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MY STORY WITH BOXING: An interview with an OUTSHOCK ambassador

OUTSHOCK ambassador and former Savate champion Camille shares her story and tips!

MY STORY WITH BOXING

Hi Camille. First up, tell us all about you and your boxing career!

It all began when I was four. I lived in a small village with less than 2000 residents and a limited choice of sports clubs. My brother, who's two years older than me, did Savate boxing. I would see him coming home with medals and trophies. The more I saw, the more I said to my mum that I wanted to do the same thing too. My mum would have preferred me to do dancing but I wouldn't hear of it. I wanted the medals like my brother!

I had to wait until I was five before I could start. Savate boxing very quickly became MY sport. I never felt the need to do anything else. The fun side of it and being with my classmates was great, but it was only when I started competitions at the age of six that something really clicked!

I was soon doing really well and started winning each competition. They say that winning breeds winning, and it was certainly the case for me. I was number 2 in France in my category at the age of 14, and when I was 18 I became French junior champion.

At the age of 19, I started a sports study programme. Unfortunately, I had to stop boxing for a year due to an injury to my cruciate ligaments, but being a competitor at heart there was never a question of me stopping completely. I didn't give up, and through strength of character and hard work, I managed to get back on the podium as the French number 2.

I had to stop competing at a high level when I started work because it requires regular training twice per day. But since Savate boxing has always been the love of my life, it made perfect sense for me to start teaching others.

What has Savate boxing brought to your everyday life?

I'd say it has really shaped my character. Because of boxing, I'm a fighter, I'm a competitor, and I never drop my guard.

It helped me to grow and negotiate my teenage years more easily. In particular, it showed me how to come back from injury and set ambitious goals.

It's really helped my day-to-day life. When faced with a problem or obstacle, you've always got a choice of how to react. Personally, I choose to never give up and to always seek victory. That's all thanks to boxing.

MY STORY WITH BOXING

How did you get ready for your competitions?

Before a competition, one of the most important things is the mental aspect. As I said, I've always been a real competitor. If you want to win, it's your mind that makes all the difference. You have to be in the right place in your mind, confident, ready to give your all, to push your limits. I would always go into my own little bubble. Of course, you need to be very well prepared physically, but without the mental preparation, you can only go so far.I admit I had a few rituals. For example, I had to wear new socks and my favourite sweatshirt for each competition!

You obviously need to be on top form physically, or you won't be able to hold your own in a competition. As I've said, I used to train every day. When I was at boarding school, there were a dozen girls there so we tended to support one another. In the morning we did weight training because you use all of your muscles in the ring. Then we'd do some interval training to improve our cardio. This meant intense physical effort followed by recovery time and so on, and so forth. At night, we would do sparring of course, in order to put everything into practice with a real opponent.

You also have to watch your weight to make sure you can fight in the right category. I wanted to stay below a certain weight to fight in my category. When you box you sweat a lot, which helps you lose weight, but eating and drinking properly is VERY important. You have to make sure you take on enough calories and the right nutrients to give you the energy you need to box, while staying within your weight category. As a dietician, I know that seeking advice from a sports nutrition specialist makes things much easier.

Now you're a coach. Tell us about that!

I've been coaching for seven years now. On average I give four lessons per week with about 20 people in each class. The ages range from 6 to over 50 years old. I love sharing my passion and seeing people improve, grow, and push their limits with my support. It's always over too soon and I feel fantastic after lessons. When you're passionate about something you don't notice the time whizzing by.

Coaching also gives me a chance to take a step back. I used to have trouble accepting defeat, but it's important to have perspective, particularly with children. You can't always win. You have to know how to lose because it's through defeat that you learn things and get better. Before competitions in particular, I try to help relieve the pressure that's on them and put things into perspective. Stress is normal, but when you put too much pressure on yourself that damages your performance. The main thing is to give your all each time. That's how you learn, how you move forward and how you progress.

If someone wanted to start competing, what advice would you give them?

First of all, the main thing is to have fun! It's essential for performance. As I said, give your all every time. Whether you win or lose, if you can tell yourself that you tried your hardest, you'll be satisfied with your performance. You need to learn from your errors and make the most of what you do well. That's how you improve.

To anyone who's unsure, or scared of getting hit, remember that you can choose the type of sparring you want to do. With touch sparring you aren't allowed to kick or punch with power, just touch your opponent, otherwise you get penalised. You don't have to do real fights if you don't want to.

Lastly, train regularly. Preparation gets you ready for action! The more you train, the more you correct errors, capitalise on your strengths, develop good reflexes and good tactics. You can't cheat. You have to work hard at it, but have fun at the same time!

Thanks Camille! You live and breathe your sport. Your story really sums up our OUTSHOCK slogan: Fight Your Limits!

MY STORY WITH BOXING

Andrew

PRIVILEGED INTERVIEWER AND COMBAT SPORTS ENTHUSIAST