Bendigo Blue Light Boxing
Bendigo police are hitting out at negativity by offering young people an opportunity to try boxing.
A youth boxing open day was held in October in conjunction with Bendigo Blue Light and Hit Factory Boxing Club. Sergeant Adam Woods has been instrumental in planning the program which is aimed at young people aged 12 to 16 years and will provide an insight into the sport and the gym.
Some participants for the program have been individually be chosen by police but the program is open to anyone who feels they will benefit.
“It’s not something new, but it’s something that’s probably new to Bendigo,” Sergeant Woods said.
“We want to try to break down some of the barriers between police and the youth of Bendigo.
“Some of the misconceptions, some of the concerns they might have or reasons why they wouldn’t trust police or want to associate with them”.
“We are trying to alleviate a few of those problems, as well as get them involved in a great sport.”
Sergeant Woods disagrees with perceptions of boxing as a violent sport. “I believe it teaches them discipline and, in fact, it’s the exact opposite [of violence],” he said.
“It gives them skills they might not have to deal with situations they might not necessarily have been able to deal with in the past.”
Jocelyn Amiet turned to boxing about five years ago to further develop the skills she had gained from karate and ninjutsu. “I wanted to pick up my footwork and fitness in general,” she said. The 26-year-old fell in love with the sport and has since started boxing competitively in the women’s open 54-kilogram division. “I’ve had 14 fights now and won the Victorian title twice and been to the nationals twice, so my goal is to win the national title,” she said.
“I’ll need to win the Victorian title again to qualify.” Having studied martial arts since the age of 9, she considers boxing a difficult sport. “In that you need both speed and strength, but you’ve also got to maintain a weight division,” she said. “It’s hard maintaining that strength with dropping weight at the same time, so we do a lot of training to maintain weight and build cardio endurance.
“We do a lot of drills and sparring and just work on technique, and we also incorporate a lot of weight-based or strength training.”
The schoolteacher said there were many potential benefits for young people interested in taking up the sport. “There’s a great atmosphere at the gym, even if you don’t intend on competing at all,” she said. “It’s great for fitness, great for mental wellbeing, and just the sense of solidarity amongst the members of the gym, it’s a really great atmosphere to be in.”
Keeping a cool head under pressure is essential to boxing, Hit Factory Boxing Club head coach Danniel Burton said. “Footwork and stance is priority,” he said.
“Not getting hit is right behind that, and then just learning the correct technique”.
“Along with doing those things comes the fitness side.” Discipline is key to building those skills.
“You need to work hard to be a boxer,” Mr Burton said.
The youth boxing program is run at the Hit Factory Boxing Club at 28 Allingham Street, Golden Square.