Sooke boxing coaches Ellen Connor, left, and Tammy Johnson both joined boxing because it makes them feel empowered, and they hope to encourage others to join the sport. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke boxing duo empowers women

Sooke Boxing Club coaches Ellen Connor and Tammy Johnson explain what they love about the sport

Over the last nine weeks you’ve let me complain about how sore I am, harass you to join boxing, and babble on about what kind of food I eat.

So before you get sick of me, I thought I would put the spotlight on someone else for a change: two of my coaches, Ellen Connor (the woman who dragged me in to this) and Tammy Johnson.

These two lovely ladies inspire me in a lot of ways, and are the reason I have made it this far with training.

RELATED: Reporter takes on boxing challenge

The dynamic duo met around two years ago while Connor was coaching at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Langford.

Johnson came to class and became captivated by the sport. Now, she helps Connor out with classes almost every day at the Sooke Boxing Club.

“Boxing has shown me that I can come back from bumps in the road,” said Johnson. “It’s empowering, and there’s always something to learn or something that you can do better, so it keeps you wanting more.”

Johnson said that boxing has showed her that it’s never too late to change your path.

“I want boxing to do the same thing for girls younger than me. It’s such a validating sport,” said Johnson. “It makes me feel alive.”

RELATED: Kooshh, keesshh, Sooke boxing is fun

Connor agreed, saying that her main goal with coaching is to help empower women and young girls.

“I was that 16-year-old girl that was chubby, had no self-esteem and no sense of belonging. I just struggled to fit in and find a place. So for me, boxing sparked that voice in me that made me think, ‘You know what? I am worthy,’” said Connor.

Connor said boxing changed her life forever, which is why she wanted to open up her own club in Sooke.

“I knew during my first class that this was the sport for me, it spoke to me in a different way that no other sport has,” she said. “It’s infectious and I want to share with people what boxing has done for me.”

Along with being some of the most physically fit women I know, Connor and Johnson are both extremely mentally strong as well.

RELATED: Cooking with ‘Killer’

Johnson has taught me to use a little trick called RBF, (acronym for Resting “female dog” Face) while struggling in a workout. Essentially, the trick is to pretend like nothing is happening to you, to detach your emotions from the pain and just continue to work through it.

It’s definitely hard to ignore when your arms feel like they are being ripped off at the shoulder by a pack of wolves during a punching drill, and then Connor shouts “One more minute to go!”, but I’ve learned to just use my RBF, let my arms go numb, and can usually survive the drill.

If I look like I’m about to go unconscious, Connor will scream, “GO WITHIN DAWN!” and that almost always boosts me enough to close out the exercise.

“Mental strength is the key component,” said Connor. “You could be the worst boxer on the planet, but when it’s time to get in the ring and you actually believe in yourself, you will get through it.”

RELATED: Reporter takes soreness to new level

Connor has us focusing just as much on our mental strength as our physical strength throughout training by having us keep journals.

This is so we can write about how we’ve felt after each class, and try to improve by looking back on our experiences.

“Boxing is going to knock you down, but it’s about those who have the ability to get back up. And if you can do that in boxing, it will transfer over in to your life,” said Connor. “I’ve had some bad times in my life, and boxing has taught me to be that much stronger and to pick myself up when I get knocked down and keep moving forward.”

Connor started this all-female challenge hoping to give women an opportunity to do something that they might not otherwise do.

“When the girls step in to that ring at the all-female card, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose. It’s the fact that they got in the ring, because not everyone can do that,” said Connor. “It’s not about beating each other down, it’s about building each other up, and showing women that they belong here, that they can do anything, and that they are good enough.”

•••

Dawn (Killer) Gibson writes every other week about her exploits at the Sooke Boxing Club, as part of an All-Female Boxing Challenge.

Just Posted

BC local elections: CVRD Area G voters ask questions about water, community centre

Saltair voters gathered under the roof of the community centre, a building… Continue reading

Ladysmith Public Art strategy holding back alleys and forgotten corners walk

Thanks to those who attended our Public Arts 101 Talk at the… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Amanda Jacobson

Current occupation: I am a mortgage broker; I have been helping people… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Malcolm Sacht

Current occupation - Professional Mariner at Seaspan Marine. Background- I grew up… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Marsh Stevens

Current occupation: President of Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, Stay-at-Home Parent/Homeschool Teacher to… Continue reading

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Most Read