Out in the Open

Prepare for impact: boxing helps women see their own strength

For women, boxing takes on many meanings, sometimes intensely personal. But most often, those reasons have to do with finding your strength — both to hit and to face the fear of being hit.
A patron of Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club in the throes of training (Lito Howse)
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Once a true (and truly uninformed) hater of the sport, Out in the Open producer Lisa Bryn Rundle became a boxing convert, of sorts, after attending a women's boxing match. So she took time recently to hang out with some of the women at Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club to find out what boxing means to them. 
Prepare for impact: boxing helps women see their own strength 0:49

For the women she met, it's about more than perfecting your punch or channeling aggression, it's about discovering how strong you already are.

"Women are really strong; we've just been told we're not," says head coach and owner Savoy "Kapow" Howe. "I like to show them how to take a punch, first of all, and to show them that they can actually take quite a hard punch. Everybody's scared in the beginning and within a short period of time they're like, 'Oh wow.'"

She, one by one, punched each of us in the stomach. - Participant at Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club, a boxing gym geared toward women.

One participant tells us: "When it was my turn, [the coach] punched me and I looked at her and I said, 'That's not enough. You didn't hurt me.' So she punched me with increasing degrees of force, about seven times or so, and it didn't hurt. I was fine ... And that was a very important lesson. Even if I do experience someone else's force or violence or aggression, there are ways to survive it. It's not going to break me."

Howe adds: "They're taking quite a wallop and afterwards, they are pumped. They are, like, 'I had no idea I could handle getting punched that hard.' Because we're taught it's going to kill us and no actually, it's not."

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