I thought the purpose of a punch was to hurt someone else. When I threw one, I only hurt myself.

After one round of punching the training mitts, I felt like I’d broken my hand, but that pain was nothing compared to the intense, heart-burning “warm-up” I did the week before.

Who would have thought that a jump rope, a simple child’s toy, could become such an element of torture? For 15 minutes, we alternated between hopping over the rope and gut-busting ab work. I was torn between wanting the buzzer to sound to end my current discomfort and not wanting to hear that awful noise that would signal the start of two more minutes of misery.

After going through that, I had nothing left in the tank to throw a punch, and without proper safety equipment on hand, they wouldn’t let me anyway. Instead, I was taken to a resonant red room to try to learn the skills I would hopelessly apply in week two. Honestly, I don’t know if it was that I was distracted by the echoes of my exhausted breath or my lack of energy to focus on the words coming out of the teacher’s mouth, but clearly none of it really stuck.

They say boxing is like a dance. With the amount of time we spent on the proper stepping technique, I felt like I should be wearing a tuxedo, not a pair of gloves that weighed two pounds. I think I learned my stepping and basic punches pretty well,but it’s hard to put together which number the instructor just yelled at you, the corresponding punch technique and actually hit the target all at once. 

That was probably for the best because as I’ve said, those punches hurt. My hands were shaking after my boxing round, partially from the tight wraps I had on under the gloves and partially from hitting something that was supposed to be soft, but really didn’t seem like it.

I’ve learned that when it comes to a fight, I have one job. Run.