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Punching above my weight? My first experience with University of York Boxing Club

Photo Credit: Ailsa Atkinson
Photo Credit: Ailsa Atkinson
Photo Credit: Ailsa Atkinson

I have always wanted to be good at sports so, this year, I decided to be brave and try a sports society. ‘What sport should I try first?’ I wondered. For me, the obvious choice was Boxing. It’s completely different to anything I’ve tried before, and was something I’d always quite liked the idea of.

Despite having heard only good things about the club, I was so nervous walking into York Sports Centre for my first session. All I could think of were the five minutes I’ve seen of Rocky and the half match that I saw one year when I turned the Olympics on. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first session you have with Boxing Society is free, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I stuffed my bag against the wall and joined in the warm up. The warm up consisted of a number of exercises, called out by one of the committee members as they did a more intensive warm up of their own. So far, I was quite enjoying it. The exercises were varied and interesting, which meant that I didn’t have time to think about getting tired.

All of the newbies were taken to the side when the main activities started. I did my usual, ‘shall I pretend I’m not new just so I don’t have to be singled out?’ internal debate, sucked it up and joined them. I’m really glad I did. One of the best things about Boxing Society is that they make sure that everyone has the footwork, and arm work, down before they’re allowed to put on gloves and practice with the rest of the club. I learnt the difference between a hook and a jab, how to dodge a blow without tripping myself up (always useful), and practiced until I was deemed ready.

Once I was re-integrated, I finally realised how hard boxing actually is. True to form, the committee were great at coming round and giving advice, telling us how to improve the moves we were practicing but always being encouraging. It takes quite a lot out of you as well; my arms had never felt heavier with tiredness and my whole body ached the next morning. But I felt amazing. There’s something incredibly fun in punching training pads repeatedly, despite how tired it makes you. I could see why people found participating in a sport so enjoyable; having other people around you practicing the same exercises is so much more inspiring than just running on a treadmill.

For anyone who has watched members of the committee box each other, it is obvious that there is an art to the sport. Despite looking quite aggressive (obviously), the footwork has to be spot on in order to really get to grips with hitting your target correctly or dodging a blow. Remembering combinations is something I’ll have to get better at, because these need to be practiced over and over as part of your training. It takes a while to get it right, but I was given plenty of tips to help me improve. I left my first session exhausted, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.

Boxing Club holds training sessions throughout the week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings in York Sports Centre.