Review by Afrikah Smith
ZOOM — Rooted in Movement is a two-part trans boxing series that creates a safe space for beginners and advanced folks to explore boxing while being in community with LGBTQIA+ members and other participants.
In the first 90-minute session, Shan Moten (they/them) led community members in practices and movements in grounding in space, boxing stances, strength, and core conditioning. Through an activist framework that centers accessibility and decolonization of the body, Rooted in Movement emphasizes self-empowerment, connecting with your body, and feeling your best. Throughout the session, Moten prompted questions to participants like “When did you last feel empowered or present?” and “What did that feel like in the moment?” Moten offered exercises from somatic healing practices and yoga, that promoted grounding, listening, and tending to your body wherever needed.
In establishing a foundation that focuses on wellness, they encouraged participants to go at their own pace and take care of themselves as needed. Participants could ask for support or ask questions at any point during the class.
Session two shifted focus. Moten introduced guided breathwork, reframing goal setting, and conditioning. Beginning with a guided meditation emphasizing checking in with one’s self, Moten prompted participants to pay attention to their breath and acknowledge any passing thoughts. Similar to the first session, they prompted participants to “identify patterns that no longer serve us, patterns that do, and patterns that we wish to create our best selves.”
Transitioning into reframing how we set goals, Moten quoted Claudia Alick, “Time is a relative and not a master.” Inviting us to reflect how we cared for our minds, bodies, and spirits, Moten encouraged us to develop goals towards becoming our best selves unrestricted by time. Some practices suggested were writing goals down, having accountability partners, and fostering rituals to better oneself. After looking inward, we resumed the session working on pivoting, shadowboxing, and components built from the last session.
I genuinely enjoyed the course for the care that was put into it from start to finish. It curated a sense of community. The virtual event was accessible; live closed-captioning was available. A host from the Theater Offensive was on standby for anyone needing further help and accommodations.
As someone interested in boxing with no idea where to start, Rooted in Movement was a great way to introduce the core basics in a judgement-free environment that encouraged everyone to do the best to their ability and to adapt where needed.
In both sessions, I broke into a sweat. I felt grounded, empowered, and supported by Moten and my peers. At the end of the class, I felt energized, present, and grateful for the tools Moten had brought into the space.