Finding my voice through kickboxing
Updated: Aug 24
I cannot believe to this day how far i have come and what i endured to be the strong girl i feel i am today, one of the best things i did was walk into the boxing gym that day back in the late 90s, i felt a sense of safety and calmness as i looked around the gym, i could see the connection the trainer had with his members as they wrapped up there hands and put there boxing gear to the side for a warm ups, there was laughter and a sense of empowerment which is something i needed and i could see myself building confidence and strength courage and mindset which for someone living with at the time domestic violence physically mentally emotionally i really needed this more than ever to survive.
I had no idea about what lied ahead as i second guessed my ability to be good enough or belong in such friendly non egotistic gym, after all the self doubt talk i gave myself, i decided that this was the place i was going to rebuild my every ounce of inner strength power confidence self esteem self worth no matter how hard and glad i found the courage and guts to turn up the following Tuesday to begin what was to be the breakthrough i needed to slam the door shut years later to domestic violence and the downward spiral i was in.
The blame game
Violence is a place of loneliness, it breaks the soul completely, it is intimidating scary sad hurtful, you self doubt and blame yourself for there bad actions, to get told how worthless you are and how much you will never be anything but trash, i actually started to believe it, when you live that life you lose friends and thats exactly what the culprit wants .This is a place no one should ever have to go or have to feel, this was not meant to be part of my life but it is my past and although cannot be changed, it can be a platform or voice to share how strong empowered women came about and how finding a way to survive for me was boxing exercise health and fitness.
Creating a sense of safety comes in many forms, so many things can make a person feel safe and as randomly stupid as i thought it was at the time for me in my case it was the boxing gym.
Let me tell you i was scared nervous and anxious as ever, sick to my core if i am being honest, i was shaking like a leaf but watching the guys train i could see this was exactly where i was meant to be with confident motivated kind honest good people and a room filled with the smell of sweat leather gloves and linament oil to me was kind of awesome, some would say this sport is the last place i should have wanted to go but the pure adrenalin i got from punching and the way i felt when hitting the focus pads was totally zoning me out from my shitty violent life, the confidence i gained the strength i built physically and mentally was not something i was going to get from joining a walking group that is for sure.
It took months of training to put techniques and combinations together, i was from the get go prepared to fall and get up, i made each session count whether it was one foot in front of the other even on days i had no energy from anxiety attacks, accepting days i was going to be riddled with fear , however i knew each session was one stronger than the last mentally physically emotionally i knew this was going to be hard due to my personal life be such a violent one but i also knew every day i woke up was a blessing, what i did not know what just how much of this was preparing me for survival, yes you have to own your choices but sometimes your choices are taken away, for me this was home away from home and i refused to let him win and every moment i had at the gym was my time to be free to be me! It was an incredible feeling.
months go by: fight locked in
The training got real and i was locked into my first fight in my home town, i never forgot that feeling of nausea and angst as i agreed to take on a fight with another girl, i did not want to hurt or punch anyone, it was not my intention to train and actually fight, like hit someone intentionally with everything i had and it was bad enough i was on the other end of it at home, it made no sense but nothing really made sense with my low self esteem and all shit i had going on, i only wanted to be a good kickboxer and learn the art of it, i wanted to learn to defend my self and in hope find the courage to leave the life i was living! Talking to my trainer and giving him the inside on my home life meant he needed to understand me my thoughts my weaknesses and turn them into a positive, all these weak points and negative self talks of i am never good enough, i cant win, i am not strong enough, i dont deserve to win, i am too weak mentally, my anxiety will take over, what if i lose and embarass myself in front of everyone needed to stop, not once i believed i was going to win so we had to find a way to make it happen.
The sparring got harder, the boys punched harder, the hills runs got steeper, the mental fatigue was pushed to its limits and all the while the violence didnt change, if anything got worse, i guess as i got stronger he felt weaker which made him angrier i dont know, never will know and couldnt care less now but at the time anything i did that was going to build me up he made sure he took that confidence away, none the less i continued on in spite of his own coward insecurities. All the hype of me being the first female kickboxer in the southern hemisphere meant all the sudden people came to watch me spar, train with me, learn from me, talk to me, there were newspapers and local news station doing interviews, sonow it was all about ME and i had to try stay focussed.
I remember it like yesterday, the more the stadium filled with locals that came to support me the more i felt like i was going to pass out in fear, it is not the headspace you want right before a fight, i knew my mental state was shocking and weak but i had to somehow put that to the side just for the time it took to get my fight gear on get out to fight and walk back out and the only person who could bring home that trophy was me.
I paced up and down and tried to focus on calming myself, my heart was palpitating and i was not mentally ready but there i was standing along side champion fighters in my corner, supporting me, encouraging and motivating me, even the girls from melbournes west gyms were there to watch on and support me, they were the ones i would spar with leading up to a fight and were confident i was up for a win but no one knew the life i was hiding from except my closest friends.
The back change room was fired up fighters & trainers who were pep talking there boys reminding them of all the hard work leading up to it and that this is there time to kickass, there was so much positive attitude in that room and there i was i felt shit i was hungry stressed and wanted my moment to be over before it began, the referee was in and out to speak to each fighter checking any injuries but asked me about a breast plate or shin guards which i declined, as my trainer wrapped my hands and got me warmed up all i could hear was the knockdowns the loud screaming and people yelling in the crowd from the fights before mine but there was no turning back and my trainer had to keep me calm in the mind and focussed on him only due to the level of anxiety i had and he kept reminding me that this was my moment, i knew the only way to beat my fear was to fight it after all every waking hour was about survival and i survived up to that point anyway so i knew i had inner strength to do this.
Before i knew it i was walking out towards the ring, the crowd was screaming with excitement for me the lights were on me and i was ready but not ready that is until
i saw him there, my mind & gut went from scared shitless to fuck you how dare you make me feel worthless in this moment, i flicked a switch in my mind to game on, my body went numb and i forgot all fear! I went out there kicked ass & won my fight after the opponent had numerous knockdowns and a barrel of kicks and punches landed on her.
It seems like yesterday and i am grateful for understanding my weaknesses that made me a stronger person both physically and mentally and i am glad i actually had the guts to walk into that gym, train even when i was tired, work on my weakneses, never give up and most importantly be proud of myself for not giving in or staying in the violent life i was living.
New life begins
I finally after many trips to police had the guts to get an order against him, he denied all allegations of course, but the bruises and me weighing a measly 47kg was quite obvious to everyone, i was able to free myself and it was fucking tough mentally & emotionally but i did it!
I walked in that court room terrified shaking hyperventilating, weak, while he walked in with half dozen people in suits his sidekicks who all knew exactly what he was doing to me, all of them as gutless as he for allowing him to do nasty things to me, as petrified as i was i left the court room with the only friend i had and the order began!
Domestic violence is absolutely never ok so ask for help, confide in friends, speak up, find a place to move when you can, go to police, go to a womens support group do whatever it takes, trust me it will never ever change and you are worth so much more than that.
Unfortunately i have ptsd anxiety and the odd panick attack but mostly i am kicking goals & doing life my way, i am now helping others to use boxing kickboxing exercise and fitness to build up weakness & turn it into strength courage motivation self empowerment through my personal and group training also self defence workshops with a 6 dan black belt who is dedicated to helping women defend kickboxing saved me & i absolutely love the community the support the lifestyle the courage motivation, it has made me be a stronger person and for that i am grateful.
Be unstoppable Be powerful Be heard Be Unapologetic