I love hitting things. And kicking things.
It’s a bit of a contradiction for someone who spends considerable time and energy trying to consciously evolve, but I long ago came to terms with the fact that the universe is fundamentally fueled by paradox.
And admittedly, I don’t have any desire to hit living things. Just sand bags. Or my sparring partner’s mitts or pads.
If you haven’t tried boxing, please do.
Aside from kundalini yoga, I haven’t found any form of exertion that is as cleansing as hitting and kicking. Nothing compares to the utter release of boxing/kickboxing, even after the briefest of rounds.
I have my big brother to thank for teaching me at an early age how to throw a proper punch. After that, trading arm and thigh punches became a regular habit–and a habit which still continues today with some of my tougher buddies. In university I took up judo, which taught me how to grapple and throw. Judo was my sport throughout university and I competed regularly. While throwing your opponent or executing a good choke hold in judo holds its own particular thrill, it’s still different from the satisfaction of throwing a well executed punch that connects perfectly to its target. The sound of the impact, the weight of the connect, the snap of the muscle contraction… It’s primal.
Seth Stevenson on his first experience with boxing: “…the moment when I’d thrown that first punch at him had been among the strangest, most exhilarating experiences of my life… As I was firing off my second punch, I saw how natural it felt. How genetically equipped we are to hit things. The act of throwing a punch felt not just normal but even, I realized with some disquietude, fantastic. It tingled dark, submerged tendrils curled inside my brain…”
Other cerebral friends like my adventure buddy Dr. Jaspal Kaur Singh, a Fullbright Scholar and esteemed professor of English literature at Northern Michigan University, is an avid recreational boxer. The 60-something firecracker of a woman adores her boxing gym in Marquette and raves about the sport.
I didn’t start boxing properly until I took up kickboxing with Ahmet Dogan for a brief time in 2010 and then tried Ramazan Beyazkaya a year later. In practice I always preferred to spar with men, not women. I found that with women I was always holding back, afraid I would hurt them. With guys, it didn’t matter how hard I punched or kicked their upheld mitts or pads. I punch and kick quite hard for a girl, but not as hard as they can, so sparring with them always allowed me to push myself harder.
As much as I loved it, though, just like everything else in Istanbul life, finding the time to arrange the logistics of one’s recreational sports is a workout in its own right. Thankfully, last year at IICS, Math teacher and judo black belt, Tim Trotter, started our first ever martial arts club. Without having to put in any extra effort or expense, I get to box, kickbox, and do judo, jiu-jitsu, and other martial arts with our awesome high school students twice a week. As you would expect of a school, this is not a fight club; it is a proper dojo where discipline, respect, and training are the emphasis. Tim runs it, I help out, and we all get an excellent training.
Our winter season just opened this week and already I am on Cloud 9 after just one afternoon of throwing punches…