Every day is the right day to highlight and work towards gender equality, but International…
Have you ever had a Rocky Balboa moment? You know the one I’m talking about. That scene in the movie where Rocky triumphantly races up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, throwing punches in the air and feeling on top of the world? For me, my Rocky moment happened at Stockade Training Centre – only without theme music, or a 1970’s tracksuit ensemble.
In all seriousness, I can relate to Rocky’s moment. Although in my case it was more about conquering a fear than conquering the stairs. Ever since I’d agreed to road test Women’s Boxing classes at Stockade Training Centre in Dickson, I’d been afraid. After all, classes are taught by former Australian Flyweight champion and former Oceana Bantamweight champion Bianca Elmir. I was scared I’d be out of my depth, or that I wouldn’t be up to the challenge.
Sound familiar? Well ladies, fear no more! I can testify that what you’ll find at Stockade is nothing short of a group of kind, supportive and welcoming women of all fitness levels. The lovely Bianca gently held my trembling hand through the whole experience, assuring me that I was more than capable. She taught me a few basic moves before we met with the rest of the ladies and began the class.
We started off with some skipping to warm up, and then got straight into some warm up exercises with a partner. What I thought was great was that we were continually changing partners. This means that everybody doesn’t pair off into groups straight away and you’re not left with that traumatic feeling of being the last kid picked in high school P.E. It’s also a nice way to make sure that you’re meeting lots of new people and getting to work with women of different fitness levels.
One of my favorite warm ups was linking ankles with your partner and doing a bit of light sparring – trying to throw punches while also trying to block with your gloves or by leaning back. It was fun and got the class giggling, but also felt like it was engaging your whole body. That’s one of the biggest benefits of boxing – you’re constantly using all the muscles in your body. You’re getting your heart rate up, burning fat and building lean muscle.
Next we changed partners and started doing some drills involving straight punches, hooks and upper cuts while moving backwards or forwards. I found that this was as much a mental challenge as a physical one, as I struggled to remember the sequences and muddled up more than a few times – while punching and while using my gloves as pads for my partner, who was patient and understanding. She smiled, assuring me that everyone makes mistakes in their first class.
“We all still make mistakes” she says, “that’s why you can hear us laughing all the time”. I looked around the room and saw that she was right. Everyone was there for the same reason – trying to improve their technique and their fitness in general and having a great time while they’re doing it.
We wrapped up the class with some squats and ab work and then a good stretch. Everyone’s really chatty and comfortable with each other, and while it is a serious class – and a challenging one at that – you can tell that it’s as much about the training as it is about the social, fun element.
If you’re afraid to try it out or your own, don’t be. I didn’t take a friend and I was welcomed into the group as though I’d been there all along. Nobody was hesitant to partner up with me because I was the “newbie”, everyone was friendly and keen to help me out.
The classes are fantastic for a bit of a self-confidence boost. Not only do you get the satisfaction of tackling a challenge, but also by learning self-defence techniques you feel empowered and strong – a bit like our friend Rocky. It’s also great for taking out your aggression at the end of a long day. Feel free to use your imagination when punching for a little extra motivation!
These classes are suitable for all fitness levels. Bianca kept a watchful eye on me and adapted the workout to suit my ability, which took a bit of the pressure off and made me feel comfortable. The supportive environment is perfect for anyone new to boxing, or to regular exercise for that matter. Classes are also held in a private area downstairs so you never get the feeling that you’re being watched.
My biggest piece of advice here would be to not make my mistake and be intimidated – there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. If you have the courage to give it a go, you’ll be rewarded with a fun, fast paced class that breaks the monotony of your standard cardio or weights workout.