Andy Pow (yes, that’s really his name) is an ex Scottish rugby national. He also manages The Armoury and is the man responsible for my orientation.
Pow asks me to do as many pushups as I can in 2 minutes – I get to 20 and have to call it quits – situps – 45 this time! – and then he asks me to plank. Before I start he tells me that a 45-year old woman who trains with him managed seven minutes. I do a minute and a half. Andy suggests that I wear a shorter skirt next time.
So it’s clear that I’m not the world’s strongest man. Problem is I’m not small either. At 185cm and 83kg, it means that – even though I have the heart of a 60kg wuss – I’m going to have to fight someone else that size. Yep, I definitely have my work cut out for me.
Fortunately Andy is a patient man. He tries to correct my stance, from where all the power in my punch will come from, but I have this weird affinity to dance around. “Twinkle Toes’ he laughs. “But that’s fine, it’s your style, we can work with it.” He continues, in an accent that should come standard with all boxing trainers.
Under Andy’s instruction I bob and weave, practice my punches – one two, one two, one two… – then put in a hook, throw an uppercut and I’m starting to really enjoy this boxing lark. Andy shows me how to throw my punches with a twist so that my shoulder protects my jaw. He shows me how to stand so that I can lean back when a punch is thrown at me. How to whip a punch forward. How to counter punch. The best combinations…
Then I’m handed a skipping rope and it’s like bumping into an old friend. It would seem that I’ve found my niche. I whip the rope up over my head and under my shuffling feet. I criss-cross the rope, bring it around in lightning fast revolutions on either side of me, single hop, double hop, go fast, go slow, bring my knees up high and come to the following realisation: instead of challenging a pugilist to a punch-up, why didn’t I just go toe-to-toe with a primary-school girl in a skipping contest?