Around 2004-2006 I got really into boxing. I loved watching Girlfight and Million Dollar Baby (that is till that horribly sad ending.) I was proud of my split knuckles and of the slight striations that were beginning to form along my shoulders. There was something hypnotic about dancing around a speed bag; something peaceful and therapeutic about punching a bag so hard it drives the fibers of handwraps deep into the skin. For a lifetime of feeling powerless, fighting was primal and powerful and immensely, for me, psychologically beneficial.
If boxing training could be hard, it's nothing compared to MMA (mixed martial arts) training. At the gym where I trained, I would watch the MMAers practice takedowns (when you grab an upright opponent and force them onto the mat) on invisible partners, round and round the ring, over and over again. It took abs and legs of steel to do that. So it's no wonder Ronda (left) and Gina (right) are rock hard.
But far from just being fit bodies and photogenic faces for women's MMA, these ladies can do incredible damage in the ring too.
Life can be tough and sometimes we can feel helpless or runover by the mundane (and not so mundane) details. Too often as women we are told to be cut off from our strength. "Don't be physical, don't sweat, don't labor -- it's not feminine." As though being dainty and delicate is the only option for women. When things go dour, I think it's healthy to reclaim a little power back. Get physical. Go punch a bag. Run until your legs feel like pistons and the air whistles in and out of your lungs. Feel your blood sing and your muscles throb. There's a primal force in getting physical -- we all need to tap into it once in a while.