Watch out, she's pretty and packs a punch!
Hilary Swank’s got nothing on Kickboxing coach Robin, who flies like a bird and hits like a girl -- a tough girl, who will also kick you in the head and knock you down if you’re a bad guy.
In real life, Robin’s a sweet and loving wife and mother to two adorable children. Just don’t sneak up behind her in a dark alley, unless you want a broken nose and a ruptured spleen. Find a good instructor near you, and keep these six things to think about if you’re ready to try Kickboxing and hit like a tough chick in mind:
1. Do the real thing! If you’re ready to try kickboxing, do yourself a favor and find a place that lets you wear real boxing gloves and hit a BAG, and teaches you some real self-defense while you’re at it.
2. Hook, jab, punch, and remember the fancy footwork: The aerobic kickboxing classes where you watch yourself hit and kick the air in the dance room mirror are fun, but maybe it's time to work with a real boxing coach, and learn to hit correctly and kick hard. You will get a workout! The foot drills alone made me glow, and kept my brain engaged. It is like dancing! Also, Robin makes us do jumping jacks, sit ups, and throw medicine balls at each other. It's exhausting, really. Especially catching those heavy balls! But nothing beats hitting the bag.
3. Don’t break your hands: Before you throw your first punch on a bag (or a bad guy’s jaw!) tuck your thumbs over your fists and squeeze hard, no hitchhiking thumbs. Squeezing engages your hand, wrist, and forearm muscles, and helps protect your wrists and knuckles. If you wear gloves, they will protect you somewhat, but you have to learn good form first, or you’ll hurt yourself.
4. Don’t break your toes: When you kicking bags or spleens, or … other soft parts with a front kick, use the ball of your foot to kick your target. When doing a side kick, use the edge of your foot “in a thrusting maneuver,” says Robin, “And no ballerina (pointed) toes! Ballerina toes get broken in kickboxing.”
5. Think self-defense, always: Robin taught me a few things about defending myself that were enlightening. When we’re attacked, our instinct is to move away from the bad guy, but when we do, we lose our advantage. Instead, we should move into to the attacker and hit him hard to surprise him, then follow up with a targeted kick.
”If you want to piss him off, kick his knee, but if you want to knock him down, go for the spleen. You need to know where it is. You get one chance. When he falls, RUN,” she says. “I have no interest in engaging in a boxing match with my attacker,” quips IronMom Robin. “I want to get the hell out of there as fast as I can.” Good point.
Also, be aware of your hands and arms for self defense. Robin says it’s natural to put your hands up in front of you to ward off an attacker, but it’s a good way to get your arteries damaged or sliced (they’re those big green veins on the inside of your wrists. Don’t offer them to the knife guy! Instead, turn your blocking arm so that if you were holding a pencil in your fist it would point at your head. That way the bone is facing out and not the insides of your wrists. Bones are stronger than skin and veins.
[Meh. That tip sort of freaked me out because it sounded so violent! But Robin reminded me that bad guys are violent. Another good point.]
6. Boom-boom pow! Enjoy your power! A funny thing happens when you learn how to hit and kick a boxing bag correctly, and how to defend yourself with control -- you may just feel a power surge of confidence well up inside. I sure did. I was shy about hitting the bag at first, but it didn’t take long before it felt good and strong and I liked the feeling of connecting with the bag. I felt like a million bucks.
Here's a short little video we made of Robin teaching me to box in her garage one day. I've graduated to the actual gym now, and I'm way tougher. Just so you know. But this is funny:
Disclosure: I met Robin through a friend who said I should do a triathlon and Robin should coach me. It seemed like a crazy idea (it still does!) but I’m always up for an adventure. So we are doing a trade: I’m teaching her about Twitter, and how to use social media, and she’s attempting to turn me into an IronMom, one mini-triathlon at a time. The Kickboxing is a bonus.