Hello dear readers,
Although some female fighters are making their mark, MMA is one of the last bastions of masculinity in many clubs. I used to love watching MMA fights because a wide variety of techniques from many martial arts were utilized. However, this quickly changed. Today, MMA is synonymous with grappling, since most of the top fighters employ grappling techniques. Some blame the Gracie family for this. I don’t know enough about the history of MMA to venture into that argument–all I know is it made the fights less exciting to watch.
My first kickboxing club offered MMA ‘classes’, which consisted of a bunch of grunting, sweating men in a corner executing moves that looked somewhat obscene. They wore very little in the way of clothing, and none of the dojo’s women expressed an interest in joining the pile.
A couple of years ago, my friend Steve and I joined a club that offered MMA and kickboxing classes. We showed up for a “kickboxing” class. I was the only female student in the room. I was paired with a man who lay on his back, knees up, and told to “straddle him”. To say that it was uncomfortable would be an understatement.
I’m not sure how my male colleagues felt about grappling with me. To their credit, they handled it with more maturity than I did. I couldn’t stop giggling when I had to lie back, looking at the ceiling, while my friend Steve shoved his crotch across my face in order to get into a hold. When we exchanged stories afterwards, we discovered that we both knew our instructor was wearing a protective cup because it clicked against our teeth. There’s an unexpected intimacy in grappling.
|Friend Steve. Credit: Dan Harper|
We only went to three classes before deciding it wasn’t for us, so I never got over the discomfort and strangeness of it. But I did recognize that grappling is a very important skill for women. To be able to effectively fight off an attacker, even when pinned on your back, is an invaluable asset. The moves of MMA-style grappling are intricate, complicated, and take time and patience to master. But even with my limited knowledge, I’ve been able to put The Boy in a headlock he couldn’t easily escape from. And he outweighs me by quite a bit.
I’ve never forgotten my MMA experience, and I regretted that I let my discomfort scare me off. That’s why I’m so excited about KWest’s potential foray into the field. If the classes go ahead as promised, they will consist of Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, and boxing. The instructor is a pro MMA fighter who has trained at Team Couture, has a degree in kinesiology, and fought many pro fights in North America.
I hope these classes become a reality! MMA may be dominated by men, but it’s time more women got in the game.
Have you ever taken MMA? What are your thoughts on it? Guys, would the prospect of grappling with a women bother you?