I was overwhelmingly anxious about trying a kickboxing class to the point that I turned up to the community hall with butterflies in my stomach. Inside I expected to find a litany of stacked men and women, parading and flexing their muscles to the new meat that had just walked through the door. A sure-fire way to put off any beginner. Instead I found a friendly female coach ready to introduce me to the energetic world of kickboxing.
I’ve not used a skipping rope since the age of about 10 but Zoe, our instructor, handed me one and told the class to skip for a full five minutes as part of the warm up. I was a little rusty but as I glanced over to my husband, who was keen to discover kickboxing too, we both smiled with beetroot red faces as we skipped back in time to our childhoods.
We were kitted with pads and gloves; ready to learn a few skills. I copied how to left jab, right cross then left hook. The key is to keep your hands as close to your face as possible and to return to that position as soon as you’ve hit the pad your partner opposite is holding so as not to leave your body open to attack. I was feeling energetic and high on life.
The bonus was that apparently I wasn’t too bad at kickboxing so far as I threw some steam behind my punches and earned a massive confidence boost when Zoe said I’d make a good boxer. She may’ve just been massaging my ego, but I liked her all the more for it.
After taking it in turns to block each other’s jabs and crosses, Zoe asked if we’d like to learn a few more moves. As my husband teetered on whether it was a good idea to learn more, I waded in with a Cheshire cat smile on my face: ‘Hell yeah, I’m all in or nothing.’ In less than an hour I’d turned from a meek and mild student into a confident, charismatic kickboxing apprentice. It was thrilling.
On the drive home my husband admitted that he barely recognised me as I tuned into my inner Rocky during the session. I’m sure you can predict whether I’ll be going back or not. I will be for sure and what’s more, my husband now knows what to get me for Valentine’s Day: a set of boxing gloves! If he’s lucky he might just get a skipping rope… Here’s to the hopeless romantics!