What do you get when you combine five girls, 10 sweaty boxing gloves, and a lot of aggression? Well, mostly you get a big ol’ sweaty mess— but an empowered big sweaty mess. At least, that was the case when the ladies of Greatist (we were missing the gents of our team, Derek and David) headed to Mendez Boxing for this week’s Gractivity. We jumped into a beginner’s class (taught by our unceasingly patient trainer/slave-driver, Joshua Vasquez) Friday afternoon to learn a few basics and, obviously, get our Rocky on.

The class started with jumping rope, the go-to cardio for all boxers. And by “jumping rope,” I mean mostly just tripping over ourselves while accidentally smacking each other with our ropes, yet still working up a serious sweat. Only two of the five of us managed to execute the proper form, while the rest of us considered double-Dutching our way right out of there. But don’t get me wrong— it was all worth it. Because after the jump roping, things got serious. That’s when we all suited up in our ultra-cool protective hand wraps (all matched to our outfits, of course) and threw on gloves. Joshua taught us a few basic punches (“Right! Left! Hook!”) and the proper form (“Keep your hands up, your chin down. Swing your butt out a little”) before setting us loose on a few punching bags. All this while bells constantly chimed off the end of each round. Next it was into the ring to combine our punches with some fancy footwork. We shuffled back and forth across the ring while punching out all our anger. Before we were off the hook, though, there was a whole lotta’ shuffling in a circle— a strange cross between our ice skating Gractivity and Ring Around the Rosy. Then we got back to the punching bags, attempting to land our hits while rotating around the bags. Before we ended our sweat session, we did manage to score some aching muscles, so we’re considering this Gractivity a success— not to mention the half dozen raw eggs we earned along the way. Big thanks to Mendez Boxing for having us and tolerating all the giggling! Check them out on Facebook or call 212-689-5255 to schedule a beginner’s session— the first class is free. Just be sure to bring hand wraps (you can also buy them there), a requirement before stepping into the ring. Photo by Ben Draper