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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee at Canvas Club Boxing

By Marina I. Jokic

Opening its doors just a year ago, Canvas Club Boxing has brought a classic, no-frills approach to training. Current owner of the club Melissa Ernst got into boxing as a personal workout, but decided to make it her profession. Wanting to learn more about the sport, Ernst was especially keen on exploring its psychological and physical benefits and developing a plan for opening her own gym. It wasn't too long before she began exploring boxing facilities around the country, zeroing in on New York and Chicago as prime examples.

"When we were envisioning [the concept for] Canvas Club Boxing, we knew we wanted to provide a safe, fun, encouraging and challenging atmosphere for people who have never boxed before," Ernst said. "We teach traditional [non-contact] boxing technique and want our participants to experience a taste of what real boxers do to train; we promote a team culture that bonds participants as they learn and grow together."

The classes at Canvas Club are versatile and varied, incorporating disciplines and methods outside of pure boxing. Yoga practice helps with flexibility and resiliency while Pilates strengthens the core in the best way possible. Some of the courses which infuse alternative methods include Fight Strength which relies on Pilates principles and the workshop Box n'Barre which integrates highly effective Barre techniques to sculpt and slim the body. Combined with bag and foot work, Pilates and other strengthening exercises help develop a core that can take a punch.

"It is humbling walking in knowing nothing about boxing, but then so rewarding when you learn how to throw a hook or a cross," Ernst said. "It is an experience that takes a lot of people out of their comfort zone; I love when someone walks through our doors looking nervous and then [hits] the heavy bag or step[s] in the ring and transform[s] into a new person."

In addition to adult classes, there are plenty of workshops and trainings designed specifically for youth. Ernst is especially outspoken about her support of girls' boxing. Despite the dominant cultural view of boxing as a primarily male sport, Ernst is happy to report robust female participation in her classes.

Alongside the obvious physical benefits that boxing brings, it also has the potential to reduce stress and sharpen concentration. In fact, the Upstart class is a non-contact training focused on building technique, concentration, and stamina.

"At Canvas Club, you are not only getting a workout, you are learning something and challenging your mind and body," Ernst said. "Whichever class you choose, it will never be boring because you are always learning or doing something new."

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