Lady Patriot packs a mean punch

Anna Malesis, Managing Editor

By day, she is a quiet, intellectual student. By night, she is ready to fight.

Junior Clara Bardot is probably not the kind of person who comes to mind when you think “kickboxing,” but for the past five years, that’s just what she has been doing.

More specifically, she practices Muay Thai, a combat sport that involves the use of the fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Although Muay Thai doesn’t have belts like some similar sports, participants can test to progress from level to level, and Bardot is on level seven out of twelve.

She goes to practices three to four times a week, where kickboxers take turns hitting and holding targets. Since the classes have a relatively equal gender balance, she works with both boys and girls.

“It depends on the guy, but there is definitely that sense of ‘Oh, no! That fragile little being! I must not hit them hard,’” Bardot said. “Once, I was partnering with this new guy and he would punch me like I was a feather.”

Bardot enjoys kickboxing because it allows her to challenge herself and because of the community associated with the sport.

“I want people to know I’m not just beating people up,” Bardot said. “There are many different aspects of it, and I want people to try to understand it more complexly than just as a violent sport because that is not really what it is.”

Clara prides herself in breaking the stereotypes she is presented with.

“When I started kickboxing I wasn’t thinking about doing the out-of-the ordinary, so it never really seemed strange to me until people would ask me what sport I did. I would say kickboxing, and their eyebrows would shoot up their forehead like, ‘That’s not possible. You are a girl. You are short. You don’t do kickboxing.’ I think regardless of what it is thought to be, it is fun, and that’s why I do it.”