Girl fight: Depot Marine's guts show warrior's heart
By Staff Sgt. Scott Dunn
| | September 09, 2005
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Her disarming smile and petite figure aren't exactly warrior-esque. However, the average jarhead ought not to be deceived. This 110-pound awards clerk can hang tough, and she likes to prove it - thud after thud. Lance Cpl. Fabiola Escobedo has been delivering and absorbing kicks and punches at a nearby fitness club almost every day since she obtained membership there a month ago. At every session, the high-octane boxing and kickboxing workouts bankrupt her energy, but she knows strength is the dividend. "Is that all you got?" she challenged friend and workout partner Lance Cpl. Alfonso M. Moncada, who continued to kick Escobedo's hitting shield, jolting the sweat off her 5-foot, 4-inch frame. Moncada, a depot logistics Marine, said he holds no punches, but neither does Escobedo. The 20-year-old El Paso, Texas, native grew up in Juarez, Mexico, and returned to El Paso when she was 15. She said that as a teenager, she was always active in different athletic forms such as karate, gymnastics and track. She won medals in the relay."As teenager, I was a very good athlete," said Escobedo. "I got the speed, but not the endurance."She hopes exercising at The Boxing Club, a nearby franchise location on Rosecrans Street, will give her the endurance she needs to score perfectly on her next biannual physical fitness test this winter. The crunches and the arm-hang portions of the test are cinches, but her last three-mile run time is a couple minutes shy of the maximum 21 minutes. Escobedo has run a 21-minute before. She said she used to be in first-rate condition until a peculiar back injury in Marine Combat Training. A pack fell on her shoulders and she hasn't been the same since. Her small, trim figure may have been part of the problem. When she joined the Marine Corps in February 2004, she required an enlistment waiver because she weighed 98 pounds, 12 pounds shy of the minimum. Today she maintains her required weight by routinely gobbling fatty foods and carbohydrates. One day last week, she ate a breakfast burrito loaded with two eggs, potatoes, bacon, salsa and cheese, followed by two glazed doughnuts; lunch was pizza at an office party, and for an after-workout dinner, she planned a Big Mac and salad. "I don't watch my diet," said Escobedo. "I eat a lot of junk food." Moncada said Escobedo is a very aggressive athlete, and is not intimidated by the big guys. Her specialty is soccer, but despite her bursting abilities and adept dribbling, her size prompts coaches to limit her minutes on the field when playing against bigger opponents. To get more playing time, Escobedo said she tried organizing her own team to compete for the depot Commanding General's Cup, but the roster she assembled carried too many conflicts of interest. "I'm a good soccer player," said Escobedo. "Boxing will give me enough strength to start on the playing field. Soccer depends on other people to get something. Boxing is all me, and more rewarding." So she boxes. With DMX barking raps under the 50-foot-high ceiling, Escobedo speeds her heart rate by jumping rope before a session. An hour-long boxing workout, which incorporates cardio and strength training, will include arms, abdominals and legs - and no shortage of jabbing at the air. She hasn't actually sparred in the ring yet, but Escobedo said she's working up to it and plans to practice against Moncada any day now. "I saw a female fighting a guy, and I thought 'I want to do that,'" said Escobedo, her brown eyes glimmering. "I want to be like that." The Boxing Club allows Escobedo and Moncada to train at their own paces, but the paces are fast. In a recent exercise with her workout partner, Escobedo's muscles tightened so much that she could not raise her arms to stop a medicine ball hurling toward her body. "The workouts are very exhausting," said Escobedo. "I didn't think I would last my first time, but the trainer is very motivating. He gives so much energy even if you don't have it. He pushes you." Escobedo will take every push - and shove, and kick, and punch. And like a warrior, she will have her strength, and she will conquer.