July 4, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mali: Sports: Kickboxing: Arizona Daily Star: Mali RPCV Cassandra Meynard is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: July 4, 2004: Headlines: COS - Mali: Sports: Kickboxing: Arizona Daily Star: Mali RPCV Cassandra Meynard is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.22.73) on Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 7:24 pm: Edit Post

Mali RPCV Cassandra Meynard is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp

Mali RPCV Cassandra Meynard is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp

Mali RPCV Cassandra Meynard is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp

Cassandra Meynard is about to test her will.

The 37-year-old technical writer is headed to a five-day Muay Thai kickboxing camp in Oregon in a few weeks, an exclusive, invite- only experience attended by about 90 of the world's premiere fighters. She'll be running five miles every day; up to 11 hours a day will be taken up with training and sparring. Many drop out.

Her teacher and ticket into the camp, Aaron Haynes, admits that because she's been training for only about 18 months, she'll be at "the bottom of the barrel" in skill. Women are rare in the fighting groups. But he picked her, he said, because physically, mentally and emotionally she embraces challenge.

Muay Thai is different from standard kickboxing in that not only can you use elbows, knees and head butts, you can also punch anywhere on the body. It's about strength, but it's also about strategy.

Meynard has had a number of challenges over her lifetime. She met her French-Malian husband when she was in the Peace Corps and ended up staying in West Africa for 13 years. Cancer took him in 2001, leaving her to raise their twins, now 7.

She moved to Tucson in 2002 to finish her master's degree in creative writing and happened upon a cardio kickboxing class at her gym. She was ready to throw up the first time she did it. But she worked up the nerve to ask Haynes for private lessons, determined to learn proper form. At first she felt funny shadow boxing, but she soon got past that. It hurts. There have been bruises, and when shin hits shin it's a bad kind of pain. Even so, she may fight professionally someday, depending on how camp goes.

She's in better shape than she's ever been. And she's more confident, recently taking up rock climbing and hiking and golfing. "I think everybody's got an aggressive component in their nature. I'm not particularly aggressive, but I'm competitive," she said.

She's not easily intimidated these days, either.

"I'm learning I'm capable of more than I thought."




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Story Source: Arizona Daily Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; Sports; Kickboxing

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