The first time that I walked into a gym that devoted to boxing, I put on a game face and swaggered up to an older man who I thought was the coach. I had been told by the field house staff that the coach preferred to talk to people who were interested in the program before they signed up. Much later, I learned why.
The older man indicated in his broken English that he was not the coach. He pointed to a younger man who walked in and eyed me suspiciously, before taking a seat at his desk. The younger man told me that he ran a traditional gym, and was not in the habit of babysitting anyone. In other words, people were expected to work while they were there. Fortunately, I had been in a martial arts school the year before, and had taken a boxing class. The boxing instructor at the martial arts school there was a nice guy once you got to know him, but he was tough. He often put people in to spar early on. I told the young coach before me that I understood, and I would be signing up. He still gave me a dubious look, but gave me the okay.
During the first year or so that I was at that gym, I was the only woman in attendance. Slowly, other women joined, but they didn’t last long. Some left in the middle of a session, and some were gone after a couple of weeks. Very few actually stayed for the whole eight weeks, and of those who did, seldom did any sign up for another session. It’s not that some of the guys who came in weren’t dropping out but it was just that the women’s absences usually happened faster.