Have you ever been bullied? If you haven't, it sucks. Each incident leaves you with a mess of complex emotions and questions. "What did I do to deserve this?" Anger, sadness, and confusion. Mix these emotions with a blast of hormones from puberty and you have a potentially dangerous situation. Sometimes these situations do boil over and the victims lash out violently against their bullies and the community at large.
To help these young victims deal with their emotions, Holly Reynolds invented the "Fight Club" program as reported by Lisa Gutierrez of the Kansas City Star. The program allows victims of bullying, or any teen, to come to the boxing gym and train every Sunday for almost two hours. The program is free and lets the teens blow off some steam. Reynolds has been under pressure to change the name of the program since it makes most people think of unsanctioned, secret fights (Thanks Brad Pitt).
"People tried to get me to change the name to make it more accessible, but I was very determined. That was the name that came to my head, because growing up is a fight. You've got to fight to be heard, you've got to fight to be understood. Some of these kids have to fight to get themselves out of bed in the morning and drag themselves to school. It's a constant struggle. The metaphor went well with what're doing. We're not necessarily telling these kids go out and fight. We're giving them the mind-body connection that comes from boxing and kickboxing."
Speaking from personal experience, going through a boxing working can be a grueling experience. High-intensity interval training will destroy your stamina and leave you begging for it to stop. Yet, if you can make it through the workout, you will be rewarded with a rush of endorphins that makes you feel like you are on top of the world. This is the feeling that Reynolds is trying to give the troubled teens. As a side benefit, these teens will be able to defend themselves if they are victimized in the future.
I love these types of programs that use sports in order to help people in need. Boxing is a great way to release stress and anger in a controlled, safe environment. Not only that, but being able to move a 100-lb bag at will builds self-confidence in a strange way.