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July 7, 2012 / ccollinsonjones1

Smell the glove

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – Scrappy Doo, boxing legend

Two things: one, all sports bras are not created equal. Spend money. Two, do not go anywhere near a Chocolate Orange within six hours of any fitness class that will involve burpees.

This week, a trip to the marvellously named Left Hook in Shadwell for a Friday night boxing session. It was hard. Within the first fifteen minutes I was wet through with sweat, hair soaked, bright pink, and very interested in the clock.

First of all though, I was given the warmest of welcomes, shown how to do my bandages, and given a demonstration of the key moves. Then the music was cranked up to ‘pumping’ and we got started.

The class itself covered a good amount of general fitness (burpees, star jumps, ‘spider mans’, press ups etc) to music, followed by lots of partner work and technique training. I had a very generous and patient partner who helped me to remember when to roll, when to hook, when to cross etc.

A few times I wanted to give up. When I kept forgetting the sequence of punches, when my arms felt like lead, when I nearly shared second hand Chocolate Orange with my classmates.

I did not give up. I kept going. Through jab, cross, upper cut, roll and hook. Through poke and swing. Those last two aren’t official moves, they’re mine. I can show you of you like.

The only thing I didn’t do was any sparring. I was surprised it was even on offer – I’d already punched myself in the chin and nose a couple of times and was not proving good at keeping my face protected.

It was offered though and I’m ashamed (but also really, really glad) to say that I didn’t do it. Partly because I’m a wimp, and partly because I’m a bit too socially awkward to actually hit someone. I kept apologising and laughing nervously every time I placed a warm up punch wrong or forgot to roll out of the way. Also, I have to wear this face every day and I didn’t want to get it all bloody.

I did give a bag something to think about though. Probably something along the lines of: “oo stop it, that tickles.”

Afterwards I cycled a few miles home, still slick with sweat, and nearly stopped to steal and eat a chicken from Hackney City Farm on my way past I was so hungry.

It’s a great gym with a proper ring, excellent instructors and a lovely atmosphere. Not ‘lovely atmosphere’ in the way that tea shops have a lovely atmosphere. Lovely in a sort of sweaty, testosteroney, physical, grrrrr but friendly kind of way.

My one final tip: keep your face protected. If you can’t smell the reassuring cheesiness of your glove, someone could probably punch you in the face. That wasn’t the specific advice I was given but it’s my helpful interpretation. You’re welcome.


Leave a Comment
  1. welshcyclist / Jul 10 2012 7:42 am

    Sounds like a great way to work out, and release that pent up frustration, I’m afaraid I would wimp out though. The cycling home part really is the game winner for me.

  2. Left Hook / May 9 2013 3:01 pm

    Good Afternoon ccollinsonjones1!

    We, at Left Hook, were really happy to read your fantastic article about our gym!

    We are glad that you enjoyed the class and we have posted your testimonial on our Facebook fan page. I hope this is ok with you? (

    If you have time we would love to communicate with you further as we really liked the style you wrote in and only found your article by chance.

    You can contact us by email at .

    • ccollinsonjones1 / May 17 2013 2:07 pm

      V glad you liked it! It’s a great place you have there. I thought I’d emailed the write-up afterwards but I may have forgotten – I’m sorry, rubbish! I’ll email you now.

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