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Battles and wars!

16 Jul

Lets not talk about my last blog post and the epic failure of that challenge I set myself.

Let’s talk about a different challenge I set myself and succeeded at!

Back in May I tweeted about White Collar Boxing and the fact that I was going to train for 9 weeks and then get in the ring.

Since then I have trained so, so hard. Three times a week I hit up the gym in Star Lane and trained with some of London’s finest boxing trainers and fighters.

I was the tallest and heaviest lady so I did wonder if they would need to match me up with a guy but they found a “close” match for me. At least based on ability.

We were both rubbish haha.

Training consisted of hot evenings in a boxing gym in East London, shadow boxing, practise against the bags. Core work galore. As the weather for hotter the sessions got harder. There were times I would come out of a session wanting to cry from the intensity. Feeling sick and tired, but perseverance is the key.

Having been matched with my opponent we no longer partnered up in any of the sessions. She was a nice enough lady but in total honest her style baffled me. She struggled to find her natural stance as orthodox or south paw. I felt like she jumped in to her punches, not thinking them through, just reacting to my height and weight. It worried me.

It seemed to me that boxing should be about control and thought. Not just hitting the person in front of you.

I found that I felt much slower than her as I was thinking about my moves and where I could hit her. (she may have been thinking this too but obviously I’m not in her brain.

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Fight night arrived and fight music chosen, I rocked up to the Troxy in East London in suddenly felt very nervous. Even though I had 100% improved over the weeks, I was still very basic in my training. I don’t think the word Novice covered. But I had to believe!

I was very lucky that a friend of mine and an experience MMA fighter and trainer was acting as corner man to one of the other fighters, so I took advantage of him and he became my corner man too. He warmed me up, took me through techniques and gave me the belief.

I was due to fight at 8.40pm and once the event had started I took some time out to watch some of the friends I had made during training take on their opponents. Having all the fighters come from one pool meant it was hard to pick sides in but some cases I had really bonded with one of the fighters so my allegiances were clear in my cheering.

If I’m honest I don’t really remember too much of the fight. I was in the zone. There are photos of me looking like I’m ready to end someone. Chris had found me the perfect song enter the ring to. It started of with Gangnam Style and then went in to a grime mix. I had someone message me saying that track made them sit up and take notice.

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So Round one went by in a flash. The mantra was to get the first hit. I don’t know if I did. I remember I knocked her off balance though. Then she knocked me off balance. That might have been round two.

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Round two I was a mess. She had me up! I just remember feeling really angry towards her and I forgot all my training. Then during a flurry of her punches I heard the ref call for a stop, but she got one more hit in. This p*ssed me off no end, so I saw red and then punched her. All I heard was lots of boos and then the ref put my in my corner counted to 8 and told me not to do it again, I knew I had done wrong. I was so angry with myself.

On to round 3, I felt more in control, the advice my corner man gave me was to jab, jab, jab. That’s what I tried to do. I think I got a few more hits in and she seemed a bit more on the run.

The fight ended and She was declared the winner. I was so disappointed, mainly in myself. I should not have lost control like I did. Where did all my tactics go? I was in tears, but tears of anger.

I got back up to the changing room and to be honest, every one seemed surprised I lost. I had the skills to win but I let emotion take over.

But the love I got from everyone when I went to meet them after was immense. I had a great turn out of family and friends.

I didn’t win my fight but I’m bang on a rematch. I also feel that this is something I might just be good at. I loved the training and I loved being in the ring.

So now that the initial part of this challenge is out of the way, what’s next.

More training!

Goals don’t stop after just one phase. Next up between now and the end of the year is another half and full marathon, to begin to get a real handle on this boxing thing. Not to mention some half naked prancing around at Notting Hill carnival just weeks away.

I didn’t win the battle but the war ain’t over just yet!

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Spartan Family Sunday Collaboration with Nike Fly Knit

20 Aug

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I’ve been attending the Spartan family work-outs for almost a month now, so when Chaka told us about this special event Spartan Family Sunday in conjunction with Nike I knew it was going to be an epic day.

Up until just a few days before it was a complete mystery how the day would run. All we knew was there would be food, Vita Coco and hard work happening!
On arrival at Aske Gardens in Hackney on Sunday 19th August, the vibe was already electric. The sun was shining and I knew we were in for a treat. The small gated greenery had been transformed with music and giant trampolines. In the shade of the trees were massive bean bags ready for us to chill out on after our hard Spartan work outs.
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As more people arrived T-shirts and training gloves generously supplied by Nike were handed out to us. We were now one! In our Spartan uniforms the community spirit was out in full force. A brief downpour of rain wasn’t going to stop us and as soon as the sun reappeared we were ready to roll. Spurred on by the enthusiastic and encouraging MC for the day, Rapper, Ty, we began.
The first work out started and we took over the tennis court. Chaka had been installed with a microphone and as his voice boomed out we knew there was no messing.
The gentle warm up soon turned in to a powerful body working session of core, abs and leg work, Push ups, squats and planks. Let us not forget the dreaded burpees.
I suppose that some of us thought, well since this was a “fun day” we might be given an easy time. Nope, this was as brutal as our Friday evening sessions. Perhaps even a little more so, since we were hear to prove to the people of Hackney that we are Spartans and this is how we really roll. The “games” followed next. Piggybacks and wheelbarrow races. Crazy hard work but so much fun. We cheered each other on with our mantra of “Ahooo”. The session ended with the traditional tug of war. Always a fierce competition with epitomises team work and joint strength. Every one was worthy competitor.
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A sweaty hour or so later (and when I say sweaty I really mean it. It was approximately 30degrees and our bodies knew it) we ate. Amazing grilled chicken with salad and roasted veg. Insanely healthy and sooooooo nutritious. The adults replenished ourselves whilst the wonderful Spartan babies did their thing.
Kids aged between 4 and 14 showed us that it doesn’t matter what age you are, Spartan is within you. Supported by the Spartan family training team. They did almost the exact work out we did. They went hard and showed up so many adults. We have a new generation of Spartan superstars coming to get us.
ImageThe kids loved it. They felt grown and powerful and they certainly learnt a lot about what they can do with their bodies and health and team work too. So important in the kids of today. They too finished their session with the tug O war and it was amazing to watch. My nephew’s team won both rounds. I might be biased but they certainly did da ting.
During the break before the next adult session, everyone got to know each other and relax together. Soca music poured out over the gardens, early carnival vibes spread through the area and everywhere you looked there was a smiling face. One of the Spartan Family philosophies is that We are a community and Chaka stressed that when we left we should know the names of at least two people we had never met before. I think I went home with about 6 new names.
Most people who took part in the first session stayed and took part in the second as well as quite a few new faces. No time for apprehension or worry that our bodies wouldn’t hold up for a second session.
In we went, much like the first session, core work, cardio, abs and legs. Straight in to the games which continued along the same competitive themes. leapfrogs and more piggy back races and relays. People sprinting their hearts out.
Again the session finished with a smashing Tug O War match which was worthy of being televised it was so fierce. We lose as a team and we win as a team so at the end of the match we all dropped to the floor to do 20 burpees.
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We ended the day with the traditional group photo and the call of “Spartans, what is your profession” The booming “Ahooo Ahooo Ahooo” I’m sure could be heard for miles around.
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With thanks to all the Spartan Family team for setting up this great collaboration between Nike and the Fly Knit Collective, who gave us space, food and love as well as Vita Coco who kept us truly hydrated.