As someone who avoids blood and violence at all costs (I look away during the Grey’s Anatomy surgery scenes), I never thought I'd be interested in watching boxing, much less attending a boxing class.
For me at least, the word "boxing" first brings to mind images of Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali squaring off in a ring, bloody and bruised. Thus, besides my aversion to blood, I didn’t exactly associate boxing with being female-friendly.
But all that changed this year when women were able to compete in three boxing events for the first time in the 2012 Olympics, proving once and for all that boxing isn’t just for men anymore.
And why shouldn't the fairer sex take part in this sport? Besides being a form of self-defense, boxing increases confidence, speed, and agility by combining cardio and strength training.
Boxing gym memberships can be pricy, but luckily for me, Church Street Boxing in NYC offers a free trial class most nights. No equipment is needed, although if you decide to do it regularly, I'd recommend buying your own hand wraps and gloves.
One glance inside quickly told me that the people at Church Street took their boxing seriously. The boxing gym had all the elements I'd expect: big, beefy men, a boxing ring, and some good old fashioned smack talk. But it also provided a great workout, and once we started training, I didn't feel as out of place.
Since I was a beginner, I spent most of the class perfecting the basic boxer stance and simple moves such as the jab and cross.
Then we moved on to punching the bags. In case you have never hit a proper punching bag before, I should note that these bags are a lot harder to hit than it looks in the movies.
Although boxing focuses on upper body moves, I had the most trouble figuring out my footwork. Like Krav Maga, my favorite part of class was at the end when I was able to practice my throws one-on-one with my instructor.
Though I'm a far cry from Hilary Swank, the combination of punching and cardio is one of my favorite stress relievers.
Looking to try boxing without the cost of the gym? Try these moves at home.
Cue the Rocky theme music.