* The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!
Ha ha ha. Okay, right off the bat, let me just say just typing the title of this article makes me laugh. Me...and the 'boxing world'...ya, not sure those two match up.
But I've never been the type of person who lets other people dictate what I should be doing.
I firmly believe you CAN do anything you set your mind to. And when I get an idea in my head...well let's just say it's hard to change my mind.
I am currently taking a boxing class and a kickboxing class. Now let me add that I am the only female in my classes. In addition, 95% of the class participants are young men in their twenties. I, as a 38 year old mother of two, stand out like a sore thumb. So how do I fit into the boxing world? Like a square peg in a round hole. And what do I say to that? ... BRING IT THE F ON!
I may end up on a gurney at some point or at the very least earn a broken nose, but I am determined to learn how to box. I'm not interested in the fluffy, dancy, boxing workout classes. I wanna learn the real deal... even if that means black eyes and swollen body parts...and I'm okay with that.
Before I go into a little about the classes, let me give you a little insight into why I would want to put myself in a position where men are punching and kicking me.
I think the whole boxing fascination for me started in childhood. My dad used to watch boxing while I would be all cuddled up on the couch with him. He loved Muhammad Ali and would often dance around with his dukes up pretending to be him. I remember thinking it was so cool that people paid to watch two people punch each other. Not sure why that seemed cool to a 5 year old little girl, but hey... I never did fall into the 'normal' category. I also still remember vividly my dad taking me out to the backyard to teach me how to throw a punch. This valuable lesson was a result of my very first incident where a boy pulled my pigtails. He also taught me that an excellent way to send a message to a stinky, pesky boy was a good solid kick to the balls. And believe me, that one, I used quite a bit. And he was right. Very effective :)
In addition to the fond introduction to boxing as a child, it continued to be an interest in the back of my mind as I got older, but one I never acted on.
In my teens and early twenties I focused on tennis. My parents introduced me to tennis as a very small child and I loved it. It became something I spent a lot of time doing. I was involved with tennis camps and lessons at a local Racquet Club and then went onto a private coach. I played competitively in high school and early college. In my sophomore year of college, I earned the Female Athlete of the Year Award. So I didn't have a lot of time to dive into my boxing interest, or at least I didn't think I did.
In the rest of my twenties, I focused all my time in earning my Bachelor and Masters degrees while I was interning and working. So in the little spare time I had, I shit-canned sports and replaced it with partying. Ya, I know...hindsight is 20/20. Live and learn.
By the time my twenties were over, I was married to my hubby Jay and started a family. And then I decided to get fat. So at that point anything sports related was off my radar...in a big ass way. But when I started my weight loss journey two and a half years ago, the idea of boxing kept creeping up again. I knew it was out of the question then. I mean I was 260 lbs and nearly died going up a flight of stairs. But I started to manifest this boxing interest again and like I said, when I get an idea in my head...
I told my husband once I lost my weight, I wanted to learn how to box. He looked at me like I was crazy but nodded and said that would be cool (all the while probably thinking it would never happen anyway, because I had the monstrous goal of losing 120 lbs). I told him I wanted him to box with me. Again, more nods.
So fast forward to a few months ago and I found myself dragging the Hubs to go sign up for boxing and kickboxing at a Combat Sports gym. I waited a VERY long time for this! I spent two years busting my ass to lose 120 lbs, changed everything about my life to achieve true health and fitness, and had gone through a body lift surgery which came with a very long, very painful recovery. So this was a long time coming. And I earned it fair and square. I was so excited, I thought I was going to burst. Jay...not so much. It wasn't that he was against it, but he really was only joining because he knew how much it meant to me. But I was banking on the fact that once he started it, he would love it. And once again...I was right :) He does love it.
Jay and I joined up for a boxing class and a kickboxing class. Now let me just say that these classes are not the wanna-be, pretend boxing classes at the local gyms. This shit is serious...and if you're not in shape, you gots some work to do. Fo Sho.
A few weeks ago in kickboxing class, I was sparring with my instructor Alex. He is a great teacher...and a powerhouse. He is a World Combat League Fighter. We were suppose to spar at 50% strength. I told him I would give him 50% but he should give me 5%, lol. I still ended up with Advil and frozen peas as part of my routine for the next two days. My legs and knees were black and blue, swollen, and had huge lumps on them. I was joking around with him about it the next week. I told him I bought padded combat compression shorts for added protection and he didn't believe me. When I showed up to class with them on, he had this look on his face of total disbelief. It was friggin hilarious. But in all honesty, I do like sparring with him (even if I have to fear for my life, lol). He is an excellent instructor and immediately picks up on even the smallest mistakes as they are happening. So you can correct things before they even become a thought, let alone a pattern. And as for the injuries, that's part of it. If I don't want to get so banged up, it's my responsibility to learn the proper blocks and practice more. So obviously, I have lots of work to do, lol.
This video is my instructor Alex teaching us a kickboxing combo. (My husband Jay and I are in the far left of the video.)
This next video is actual footage from the sparring with Coach Alex that I talked about where I ended up with swollen and bruised legs and knees. The Hubs is first on the scene (very far left) and then it pans to me trying not to get knocked out, lol.
Boxing class is just as fun...and just as dangerous, lol. Two classes ago, we were being evaluated by our instructor, Dave. We had to spar with him in the ring. I ended up with a near broken nose. Was this broken nose from my instructor? Uh, no. It was from my husband!! Now, as much as I would like to report that my injury was from a bona fide sparring match, sadly...it was not. As Jay was ducking in between the ropes to get out of the ring, I was ducking in between the ropes to get into the ring. His head crashed into my nose. Ouch.
I was thoroughly convinced when I moved my hand away from my face, my nose was going to be next to my ear. The look on Jay's face was priceless. He looked scared as hell. He said he was ready to run out of the place and race home to pack his bags. He was pretty sure if he didn't leave on his own, I would kill him in his sleep, lol. But truthfully, it wasn't any more his fault than it was mine. We both shared the blame and I wasn't mad in the least. He said he was sorry about 100 times in the following couple days. So I milked it a little and teased him about it, but the apologies were not necessary. ONLY I would nearly break my nose in boxing class... by NOT boxing. Dear Lord...
So last week in boxing class, Jay and I were standing right next to each other putting on our gloves before class started. He let go of the velcro strap and his hand shot out and punched me right in the nose. I mean, are you kidding me? It barely hit me and we laughed about it, but I think my nose has a deathwish...and so does my husband ;)
I'm not sure how good at boxing and kickboxing I'll ever get, but I know for damn sure I'm gonna try my best. And most of all, I'm gonna have fun.
I'm at a point in my life that the only person I have anything to prove to...is myself.
And I'm old enough to have learned that what everyone else wants from you doesn't hold any weight or meaning. It's only what you want from yourself that is important. And how hard you work (or how hard you don't work) to get what you want shows your true character. So I'm going to give this new adventure my all and in the end... that will be good enough.
But I'm not gonna lie.... I'm hoping to kick some major ass before it's all said and done ;)
"To dream anything you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.", Bernard Edmonds