Once a week, hopefully soon to be twice a week I go to a boxing gym for an hour and half of boxing training , it is grueling, it is getting easier and it is definitely enjoyable.

So first off I am not going and getting my head ‘tapped’ in a boxing ring learning painful lessons from my mistakes, sparring is reserved for those with skill and experience and even then it seems relatively paced. Having said that watching the juniors slog it out in the session beforehand is humbling , what they lack in strength (compared to full grown men) they gain in agility and skill as they fearlessly slog it out.

The boxing sessions are becoming easier, I feel like I am making small improvements each week yet I still sweat like a bastard during the warm-up, hopefully it is from effort.

My punches seem to be improving and I am hearing more of those satisfying thwacks when I hit pads full on , people comment that when I hook the pad they are holding it feels like their shoulder is getting ripped out the socket, it’s a great thing to hear but I am very aware that pad-work is not a measure of how good I’ll actually be at boxing.

Boxing itself really isn’t just hitting something, well it is but there is so much more to it, there is the increased fitness and awareness, the stamina and incredible amount of technique to learn then that highly prized buzz afterward, boxing also feeds into that natural aggression we all possess which I think we can healthily tap into in controlled bouts.

‘Last round’ Jon will shout as we enter the last trio of 30 second exercises, firstly we box a hanging bag, then ab exercises before finally leg exercises such as squats or star jumps, we have already done this 7 times with some welcome 30 second breaks every 3 minutes. My eyes sting with the sweat dripping from my brow and I no longer care that I am gasping for air, I do what I can to keep good form, chin tucked in arms up, I hit the bag losing the energy to snap my arm back into guard quickly, I deliver several straight punches then twist to my left as I sink a meaty hook into my leathery opponent, then unable to think or act out another combo I hook with my left arm, I do what I can to keep hitting, it must look pathetic to an outsider but I am sapped of energy and it feels great. The ab exercises make me grunt like a caveman and the final leg exercises finish me off,

‘TIME!’ Jon shouts , I wander over to my water bottle gulping down air my heart clanging in my chest , I have to keep moving around to aid this very vital organ , you can’t just stop moving after all that exercise. I swig from my water bottle then we don gloves spending the next 40 minutes practicing routines with pads before finally ending on a punishing circuit. It feels great afterward and to be honest it feels pretty damn good during the training , venting aggression with a nice stream of adrenaline. There is very little talking , our instructor doesn’t stand around lecturing us on the moves, he gives out short pieces of advice so you can crack on and practice, a welcome learning format.

I would love to improve in boxing, become more competent and be able to spar, sadly with a previous eye injury I have to be careful, but I love to think I could become a decent boxing student and spar with those who will go on to glory.

‘In the red corner, me, in the blue corner myself 4 months ago’, I am hoping that soon my opponent will be me last week.

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