A Woman’s Perspective of Training MMA

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By: TSMMA Bethlehem

I had never heard of Mixed Martial Arts, or the UFC, when I began training at Tiger Schulmann’s.

I didn’t know what kickboxing was, and I’d never heard of grappling.

I came because I met Sensei Villafane at a community event, and training looked like a lot of fun. I was nervous to come to my first class alone, because  I’d never joined a gym before, and I wasn’t very athletic. My biggest physical accomplishment was walking my dogs a couple miles a day.

I was nervous to come to my first class alone, because  I’d never joined a gym before, and I wasn’t very athletic.

Well, after one class, I was hooked. I loved hitting the bags. I loved kicking the shields. I didn’t care that I was clumsy, that my technique wasn’t perfect, or that a lot of the people on the mat were men. I couldn’t stop smiling, even through my sweat.

Well, after one class, I was hooked. I loved hitting the bags. I loved kicking the shields.

I never imagined that I would progress past the beginner class, where we only hit mitts and practiced kick techniques on x-ray paper. I couldn’t imagine grappling – and definitely not kickboxing. Now I’m training towards my black belt, and have won national grappling competitions. I compete, and win, in kickboxing competitions sponsored by Tiger Schulmann’s, as well.

I’ve learned that Tiger Schulmann’s is so much more than a gym – it’s a family, and a lifestyle.

In the last five years, the number of women at our school has really grown. We’re about 50/50 now, so even though I really enjoy training with the guys, there are plenty of ladies for me to train with too.  I’ve learned that Tiger Schulmann’s is so much more than a gym – it’s a family, and a lifestyle.  We have annual parties and picnics ; I’ve known many of the children in the classes from when they were in diapers.

Not only am I fit, and strong, I have a huge extended family – and all because I left my comfort zone and tried just one class.