I can’t believe it’s already September! Hopefully you are all enjoying the sunshine and ready for pumpkin-spice-all-the-things season.
This is the last public post sponsored by my summertime BTCPay Server experiments (thank you to everyone who participated in that crowdfunding!). So I’m excited to share what I did during my bitcoin-funded summer of free choices, including a few boxing lessons.
Part of learning about a self-sovereign lifestyle is learning about self-defense. Although I grew up in a home brimming with guns and martial arts enthusiasts, one of my most painful memories is of throwing a weak and uncoordinated punch as a teenager. A grown man was molesting me, which is why I hit him. And I will never forget the horrifyingly dull sound it made when my hand flailed out and collided with his head. He looked at me in shock, not pain, and I was immediately seized with the icy realization that I couldn’t hurt him enough to stop him. That was the last time I ever hit someone in the head.
It’s okay that I’ll never be a champion fighter. If I ever hit someone again I want it to at least indicate that I’ll be able to put up a fight. So far, my boxing coach is unimpressed with my efforts. He says my sprint looks like a “Sunday stroll” through the park, that my footwork is clumsy, and that my punches are usually aimed so low it looks like I’m “fighting babies.” (As a short person, I need to remember to aim up.) In the three classes I’ve taken so far, he has deemed only three of my punches (out of hours with hundreds of attempts) to be passable. They garnered a “yes” and a double “fuck yes,” so at least I’m making progress!
To learn more about boxing and bitcoin, I called up Nita Watson, director of the Self-Care Lab Boxing & Fitness Club in California. She’s also been crowdfunding with bitcoin, to help her continue her boxing program for at-risk youth. She’s trained more than 8,000 people in her gym since it first opened in 2017, continuing even though the pandemic has reduced class sizes in recent months.
(Image by I. E. Photos)
“We’re hoping to reopen our doors by October with a new 24-month lease,” Watson said. “This was our first bitcoin rodeo [crowdfunding], we’ve heard about it before. It was outside our comfort zone, so we needed to get educated first. Some of our clients could pay in this form of payment [bitcoin], now it’s opening up the doors to financial freedom.”
In addition to a few clients paying for their boxing memberships with bitcoin, an ongoing cryptocurrency crowdfunding campaign (still open to donations!) has contributed more than $26,000 (so far) to the community boxing program. Her perspective on bitcoin and self-defense really resonated with me.
“I’m a mental health professional, so I’m interested in seeing what role bitcoin plays in exercise and self-care,” she said. “For example, watching the price too much can be harmful to mental health. I’m thinking about how to minimize compulsive behaviors, making sure to practice healthy habits. How can we use this new tool as a part of our balanced lifestyle that prioritizes self-care?”
As for the mental health part, Watson’s youth program includes mentorship and counseling aspects that lend it a uniquely holistic approach.
“I’m focused on community resilience and healing from trauma. We teach basic boxing fundamentals and, as we’re on the bag, we talk about what PTSD is and how it can play into our boxing practice. Afterwards some people share their experiences,” she said, describing just one aspect of her multifaceted program. “It’s not about pairing people by weight and gender. Instead we’re offering opportunities to work with badass guys and girls across the spectrum, in an environment of safety and healing and respect. Everyone needs to make time for themselves, because you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
I’m not crowdfunding for boxing lessons anymore, but I highly recommend checking the gym's donation wish list if you’re keen to get involved from afar. In the meantime, I’m busy ramping up for the next Des Femmes Twitter Spaces on October 1 at 9 am PT. Our last virtual hangout had more than 100 participants! You’re welcome to join this one if you’re interested in learning more about what I’m up to.
If you have any questions or ideas related to any of the above-mentioned topics, please feel free to share them in the comments!
Until next time, take care everybody!