If you’re a girly girl, you would probably think girls in martial arts are tomboys.
If you’re a smartypants girl, you probably think girls in martial arts are wasting their time
If you’re Miss Paranoia, you probably think you’ll die doing martial arts
…think or call it however you want, chicks who kick…can beat your ass any day 😛
Ok Ok… now martial arts ain’t about promoting violence. Other than the discipline training you benefit from, did you know there are FANTASTIC benefits for your fitness and mind’s well-being?
Also if you live where I’m from, Malaysia, knowing how to defend yourself against petty cowardly robbers, snatchers, rapists…will be superbly handy!
Girls in our society need so much more exposure to understanding martial arts as self defense.
I remember how our reality slapped me in the face….I was helping out my coach, teaching a self defense with muay thai technique class at a university. Once it came time for the girls to practice their rape defense techniques, girls ended up squealing and giggling uncomfortably everywhere. they were too SHY(??) to practice protecting themselves?? ( -____-‘ ‘)
Well, no matter what your age is, understanding the reality of our society is crucial for our survival…especially for women.
An interesting piece to share on martial arts. I personally enjoy Muay Thai, so that’s what the article would be about 😀
(Extracted from CBCnews)
To the untrained eye, a Muay Thai fight — or Thai boxing — looks like a brutal martial art where opponents pummel each other with jabs, kicks, elbows and knees. So why are so many women signing up for classes?
What’s often referred to as the most lethal martial art in the world has, until recently, predominately been practised by men. In Thailand, where Muay Thai has its roots, it’s still considered bad luck to have a woman in the ring, so female fighters train in a separate ring from the men (if at all).
But outside Thailand, it’s a different story — around the world more women are slugging it out alongside the guys in Muay Thai classes.
Some of them are also choosing to get in the ring and compete. A reality TV show on Oprah’s Oxygen network, called Fight Girls, showcases women who train with Master Toddy in Las Vegas and then compete for a title in Thailand.
But not everyone has designs on a title.
For many women, it’s about health and wellness, and an appreciation for the skill and strategy behind Muay Thai — which is designed for the smaller, weaker opponent to use their “limitations” as strengths.
While Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, the fighting style is common to that region of Southeast Asia — the Burmese, for example, call it Bando.
American kickboxing, a derivative of Muay Thai, was originally called full-contact karate and became popular in the 1970s. Kickboxing eliminated some of the traditional “weapons” of Muay Thai — all kicks and strikes must be above the waist, and no elbows, knees or clinches are allowed. Low-kick (a European version of kickboxing) has the same rules as American kickboxing, except you’re allowed to kick to the leg and sweep.
Modified Muay Thai includes use of the knees and the clinch, while full Muay Thai also includes use of the elbows.
Sarah Thompson was walking down a Toronto street when she saw a sign advertising Muay Thai classes at Totum Life Science. After taking kickboxing classes during university — and losing 50 pounds — she thought Muay Thai would be a piece of cake.
“I was wrong, I was so wrong,” she said. “The next day I was robot girl.”
After she got over the stiffness of overtaxed muscles, she signed up and now trains with pro fighter Clifton Brown. “I’m not interested in being big and bulky, but I want to make sure I can do 60 pushups like the guy beside me.”
When she first joined, there weren’t many women around, but that’s changing. This could be because the perception and acceptance of women as fighters is also changing, she said, particularly in pop culture where female leads like Uma Thurman kick butt in the movies.
“I was a chubby kid when I was 18 and I never thought I’d do any of this stuff at all,” she said.
Muay Thai has improved Thompson’s flexibility and reflexes, but it also clears her head. While training, she says the only thing on her mind is whether she’s throwing her jab or kick properly. “You have to be there, you have to be in the moment.”
Chicks That Kick
Thompson became one of the founding members of Chicks That Kick (CTK), an all-female Muay Thai collective with a goal of bringing more women into the sport (the members are from gyms across Ontario).
So far CTK has hosted two all-female fight nights, with the proceeds going to charity.
“When you’re a 13-year-old girl, nobody says, ‘You can do this,’” Thompson said. “We need to be able to tell girls to go and take a martial arts class.”
Like many women, Melissa Misiuda didn’t get into martial arts until she was in university. At first, it was all about physical fitness. Then her coach at TKO Fighting Arts in Kitchener persuaded her to train for a fight.
