Women Who Lead

UNDRCARD’s Joanna Magik on Fighting Barriers in Boxing

From startups to restaurants to high-tech corporations, women are taking the business world by storm and leaving their mark. Co-founder of UNDRCARD, Joanna “Magik” Majcherkiewicz combines athleticism and music to introduce more people to boxing, along with its’ health benefits and personal motivational gain.

Joanna “Magik” Majcherkiewicz has shined brightly in all of her athletic pursuits. Passionate about board sports and skiing, she worked as an announcer at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Games and started a training camp in the snowboarding industry—to help athletes level up in the terrain park as well as free riding. “Magik” was her media name.

Later on, she would work in the marketing and human resources spaces for established brands like Aritzia and Lululemon—building the brands, experiential marketing, and often booking artists, DJs and curating the experience for brands were some of her corporate responsibilities.

Magik with DJ and record producer, Diplo

Although she enjoyed her work, Magik was sedentary from being at a laptop and attending meetings. She embraced her love of fitness through teaching spin classes on the side, and regularly participating in boxing classes to stay fit.

When she envisioned a boutique fitness studio, Magik shared her ideas with her future business partners—who were running a juice company at the time—and would merge to create UNDRCARD, the Calgary-based boxing studio combining fun results-driven workouts with DJ curated music playlist escapism. 

UNDRCARD opened its first national branch in Toronto earlier this month.

The studio is a “night club meets fight club vibe,” Magik says. Not only does the workout transform people’s bodies, but some of the many benefits are also learning boxing techniques—walking away with a new defense move or improved footwork, for example.

As well as a DJ booth, there are events like Beers & Boxing, and a program for teens and kids called The Young Guns Program. 

“It’s a testament to how great our team is, that they care about people’s journeys and believe movement is medicine. We really look closely at how the person in the corner of the room elevates. The team that we’ve got coming together [in Toronto] is a lot like that,” Magik says.

UNDRCARD also donates two dollars of every late cancellation to Sick Kids Toronto and celebrates having equal halves of men and women on their Calgary team.

“We have a huge picture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving the middle finger against our back wall,” Magik adds.

Here, a conversation with Majcherkiewicz.

What are some tips you give to nervous people coming in for the first time?

Boxing can be intimidating. It is a traditional, contact male-dominated sport. We assure them that the experience is curated for everyone; it’s no contact, you get your own bag, the room is dim, and there’s an element of privacy. 

You do work together as a group—meaning it’s beat-based boxing, like drums, when everyone is punching the bag together. You feel this sense of community but you’re not on display. When you’re learning the technique, it takes a few classes to get it, just like any other group fitness environment that you’re stepping into. The first few times you feel a little out of step but then after a few times, you understand the queuing.

We create a very comfortable space for you to learn in anonymity. The program is intended for people who have never boxed before, but we can press the foot on the gas and elevate it for people who are incredibly fit or have boxing backgrounds. It’s very versatile. 

Why are you called UNDRCARD?

It’s the fight before the main event, the come-up, the Cinderella story. The main event is life outside of the studio. Our program, our environment, the way our instructors interact with you, every touch point of the brand is meant to elevate you and set you up to kill it in the main event that matters—your family, your job, your friendships, and more. You will shine in that main event. 

Small successes like if you hold onto the two-minute plank or you continue to work for 30 more seconds on the bag, hitting as hard as you can, will make you feel elevated, and those successes will pour over into how you will handle a work challenge, a relationship challenge, etc.

We’re here for a good time, not a long time on this journey of life. Our MO is you bought the ticket, take the ride. Enjoy it, accept it’s an adventure. You’re going to fall down but it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, it’s about how many times you get up. We apply so many of the boxing one-liners and boxing mentality to training inside the room. 

How can we encourage more women to go into boxing studios?

You know what you’re leaning into, what thrills you, what you love to do, or what piques your curiosity. You’ve got to learn how to step around any barriers because the reward is so huge on the other side. 

Think of what you’ll learn, think of who you’ll meet, it’s such a good personal development opportunity and learning how to collaborate with different personalities. 

What have you benefited the most from your work?

I get to steer the creative ship here and a lot of the brand is a reflection of what I am passionate about. It’s a collage of all the things I’m inspired by, so it’s rewarding for me to look at our space, step in and hear the soundtrack, see the art on the wall, watch our instructor say a really passionate speech, or you hear a one-liner that gives you goosebumps that says I’m going to take this week, I’m going to own this, I’m going to be kinder and better,that just blows me up. 

Have you had any challenges in the stereotypical male-dominated industry?

There’s no industry you can’t crack, it shouldn’t matter. It’s true if you focus on the barriers, that’s what you’ll see. We didn’t ever once, refer to any kind of barrier from it being a male industry. Maybe it has happened, maybe it’s held us back in an area and maybe we’ve felt it but it definitely hasn’t stopped us.