So instead of kicking out all the windows and setting fire to this life, I decided to take up a sport. Not just any sport – BOXING. I figured what better way to take out my aggression than by learning how to totally kick somebody’s ass! I mean, it's a great way to get in shape. And learn how to totally kick someone's ass. What?
I’ve been wanting to learn how to box for a long time, but my mom was always discouraging me because I have small, pretty hands and she didn’t want me to ruin them. Too bad. I want to box. Plus, duh, that’s what wrapping your hands AND wearing gloves is supposed to protect. I will be sad if I break my nose, but proud of getting a black eye. Just in case you were keeping score at home.
I did some research to find a class, and found one at a rec center by my house. I was wary, because in the past when I went to something like a kickboxing class, what it inevitably ended up being was an aerobics class MASQUERADING as a kickboxing class. That was not what I wanted. I don’t want a bunch of ladies kicking wildly at imaginary would-be-rapists while the cardio remix of some Britney Spears song is playing in the background.
So I show up the first night, pay the fee and go to the room where the class is. The first thing I notice is that the average age of the people in the class is like 12. Maybe they’re older, but they look tiny. And they’re all boys. I almost turned around and bailed but I sucked it up and stayed. The instructor comes over and talks to me and is like “here, I’ll show you how to wrap your hands.” Ok, this is a good sign. He’s a burly Mexican guy who works for the DEA and was a boxing champ back in the day. I am VERY relieved that he isn’t some soccer mom who loves scrapbooking and teaching aerobics in her spare time. He asks me if I’m any good with a jump rope. I say yes, because actually? I am awesome with a jump rope.
*Side note – the reason for my mad jump rope skillz is because in elementary school we had a jump rope team and I practiced ALL THE TIME because I really wanted to make the team. Geek, party of one? However, one girl on the team didn’t like me and so she kept me off. Can you believe it? This was in 5th grade, and I’ll tell you, she only got more bitchy with time. Anyway.*
After some jump roping, we ran laps and then came back to the room. In the meantime another chick my age showed up, and I was pretty happy about that. We ran through the basic punches and footwork, and then? We put on gloves. AWESOME. The rest of the class practiced on their own while I was paired up with one of the 12 year olds. There was another new kid, and he was paired up with a different guy. Anyway. My 12 year old was named Jose and he was this sweet little soft spoken kid in a wife beater and shorts who taught me the requisite footwork and did some punching combinations with me. He’d hold up his gloves and I’d punch him. At one point he’s like “punch harder” and I was thinking “I’m scared I’ll break you.” But I said ok and punched him harder. I did not break him.
Here’s the funny thing about boxing. It’s a LOT like dancing. Back in my choir days, I learned the staple of all choir choreography – the jazz square. And lo and behold, you do the jazz square in boxing too, only you do it while punching people. And it’s not called a jazz square. And the shoes are different and there’s no singing “Come on Get Happy.” So actually, the jazz square is kind of where the dancing similarities end.
After a while of the punching and the jazz square, the instructor came over to do some drills with me and the other new kid. So the instructor has these pads on his hands and he’s having us go through punching combinations and moving so we have to also integrate the footwork. As you may or may not know, in boxing you must keep your hands up AT ALL TIMES to guard your head and face. I forgot a couple of times, and so I got smacked in the head. AWESOME. This would never happen in the aerobic pseudo-boxing class! I also felt pretty good because the other new kid was this rather slow 11 year old. How sad am I because I’m happy about being more coordinated than the slow kid.
So ninety minutes after I walked into the class, I walked out with the marks left by the tight wrappings on my hands, the knowledge of how to do a 1-2 combination (which I remembered and successfully tried out on Joe yesterday as he was ALSO a former boxer -- I even threw in an extra punch and surprised him. Oh yeah.) and a sense of accomplishment. I also learned that the best place to learn how to fight is in a neighborhood where you BETTER know how to fight or you’ll be real sad. And it just so happens that this particular rec center is in the center of the ‘hood around what I like to call “Thug High School,” so I clearly picked the right place. I’m going again tonight, and after a lot more practice, I’ll have the fists to back up the attitude that comes with being a hot-tempered, mouthy Irish girl. And I will totally have your back. You’ll want me to, because frankly? I plan on being awesome.