Before joining Kickboxing, sport was non-existent in my world other than watching Rugby on TV. I was very sporty at school and ran for the county but fast-forward almost 30 years and about nine extra stone, the most exercise I got was walking to the photocopier at work or the occasional walk of an evening.
I used to love running but was scared to go out to try as being a big girl some people think it’s funny to laugh and point at the wobbly bird attempting to run down the road in a red sweaty haze. I tried it once and a group of young lads laughed, pointed and threw a bottle of water at me so I swore never again!
I saw the advert for Kickboxing on my work intranet – I liked the idea of using it for stress relief as my job can be quite stressful so I was hoping it would help. I’ve never had much self-confidence so I was hoping it would make me feel strong and empowered. My son’s girlfriend Keeley was interested in coming along so it was nice to have some bonding time with her.
I was so scared (but excited) for my first lesson. I went to watch a session first and everyone looked like they were having so much fun that I was raring to go. I didn’t think I would be any good, but I knew I would give it my best shot. In preparation I bought the pinkest boxing gloves, focus pads, wrist and ankle supports so there was no way I could back out. My family gave me the raised eyebrow look which says are you mad, but I couldn’t wait to see if I could manage it.
As I walked into the Dojo I was scared stiff, I thought that everyone was thinner than me, younger than me and knew what they were doing. But they were so welcoming and made me feel part of the group from the first minute I walked in the door. They encouraged me to give it a go but not to push myself. The trainer was amazing and made sure I wasn’t going to push too hard and hurt myself. I was bright red and sweating by the end of the warm up, I thought I would never manage a whole hour.
The time went so quickly and before I knew the session ended, but I was still buzzing. I learnt so much about myself: I can run, I am flexible, I can do the splits and boy can I punch. Nobody cared if I had extra lumps and bumps, nobody cared that it took me longer to do ten press-ups, nobody cared that I looked like a hot mess. I loved it and couldn’t wait for next week. When I got home my poor husband wanted to go to sleep as it was late but I just chewed his ear off for two hours. I also lost three pounds that week!
The only criticism I would have is that there are not enough groups like this where us big girls can exercise without worrying what we look like. I’m so lucky to have found Shudan Academy and Jeff Gonsalves, my life has changed and nobody messes with me anymore!