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BÉRANGÈRE AND THOMAS TRIED BOXING

 

“It's not over until the bell rings”.

boxing test

Bérangère, in charge of sports advice for Decathlon, and Thomas, member of the Artengo table tennis team, tried out boxing for you. The story.

THE BEGINNING

HER — When I was presented with the possibility of trying boxing, I was a bit confused: sure, I liked the idea, but in reality? Coordinating movements, measuring the range of my strikes, all while maintaining my cardio… It seemed intense.

 

HIM — Although I've watched a lot more musicals than boxing movies, I couldn't wait; the punching bag had been set up at my house for a few weeks, and I was practising my right, left, and uppercut while keeping my guard up, hoping to re-enact the great movie scenes. After such anticipation, there we were. 

boxing test

Her — Imagine. You walk into a dojo set up for boxing. With 90's skater music playing in the background, you are welcomed by Sylvain, medal-winner in the light contact world championships. The class, completely open to beginners, is built so that everyone can adapt to the exercises. So I put on my mitts, told myself that I should've worn contact lenses instead of glasses, congratulated myself for having remembered to mould my mouthguard, and we were off!

 

HIM — We're really going to box? In any case, I had no more excuses, I was fully equipped: gloves, shorts, sleeveless T-shirt with a clear cycling tan, and a mouthguard.  "But... you didn't mould your mouthguard?"… I needed to "mould" it? Oh yeah, it's written on the box: "dunk it in boiling water, place it between your teeth, and put it back in cold water”. Well, it won't stay on as well, and too bad, I'll find another way to save an imprint of my jaw for posterity.

WARMING UP

HER — We started with warm-ups. As a regular at fitness classes at the gym, a runner and a cyclist, I didn't feel (too) hot in the first few minutes (yes, OK, that's why it's called a warm-up you'll say, but whatever).

~HIM — Always for warming up, a few... games, yes, games. Although “you play golf, you play tennis, but you don't play boxing” , the first exercises were clearly recreational, but still very physical: touching your opponent's shoulder or knee without getting touched. Contact without fear of making a wrong move, that I like.

Next was the real boxing class. That's when we start to hear the melody of the over-motivated boxer (a hint: imagine them climbing a whole flight of stairs in Philadelphia - got it?). It'll be strikes for the most seasoned veterans, who will need to put on mouthguards and head guards. For the beginners, it's a combination of strikes facing an opponent with a Thai/kickboxing pad. No need for additional protection, so it was fine that I didn't mould my mouthguard.

A Thai pad?

~HER — What is a Thai pad? You see, it's those padded shields used in training. With that, you can work on sequences with your partner. Left, right, uppercut, knee… Everyone takes a turn to try out a few combinations. There, clearly, I laughed at myself thinking about an initial concern: how to control my strikes so I don't hurt anyone?

It quickly became apparent that I am far from strong enough! In fact, it isn't so easy to strike at the person across from you, even when they are planned, prepared, and measured. Apparently, this hesitation goes away as you train, as I observed when it was my partner's turn to hit! You can really unwind! And if I only take away one thing, it would be this: boxing is a perfect sport for letting off steam.

boxing test

HIM — Here, I'm discovering real boxing. The kind that requires the right placement of each foot, leg, hip, shoulder, elbow, and head. Just like shadows in badminton or katas in karate, you learn routines - combos!

Obviously more complicated than a down-up-B button, this search for the perfect sequence, accurate and targeted, should not hide the explosivity of this sport, the pleasure of an effective strike, the feeling of letting out your energy with a superb uppercut which reminds me of a prowess of a soldier with an impeccable haircut from a video game I spent long hours playing as a teenager.

SO, WILL THERE BE MORE BOXING CLASSES?

HER — I don't see myself becoming a champion worthy of a boxing movie, but I willingly grant that boxing is a sport with a lot going for it: agility, power, cardio... boxing is a complete sport, open to everyone, that has a lot more to offer than the stereotypes about it. After that first class, I was particularly impressed by the respect and mutual support.

HIM — That's what I remember, too: everybody's great mindset. Nobody is there to hurt anyone, nobody has anything to prove or is looking for a trophy. In boxing, trophies are won in the ring, not in the dojo or fitness club. And although I wasn't interested in the technical or duelling aspect, and I was just motivated by the desire to blow off steam, Combat Circuit and Combat Training sessions (a mix of cross training and boxing) would both fit the bill.

HER — I still think about the benefits of boxing promised by Ewa: toning, strengthening and cardio. Tempting!

OTHER TESTS HERE!