When and where did you first step into the ring?
London, Ontario, some time during grad school (maybe 10-15 years ago now?). First to shadow-box, then to practice sparring drills, then sparring (lots), then a tournament, then a few fights. There’s nothing like stepping in the ring for your first time.
What are you up to outside of the ring?
I work in mental health, so in some ways I’m doing really similar things outside the ring to what we do in the ring and in my coaching: helping other to face fears; expanding comfort zones; building strength and endurance; doing more than our brains tell us we’re capable of; staying in the moment; combining creativity and technique; taking risks; showing up; and practice, practice, practice.
What did it feel like the first time you got punched in the face?
Shocking. Surprising. I think I cried. I got used to a bit, but never loved it. I still remember a left hook from Laura to my jaw. So much respect for that (because I’m guessing it was ****maybe**** at 20% power). Weirdly enough, I’m happy to take a body shot (when I’m not skipping my ab work, that is…).
What makes a good boxing coach?
I think the best coaches I’ve had love the sport so much that they can’t help but want to pass it on to others. That’s who I aspire to be. I’m a big fan of understanding the “why” behind things, so a coach who can explain the rationale behind what we’re working has all my attention. I also think a coach who maintains a student’s mind, who is open to learning and always curious, is someone who’ll keep growing in both skill and passion.
What’s your favourite combination?
That depends. My favourite combination thrown by an opponent is the one I see coming. It feels great to “make ’em miss”. On the flip side, my favourite combination to throw is anything that lands! It also feels pretty good to “make ‘em pay”. My favourite combinations to play around with and practice though, absolutely have to have a body shot or uppercut, some defensive movement, and two punches in a row thrown with the same hand.
What’s on your typical playlist?
Anything with varying rhythms and intensities to help encourage variation and rhythm in our boxing. There are also some songs that are frequent guest stars, as we have a “musical number” for strength and conditioning almost every class.
What kind of drills can we expect from your class?
Is “playful technique-based” a kind of drill? If yes, those. Because I believe in boxing and in making boxing accessible to everyone, I think everyone deserves to learn and be coached in good technique. That’s the science part of boxing. There’s an art and craft to it too- the sweet part of the sweet science. That’s where we try to come up with (or borrow) creative ways to reinforce the technical and strategic work. That said, I think we’re a bit more on the traditional side of things, so expect many full rounds of shadow-boxing, offense/defense/movement drills, and bag and pad work, and fewer rounds of strength and conditioning with weights and TRX than you might get in other classes.
Who’s your favourite boxer or overall athlete?
I’m enjoying the women who are boxing pro right now and getting some attention. I got to do some pads with Heather Hardy and her trainer in Brooklyn, so I’ve definitely got a special place in my heart for her. Really though, my favourite athletes are just the ones who show up everyday and work their hearts out even when no one is watching. That takes something special.
How do you think Boxing enhances your life or affects other areas of your life?
When I started, boxing (kick-boxing) gave me something to focus on other than school. I didn’t expect that I’d learn so much about confidence and being okay with never being perfect at something but still working to perfect things day after day. It’s definitely, and I really love this part, given me a chance to meet and work with people I would have likely never have met otherwise. It’s really given me a new way to think about all the ways that women can be strong, skilled, and powerful.