The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Distinguished Women Awardees: 5 questions with boxing instructor

Boxing instructor, assistant coach, ECC Boxing Club adviser and Distinguished Women Award recipient Rachel Pittock demonstrates the next combination of punches to her boxing class on March 21. (Monroe Morrow | The Union)

Rachel Pittock, one of the six recipients of the Distinguished Women Award, is a part-time professor in the health science and athletic department, adviser of the Boxing Club and assistant coach for the El Camino Women’s Beach Volleyball team.

Q: What is your role in the El Camino College community and what are some of your responsibilities?

A: I am currently an adjunct professor for the health science and athletic department, so I teach four boxing classes at the college. I’m also the adviser of the ECC Boxing Club. We started the club last spring so we will be finishing our first year as a club. I’m also a volunteer assistant coach for the El Camino Women’s Beach Volleyball team.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: For the Boxing Club we have different layers to the club, so the club is open to all levels of experience and we meet once a week where we just have a boxing-inspired workout. The students lead the workouts and I’m just there to advise if they have questions or need help setting up certain stations. In addition, anyone with previous gym or class sparring experience is allowed to spar at the end [of the club meeting]. At the end of each semester, we host a Fight Night, a fundraiser sparring event, where our students within the club are able to showcase their skills and abilities against each other. So that’s one of my big projects every semester: getting Fight Night going. We were able to get a couple sponsors this last one. We will be hosting another one at the end of this semester. In addition we are hoping to build a team of people who want to continue past the fundraiser and who actually want to start competing in amateur fights against other schools.

Q: What are some of your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve through the work you’re doing?

A: I’m really hoping to achieve just a community, which I’m already seeing a community of students come together. It’s a really special thing when you’re training together and working hard, whether it’s in the sand or in the gym boxing, but you kind of create this camaraderie, that we are working hard together and sweating together. In creating that community and helping people of all different backgrounds come together, we find commonalities that they have.

Q: What is it like being a woman in your field, and how has that affected your experience as a coach and advisor?

A: It’s definitely different, you don’t see a lot of women boxing. Well, here at El Camino, both the main boxing instructors are women, which I think is awesome. In general, when people email me it’s always, ‘Hi Mr. Pittock, can I join your class?’ every time. People walk in the classroom and ask ‘Is this boxing, are you the teacher?’ To me, I like it, I find it as an opportunity to show people that, ‘Yeah I am the teacher.’ I can teach you how to box properly. My gender, my size, it doesn’t matter. So I think being a woman in that field, for me, I look at it as an opportunity. I think a lot of the differences and issues that we see in the world come from a lack of education. I look at it as an opportunity to educate people that women can do this too. It’s a fun time to be in the sports industry because women are finally getting the respect that they deserve.

Q: What does “diversity, equity and inclusion” mean to you, and how do you apply it to what you do?

A: For me, when you think about diversity, equity and inclusion, that’s kind of a buzzword right now. To me it means that everyone’s welcome, I don’t think that there should be, ‘This is for these people, that’s for those people.’ If you’re interested in something and you believe that’s something you want to try, people should try it out. Try out boxing, dance, yoga–it doesn’t matter who you are. To have diversity when you do things, I think it is to look at the person for who they are and not their background, just who they are and what they bring. Equity doesn’t necessarily mean everyone gets the equal [share], I think it means everyone gets what they need, and looking at a person as an individual, not a number. Everyone has their strengths, and for a long time, putting everyone in a box, just expecting people to produce the same outcome, given the same resources, I think it’s great that now we look at the student or the athlete as an individual. As coaches we are being challenged to learn more about our athletes, and learn what helps them the most to bring out the best in them.

(This Q&A has been edited for readability.)

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