Reporter Dawn Gibson at the Sooke Boxing Club in Sooke. Gibson will be competing in her first boxing fight March 27 or 28. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

From wet noodle to Killer bee

Sooke reporter reflects on four month boxing challenge

Well folks, I know it’s hard to believe, but four months of complaining have gone and passed, and I am almost done this all-female boxing challenge.

It’s a pretty satisfying feeling, like suddenly this black hole of endless sore muscles and smelly hands has spit me out in to a parallel universe, where I am a more confident, fit version of myself. Neat.

For the challenge, I committed myself to training around five or six days a week, and worked my way from learning how to throw a punch, all the way to getting in the ring and full-on sparring.

It’s been a whirlwind of emotional and physical battles, and there were multiple days when I thought there was no way I was going to make it through.

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I had many days of feeling like someone had loaded up a pillow case full of door knobs, beat me with it and then made me climb a mountain with a whale strapped to my back. But I also had days where I felt like I could take down Connor McGregor if he looked at me the wrong way. TOUGH.

I had days where I left the club crying, and days where I felt so superb that a smile stayed glued to my face for hours after class.

It’s safe to say this challenge has put me through the ringer, and I find it especially interesting to look back at how my mentality has evolved since I first started.

Before boxing, I was a timid little worry-wart with irregular self-esteem. Harsh, I know, but boxing has helped change that.

I walked into the club on my first day as clueless as a camel at the North Pole. I had maybe watched one or two boxing matches before, and I certainly had never thrown a punch.

It was easy to get discouraged along the way; I was new to the sport, I couldn’t do half of the things everyone else could do, and I was so out of shape I thought I was going to pass out and die during every workout.

But I stuck with it, pushed myself, and sure enough my body started to get stronger, workouts got easier, and I started to notice some big improvements in myself.

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Each day brought something new to work on, whether it be a conditioning exercise, footwork, head movement, punches, you name it, there was always something to learn. Slowly, I started to get more comfortable in the gym, and before I knew it, I was getting in the ring to spar.

Sparring is what tested me the most, because when I got in the ring I had two opponents: the person against me and the voice inside my head.

It’s a situation I had never been in before, where someone could quite literally beat me down, and I had to learn how to pick myself back up and stay in control of my emotions.

At first, I would get overwhelmed when having a bad day at sparring. I remember leaving class one day in tears, feeling like I had no business in boxing because I couldn’t get it together enough to defend myself.

But then I took a big breath, and started to think about all the positive things that I have done throughout the challenge, and how far I had come since starting. I realized that it was just one bad day, and if I just stayed focused on what I needed to do next rather than what I did wrong, things didn’t seem as overwhelming.

I brought this calmer mindset in to sparring sessions moving forward, believing in my own strength and not letting my emotions get the best of me, and the results were unbelievable.

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Then I noticed this mentality carrying over in to my everyday life. Suddenly that person who cut me off in traffic didn’t turn me in to the Hulk like it used to, I could confront a person who was making me upset, and I could fall asleep easier at night, not constantly worrying about what I had to do that week.

I learned to be more present in my surroundings, stand up for myself when necessary, not let my emotions overcome me, and to keep moving forward when things get tough.

And on top of the mental strength I’ve obtained, I’ve noticed some pretty exciting physical changes. I gained about 10 good, hearty pounds, which I assume consists of around 80 per cent muscle and 20 per cent chicken strips.

What once were soggy noodle arms are starting to look like Rocky Balboas, except less muscular and not at all. I’d say they could better be described now as … harder noodle arms.

Reflecting on this challenge I feel an astounding sense of pride. After proving to myself that I can push through something as demanding as this, even on days when I felt sick, sore, or totally defeated, I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.

These four months have flown by, and without me even realizing it, boxing has become a part of my routine that I don’t want to give up. I’ve received my FAIR share of bloody noses, but I assure you, there’s more to come.

Starting with the West Coast Wonder Women all-female card, which I will be fighting at on April 28 and 29 at the Community Hall in Sooke. If you want to see all the things I’ve been working on these past four months put to action, feel free to come and cheer me on! Or boo me, your choice.

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Sooke Boxing Club. I hope to see you all there, wearing Darth Vadar masks, of course. “Kooooshhh Keeeeesshhh.”

•••

Dawn (Killer) Gibson writes every other week on her exploits at the Sooke Boxing Club.

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