... but not much. I've been sprucing up the old mortal coil by going to a boxing training class for some time now. In an attempt to accelerate results, I've extended this once-a-weekend torture-fest to Mondays and Wednesdays as well.

The results are promising; I've felt pretty energized in recent weeks, despite an almost daily stiffness in joints and muscles corresponding to previous nights' workouts.

Last night, however, I became party to an extra-strenuous workout when, while in the middle of a series of crunches, the instructor began striking me in the midsection with a broom handle wrapped in a towel. This new torture is said to ensure you keep your core tight while performing abdominal work, since that's where you're likely to get hit by opponents, should you resort to the actual act of self-mutilation known as boxing.

After ten rapid strikes in my gut, I was allowed to come out of a half-crunch position. Needless to say, my abs are tender this morning.

The close attention paid by the instructor is partly my fault: the whole class was sitting around the edge of the boxing ring, feet inward. Partners were poised on our feet, and we extended our upper bodies out over the edge of the ring for sit-ups and other ab work. Meanwhile, to ensure tight cores, the instructor came around to each of us, and slammed our abs with the "training device". However, by the end of the routine, I hadn't been attended to, and made a point of mentioning it to my partner. Other people overheard this, and, of course, things got blown out of proportion. Instead of punishing the whistle-blower (like any good boot camp Drill Sargent would do), the instructor returned, and thinking I was making light of the whole issue, proceeded to give me 10 straight beatings while the rest of the class watched.

Ah, public humiliation. Like old times. Afterwards, people came by to congratulate me for smiling and taking such a beating ... so did the instructor (who also mentioned that if the pain is ever too much, to let her know). I noted that around beatings 5 or 6, I said "ok, that's enough," but she just smiled and went about her post-class routine.



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