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Joanne Salley fights for Cancer Research: Part II

I’ve always loved a challenge and when the smooth straight road is ahead I quickly take a detour and venture down the rough track. Preferring the steep climb up a mountain than the deck chair with the view.

This week has been journeying down the rough track with the steep climb! I’ve pushed myself and come up against a few hurdles. The more I get involved in this sport I realise the difference in training and sparring. Training is like reading quietly sitting in an armchair with a hot chocolate. Sparring is like hitting yourself repeatedly with the book while pouring the hot chocolate on your head. I’ve sparred twice this week and both times have come away feeling knocked, bruised and battered. My jaw was so painful last night I couldn’t sleep. Lying on either side was excruciating and on my back too so at 4am I was answering emails and talking with a friend in LA! The night before my head felt like it was about to explode and I thought in the morning I was loosing my vision. Still a training session and a run was on the agenda.

It’s a tough sport because you take the punches and have to get up and go on. It’s nothing like following a little white ball around immaculate green fairways and coming back the next day to find the pin has moved. The sparring sessions are so different as every denominator changes. Your mood, energy levels, strength, speed, technique, skill and that’s only you, you have to read your opponent too. It’s almost impossible to put into practice what you learn on the pads as your instinct of survival kicks in and you have to fight with a reasonable common sense reaction to run with the deep desire to come forward and land killer blows.

Before this week I believed only the flight or fight instinct is put to the test but I realise now it’s much more than that! To quote our friend Rocky, “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward” . In boxing there is no stopping and standing still just moving forward. So think of me now packing my bag, jumping on my bike and making my way to the gym believing that the rough road is the most rewarding.

- Joanne Salley

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