
As a birthday present, Jamie gave me hand wraps and boxing gloves.
What a dick move, right?! I mean, where does he get off taking away all my excuses?!
**sigh** so today, was my first day at Jawbreaker Boxing.
As I walk up, the owner, Remy is in the parking lot. He gives a friendly wave that says “c’mon in, this is a safe place.” I instantly feel better. I get closer to the door and see the biggest black dog I’ve ever encountered in my life. He gives me a bored look and a few cursory sniffs before deeming me worthy for the ass kicking I’m about to receive. (His name is Capone and he’s a huge sweetheart)
I sign in and I wait for Jamie (who is LATE) but, there is NO sitting on your ass at Jawbreaker, so Remy says “Let’s get warmed up… jump rope… let’s go!”
So I follow him to another room with huge punching bags and all kinds of instruments of torture. He hands me a jump rope points to a little traffic light on the floor and says “green means go, yellow means get through the set, red… you can take a break.”
Simple enough. Okey Dokey. Here we go.
*jump jump jump jump*
Calves: hey… wha…whatcha doin?
Me: Jumpin’ rope
Calves: um… whyyyy?
Me: Warmin up… shh!
Calves: I don’t think you’re supposed to be doing this… I’m telling thighs… THIIIIGHS!!!
Me: Hey! hush! we only gotta do this until the light turns red.
Calves: It’s not turning red! it’s never turning RED!
Me: I promise, it’s gonna turn red…
Calves: NOPE!… shut it down!
So that happened more times than I would like to admit. Which just shows me how long it’s been since I’ve done any real exercise. But, every time I found myself on my ass, I would say “no… I can do this.” and I would get up and try it again. Maybe I could only do it a few more seconds… maybe more. But, I kept getting up. Remy would come by and check on me and say “you okay?” and I would say “yeah”
… cuz I’m a liar.
Finally, Jamie got there, looking very 8 mile and bearded. He starts preparing for the class we are there to take.
Now, seeing as how jump rope, an activity that 6 year olds can do FOREVER, kicked my ass, I… am not… feeling confident… about this next hour. I’m trying to wrap my hands and am damn near taking myself hostage.
Then, like a knight in shining boxing shoes, this young man walks in and says “are you scheduled for the one-on-one?”
HELL YES!… YES I AM… Take me away cute fighting Usher looking guy! And I follow him out, because certainly whatever he has planned is going to be easier and infinitely less embarrassing than a class full of people.
Nah, he didn’t beat me up or anything. He very nicely wrapped my hands. Then, he showed me how to stand. Left foot forward. Bend the knees. Hands up. Get the feel of the bounce. Elbows in.
THIS IS FANTASTIC!
so, he goes over to this massive heap… of GIANT TIRES! Now, I had SEEN the giant tires previously, but I figured it was just ambient… like a sculpture of testosterone. Alas, he flips one down.
D: Okay get on the tire and we’re gonna try the stance again.
Me: Okay, so when you say ON the tire…
D: On the tire… stand up on the tire
Me: Stand… ON…the
Me: … alrighty
Quick show of hands… has anyone ever tried to stand on a giant tire?
So, I finally get up on the tire (with help) and I try to assume my fighting stance. I discover that the tire is bouncy. But not in a fun, trampoliney kind of way, more of an awkward, newborn calf kind of way.
So I’m up there, I’ve got my stance, I’ve got my bounce, I look like the character selection screen from Mortal Kombat.
D: alright now when you bounce forward, I want you to jab with your left hand… just like that.
Me: Okey dokey *jab*
D: Make sure you turn your arm all the way, you wanna hit with your knuckles.
Me: … okey dokey *better jab*
D: Good! Keep going!
Me: okey…. dokey….? *jab bounce jab bounce jab bounce*
Left Shoulder: Yo! WTF you doin’ man?
LS: Yeah, I can see that… why me? Don’t you use Righty for most of these things?
Me: yeah, but Donnie wants me to use you.
LS: DUDE! I’m just supposed to be here for decoration. You know, just keeping everything symmetrical… like a bookend.
Me: Look… just a little bit longer…
LS: Sorry! Thighs just called me… gotta shut ya down!”
I leaned over, certain that death was coming. Donnie said “you okay?” and I said “Yeah”
… cuz I’m a liar.
He knows this, and says “Let’s get some water.”
I climb back on the tire and Donnie says
“Everybody starts the same way. Everyone’s a beginner at some point.”
So I stand up, chest burning, arm falling off and I say “I can do this.” and I go back at it. Sometimes I can jab for a couple seconds… sometimes more. Every time I found myself leaning over, I’d stand up, bend my knees, weight on the front, bounce, jab.
After a while, I was done with the demon tire. I’m getting the gloves on and… oh yeah, it’s time to get into the ring.
When I first walked into Jawbreaker, I looked at that ring and thought “oh I can’t WAIT to get into that ring. I’m gonna do ALL the things!”
Now, after spending a copious amount of time with Donnie, I’m thinking. “I can’t get into that ring… He’s gonna make me do all the things…”
But I get into the ring, and he shows me how to move my feet, how to move and jab, and I learn the 1,2.
That’s boxing speak for… 1,2.
I’m feeling every variation of tired and sore that is in the archives… and he keeps saying “push yourself. Nobody can push you but you! Make it through this round!”
Oh very clever… using logic and encouragement.
He grabs some mitts and I’m oddly enough in no mood to actually attempt hitting something. I just want to go home and be fat and lazy and … do I smell doughnuts?!
D: I want you to jab… right here. Step forward and jab.
Me: *step jab*
D: *backs up* again! remember to keep your knees bent. balance. right here!
Me: *Step Jab*
Me: *STEP JAB*
And then it happened. I heard it. The most glorious sound I had heard all day:
The pop of a good hit.
That sounded good. That sounded great! I want it again. Make it do it again!
1… pop… 1,2,… pop.. -…. 1,2,… pop pop.
Apparently, I’m a natural at hitting things. I concentrated on working on my footwork and my form, but the pop was exhilarating, it was addicting. At the end of the session, I was exhausted. I was hurting. I didn’t realize how hard it would be.
But, I also didn’t realize the high I would get going around and around that ring.
I signed up. I’m going back tomorrow. I’m gonna hurt. I’m gonna get tired. I’m gonna have to sit down and catch my breath. And I’ll get up. Maybe I can only do it a few more seconds… maybe more. But, I’ll kept getting up, I’ll shake it off and say
I can do this.