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Sparring, anyone?

Today, I made a fashion statement by wearing protective headgear, a chest protector and boxing gloves. After several months of practicing Shaolin kung fu at Iron Fist International in Chicago, my instructor, Sifu Dino Spencer, put me in the ring. It was utterly terrifying.

Despite his encouragement (and reminders to use the moves I'd learned during training), I felt ill equipped for the experience. I was afraid of getting hurt (even though I was well padded) or hurting somebody else. I just couldn't kick somebody I liked in the face for no reason.

Fortunately, my sparring partners sensed my apprehension and went easy on me. I was able to try my hand at sparring without, say, breaking a rib or getting a shiner.

And what a workout! I had never sweat so much in such a short time (other than my first weigh-in for publication). I just may do it again sometime.

For Jill's Month 8 stats and eighth complete Weight Loss Diary entry, pick up the August 2002 issue of SHAPE.

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