Eglantine! Eglantine! Eglantine! From speaking in front of a crowd at a TEDx conference to fighting in a boxing ring surrounded by people screaming her name, our favorite of the week is fearless.  French, living in Paris, when she’s not working in computer science she loves to cook and obviously box. Dive in!

JabtoJab: When was your first contact with boxing?

Eglantine: I have been practicing French boxing for almost 3 years. Previously, I practiced a Japanese martial art called Aikido that is exclusively defensive. It is the art of diverting the attack of your opponent. After that, I wanted something more offensive, more intense, that mobilizes my legs and arms, and at the same time elegance and technique. I found all of that in this French martial art called Savate. After trying I could not let go. After a couple of trainings, there was something that I felt, a kind of happy anger that channels me and makes me want to keep going.

photo: Sébastien Liebus

What’s your motivation for training? Before I started boxing, I wasn’t into sports at all. At school I was always last in class. Boxing has structured all my training, motivating me at the same time to gain force, endurance and cardio. The more we practice the more we feel we need to improve….

Practicing a men’s sport in a world dominated by men is also a way for me to have power, break the monopoly of violence and show the world that there is nothing that a woman can’t do. And, just for that matter, I will not stop.

photo: Sébastien Liebus

Describe us your relationship with your coaches and colleagues? I do all my boxing classes with the same coach, who’s been following me and knows all my strengths and weaknesses. We truly have a trust relationship and I’m always happy to see him. I box in a club where all the training sessions are in small groups, and everyone is very nice.

And sparring with them? How is the feeling? There is a big difference between hitting a bag and an opponent. For me sparring is kind of like a dance, a chat, a moment between two persons. Not so many people receive such a big amount of attention and benevolence as the ones who box with me. Because, you have to immerse yourself in your opponent, read her, notice her smallest gestures and absorb yourself in that moment. Between what we build – concerning combat tactics – and what we receive in return, it is a comprehensive moment, which absorbs my body and soul for a few minutes.

The moments I really like are the ones before entering the ring. When we are warming up with our coach.

Have you ever participated in a boxing event? Twice, two years in a row. It’s always a great opportunity. The preparation for the event is fantastic! We are all very focused and motivated. The moments I really like are the ones before entering the ring. When we are warming up with our coach. Concerning the event itself and when I enter the ring, I still need to improve. I’m a better boxer in trainings than when I’m under the spotlights.

Do you believe that practicing boxing helps you become a better person at work, with your family or friends? Boxing has helped me develop more trust in myself. I’m more of a fighting person now, but I know the limits of a face-to-face. When we are in the ring, we must fight, but when we get out, the fight is over, and we rest. Life is not a constant fight. Boxing also changed the way people look at me. When somebody introduces me, they usually say: “be careful, she’s a boxer!” Being a short girl who doesn’t speak very loudly, looking dangerous is a new experience for me. Practicing a men’s sport in a world dominated by men is also a way for me to take power, break the monopoly on violence and show the world that there is nothing that a woman can’t do. And, just for that, I will never quit.

photo: Sébastien Liebus