BitchBuzz is thrilled to have a guest post from the mighty Lucy Fry about her inspirational eight week journey preparing herself and training for a "white collar" boxing fight. Here is Lucy's story...
For eight weeks, every single muscle in my body has ached. Most of those weeks I've done at least 11 training sessions (twice a day Monday–Friday and once on Saturday) in Soho’s state-of-the-art fitness and health centre, The Third Space. My regime has included sprinting, weights and general bodyweight conditioning drills.
So, what on earth am I doing? I'll give you a clue... my training has also involved hitting pads, punchbags and wearing gloves. It's involved wrapping my hands, wearing a mouthguard, a headguard and... yes, hitting real people. What's more, it's involved getting hit myself, and sometimes by boys. The best bit? I got to hit them back, a lot.
But here's the thing; until 8 and a half weeks ago I'd never actually hit another person. Now, this Friday (16th November) I'm fighting in a huge, iconic London boxing venue, York Hall, taking part in a night of 'white collar' boxing called London Calling. Most of the fighters there are raising money for charity, too. We all have our different reasons for doing this, some darker than others. But one thing's for sure - everybody who steps into the ring after weeks, months or even years of training is a champion. It takes guts; guts I wasn't sure I had. Maybe I'm mad, as some people are suggesting, but I can tell you something: I must be mad, I've never felt so alive in my life before.
Rewind a little. It started a couple of months ago, during that not-so-understated sporting event, the Olympics… Inspired by Nicola Adam’s gold-medal-winning performance, and equally appalled that this was the first Olympics ever to feature women’s boxing, I felt inspired to do something with my existing love of fitness.
So, I got in touch with the fabulous Cathy Brown, ex professional boxer and European flyweight champion, who agreed that, if I was prepared to essentially give over my life for the next 60 days, she would make a fighter of me. I already knew then that having Brown in my corner was privilege indeed, but as the weeks have progressed my gratitude for her expertise, patience and sense of humour has increased tenfold.
When I decided to do this, there was only one problem. The next fight night slot available was either in March or November. It was (then) the tail end of September. March? Anybody could prepare for a fight in March… But mid-November? That was a real challenge. For just under nine weeks I’d have to eat (a lot, including gut-hating protein powder), sleep (never enough, especially since my muscles now twitch in protest), breathe (more like wheeze, particularly during the sprints) and live (since there’s little time for much else) ‘fight training’. Now that would be a challenge. Something worth doing and, what’s more, worth writing about.
But I had other reasons too (beyond just being insane). Firstly, I knew I'd like to feel more confident, in general, about defending myself. Secondly, I wanted to see what happened to my body (and yes, I wanted a six-pack, which I haven't yet quite acquired, but my arms are now exactly how I want them!). Thirdly, I knew I still had demons, fears I wanted to address and overcome, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, this was one way to go ahead and do it.
But there was also one more reason for all the bloody noses, aching muscles and protein powder. Until I took this one on, the biggest fight of my life has been one that’s taken place against myself. It started when I was eight years old. Sometimes it’s taken a relatively recognisable form, like depression or addiction, and other times it’s been more of a dark and all-pervasive melancholy. But over the last few years I’ve had a lot of help to overcome some of the root causes, and I feel that now might be a good time to give a little back. So I’ve decided to raise money for MIND.
Of course, the irony of getting knocked in the head in aid of a mental health charity isn’t lost on me. Yet I don’t think it entirely inappropriate to marry this cause with this challenge either. Because boxing isn’t all about violence: it’s about fighting yourself as much as your opponent; about harnessing fear, doubt and anxiety, turning them into courage, determination and stillness; about learning when to play it safe, when to take a risk and, sometimes, when to just take your head out of the action. And, most of all, fight training is about taking a journey and trusting you’ll come out the other side. Now if that isn’t relevant to mental illness, then I don’t know what is.
You can sponsor Lucy here: justgiving.com/frylucy and follow her on Twitter as @LucyCFry
Fight night is 16th November 2012 at York Hall. Doors open 6pm, first bell (Lucy's fight), 7.30pm with fights all night until 11pm. Tickets available on the door.