…and week one of getting punched IN THE FACE.
MONDAY I barely recall. It had something to do with press-ups, burpess and punching bags. I overhear a member of staff complaining about having to clean blood off the floor this time last year after the first sparring sessions.
TUESDAY It’s April Fool’s Day! And, fool that I am, I’m too slow to partner up and end up with a man who knows his way around with a pair of 16oz gloves.
I find sparring with 16oz-ers rather like an accurate pillow fight, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be! We end up doing a bit of wrestling because neither of us are willing to back up and get some distance.
There’s an awkward moment when the coach shouts ”TIME”; simultaneously I throw a punch and my opponent drops his guard. SPLAT. I get him right in the forehead and start apologizing profusely. The coach thinks it’s rather funny and tells us that it is a lesson to always be on our guard!
THURSDAY It’s our turn to do some grueling work-outs on the bags. My nice new grey vest-top turns two shades darker. We’re told that we girls are not working hard enough (the weakest group in four years) and we’re all in trouble.
FRIDAY I end up sparring with a petite girl who is very, very fit. Her press-ups, burpees and suicide runs are nothing short of impressive. Turns out she’s a super-fast boxer, too. So I try to punch back as fast as possible. The coach laughs at us and says that we’re at each other like a pair of Spring Bunnies. He has to tell us twice to tone it down, and we box away for nearly a minute before realising that everyone else is packing away and getting ready to warm down.
My forehead is pretty sore for the rest of the day and I start doing smart things like putting the quiches in the oven without turning it on.
I’m going to practice my guard!
MONDAY - We’re shadow boxing, practicing jabs. Oh yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about this. I’m smashing my right hand into the air with poise and power. I might be a rubbish runner, but these punches are looking NICE.
One of the coaches comes over, watches me a moment, and says;
-Your jab hand is your OTHER left hand.
Damn it. I start flinging my left hand around like I’m trying to get rid of a wrist cramp. No longer looking or feeling so great.
TUESDAY- We’re all in the Dead Bug position. My legs start twitching and trying to curl up. So I start talking to them;
-Howay yer useless f&*kers! You’re going to get us in trouble! The arms are doing FINE. What’s your damn PROBLEM?
The same coach who caught me on Tuesday suddenly appears at my head, and looks down at me.
-Are you okay down there?
-Yes, coach. All good. Just having an argument with my legs.
I spend Wednesday wondering if I’ve wasted too much time worrying about my physical fitness, and not quite enough time wondering about my psychological fitness.
My landlord calls me at 7am to tell me that we must vacate the property by Saturday, because he has found someone else to move in. I practice lots of shadow boxing in the mirror.
THURSDAY- We have done something wrong, so we’re doing suicide runs AGAIN (sprint to line one, touch it, sprint back; sprint to line two, touch it; sprint back; sprint to line three, touch it, sprint back). Just before I reach the finish line, a man kindly encourages another in the class: KEEP GOING!
We all misinterpret this as an instruction from one of the coaches. We keep going. And going. And going. Eventually, the head coach gets bored and asks us if we have EVER had to do continuous suicide runs before.
-Then why did you keep going?
We get back to lovely press-ups and burpees (face plant/press up followed by a jump) and punching while watering the gymnasium floor with sweat.
My mouth starts bleeding thanks to my wonderful $5 mouth-guard. It refuses to stay and guard my mouth and much prefers to fire out and greet the world while I’m trying to do burpees. My partner decides to take me on a romantic jaunte into town and he buys me a fancy Canterbury mouth-guard. He even offers to punch me in the face so that I can ‘wear it in’. It is so comfortable compared to the last one, I could sleep in it. I have decided that anyone who wishes to get used to mouth-guards should buy the most hideously uncomfortable one they can find, suffer it for a few days, then buy a good one (#tip-top-training-tips).
FRIDAY- I find out that we can stay in the flat; we have found new house-mates and the landlord has agreed to let us stay! I get to work an hour late due to training and one of the bakers, a Philippine man mysteriously known as The Master, appears from behind the shadows of the ovens.
-I hear your are boxing now.
I’m shocked, I have never heard this man speak English before.
-I will be your mental master trainer.
He spends the rest of the day giving me advice such as how to elbow someone in the face; on watching ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and what faces to pull to distract my opponent.
All in all, a canny interesting week.