Washed in stark fluorescent light, Vesna MacKillop and Jill Doucet chat about the school day, all while doing something most untypical for schoolgirls: wrapping their fists with athletic tape before bashing away on a heavy bag.
The two elementary school students workout with Sooke Boxing Club’s Kids Program.
On a recent afternoon, they’re among a dozen kids who have piled into the gym on Sooke Road to learn something about fitness and self-defence and perhaps even more about discipline and self-worth.
“They learn all the fundamentals of boxing: jabs, crosses, footwork, how to take a punch, defence and offence,” said head coach Ellen Connor.
“Everybody starts at this level. We want kids to learn the basics first and progress through, and then when they do get into the ring to spar they’re prepared.”
Several other programs for children at the gym are paying dividends, too.
The Sooke Boxing Club also offers a youth program (ages 12 to 16) and often hosts school groups and participants from other non-profit agencies.
Not bad for a club that’s only been around a year.
“We’re just growing and the momentum is going really well,” Connor said. “Our kids in our youth programs are more of our membership than anything else.”
And, Connor admitted, the youth are the building blocks as the Sooke Boxing Club moves forward.
“We have about 60 members and most of those are youth,” she said.
RINGSIDE … Sooke boxers Brian Colwell and Jill Doucet head to fight in the Oregon State Golden Gloves this weekend … Rookie fighter Danny Hopkins will compete in his first-ever fight when to travels to Saturday Night Boxing at Griffins Boxing and Fitness in North Vancouver next month.