Baraka Bouts: The Strongest Club on Campus

Over the course of my four years here at Notre Dame, there is one all-female club about which I have heard nothing but rave reviews: Baraka Bouts. For those who don’t know, Baraka Bouts is Notre Dame’s all-female boxing club founded in 1997 that trains every fall here on campus in order to compete in a tournament at the end of the season. There is a purpose to this boxing madness, though. This club (along with Bengal Bouts, the male counterpart) raises money for the Holy Cross Missions in East Africa to fund schooling in Uganda. Feeling inspired and sentimental about being a senior, I finally decided to join Baraka Bouts and I have not looked back. This club pairs exercise with service in the best way possible, and I am so happy to have joined.

Baraka Bouts is all about feeling strong. Physically, emotionally, you name it; these women have it. These two-hour-long practices are both physically and mentally taxing. I’m a rather sweaty person, so at the end of each practice it looks like I just took a shower in my own sweat, but I absolutely love it. I have always been a fan of working out, but working out with a large group of women all working towards a common goal just makes it that much more enjoyable. Everyone is there to build each other up because, chances are, they are experiencing the same pain as well. As a brand-new boxer, I was first pretty intimidated by the whole concept of boxing and the people at practice with years more experience than I have, but I quickly realized that this was not necessary. In Baraka Bouts, we are all equals supporting each other. Novice or vet, in-shape or out-of-shape, everyone is doing the same workout and working just as hard. It is by far the most female empowerment I have felt in my time here at Notre Dame.

Yes, boxing does seem like a daunting concept, but we are trained well with the proper gear to make it seem less intimidating and to prevent injuries. The coaches are not just randomly throwing us into the ring; we are very much physically and mentally prepared. The point of boxing is not to deal with anger but to embrace your strength, which is very well embodied in Baraka Bouts. 

For those who have participated in Baraka Bouts, you know all of this already. The sense of community and strength in this organization is immeasurable. For those who have not yet had the chance to join, I highly recommend you do at some point in your Notre Dame career. Though the pain can make the workouts tough and I am now sore a lot of the time, it is so worth it. The sense of spirit and support makes the workouts and the experience so much better.

Fundraising for the Baraka Bouts season just began, so if you would love to support our amazing organization in Uganda, please donate. The tournament for the end of the season is in November, so come watch all of our hard work pay off!

Images: 1, 2, 3

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