Welcome to our page dedicated to women and the martial arts!
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Over the coming months we will be building up this section with articles, profiles and general information for any female who trains or wants to train in martial arts and self defence. If you have any questions just contact us, we’ll be happy to hear from you.
KickFit Women at KickFit Martial Arts Academy – by Tracy James, Black Belt Instructor and World Champion 1998
Twenty percent of the members at KickFit International Martial Arts Academy are female. What we lack in number we make up for in skill and determination!
The women train alongside the men; they have equal status and are shown equal respect. If your build is slight and you are training with someone much stronger then they adjust their training and work on technique, focus and speed rather than power.
There are certain times when we partner up according to weight and height but this affects the men as well and is not gender related.
In the work place a mix of men and women can bring a sense of balance to a group. At KickFit there are those that try and those that try harder and this is the only distinction made between students.
The instruction is conducted properly and appropriately. Grabbing, touching, grappling is carefully explained to ensure propriety but ensuring realism and proper techniques are applied. Girls are encouraged to wear chest protectors in certain classes in the same way men are encouraged to wear groin boxes. I have had many a conversation with men about their lack of a groin box usually ending up with asking them what size they want to buy – surprisingly they all say extra-large.
For me training with men makes my training all the more realistic. They are often stronger than me but that is where the difference ends. Women can use skills that do not depend on strength but on speed and technique. I have made many a man submit in grappling to a head or jaw lock but only because I moved quicker and did not allow myself to be overpowered within the first second of the attack. The art of Eskrima (stick and weapon work) is particularly useful to women. It relies on co-ordination and speed and teaches you how to disarm a weapon – referred to as “de-fanging the snake”.
Women may not naturally punch – it’s not something most of us grew up doing. The Jeet Kune Do approach teaches you a whole variety of hand skills including palm heels, finger jabs, leopard’s paw, bear,s paw, hammer fist, back fist, chops and that’s just for starters. By the time you’ve trained here a while you’ll be quite happy to punch as well.
My nine-year-old niece, Hannah recently asked me “why do you do fighting?” I answered “so that if I am walking along a road with you and someone threatens your safety, I can protect you”. “OK” she said – and that was the end of the conversation – Made perfect sense to her.
It has been proven that those who fight back when attacked have a greater chance of getting over the assault both physically and mentally. The feeling of at least having tried is core to the healing process. We are not victims and we do not need to live as such.
Martial Arts for women is the same as Martial Arts for men. It is not just about learning fighting and defensive techniques. It is about raising self esteem and confidence; trying something new that none of your friends do; getting fit without doing the same exercises week in week out on a weights machine; learning co-ordination; challenging yourself; meeting your fears head on and getting fit. Martial arts are about fun, enjoyment and having a laugh with a lot of friendly people whilst learning something that can save your life.
Spirit is epitomised by someone who is always ready to go, always ready to go first, always ready to take on more and always ready to encourage other in their efforts. When you train – show spirit. Transfer this into your everyday life and see the change. We can be your guide and your mentor but only you can be the change.
World Champion 1998
KickFit international Martial Arts Academy
Grappling with the lads – by Christine Parkin
Grand Master Richard Hudson approached me one day and asked me for my perspective as a woman training in the gym…..well what he actually said was “how does it feel grappling with the lads?” but I know what he means. I have found, in all my years of training under Grand Master Richard Hudson that men just come to KickFit to train and learn; they are too busy getting sweaty to decide it’s an appropriate time to start chatting up a fellow student.
I understand when women feel they are out of their comfort zone when they have to train with a male partner especially when all you know about them is their name. With grappling in particular you could see it as an invasion of personal body space, and it’s closer than you’d normally let a man get on a first date. On the flip side, I have known a few men get intimidated by grappling women too, so we’re all in the same boat really. Men are predominantly stronger, however strength isn’t everything. An all round good student needs to show strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, speed and creativity – you can find these qualities in any of the students at KickFit.
I have rarely had a male student rebuke my ability or any other girl on the grounds of gender and when that does happen, they soon regret it. Anyone who knows me will know that when I train at KickFit I will work my partner to his or her limit; but equally, I would expect the same in return.
I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to grapple with the lads. I want to know what I can do instinctively and work on what is not yet instinctive. If I ever did get in a situation where I’m attacked, I want to be sure that I can fight for my life.
