Photo by Lionel Taurus

Meet Jamie who practices boxing - her true love. When she’s not sparring, she designs stylish bags large enough to fit boxing gloves, you can check them out on jlewbags.com. We talked with Jamie about her passion for boxing, motivation and various events she organizes.

By Oxana Klokovskaya

How she started boxing

I hate saying this but it was pure vanity that got me into it and then it brought me back to life after a bad breakup.  I moved to London and didn’t know what I’d do for exercise given the lack of gyms at the time and the lack of sunlight at the hours I had available to run.  I met a Scottish woman who started training me in boxing ... and when the guy for whom I’d moved to London in the first place dumped me, I returned to NYC pretty soul shattered.

Day by day I pulled myself back together through boxing. I found camaraderie in the boxing gym I’d never experienced.  There’s something special about “earning respect” the old school way, day by day, through effort.  That’s what’s kept me there – the friendships, challenges, and support it offers.

How she got punched during her first sparring session and ended up wanting more

When I started, a guy told me if you’re going to swim, you’re going to get wet.  If you’re going to box, you’re going to get hit.   Face it and embrace it.  It’s not a normal feeling to get punched, but once you get a feel for the strategy of the sweet science and learn to bob and weave ... to counterpunch ... it becomes so much fun.  I really can’t get enough.   Every sparring session I improve and discover areas for improvement.

How martial arts changed the way she judges people

I definitely am slower to judge a person based on looks.  Looks are deceiving ... you learn that quickly in boxing.  Just because someone “looks” ripped doesn’t mean he/she can fight ... and just because someone “looks” out of shape doesn’t mean he/she can’t fight.

Why every woman should try martial arts at least once

Without a doubt, I’d love for every woman to try martial arts if only just once.   The mental benefits outweigh the physical ones and both are pretty fantastic. Discipline, confidence, trust ... you learn so many valuable skills that translate to everyday life.  And it’s fun and empowering.   I do think it can be intimidating at first to walk into some of these gyms, but that’s why organizations like yours (Jane Can Too) help – you can build a community of women that introduce others to the various disciplines.

On bags she designs and events she organizes

I founded a company called JLEW Bags, inspired by my love for boxing actually.   We make designer bags that are great for travel but also toting gym gear believe it or not.  When I couldn’t find a bag that suited my needs (nice looking enough to take to work but also functional enough to get me through my varied daily activities), I decided to make my own ... fast forward to today and we’re in business!

I made a conscious effort to seek out real athletes and trailblazers who inspired me when developing the “face” of the brand.  As that group has grown, I realized we could have fun working out together and inspiring one another. So that’s what we do.   We encourage women to try new activities, learn from one another and generally have fun ... look for the silver lining in all aspects of life.  Please stay tuned and join us if you’re able.  We post on social media @jlewbags but also on our events page.