Story and photos by Holly Marcus, senior contributor
What started off as a few timid punches soon escalated to raucous laughter and mighty blows. A series of rights and lefts, blocks and jabs were thrown as spouses hid behind the safety of punching bags and battled each other with apparent delight.
Edge Effect Fitness offers an alternative to dinner and a movie date night. For about an hour, couples can come and learn some basic boxing skills. With ample punching bags to practice on, couples take turns assisting each other in learning to dodge, duck and dance around the mat for an evening of exercise and bonding.
Jared and Becky Troutman said they saw Edge Effects ad on Facebook. “We’ve never done anything like this before. We try to do a date night once a month and this is a change of pace.”
Randy Simpson, founder of Edge Effect Fitness, said that because your partner is someone you are familiar with, there is less tension of trying something new and it becomes more like a game. The gym provides boxing gloves and equipment; couples need only to come prepared to move in comfortable clothes and ready to learn.
Simpson invites couples (no experience necessary) out to his monthly Date Night Boxing, with the next session scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15 at 5, 6 or 7 p.m. Each hour is limited to four couples, who each pay $30. Simpson’s plug for the event: “You’ve probably got enough landscape paintings and wine glasses – glove up and join us.” Eventually he would like to offer different levels of classes at the fitness center on Acorn Drive in Harrisonburg.
As the evening fades into night, the group ends their session with some stretching. As they pack up their belongings, the next crowd of girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives starts filtering in. Glancing at the veteran crowd leaving with smiles (and no bloodied knuckles or lips) they knew they made the right decision to try something new together.
Jeanne Ritchie practices punching at the Date Night Boxing on Jan. 11 at Edge Effect Fitness Katy Melton-Simpson helps instruct participants at the Date Night Boxing event
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