Experiencing the thrill of the fight

Cue the Rocky theme…

I have a lot in common with Rocky Balboa. We’re both from Philadelphia. We’re both good Italian Catholic Americans. His birthday is the day after mine. Besides our I.Q.s, the biggest difference between us is that he can knock a guy out, and I can’t even land a punch.

I decided it was time to channel my inner-Rocky. I went down to Brazen Boxing and MMA to check out their women’s boxing class with CEO Jessica Richman. Jessica runs Brazen with Jason Sargus, Brazen’s COO and president. By day, Jessica is a lawyer for one of the oldest law firms in Philadelphia and by night, she trains in boxing, submission grappling, muay thai, and Brazilian jiu jitsu.

A punch is a punch, right?

After warming up, Jessica asked the class of about 12 to try some punch combinations. But I needed to learn the basics before I could do any type of combination. Since I’m right-handed, I stood with my right foot slightly behind my left, my hands in loose fists hovering next to my face to protect it. Now I’m ready to throw down!

We started with the jab. Wait…there are different types of punches? Yes, apparently, throwing your fist into your opponent’s face isn’t boxing.

  • The jab is a straight blow; quick and explosive.
  • A hook when you turn to aim your fist toward the side of the head or body.
  • An uppercut is when you raise your fist vertically towards the head or upper body.

If you think I look bad, you should see the punching bag!

After combinations, we formed lines in front of the punching bags. All of the girls brought their own gloves. Luckily, they had an extra pair for me. Girl’s gloves aren’t as big as what you typically see on male boxers, so they weren’t too heavy. We each took turns throwing jabs, hooks, and uppercuts at the bag.

What a rush! If this wasn’t the best stress reliever in the world, I don’t know what is! Every time I stepped up, I threw my fists harder and harder. It felt awesome. My blood was flowing, my heart was pounding, and I was working my strength, too. It was the perfect mix of cardio and strength conditioning.

Check out my punches!

Catch me if you can

Next, we broke up into pairs to practice defense. Jessica taught us the slip, the duck, and parrying. To slip, you sharply rotate your hips and shoulders when your opponent throws a punch toward your head. The duck is similar, except you drop down so that a punch aimed at your head misses entirely. Parrying or blocking is you palming your opponent’s punch away from you or dropping your elbows at your sides to protect your internal organs.

Check out my sweet defense moves!

We ended the class with some circuit training which included burpees, pushups, and squats.

All in all, I really enjoyed boxing. The class itself is great for beginners, but there are also women that are training for actual boxing matches. Personally, I don’t think you need any type of prior experience to take this class. One of the girls told me she walked into class a few months ago and couldn’t even do one push up. Now she can do a ton. In what seems to be the theme of every activity I’ve tried this winter, practice makes perfect.

Before long, you may even see me running up the Art Museum steps throwing my south paw through the air!

I highly recommend Brazen if you’ve ever had an interest in boxing. They have classes available for men, women, and children. It’s a great work out, in a great facility, with experienced and friendly trainers. Check out their website for class information. Fans of our IBX Facebook page even save 15% on regular monthly rates, so sign up for a class.