Shifting Attitudes: Women and Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ

by | Aug 4, 2016

Muay Thai Wollongong

The combat sports that include boxing, Muay Thai and BJJ are becoming increasingly popular with women. Which is great because that means that attitudes have changed. There was a time when such sports were the sole domain of men. No more. Women are now reaping the self-defence and fitness benefits of combat sports training.

Beliefs and Thinking

From an exercise perspective, beliefs and thinking are frequently changing. Which is a good thing! Remember when we once thought that lifting weights makes you big and bulky. No, lifting weights is great for developing leanness and getting toned instead. Getting bulky is a nutritional issue. And we once thought that we need to do the extreme aerobic or cardio slog every day. Nope, once again. Intense conditioning, working those lungs and heart extra hard, is taxing. Throw yoga, walking, weights or meditation into the mix instead for variety, strength and restorative reasons.

No Pain No Gain

Here’s an oldie: No pain, no gain. No one gains from pain. What’s important is to discriminate between discomfort that arises from exertion and actual pain. Generally, anything that feels stabbing or sharp or is chest-pain related is not a good sign. We need to stop. I should know. I didn’t stop and suffered a torn calf muscle because I didn’t take heed of the internal alarm. A couple of years ago, halfway through a Muay Thai training session, left switch kicking to an upright punching bag, I felt a twinge in my lower leg. Unwisely, I disregarded the forewarning and continued. My calf had knotted and told me to stop. Foolishly, I trained on. I was indestructible, unsinkable even. Next kick, muscle torn, I went down like the titanic. Lesson learned. Massage those muscles people, remove knots, relieve trigger points and pay attention to your body. Listen for those internals. Sorry, I digressed there…

…back to shifting attitudes. My first Fight-Style fitness experience (a group Muay Thai class many moons ago); I recall no female participant. Not one. Back in the dark ages, women had bounce-aerobics, Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda to help them move it and party off the pounds and little else. Back then Self-defence or Fight-fit classes for women were as rare back  then as what knee warmers are today.

Sand have Shifted

Sands have shifted. And one Sahara-like shift in recent exercise attitude has been women partaking in fight fitness. Yes, women can throw mean left hooks too. Thankfully, progress has seen fight training move beyond testosterone borders with women reaping the benefits of donning the punching gloves and kicking ass like a boss. And why not.

Boxing, Muay Thai and other fighting disciplines have crossed the sex divide and women are enhancing their fitness and boosting confidence within workouts that are fun, enjoyable AND functional. And so may it grow.

Fighting to be Fit

Sex aside, whether your conflict is with your inner demons, the love handles that just refuse to budge or you’re just damn curious to try, working out like MMA fighter will engage both your mind and every muscle you can think of. This is not mindless movement, pushing / pulling weights X-fitness style or flipping tyres. Fighting to be fit is skill-related parameters like reactivity, balance, reflexes and agility. You’re learning hand-eye co-ordination and enhancing the brain-body connection.

Hey, you may never step inside a boxing ring and take on another but who says you have too? Training like a fighter is a fun and challenging way to develop purposeful strength, insane cardio and obtain that lean athletic look. Be the whole, look the part. Happy training!

Yours in Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ,