Truth be told, I'm not really sure I consider myself a real boxer. You see, I've never trained day and night, had to endure grueling weight cuts, or stepped into a ring and looked another fighter in the eyes anticipating the ding of the bell. I've never competed in a boxing match. (I'm not sure that would be the case had I found boxing earlier.)
I'm probably not who you'd think fits the typical boxer profile either. I'm 38. Female. Worked 15 years in IT for a Fortune 500 company. Suburban housewife. Mother. Volunteer for my kids' school PTO. Never worked out. What I found out was that I am a boxer at heart and a true fighter. Not sure why that was surprising. I honestly believe women are born and bred fighters. We fight to be treated equally among our male siblings. We fight for a voice in school. We fight to be heard. We fight for a spot at the conference room table and to be taken seriously by male counterparts in the workplace. We fight to protect our bodies from abuse. We fight and advocate for our children. Never doubt, there is a fighter inside of every women.
I started my boxing journey attending a boxing for exercise class at a local church. After one hour, I was hooked! (No pun intended, but I do love throwing a hook.) I came home and immediately googled how-to videos for punches. I was going back in a week and you better believe I was going to throw a jab with more precision. In that one hour class, I learned my idea of fitness required for boxing was a bit off. And when I joined Lions Den 2 months later, I learned my perception of boxing as a sport was skewed as well.
Did you know that boxing requires full body fitness? It's not just standing round and using arm muscles here and there to throw punches. It was obvious how clueless I was when the day after my first hour of what I referred to as church boxing, my legs and booty muscles were burning and it hurt to walk for a day. A good boxing stance, I learned was one where you are always on your toes and knees are bent. An efficient and effective punch can be thrown with power from legs and torque from hips and shoulders. Later, when I progressed to sparring, I was educated in just how much cardiovascular fitness is necessary. I am sure there is a specific measurement for this out in the fitness terminology world. But trust me. It is lots and lots and then lots more and then lots on top of lots.
One of the most pleasantly surprising aspects of boxing as a sport was how much thinking is involved. It's not just two people going in to barbarically bash each other's face in. Well, maybe sometimes it could be. But, my analytical brain was hyped after learning how much strategy and precision and timing and complex this sport is. One misstep, a slight hesitation, minor calculation error, tiny shift of weight and the other boxer could have a serious advantage (aka you're gonna get punched!). Boxing is like chess. But instead of setting up moves, you're setting up punches. Just like chess, boxing rounds are won by tactical mistakes.
So there is some truth in the saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover." You can't judge a boxer by who they are outside of the ring and you can't judge a sport until you've tried it. I am so glad I had the nerve to try something new and that I kept an open mind to the experience. I may fulfill many roles in my day to day life, but I am forever a boxer too.