Updated: Sep 18
This is certainly one of the proudest moments of my 25 year career as a holistic fitness trainer and boxing 4 confidence instructor!
Teaching this unique 6 week non-contact boxing program at University of Toronto confirmed a few things for me that I've been observing and speaking about for many years: people need an outlet that relieves stress and feels empowering at the same time, especially right now.
Getting here was not easy. The hardest part is getting past decision makers who assume that boxing is only about violence, promotes aggression and is harmful to our health. People get stuck on their own ideas about what boxing is, based on their first impressions of what they might see on tv, in movies or through advertisements. The idea that boxing is senseless and just about beating people up is limited considering there is so much to be said for the training which is loaded with many wonderful aspects regarding physical and personal development.
So for the purpose of this post and discussing this program, let's separate boxing as a sport from boxing training for fitness and mental health.
We don’t play boxing and we are not here to play games.
We show up to learn and we stay for the real life transformations. Boxing training completely changed my life when I was 19 years old and I have been sharing its' wisdom and healing aspects ever since.
One does not have to get hit in order to be fit and benefit
from all that boxing training has to offer!
I have encouraged all of my students over the years to approach life with the mindset of some of the toughest and most noble athletes in the world. I use analogies from the boxing ring to help them understand themselves better and position their stance around the chaos of being human. This is important life - changing work and perspective that people need right now - to improve their lives, relationships and overall sense of self!
The way I see it, while pursuing a prestigious University degree, why not also learn essential life skills through boxing drills? Perspective using analogies from the boxing ring can help students move through school life feeling more safe and self-reliant while developing new confidence and trying new moves which helps to build focus, agility and coordination - just like a well trained and highly tuned boxer!
The students have spoken.
The need is real.
Special shout-out to U of T for being open to the potential and possibilities that this program has to offer and understanding the impact it would have on each participant. I don't know any other institution of this status offering this type of program anywhere!
🚨Registration for BOTH 6 week programs FILLED UP IMMEDIATELY with a waiting list! 🚨
We pitched this program as;
✔️Education through boxing philosophy.
✔️Empowerment through movement.
✔️Lessons from the ring applied to life.
For the purpose of developing ;
➡️ Discipline & Focus
➡️ Importance of being practiced and prepared in school and in life
➡️ Fresh perspective and Mindset Tuning
➡️ Physical Fitness.
Isn’t this what we want for the future of our youth?
It’s been such a confusing, disruptive few years for these students which is why this program is the perfect antidote at just the right time. I hope more schools and institutions get on board, our future depends on it.
Keep reading for a round by round recap on what transpired over the 6 weeks
Week 1 began February 28, 2022 and it was a HIT!
After 20 years of teaching boxing training for fitness to boost self-awareness and build confidence, I’ve encountered many other reasons why people want to try boxing.
But something I noticed this week really surprised and delighted me in a way that confirmed an inkling that I’ve had over the last 2 years: students are looking for an outlet, and boxing training is it!
Considering this is a part fitness \ part mindset course, I did my due diligence at the beginning of the first class to get to know each student and find out if they are currently involved in other sport or activity ( I like to draw parallels where I can to cross reference certain movement patterns).
It turns out, for many participants out of 25, this is the first sport they are interested in learning and trying! Wow, I was already blown away by the keen interest and willingness to participate regardless of athletic experience.
The 4 most common reasons students told me why they joined this program were to:
- find focus
- reduce stress / anxiety
- learn self- defense
- try boxing!!
As we say in boxing “ protect yourself at all times” and these students are going to understand the importance of awareness even more after these 6
Week 2 we learned that:
FANCY FEET WINS FIGHTS.
Footwork makes the dream work because if you are not in proper position to land that jab ( or that job because boxing is like life) or achieve that goal, then how are you ever going to score the points you want to in life ?!?
On this International Women’s Day, I teach women who want to box: for their own empowerment and confidence so that they can empower others with confidence.
Hands down, this is the most fun, engaging activity and excitement that we have had in a while ☺️
It’s a unanimous decision : the students cast their votes every week by simply showing up for more.
Week 3 of our 6 week non contact boxing and strengthening program is in full swing at The University of Toronto and the air punches are flying !!
There is something alluring about tapping into our primal instinct right now that almost feels comforting. With so much going on in the world, it’s natural to gravitate towards grounding practices that help us gain a sense of control over how we can move our bodies and protect ourselves at the same time.
This weeks session was focused on the importance of defense and how to not fall for the feint. By the end of this 6 week program, these students will have all the tools they need to walk into any boxing club and feel like they know what they’re doing, with good form.
Boxing training builds self-esteem. I believe every school would benefit from a program like this🥊
Weeks 4, 5 and 6.......
Continued with great energy and excitement! The students were asking throughout for a follow-up program to continue the learning, so we are doing it again‼️‼️‼️
THAT’S A WRAP UNTIL NEXT TERM‼️
Get it ➡️ boxing wraps 😃
This 6 week non contact boxing program was never just about punching.
It was always about:
📍building community & carmaraderie
📍learning new skills
📍developing self-awareness and focus
📍agility, coordination, balance, conditioning, dexterity, footwork & conditioning
📍learning how to manage stress and release tension
📍providing a safe space to push past imaginary limitations
📍group fitness and team building
📍empowering these women with tools to protect themselves and feel confident with what they now know
to University of Toronto for understanding the value of this boxing training program even before the sound of the first bell. 🛎
Registration for both Spring/ Summer sessions
FILLED UP IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS 👀
U of T students, you absolutely stole my heart❤️
~~ In closing, I accept that my toughest task will always be to point people past the punching and guide them consciously and compassionately towards the essence, the wisdom, the value of understanding conflict from a tactical position in order to manage oneself.
Empowering, enlightening, INVIGORATING people once they get through the door is the easy part.
Hence this post and my decades of devotion to this message➡️ you can train like a boxer to feel like a champ, without taking hits!
I hear it all the time when I tell people I teach boxing 4 fitness, the comments usually sound something like this and in particular order;
1️⃣ Ohhhhhh boxing wow, ummm really, you mean boxing boxing ?? ( for some reason they feel the need to double up the word just to make sure lol) like real boxing ?? ( usually followed by some sort of air punching ) 😀
2️⃣ I’ve always wanted to try boxing 👀 ( curiosity, imagination, intrigue and desire start to set in )
3️⃣ “But I don’t want to get punched in the face!!” ( fear, intimation and assumptions set in)
4️⃣ At which point I explain that boxing drills alone develop life skills, like:
👉 coordination, dexterity, split second decision making, reflexes, way more body awareness, self-esteem and self-reliance.
And the list
Currently heading into the 9th consecutive semester of running this program, the Fall 2023 session is sold out once again and it is testimonials like these below that keep my fire burning strong into the colder seasons.