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The Comedy of Errors

Lucy Does Kickboxing

7 February 18 words: Lucy Manning
photos: Curtis Powell

"I felt like my kidneys were about to fall out my arse"...

My new year’s resolution was to do more exercise because, at 22, I’m so unfit that making the bed gets me out of bleddy breath. I decided that kickboxing was the way to go, and after booking the class, the hands on the ends of my spindly chicken arms were tied; I’d have to get my heart rate past a gentle hum. I was terrified.

A hybrid sport, kickboxing is a mixed martial art developed from the practices of karate and muay thai, with modern kickboxing being a mixture of taekwondo and boxing. The exact history of the sport is difficult to define, but the general consensus is that the sport was established by a Japanese karateka called Tatsuo Yamada, who outlined a new sport combining elements of karate and muay thai.

Phoenix Kickboxing on Haydn Road seemed as good a place to start as any. Their website sees owner and fourth dan black belt kickboxing donny, Nicole Aylott, describe the organisation as a “family-friendly gym with a zero-tolerance bullying policy.” They also work on a semi-contact basis, so I probably wasn’t going to get kicked in the face, either. Sound.

Around twenty adults and kids – some of ‘em as young as six – all with various coloured belts, were waiting to start the class when I was greeted by Nicole.

“I don’t think I’ve exercised since I was twelve and I’m scared I’m going to be sick,” I blurted out.

“Just do as much as you can,” Nicole said. “Our warm-ups are very intense, so if you need to stop, just stop.”

She wasn’t lying. After pairing me up with a lovely woman named Vanessa – who has the patience of a saint –  it was straight into a pyramid set: working our way up to ten burpees, in between throwing up to twenty punches, then burpeeing our way back to one again. I was dripping with sweat by six burpees and I felt like my kidneys were about to fall out my arse, but I did it. Every single punch and burpee with Vanessa cheering me on.

Heart suitably racing, I was ready to get stuck into earning my black belt. To my horror, Nicole announced there was a second round of pyramid torture to endure, this time swapping the burpees for stomach crunches. Holey moley did them much-neglected muscles have a shock.

I really began to enjoy myself with the kick manoeuvres. Exercising control to move in the right way, and willpower to push through muscle ache, was a thrilling combination. And the sense of bad-assery that comes with kicking something really hard made me feel like Lara bleddy Croft.

I’ve never had such a positive experience with exercise, so I’m going back. The class was dead supportive, with everyone going at their own pace while pushing themselves to work harder. The sense of achievement I felt when I held my round-kick stance without falling over, or completed a set of crunches, is something I’ve not experienced in a long time. And it’s summat that’s stayed with me, not unlike the muscle ache.

If you’ve got an idea for what Lucy should do next, drop us a line on [email protected], or comment below...

Phoenix Kickboxing

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