The Date - January 30, 2011
The Time - 3:00 p.m.
The Mission - Take a Boxing Lesson from a Pro
The Location - Butch Hiles MMA Gym, Charleston, WV
The Instructor - CT King, main boxing coach
The Accomplice - Anne Marie, bestie extraordinaire
*That's the only picture I took...I was too busy enjoying my experience! *lol*
To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I tried to concentrate on other things on my nearly-hour-long drive to the gym in Charleston, but I still felt butterflies in my stomach. Why was I nervous? No clue. I always get that tingly nervous/anxious feeling when I go into something new. I still think people won't be accepting. I still think they'll take one look at the fat girl wanting to learn to box and laugh me out of the gym. Not to mention, it's intimidating walking into a gym with trained fighters...you know that any of them could handedly kick your arse, so the whole fight-or-flight thing comes into play. To me, I get almost as nervous walking into a gym for the first time as I do walking down a dark alleyway at night. Still, I went. I ignored the butterflies and went.
I found the gym quite easily thanks to a rather large sign on the corner of the building. And, while I expected parking to be a disaster, I found a spot for my van in just moments. With that, and noticing I had forgotten my gym pack, which I had carefully packed, I walked into the gym.
The first thing to greet me was a little boy, probably no older than 3, and his older sister, who was probably hedging on 6 or 7. Adorable little things, I also noticed their father (at least I assumed from the resemblance), two other men, and one woman. The woman smiled at me, but no one spoke to me for a while. What to do? Finally, the guy in the corner says, "And you are?" I gave him my name and he immediately tells me that he's my coach for the day. As we wait for AM (Anne Marie, you should probably get used to that abbreviation because I'm known to be lazy when it comes to writing out her full name) to get there, he starts some banter.
Girl next to me: "Oh, CT. So THIS is your torture victim today?"
Me: "And you have full permission to put me through my paces today. I need the push!"
CT: "Well, I can tell you this - by the end of today you'll either love me or hate me." *laughs* "You'll probably hate me."
Me: "You're right. I'll probably hate you today and like you more tomorrow."
AM arrived not long after and we were ushered into the basement. I felt like I was being sent to the dungeon, which only added to the feeling of "I'm going to torture you" that everyone was laughing about (me, nervously). First things first, handwraps. (See picture above.)
I have to say, I love watching this. I loved even more having it done to me. It feels so...I don't know...official? When I started learning boxing at the gym, the whole handwrapping mystified me. There is a certain process that must be followed to protect the hand from harm, but I just couldn't figure it out, even with a step-by-step internet guide. For me, it's one of those things I'll have to learn hands-on. Instead, I went to Dick's and bought myself some handwrap gloves. I told Hubs that these gloves make me feel uber-powerful. Sometimes they feel like my magic gloves, and I have been known to wear them through my ST just to extend that feeling of power. (There's a picture of them on my front page right now.) Still, the handwrapping feels much more official, therefore, more powerful.
So what did we learn in our hour-long session?
1 - Boxing stance. Knees bent always. Left foot at 45 degree angle in front, square up the back leg. Hands up. Protect the girls (elbows in). Shoulders relaxed. Turn at the waist, pivot at the hip. Right hand next to the right cheek, left hand in front more, looking over the left knuckles.
I cannot tell you how long it took me to "get this." It sounds so easy, but one wrong move (I wasn't squaring up my back leg) and it throws everything off. Every punch is harder if you aren't in the right stance. Every move is more difficult. For nearly half an hour I couldn't understand why everything was just SOO difficult...and then CT came over and once again, moved my foot...and I got it. I finally knew what I was doing wrong and suddenly, the boxing felt more natural.
2 - Jabs. Left hand is odd numbers, right hand is even. (Left - 1, 3, 5, 7, no 9) (Right - 2, 4, 6, 8, 10).
I have no clue what any number is other than 1 or 2, though. *lol* That's where our focus was. We learned to take a step and jab at the same time. A simple (1) Jab punch. Then we moved on to the 1-2 punch. A jab with a right cross. We learned how to move with that. Step with your forward foot while you jab, retract that arm, cross the body as you bring out the right arm, heel out, and then retract the right as you finish by bringing the back foot up to reset your stance.
