Boxing classes – for youth and adults – are starting in Hay River.
The youth sessions will be offered by the recreation department of the Town of Hay River on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning on Oct. 15 and running for five weeks until Nov. 16.
The instructor will be Nicole Mitchell, the recreation programmer with the town.
Mitchell explained that participants will not be boxing each other, but will instead learn boxing skills.
“It’s a fitness boxing to be active, to have fun, to try something new,” she said. “It’s just to get moving and have a good time.”
Mitchell said the young people will use a punching bag and practise footwork, and learn different types of punches – the jab, the cross, uppercut and hook.
“We’ll practise shadowboxing without actually hitting, but kind of get the moves down, get comfortable, and then we’ll transition to the bag,” she said, noting participants will learn how to hit a punching bag properly and safely.
The youth class on Thursdays will be for ages nine to 12 years.
As of late last week, a full complement of 10 youngsters had registered for that class.
However, no one had registered for the Monday and Thursday classes for ages 12 years and up, but that might still be offered if interest materializes.
The youth boxing classes are being offered with funding from the Aboriginal Sports Circle of the NWT, which provided 10 punching bags, 10 sets of gloves, 20 sets of wraps, and other supplies.
The cost of registration for the children is being covered by the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program.
Mitchell said the only cost for the young people will be for hand wraps, which they keep.
In February, she had offered kickboxing classes for adults, after receiving online certification as an instructor from Kickboxing Fitness Canada.
“And things were going pretty well until Covid kind of shut us down,” Mitchell said, noting she then became certified as a boxing instructor through the same organization.
“I was certified because I had the basics down from my kickboxing, and boxing has basically the same stuff,” she said. “And I thought, you know what, let’s get some kids active. You know what kids would love to do, hit some stuff.”
The adult boxing classes – for those over 13 years of age – began on Oct. 13, and will be offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for five weeks.
As of late last week, one adult class had three people registered, and the other had a half-dozen.
“So lower numbers than what we’d like, but when you start something new in Hay River you just kind of gotta get the ball rolling slow and it will pick up,” said Mitchell.
She added boxing is an opportunity for people to try some new and different.
The classes will be run with Covid-19 in mind with physical distancing and other precautions.
“Boxing lets kids have their own little space with the bag, without getting too close together but still having a good time,” said Mitchell.
“Even with adults, the type of boxing we do would be fitness boxing with sparring pads with a partner to hold up the targets for you and give you feedback, or we’d do the bag,” she said. “It’s just changing up the style, but we would not be actually fighting each other because the point of this class is exercise, or just getting active and having fun.”
Mitchell said there are many benefits to boxing, including making people feel powerful, strong and in control, while improving balance and co-ordination.
“It’s a very big confidence booster for people,” she said. “That’s a huge benefit.”
After five weeks of the boxing classes, the plan is to have another registration for continuing classes.
“I’m just happy to be able to offer it all,” said Mitchell. “It’s a fantastic program.”