A trendy hipster cluster on the map of Moscow - the Krasny Oktyabr factory, a former shop for processing cocoa beans, lunch time. A graceful blonde in a short black Balenciag pilot jacket and jeans tucked into daring over the knee boots, she quickly guides me through the halls of her club, where at that moment ten people are kicking punching bags on adrenaline. Read: ten men. On the way to the hostess's office, I pay attention: the men's locker room of the October Boxing Club is noticeably larger than the women's one. Elena came up with the idea of opening a fitness space for white collars seven years ago - White Collar Boxing (its fans see combat and combat as a radical form of psychotherapy) became wildly popular in the mid-nineties in New York and then in London. In Moscow, before Elena Malova, no one offered such a top-manager, hence the success.
I admit that someone out of envy or jealousy for their favorite work can afford the phrase: "What does a woman understand in boxing ?!" Okay. I do not argue. But only men were somehow inspired by the female example.
Today the club has about 200 members - mostly lawyers, economists, business owners from 28 to 35 years old. 95% of them are men. The coaches are exclusively male. Women work in the club only in command posts and as administrative staff.
- Managing a male team is not difficult, - Elena explains to me. - A woman is not initially perceived by a man as a rival, so he has much less resistance. The tension between the subordinate and the boss decreases. Imagine: the boxer guys are all strong-willed, strong people, and now imagine that the alpha male gives them instructions. Willy-nilly, friction will arise due to certain biological laws. And when such men are led by a woman, everything is harmonious. We do not "bite" each other - we are a boy and a girl.
Elena masterfully avoids sharp corners, I understand. But in any business, sooner or later friction arises, and in order to keep the team in good shape, authority is important.
- Boxers are inherently not particularly talkative. None of them ever asked me any questions about the “blonde at the helm”. Although I had never run such a business before - my first education was a theoretical physicist, and my second education was a lawyer (I graduated from the Faculty of Physics and Law of Moscow State University) - but I implemented this project from scratch. And I myself am not a leader-provocateur: to reasonable limits I do not interfere in the coach's “diocese”. I prefer to invite specialists and trust them. In addition, the commercial result builds relationships itself. If they go to the coach, if he attracts clients, then he is doing everything right. Why argue with him?
"And if it doesn't attract?" - interest Ask. To lecture employees, especially men, is not comme il faut. If the coach is not satisfied, he should be fired. Without raising your voice. Over the seven years of our club's existence, this is how we parted with just one person. In general, in business management, everything depends on the psychotype, and not on gender characteristics. For example, it's hard for me to fire. This is probably a feminine trait. On the other hand, I do not strive to translate relations with employees into friendship outside the club, I prefer distance. You don't need to get too close, it gets in the way.
I practically do not move in the professional boxing community, I do not maintain acquaintances and do not pay attention to what they say. This is the position. I admit that someone out of envy or jealousy for their favorite work can afford the phrase: "What does a woman understand in boxing ?!" Okay. I do not argue. Only after this woman opened a unique club, men from among the former boxers began to open their clubs. For some reason they were inspired by the female example.
The reproach that “in this world women have taken a lot from men, at least leave boxing” seems comical to me. There are many male makeup artists, hairdressers, fashion designers. We do not shout: "Give us back our profession!" I do not participate in conversations about feminism, although I’m probably a feminist myself, because I think there is no point in dividing people by gender. There are different women and different men.
Surprisingly, while running a club with a masculine character, I still became softer, more patient and tolerant …
And yes, I am a loner, also because of my non-diplomacy. Such a character. Sharp. There is no need to argue with me, because I will resist and I will insist on my own. That is why it is difficult for me to work with partners - it is easier to make decisions alone. Surprisingly, running a club with a masculine character, I still became softer, more patient and tolerant. The progress in the development of these qualities is still not so great, but there is progress, because the club is primarily a client business. Each client is an "object of special attention", and he is always right, even though we believe inside that his eccentric character is to blame.
I myself, of course, can be found in the club in boxing gloves, but more often I prefer general physical training. I specifically use this word. Today we say "crossfit", "tabata" … I insist: "Guys, all this has existed for a long time, and no sport can do without general physical training." I am for simplicity. And I also respect boxing for that. It does not require training equipment or weights. The weight of your own body and elementary exercises in the form of jumping, push-ups, running, jumping out is enough to train. It's fine!
Photo: personal archive
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