Her first reaction was not to do it — she didn’t want to get hit. But eventually she decided to give it a try. The girl she was competing against gave up after the first round in the ring. “That was it, I was hooked.”
Misiuda moved to Toronto, started training at the Siam #1 facility under Ajahn Suchart, and went on to win a North American middleweight title from the United States Kickboxing Association, a Canadian middleweight title from the Canadian Muay Thai Association, and a gold medal for low-kick at the World Kickboxing Association Worlds.
In November, she heads to Thailand as part of Team Canada to compete in a 10-day Muay Thai competition (a trip she’ll pay for out of her own pocket).
The sport is more about physical well-being than about weight loss, she said. “It’s not about starving yourself, it’s not about becoming ripped,” she said. “It’s about becoming healthy, more happy with yourself, with your body.”
If you starve yourself, for example, you won’t have the energy or stamina to get through a class, and you’ll end up getting hurt or sick.
“If you eat a lot of garbage, a lot of processed foods, then you’re going to feel it,” she adds.
To date, Misiuda’s fight record is 14-1-1. Her single loss occurred, she said, because she dropped too much weight for a fight. “I’m six-feet-tall, I went down to 149 pounds and I couldn’t think anymore. I didn’t get hurt, but I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything.”
The sport’s appeal
Weight loss often drives women into martial arts initially, but they get hooked on it for different reasons.
Theodora Pistiolis got into kickboxing nine years ago as a way to lose weight. But after two years, she wanted to take it to the next level, so she tried a Muay Thai class at Tiger Gym under Kru Ed Advincula.
“I wanted to see what it was like to actually spar, and once I started sparring, that was it,” she said.
Pistiolis has seen an increasing number of women enter the sport in recent months. Boxercise and kickboxing classes are now available at almost every gym, and at some point women might want to take it to the next level, she said, even if they’re not going to compete.
“Since I started, it amazes me how many more [Muay Thai] schools are around now,” she said, “so it’s not as intimidating to go in and train.”
When the Canadian Amateur Muay Thai Association of Ontario (CAMTAO) started sanctioning fights, Pistiolis fought the first sanctioned fight, the first female fight and the first bout, earning a technical knockout in the first round. She now has 10 fights under her belt and is the provincial CAMTAO flyweight champion. She backed out of her last scheduled fight when she found out she was pregnant.
Having spent the past two years in fighter training — which means training two to three hours a day, four to six days a week — she’s found it difficult to slow down. While Pistiolis can’t spar during her pregnancy, she’s still skipping and doing pad work.
“I talked to so many doctors and got the okay from everybody,” she said.
While she’s noticed the benefits of a healthy lifestyle over the years, she believes her pregnancy will be the test. So far she’s kept up her energy, but Pistiolis will have to wait until February to find out if her labour will be any easier or if she’ll bounce back more quickly thanks to her years of Muay Thai.
Like any sport, there is a risk of injury, but part of the technique involves learning how to execute strikes without getting injured. “With your technique and skill comes your power and strength,” said Misiuda.
Pistiolis once broke her toe. Sophia Ramirez, another founding member of Chicks That Kick, broke her foot while training on her own — she did a swing kick and landed on the side of her foot. This hasn’t deterred her, though.
Ramirez actively sought out a martial arts class when she was going through a tough time and needed an outlet. The first Muay Thai gym she tried out wasn’t welcoming and she was the only woman in the class. She transferred to another gym and has been training ever since.
What appeals to many women is that they don’t necessarily have to be the bigger, stronger person to win a fight — it’s all about skill and strategy. “You can train your body but your mind is your strongest weapon, and you really have to train that,” Ramirez said.
You can be the strongest person in the ring, she added, but it won’t help if you’re not focused.
“It takes a lot of time, but it changes your confidence, it changes the way you walk and the way you approach things,” she said. “You’re grounded.”
When she got into Muay Thai, her mom tried to talk her out of it, since she didn’t understand what it was all about. “I would go home and I’d have bruises everywhere,” she said. “She thought I was insane. She thought I was doing this to hurt myself, but this is about health and wellness.”
After the first Chicks That Kick event two years ago, where Ramirez decided to fight for the first time to raise money for The Hospital for Sick Children, that all changed. Her mom was there, cheering her on in the front row.
Women in martial arts are more common than you thought, of all races and cultures.