April 2023 – Ashley Kim
Ashley is a part of our biggest family unit that comes to Contenders, which is it’s own accomplishment. She has made a mark of her own accord though. Ashley is a pillar of our community. She is an incredibly disciplined boxer, always willing to work with new members, and never lets a room full of men intimidate her. Congratulations on Contender of the Month Ashley! Check out our Q & A with her.
Q: A lot of your family is/has been members of Contenders. Was there an intention for your family to get involved with the same sport, and what is it like having that shared experience?
A:Haha, that’s true. My brothers and my dad went to Contenders before me, so I was surprised that I got chosen as the member of the month before them! Shout out to Brian Kim who found the Contenders on Google Maps and brought all of us to the gym.
Well, we started boxing because we all wanted to get fit. Me and my brothers are students and my dad is a businessman, so we spend so much time at desk. We really needed motivation to work out and relieve our stress. I remember when my dad first suggested me to box about a year ago. At the time, I was working in Korea, so I couldn’t come to the Contenders obviously, but I was always intrigued because dad seemed much more relaxed and happy.
Having a shared experience is great. I can ask questions about boxing, and they know what I am learning so they can answer me right away. It is like having my Sebastian and Kevin at home, but with the last name, Kim. I definitely became closer with my brothers and dad. I remember doing groceries with them on our way home together.
Q: What was your skill level in fitness and boxing prior to Contenders? And where is it now?
A: I am not that athletic at all. B in a PE class was my best shot in high school. I’ve never boxed. I occasionally went to the gym and jogged to keep up my strength, but that’s it. I got a few personal training sessions, but I didn’t like the idea that I have to do meal planning as well.
I only had an arbitrary image of boxing from the movie “Rocky” and the boxing mini-game in “Nintendo Wii Sports”. I remember that I was so unfit when I first started to box. It was only a month after I recovered from the Covid, so I was always exhausted 24/ 7. I wasn’t even sure if I could make it to the end of the class. Now, I am much fitter than before and slightly better in boxing (about intermediate I guess?), but I still see so many things to improve on. So I am getting there, slowly. I’m surprised that I am not as tired as before after class.
Q: What has been your biggest roadblock when boxing at Contenders, and how have you or are you overcoming it?
A:Ooh my laziness. I mean, everyone has that voice in the back of their head saying “hey can’t we just skip for today and eat pizza?”. But I know from the experience, it feels much better to show up, do the work, do the practice, go home, and get a shower. …and order a pizza too. Pizza tastes so much better after work out.
Jokes aside, boxing gives much more benefits although it leaves me with tons of laundry to do every week. And I like learning new techniques, watching people doing, and feeling a sense of accomplishment after every class. Everything has some roadblocks, but when it comes to things that I genuinely enjoy, I don’t mind it. It is just part of it.
Q: How do you stay consistent and motivated with your practice?
A:I try to keep up with my routine, because I am a freelancer at the moment. Once my routine breaks down, I know so it will be the same for my mental health. And boxing is part of my routine! I try to come at least 3 times a week. Boxing motivates me to go to the gym and do more squats (because more squats=more leg strength=better footwork).
Also I am pretty competitive by nature, so in the back of my head, I am always thinking ‘I should be so much stronger and better than my brothers!!!’. If my brothers are reading this, I am sorry. You know that I always say that I will win you in some day.
Q: What is your favourite class to take and why?
A:Advanced. Although I sometimes stand blank faced in a class because I didn’t understand the instruction, I like learning various techniques. Also, it is much harder than the fundamental class, so it boosts my strength for sure. Hand-pads are still confusing, but I am working on it. I would love to try sparring one day.
Q: What is your favourite thing about the community/teaching environment at Contenders?
A:It is friendly and everyone is nice! The instructors are very approachable. I remember I used to come to class very intimidated when I came by myself because being in a gym with a bunch of strangers was strange and awkward. I worried so much about making fun of myself because my postures and punches were very clumsy. But everyone encouraged my boxing journey, kindly answered my questions, and gave me useful advice. So that’s why I keep coming to the Contenders.
Q: Tell us a little bit about who you are outside of boxing? What interests do you have?
A:I am working as a part-time translator at the moment, but I am actually a university student who is on interruption. I will go back to my studies next September. I am recently interested in gardening, so I’ve been collecting seeds like the apocalypse is coming soon. Besides that, I love painting, cooking, crochet, and journaling. All of my hobbies scream an indoor person and I am.
Q: …And lastly, tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A:I have a bartending certificate, and I purchased a star certificate that cost me $50 when I was sixteen. I don’t know why I did that. Must have had so much allowance back then.