Boxing has never been a big ambition of mine, in fact I grew up disliking it and thinking it was just silly men trying to hurt each other, how my opinion has changed! It's really a happy accident that I've grown to love it so much!
Before I got into boxing, I started training with weights and doing workouts from Ross Enamait's books in 2007 with Mike. I really wanted to start training as a way of getting healthier, I had an eating disorder for most of my teenage years and early twenties and I needed a way to get stronger, it also helped me eat more as I knew I needed to fuel my body properly to improve. My training at first was sporadic and it took me a while to get into it and enjoy it, as soon as I had a lot of uni work it got forgotten as I was easily stressed by that!
Fast forward a few years of on and off training to July 2009, Mike decided he would join a boxing gym, it had been a long term goal of his. He'd been a few times and really enjoyed it and when he was telling me about it it sounded fun and a really good workout. I decided I would like to go along to keep fit, but I certainly did not want to spar or fight!! Getting hit in the face? No thank-you!
The first time I went I watched people sparring and decided that it didn't look as bad as I'd imagined and to be honest I was a bit bored stood around for that part of the training so I started considering the sparring. I didn't decide to do any just yet, I didn't know any defences or how to punch properly so I probably wouldn't have liked the experience. After about a month, I decided for definate that I wanted to try the sparring out, I'd started learning the basic punches and basic defences and what better way to try them out than in the ring.
The first time I sparred anyone they were on defences only so they didn't hit me back, I just had to try and hit them. I found this insanely difficult at first. I just couldn't really bring myself to punch! This carried on for some time even when people were no longer on defences only with me. Mike confessed recently he thought I'd never be a boxer as he didn't think I had it in me to punch anyone, and looking back I can see why. I'm not even sure what was stopping me, I had a wierd mental block which was stopping me from going all out even though in my mind I thought I wanted to. Partially I think it was because one girl who I sparred with regularly was a bit afraid of being hit and had told me this, I didn't want to be the one who hit her hard. But I'm not sure what was stopping me with other people..
I can remember really clearly the first time we sparred properly. A week or so before she had told me she wanted me to start hitting her harder and I said ok but only if we're going even, so she had to go harder on me too. We had another club visiting the gym for some sparring, I was all hyped up as I was supposed to be sparring some girls from that gym, I was also really nervous as the girls that were coming were both around 10kg heavier than me so I was a bit worried they would hit me harder than I could cope with! Anyway as it happens those two girls didn't show. So I was all hyped up for this competetive sparring and then didn't think it was going to happen.
The sparring started, members from both gyms were standng around the ring and people were getting called in with people of similar weights and abilities. After some time the girl I'd been sparring with before and I got called in. I remember her landing a great shot. It hurt!! But I upped my game and equalled it, it was the most competetive sparring I'd had and I really enjoyed it. It was exciting, my adrenaline was going and I felt sharper than ever before. As the trainer called time we hugged and climbed out, both really happy with the performance and asking each other if it was ok, if we'd gone too hard but we both decided it was great and were really happy we'd upped the level. We sparred each other more times that night, it was the first time I got a bust lip!
That night was when I decided I really wanted to get good at the sport.
We continued to spar each other more competetively after that night and both improved a lot because of it, even though the trainers were still telling me to hit harder as I was still holding back.. I eventually got there with the punching, even though I really felt at that point I was really going for it, I can hit a lot harder now so I must have had more in me!
Fast forward to December '09, Mike and I changed clubs for several reasons which I won't go into here, I miss having the sparring partner I had at the old gym, there aren't any girls to spar with at the new gym... But actually that's worked out for the better, I don't ever feel bad for hitting the lads and they don't hold back too much on me so it's still competetive. I've actually ended up with a lot more sparring partners at the new gym and have improved a lot.
At the moment I'm waiting to go for my medical, as soon as I've passed that I will start fighting competetively. Something I'm really looking forward to.
The thing I've found about boxing which I really love is the challenge. Being in the ring requires more fitness than you would ever imagine, I have never felt tiredness like it! It's why I started running too, which I've also come to love. It requires you to be constantly thinking, clever punches, looking for openings, looking for shots coming your way.. And I still love it for the reason I started it, it's a GREAT workout!