Monday, July 23 2018
During the coming months, we’ll be highlighting our fighters in training for the upcoming Belles of the Brawl VI in Boston on October 10th. They’ve committed to four months of fundraising and training in preparation to get in the ring and literally fight for a cure. Whether they've had first hand experience, their father has passed or their friend has put up a victory against the disease – they’ve all got a story to tell and they’ve all got a reason to fight. Below you’ll hear from Kim Holman, fighting out of BoxSmith.
Where are you from?
Merrimack, NH, though I’ve resided in Boston for the last decade.
Where’d you go to college?
I went to Mount Holyoke for undergrad, and just obtained my MFA from Goddard College a few months ago!
Did you play any sports growing up?
I was the kid that scored a basket for the wrong basketball team and panicked when everyone chased me because I had the ball. Despite being tall and having my dad as a coach, I ended up benched halfway through the second-grade season. My limited sports career also spanned picking daisies while spending a day as an outfielder and quitting tennis camp two days in. Luckily I found success in dance classes, which I started as a young child, and I’ve been at it ever since, even making it my career!
What do you do for work?
I run Luminarium Dance Company, a contemporary dance company based in Boston, where I make new performance for our seven incredible company members. We’ve performed everywhere from the Boston Opera House to inside a fountain in a park—always unexpected adventures in the land of art. The company is a 501c3, so my job consists of both nonprofit administration and being an artist. I also take a lot of freelance gigs, choreographing for the concert stage, film, tv, theatre, you name it.
Why boxing? Did you ever picture yourself fighting?
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out. Last December I tried a boxing conditioning class at BoxSmith (with coach extraordinaire Jess Smith) and LOVED it. I was on the cusp of graduating from grad school, my uncle was in the midst of six weeks in the ICU after being hit by a car, and I had endured two hip injuries and gained a lot of weight since undergrad… at that moment in time boxing was definitely a way to take back control of my life. I still can’t explain that subconscious urge to step into the boxing gym, however, and shocked myself even further when I decided to try sparring. Now I can’t stop! I am loving boxing and its similarities to dance in how you utilize your entire body and brain.
Why on earth did you sign up to fight??
Do one thing that scares you every day, right? I had been watching Parker Willard and Chip Rives around BoxSmith as they trained for last May’s fight and was really impressed with their commitment to training and their constantly improving boxing technique. At some point mid-Spring, Jess (BoxSmith’s badass owner) asked me if I was going to throw my name in the hat for Belles, and I hadn’t really considered that it was something I could do. I’d been awful at sports and avoided conflict like a champ for my entire life, but here was a chance to seriously challenge myself and the idea of ‘impossible’ while raising money for a great cause. I spent a weekend freaking out about taking training to the next level, bombarding Jess and a handful of family and friends with questions and panicky illogical thoughts, before deciding there was really nothing to lose and everything to gain by signing up. What’s the worst thing that could happen—a punch in the face?
You’re stepping in the ring to literally fight for a cure – Where are you drawing your inspiration from? How has cancer affected you?
I’m currently drawing my inspiration from “Mighty Max” Mendez—an eight-year-old boy from my hometown in NH. Max has not only been fighting leukemia, making frequent trips to Boston for grueling treatments, but also doing a crazy amount of fundraising for Dana Farber/Jimmy Fund so eventually, there might be a cure and no more kids have to deal with cancer. I am so impressed by how relentless he is in the face of something really scary, that I couldn’t NOT do my part.
In terms of a personal connection to the awfulness of cancer, I've had friends and classmates fight cancer, sometimes unsuccessfully, and it is never a fair fight. I had a front-row seat watching my Grampa get slowly devoured by prostate cancer a few years ago—going from a healthy mainstay of our family to a progressively smaller, less coherent shade of himself before an untimely death. It was awful to stand by helplessly and watch his demise in progress, and I wish no one else had to go through that.
What is going to be the most difficult thing to give up during your training? (beer, cheeseburgers, time spent watching TV?)
I think the most difficult thing to give up isn’t one specific item, but more the spontaneous way I live my life. Summer usually means extreme flexibility with my schedule and hijinks, not sticking to a training diet, not drinking, and planning my days around my (many) workouts.
When you’re not throwing punches and training -- what other hobbies/interests do you have?
I’ve got art on the brain most of the time and try to check out exhibits, performances, and lectures to keep my own work fresh. It’s also summer so I’m all about outdoor things—kayaking, taking my dog on fun adventures, perfecting the art of reading in a hammock. My husband and I are also new owners of a beehive, so I’m learning how to keep bees!
Who do you think is the most excited to watch you get punched in the face come fight night?
I think my husband, Russell, will be the most excited person in the crowd watching me show off my new skills. When I tentatively brought up the idea of participating in Haymakers he responded with “you have to do it” even before I shared the details. I’ve also got a great group of close friends (who are still a little bit in disbelief) that will be coming to cheer me on and watch the action unfold.
Be sure to check out her fundraising page and wish her luck! Best of luck, Kim!