Women in “A man’s sport” – by Cassie Boyce-Picken, Trainee Instructor
Women are mostly thought of as the weaker sex…..Not at Kick-Fit!!
We are actively encouraged to train alongside the males in all classes. To a certain extent, I personally prefer this. I am what you could say a little over weight and find it very hard to fight with an equal weight female opponent.
When I fist came to Kick-Fit I was very worried that I would be made to fight the guys due to my weight, this was further from the truth, I was welcomed with open arms and my first training session I trained with one of the female instructors. There was nothing said about my weight and as long as I put 100% of myself into the training no-one was bothered at all. This gave me such a boost.
I must admit sometimes when training and sparing with the guys in the classes does make your training seem much more real as you have to think, “Ok, I can’t overpower this person, so what can I do?”, Grand Master Richard Hudson urges you to think on your feet and in situations that you could find yourself in……Sometimes you really surprise yourself……I know I have!!. Although you may need to train with someone that is stronger or more powerful than you, they will adapt their style to suit you and your level of knowledge.
I am one of life’s people that have a very short attention span…..if something does not hold my attention then I get bored very quickly. Here at Kick-Fit there is so much going on and Master Hudson has so much to teach that your attention is kept to its full. Mine was to the surprise of my family and friends. When I first told them that I was going to start Kickboxing they humoured me and went along with it. 18 months later and with a European Bronze medal and several British Silver and Bronze medals in Stickfighting under my belt I think they took notice that I actually liked what I’m doing.
Although I decided to compete in my chosen form of martial arts, Master Hudson never makes you, if you don’t feel ready for competitions he will not push you to go for them. However if you do Master Hudson will point you in the right direction and prepare you mentally for your up and coming bout.
If you only take one piece of advice from this it has to be come and give Kick-Fit a go..….. You’ll love it!!!!!
Training at Kickfit – by Jennifer van der Eijk – Student and Instructor Candidate at KickFit
When I moved to England in 2005 to study in Nottingham I quickly started to look for a new sport to keep active. I had done a lot of equestrian sports but wanted to do something entirely different. I soon found the KickFit website which mentioned training with various weapons and I was 100% convinced I wanted to learn to fight with weapons, I started with my first Eskrima lessons in November.
Although I had no previous martial arts experience the instructors and other students were very friendly and helped me with the basics even though most were at a far higher level.
In March 2006 I took part in KickFit’s 24-hour sponsored martial art workout for charity. This got me interested in learning more about the other martial arts classes and soon I came to as many classes at Kickfit as possible. At KickFit all members train together and now I have gained a bit more experience I am happy to try and pass on some of the skills I have learned to the newer members. I am therefore very honoured to have been asked by Grand Master Richard Hudson to become an Instructor Candidate at KickFit.
Besides making new friends, improving my fitness and gaining martial arts skills, training at KickFit has given me more confidence in training as well as other aspects of my life. Since starting training in November 2005 I have passed several of the KickFit gradings (in Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do and Eskrima), I have competed in a Charity Fight Night (Kickboxing) in Nottingham for an audience of around 700 people and I have recently won bronze and silver in the European Championships full-contact Stickfighting in Italy as part of the British Stickfighting Team.
At the moment I am finishing my MA (International Security and Terrorism) and will be looking for a job soon. Sadly this will probably result in having to leave KickFit. I will surely miss the classes, the wide knowledge and the motivation of Grand Master Richard Hudson who has convinced me to compete and helped me succeed in winning medals even though injuries knocked my confidence for doing so. I will also miss the other knowledgeable and friendly instructors and fellow students at KickFit. I will do my best to keep up the skills I have learned at Kickfit and continue to train in martial arts and hope to keep up the good name of KickFit wherever I might end up. But until then, I will make the most of my time at KickFit and hope to be able to participate in some more gradings, seminars and competitions.
To anyone who wants to learn practical martial arts skills, get fit, gain confidence, train with friendly people and have experienced instructors I definitely recommend training at KickFit!
Jennifer van der Eijk – Student and Instructor Candidate at KickFit
All classes are suitable for complete beginners, intermediate and advanced students.
If you have any questions or would like to visit the gym, just contact us , we’ll be happy to hear from you.