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Sportspitality: is simply defined as the marriage between fitness and hospitality

I am one of those people that is always open to trying different physical activities, and when that is combined with exploring Johannesburg, you have me hooked and sold. When I heard about Curiocity’s Sportspitality I was keen to give it a try. A light jog coupled with a boxing session would be great for a morning cardio session, and considering I have some experience in both activities I figured it would be a blast.

Mainly targeted at people living and visiting Joburg CBD, the Sportspitality is creating a community of people with various fitness goals to come together, train and socialise. The group trains on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everyone meets at 06h30 for a jog from Curiocity to Access City for a boxing session with the founder of the Hillbrow Boxing Club, George Khosi. Access City has a great space that has been developed into a recreational area for public use, it’s basically an open gym. After a few punches the Sportspitality is done and dusted by 08h00, just in time to start the day.

I unfortunately could not make the usual time slot, so I had a bit of a bespoke experience with Curiocity’s Experience guru Tshepo. We met at the Curiocity reception at 06h30 on aSaturday morning. One of Tshepo’s first questions was ‘what is your fitness level’ and confidently I responded, ’oh I’m in the average mark’. Even though I am not really sure what counts as an average fitness level but I’d like to think I fall into that category. Once my fitness level was put to the universe and to Tshepo we started our jog to the Hillbrow Boxing Club. The run out of Maboneng to Hillbrow was a fresh reminder to the notion of Joburg being the city of the ‘hustle’. It was early Saturday morning and you did not even get a sense that it was the weekend. We ran past taxi’s picking people up to take them to work, people walking with distinct ‘work game’ focus portrayed on their faces and a gathering of construction workers at a petrol station waiting to be collected by their employers.

The run reminded me of how seamlessly connected areas of Joburg are. Hillbrow is one of those areas that has received an infamous reputation, even I as a born and bred Joburger, hadn’t thought I would just take a jog to this specific part of the CBD. Also the route Tshepo took me through had some spots I had either only driven past or never seen. In actual fact the Hillbrow Boxing Club is a spot I would usually see on route to the Bree Taxi Rank from the Alexandra Taxi rank. I recall always being fascinated with seeing people training while we went on our morning routine. You can imagine the excitement when I realised I would now be one of those people training there while everyone else went about their day.

George Khosi founded the Hillbrow Boxing Club with the aspiration of removing young people off the streets. By providing them with an alternative to lingering on the streets and easily being attracted by the negative influences in their environment. Almost six years later Khosi has produced some boxing champions and created a safe space for people in the
area.

My session was with one of the main trainers, Aphiwe. The session started with a one on one boxing round. With much conviction I put on the gloves with the firm belief that I would tap onto the skills I collected from previous boxercise sessions and also I have watched Million Dollar Baby, so all I needed to do is ‘ protect myself’. With all that in mind two minutes after the first round , my legs were unsteady, my heart rate increased and I was filled with energy because I could actually throw a few punches. Also I now know the difference between boxercise and boxing.

I had two additional boxing rounds with the boxing pads and throughout the rounds Aphiwe was giving me tips on how to improve my swings. I did note that I need to work on my jabs and I also learnt that every punch ends with a right punch, while calling out for a jab is referring to your left hand. Two rounds later, Tshepo and I ran back to Curiocity as a warm down which was cooled off with some water and a chat. The Saturday morning cardio session was achieved, the best part of that morning was Aphiwe saying I am strong and that I can throw a good punch.

BY KHUMO THEKO

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