The University of Notre Dame is a special place for countless people on campus and around the world! Beyond the beautiful golden dome and other amazing sites around the campus, Notre Dame students find their place here in many ways. This series shares their stories and illustrates the many ways that people find their home under the dome! This week Luzolo Matundu shares her love for Baraka Bouts, a women’s boxing club devoted to boxing, empowering powerful women, and serving others by raising money for Holy Cross Missions in East Africa.
Home Under the Dome
If you told me in high school that I would join the boxing club in college, I would have laughed in your face. Growing up, I never played sports, did not enjoy working out, and overall did not like any physical activity. I told myself that I just was not good at it. Every time I ran around at recess or participated in gym class, I was always out of breath. It was honestly embarrassing.
My sophomore year, I attended the clubs and activities fair in the stadium concourse (my first time doing so due to COVID). I remember walking around, and I saw a table that caught my attention. The table was for the women’s boxing club, Baraka Bouts. I did not know why, but I was drawn to it. Maybe it was the energy I felt from the women that were working the table. Many people say to take a leap of faith and try something you never thought you would in college, so I signed up.
My first time going to practice I was kind of nervous but also excited. The way Baraka works is that practices are 2 hours long, and it is recommended that you come 4 times a week. The first 15 minutes is warm up: 200 jumping jacks (no breaks) and a few mild exercises to stretch, the next 45 minutes is a workout, the final hour is boxing technique, and then it closes with another 200 jumping jacks. Let me be the first to tell you that the workouts are intense. You know how people can kill a workout? This workout killed me. I could barely keep up with the other women around me and took so many breaks because my body was not used to so much activity. I woke up the next morning incredibly sore. Even though it’s hard, I still go back.
Boxing pushes me mentally and physically. Each day I go to practice and challenge myself. I work on my breathing, do the exercises for a few seconds longer than I did last time, improve my technique, and build my endurance. When I box, everything else fades away. I forget about all the work I have to do and my shoulders feel so much lighter. Shadow boxing and punching the air (even better, punching a bag or throwing mitts) is a lot of fun and gives me a chance to slow down. When I box, I do not think; I just do. I am thankful to the Women’s Boxing Club for giving me the opportunity to push myself and grow in an area I never thought I could.
In case you are wondering… no the workouts do not get any easier, but the boxing technique has :)