It's really difficult to describe everything, so credit where credit it due to CT for making me understand! By the time we left we knew: 1 (jab), 1-2, and 1-1-2 combinations.
3 - Moving. The pivot and the slide. There is NO WAY I can describe this to you, especially considering I'm still a little fuzzy on how to do them properly. It was a lot of information to absorb in one hour, and this was where we focused least. Still, we learned how to pivot and slide in order to move out of the way of a punch and in order to move into a better position. Even though I'm not even thinking about sparring anytime soon, this can really come in handy (and I plan on practicing it) to move with the punching bag and get the best angle on it.
We started out on some broken down half mats, which caused me a little trouble as far as tripping went. (They didn't call me Trippy at Girl Scout camp for nothing!) First shadow boxing, then punching the padded mats/gloves on his hands as he shouted - 1, 1, 2!
I was sweating pretty soon after we started punching...probably because I'm not known for doing things halfway. I commit. Sometimes I overthink (a problem we discussed - he said to stop thinking and just go), but I always commit to being my best at whatever I'm doing. I can say one thing, he didn't once tell me I punched like a girl.
He taught us the proper way to punch (with your first two knuckles) and taught us what NOT to do. He kept saying, "If you do it like THIS, you WILL break your hand." (That's exactly why I scheduled this appointment! So I feel safer punching the bag at the gym on my own!)
Finally, we moved to the punching bags. He set the training ring timer (which was SUPER loud! EEP!). We started with jabs. It felt like it lasted FOREVER!! I learned that I need to get closer to the bag and shorten my jabs up. I learned that jabbing can make you REALLY SORE! *lol* We then did the 1-2 combination. Left hand, right hand. Much more fun, but it moved the bag much more. He taught us to hit again when the bag was coming back (such valuable information!) and I started to understand a little more how boxing training on a bag could work. I had been playing before, now I knew what I was doing a little bit. After a while on 1-2, he really challenged us. First 1-2, then 1-1-2. Took me a while to get used to all the swinging the bag did, but I eventually started earning "GOOD!"s from CT who was behind me. I felt like I was understanding the rhythm of boxing, or at least of boxing training.
For me it's still not at all about fighting someone. Boxing isn't about hitting someone in the face for me. Sure, it's probably a good skill to have if I'm ever in trouble, but that's not what it's about.
For me, it's still all about the calorie burn - the total body workout - and the POWER I feel when I'm punching the air or a padded bag or glove.
As for my experience there - yep, I'd do it again. In fact, we scheduled another lesson for February 26th at 2pm. There wasn't even a second guessing on either of our minds. He said, "Do you want to reschedule?" and we said "YES!" We both sweated a lot. We both had a ton of fun laughing. And I think we both felt like we improved, even in just a short hour-long session. CT is funny. He likes to crack jokes. His insults never hit hard because he's too jovial with them. "You hit like a girl!" is followed by a brief interpretation of such action, making HIM look like a fool and US laugh uncontrollably.
From what I know, he's also quite good. He's the main boxing coach at the gym, and while I don't have a list of his credentials, I know that he comes from upstate NY, where he apparently had a lot of success with big amateur and professional fights and tournaments. He also really loves the sport...you can tell. He's committed to the gym and to making sure people like us get what we want out of it, but that we learn to do it right. Professional with a jovial nature -- the perfect coach. I can also tell that if I took this to another level, this would be the guy that would put me through my paces and really get tough. I can tell he has that in him, but he holds back on us newbies. He's also not a musclehead type. He's small. I couldn't get over how small he was! *lol*
Anyhow, yep, amazing success! I'm sore ALL over, but especially in my arms and shoulders. I'm going to add in regular training on the bags at least once a week so I don't forget what I learned between now and February 26th. (I want to learn MORE, not relearn everything I forgot, you know?!)
Boxing Adventure Completed
Calories burned: Upwards of 800-900
Sweat lost: at least a gallon! It was dripping in my eye! I will NOT forget my towel next time!
Fun had: more than a gallon! Can't wait to do it again. We've even discussed possibly taking kickboxing classes there...we shall see...