The Salvation Army introduces exclusive women’s boxing classes in York
3 mins read

The Salvation Army introduces exclusive women’s boxing classes in York

There are at least a dozen women of various ages and backgrounds here. They’re lifting tyres, hauling on ropes, jumping over benches…Push-ups, sit-ups and bench jumps are part of the warm-up routine at the Salvation Army’s free new women-only training an boxing sessions in York (Image: Stephen Lewis)

The warm-up routine is being led by the Salvation Army’s Charlie Malarkey.
“Keep going! You’re doing great!” he shouts. “This ticks every box, does this. It makes you feel physically strong, mentally strong…” The women continue until Charlie shouts “Stop! Change!” Then they all move round one spot and start on the next piece of equipment. This is the first of what will be a regular free training and boxing… Charlie Malarkey demonstrates an arm-strengthening exercise at the Salvation Army’s women-only boxing and training session in York (Image: Stephen Lewis)

Charlie, through the Salvation Army, already runs two free mixed training and boxing sessions, on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

Louise Elphee, who came along to the first session on Tuesday, said she’d always wanted to do some training, but couldn’t afford a commercial gym. So she was thrilled when she heard about the Salvation Army’s free Tuesday evening sessions for women.

“Something like this is really empowering,” she said. “It’s about getting out, feeling more confident, being around other women – and there’s a lovely atmosphere. And if I can get myself some self-defence skills, I’ll feel much better.”
   
   ” “It’s about getting out, feeling more confident, being around other women – and there’s a lovely atmosphere. And if I can get myself some self-defence skills, I’ll feel much better.”   Lisa Kerry, who works as a supervisor at Chocolate & Co, said she came along mainly because she wanted to get fit. “But you feel so much better as well!” she said. “You feel physically better, but… ‘You feel so much better!’ – getting fit at the Salvation Army’s women-only boxing session in York on Tuesday night (Image: Stephen Lewis)

Some of the women who came along on Tuesday didn’t want their names or photographs appearing. Sarah Pirie of the Salvation army said some women were very vulnerable. Domestic abuse can be a real issue for women who have spent time on the streets, she said. But whatever their background, she said, a workout such as that offered here could bring…


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Warm-up sessions over, it is time to really get down to business – a session with the punch bag. As the women take turns to pound away, you can almost feel the stresses of the day flowing out of them. “Anybody can box!” says Claire Leathley, who’s been helping to lead the session.
“This is a non-intimidating space, where we’re all here to help each-other. For…

Free women-only training and boxing sessions will run from 6-7pm every Tuesday night at the York Masters Boxing club in Redeness Street. There’s no need to book. Just turn up and… get boxing.