So it began. My journey to combat the decline started in earnest yesterday with the first day of training at Impakt for the September White Collar Boxing event. Foolishly, I had hoped that the requirement for fighters not to have fought before would have meant that they were in the same condition as I am. Foolishly, indeed. This event is apparently not solely for unfit bankers and lawyers (qualify in the latter category). A variety of people turned up yesterday – not just in terms of fitness, but also in terms of nationalities and jobs.
Despite out differences, I think most of us were in awe when we saw our head coach, Alain “the Panther” Ngalani, up-close in person. I thought Muay Thai shorts had slits in the side to aid movement and kicking. For Alain, if the slits were not there, I doubt his thighs would fit in the shorts at all.
The initial weigh-in was rather upsetting and two junk trips in two weeks have done their damage, pushing me back above the 91 kg top weight division cut-off which I had worked hard to get below since signing-up to fight. For me, this cut-off is somewhat like an electric fence that I should avoid because of the free-weight category above it. Clearly I need to do a lot more work to stay on the lower side of the line. We’ll see what next week’s weigh-in produces, to determine how radically I need to change my (already significantly altered) diet.
Then came the training. “You win the training, you win the fight” accordingly to the Panther. My take on this is that if you somehow manage to win the training, you may as well sign up for a late place in the Olympics. It was TOUGH. 50 push-ups, 50 squat jumps, 40 push-ups, 40 squat jumps, 30 push-ups, 30 squat jumps… and if your knees touch the floor you ‘may as well tell us all that you are a girl’. Nice.
After the squat wrestling we finished with three sets of 25 punching sit-ups and 25 leg-raises. I wasn’t expecting an audience for the final set of leg-raises, but I’m glad of it. The fact that 20 guys (including the Panther) stood around, encouraging me to push through the final 10 raises made me realise that we 20 will be going through this together. At the end of the three months, I will step into the ring to fight one of the group. At that point, I am pretty sure I will have made 19 companions and friends who have attempted and (hopefully) finished a very difficult, but rewarding journey.
The first day was tough but, thanks to the introduction and weigh-in, short. I have a feeling that on 9 September I may think the same about the whole journey.