Article: Fighting for a Crack at Recognition
Fighting for a Crack at Recognition
Martial arts: Fighting for a crack at recognition
Margaux Thorpe (bottom) and Tabitha Avery prepare for the big event. Picture / Glenn Jeffrey
By Michelle Whiteford
If you cross wrestling, judo, jujitsu, and aikido you will be in store for a serious fight. Add that it is being fought by women and it becomes competitive.
This style of fighting, a form of mixed martial arts, has caught the attention of K1 kickboxing event organiser Dixon McIver.
His next show "Kings of Oceania" is being held next weekend at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere, and will introduce three fights by women from Mania Gym in Auckland during the halftime break - middleweight, four-person tag and the club championship fight.
Belinda Dunne from Mania believes women in fighting is the next big thing but admits it has been hard for them to overcome the image that they are just pretty little girls who get into a ring and roll around a bit.
"We weren't taken seriously until recently as competitive fighters so that's what we've been working towards overcoming and I think the girls have done that," Dunne said.
"It's fantastic that women's fighting has been included at the K1 because it is a very public platform and it gets people to see that women actually do fight seriously and hard and it's not some sort of a game."
The style fought by Mania has changed over the past few years from big hair and lots of flips to a more realistic, self-defence style.
Dunne says this occurred around the time that stunt work became involved in advertising and television programmes like Xena and Hercules.
"In the last four years the gym has become completely self-defence, martial arts and wrestling, so we've completely left that behind.
"It's been hard for us to put it behind us because we were so well known for it," she said
IN THIS style of fighting there is no striking to the face, kicking, biting or scratching, which has also proven to be more acceptable with the public.
"What we hear from both television and McIver is that the public don't want to see women bleeding from the nose and the mouth.
"That's partly why our form of fighting is a lot more marketable. They don't want to see you laying into a woman but they do want to see you fighting hard."
The women-only gym, which is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, has around 180 members, with 50 using the fighting style. And the growing interest and public profile is increasing the calibre of fighters.
"The fact that we're getting out more into the public means the girls are getting more competitive, they're fighting harder than they ever have," said Dunne.
The women have been fighting only each other but recently started fighting outside of the club.
Dunne says because of this the girls did not mind losing fights because of the supportive and close nature within the gym. But now there is a ranking system, and opportunities to fight at events and against opponents from Australia, they are fighting to win.
"We've got a show in November where we are bringing over four Australian fighters, one of them is the Australian MMA champ, and the girls are really excited."
"We're going down to the Wako [World Association of Kickboxing Organisation] fights in Timaru in October and that's a big fighting competition. That is ideally what we want, to be in front of a fighting audience."
"IN THIS style of fighting there is no striking to the face, kicking, biting or scratching, which has also proven to be more acceptable with the public."
I don't know, I like that stuff in chick fights.
Total Comments 63
7/22/2005 11:46am, #2
I can't believe how much prejudice there is against women in that regard; like some kind of travesty happens if someone bleeds from the lip a little.Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg
7/22/2005 12:30pm, #3Fighting for Crack Recognition
7/22/2005 12:41pm, #4
Thats a bunch of bs. People don't want to see woman bleed from the nose or mouth. I've never met a fight fan that gets offended over people bleeding whether they are a man or woman. Their style of fighting might do okay in Japan, but doubt it would do good anywhere else without striking.
"You can't out run death forever, but you can make the bastard work for it"
Money can't buy you love. - Terry Bogard
Yeah, but you'd be surprised what it can buy you for a few hours. - Joe Higashi
7/22/2005 3:42pm, #5
bah, whatever! some people just have an easier time masturbating when there's less blood. i said SOME people. . .
ah, look, if it ends up becoming mainstream, that's great; i'd love it if submission wrestling was on network tv (hell, even cable). they have women's boxing. they have women's kickboxing. they also have women's basketball, and the ratings aren't too hot in any of them.
"What we hear from both television and McIver is that the public don't want to see. . . "
it's about ratings, so it's about the preference of the general public. if you want to see more of it, you'd have to change the masses. let's start a grassroots campaign about punching women in the face!
7/22/2005 4:05pm, #6Originally Posted by Jerry_Sizzler
7/22/2005 4:33pm, #7
"What we hear from both television and McIver is that the public don't want to see women bleeding from the nose and the mouth."
No kicks or face strikes? That's also lame. Might as well just make it straight sub wrestling.
7/22/2005 4:58pm, #8
So no strikes at all. I suposse they want to wear clothes too.
7/22/2005 5:10pm, #9
guys I have talked to Dixon before. He is all about getting combat sports recognised in NZ and has had a HUGE effect on getting recognition for our fighters both abroad and at home where they need it the most. But you have to understand that violence involving women is a very touchy subject here.
Dixon wouldn't make these rules unless he really felt it neccessary. MMA is pretty much an unknown thing here, in fact NZs first MMA matches only took place last week, so I dont think the majority of NZers are ready to see this sort of thing yet. Im not saying its RIGHT or PC but this is about bums on seats and getting people to WATCH the sport which is a fucking mission considering the complete lack of recognition combat sports get in this country.
7/22/2005 6:08pm, #10
If Ikken's right about NZ and MMA, I'll let it slide.
If this were the USA, I'd be fucking pissed.
I'm pissed anyway. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of blood. I don't know why everyone has to equate women fighting each other CONSENTUALLY with things like spousal abuse and other male aggression against females.
The thing is, I don't see a lot of women getting riled up about women beating each other (if you don't include those who consider professional fighting barbaric, sex not being an issue). I'm a feminist and I *WANT* to see more women fighting. I think it'd be great. I'm sure other feminists who were on the fighting bandwagon would agree. It's the men who don't want to watch women get hurt. I'm sorry, but **** you, kiss my ass while I kick yours.