I'm a lover, not a fighter. . .
…that’s what my boxing teacher often says, even though she’s a three-time Golden Glove title winner. I can identify with that phrase. I don’t enjoy watching people hit each other, and have never been attracted to fighting sports. I’m a fairly quiet person who avoids conflict like the plague. (Embarrassing admission: Once when I was in a young women’s presidency some of the girls started shouting at each other and I ran and left the building–although I think I would handle that differently now). So it was rather out of character for me when I took up boxing about a year ago. I showed up to the class at my gym out of curiosity, and was immediately hooked. For several months while I was learning the footwork and the mechanics of the punches, I swore I would never want to hit a real person. Yet I persisted at learning all the techniques– conditioning my body, punching a bag, doing drills. After a while I began to love the feeling of hitting the bag, although it took longer to admit to myself that I actually enjoyed this aggressive action. A couple of months ago I finally stepped into the ring. Not an actual fight, mind you, just sparring practice. At first I felt guilty every time I landed a punch. That was quickly alleviated after I had taken a few punches myself and realized it really doesn’t hurt that much, and by the touching of gloves, a mandatory gesture of good will at the beginning and end of each round. I’ve been thinking about what it is that keeps me going back, and what learning a fighting sport changes about by view of myself. I’ve been socialized to be nice, sweet and gentle. Power and aggression are often seen as intimidating in a woman, or at the very least unladylike. Through learning the art of boxing I’ve been exploring aspects of myself that are wilder, more aggressive, more powerful. I’ve been nurturing that strong woman within me. I feel physically powerful and more confident. I don’t need to disown or repress my fighting spirit.
I’m a lover AND a fighter.
What makes you feel strong? (physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise)