Monday, April 11, 2011

Living in the Age of Women’s Fighting

On Saturday  April, 9 at Jackson’s MMA Series: III in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Beckie Lobb (1-0-0) defeated Katrina Branchal (0-1-0) by TKO (punches) in the third round of their 135-pound amateur MMA match.
Beckie is a forty-three year-old former NAGA grappling champion, professional body builder and grandmother who fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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It was this post that got me thinking about the vast age span of women in combat sports.  From what I can see there could potentially be a 25 year difference.  I would like to see that fight!  I am curious to know what the median age is though I doubt that a study like this could even be conducted with any accuracy.  Who would count the women in Burma and such places?  I wonder at the elite/professional level, who are the oldest and youngest competitors in any of the full contact martial arts?

Jill Morley
My good friend, Jill, jokes about how it is either Child Abuse or Senior Abuse.  She is a boxer and she is talking about being a woman and fighting against girls (young women, if I am to be politically correct but P.C. lacks a sense of whimsy so I often ignore it).  “Let’s hope it’s Child Abuse!” I quip and we share a grin.  

I have 37 years behind me and am known to make bad joke after bad joke about being an old lady fighter.  Be respectful of your elders.  Gentle now, I am fragile.  I am ancient and small like Yoda and the Force is strong within me.  This ole gal can still pick up young men (I wink but this is in reference to judo throws and body slams; and I can!).  Sometimes I will sing, “This old body of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.  This old body of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.  Let it shine.  Let it shine. Let it shi-i-ine!”

I say things like, “it’s not that there aren’t women my age that fight it’s that most don’t start fighting this late in their years”.  Apparently I have been yammering on about things I know nothing about.  I tend to do that.  And I do it with great conviction!  It makes me feel smart.  

At various moments during the 16 years that I hardly exercised or played sports I would still find myself daydreaming as I did in my youth of being a professional athlete.  If nothing else, perhaps I can find my way into the OLPGA (Old Lady Professional Golfer's Association) as if such a league exists; as if it is an easy sport to become proficient at.  It is not. 

big brother throws down li'l sister.  circa 1987.

When I first began speaking to friends and family about how I may want to fight a look of worry crossed their faces.  They are after all the ones who will have to take care of me post brain damage and crippling.  With a simple question they would have me answering how my experience in combat sports took place twenty-five years ago when I did karate age eleven to thirteen.  It was as if they wanted me to hear myself say this.  Age eleven to thirteen.

Often they would remind me of how old I am.  Between my borderline senility and arrested development I tend to forget.  They tell me that the body ages.  I find it interesting that they would have to articulate this.  Apparently they do not know that I was required to take Health Class in the 5th grade and in High School.  They tell me that I would have to battle girls in their athletic prime.  I would be locked in a cage with real fighters that will have substantial physical advantages as a natural rite of being born after 1984.  1984?!  In my home we were transitioning from Solid Gold to MTV and having family debates as to whether or not Boy George was a man or a woman as if the Boy before the George was not a clear statement.

Forget 1984. I will likely fight young women who were not yet tadpoles when I was entering college. Bring it! Let's have some fun!

circa 2004
If when I left my twenties someone told me that I would be in the best shape of my life in my late thirties I would have laughed at them and told them it was impossible.  What a ridiculous notion.  Ha!  Especially considering all I had been doing for years was smoking cigarettes, eating greasy bar food and cultivating my beer belly.

But they would have been right.  I am more physically fit than I have ever been.  I could run laps with a weighted vest on around the girl I used to be; A girl that played the entirety of basketball and soccer games and on some days back to back.  It is a good feeling to know that that athletic girl has become an even stronger athletic woman.  Okay, perhaps that girl could out-sprint me if we met today but that is nothing to be ashamed of.  She was fast!

I do not care how old my opponent is.  I will neither overestimate nor underestimate her for any reason.  I will always stand before her with respect.  As long as I am a contender against whomever I face in the cage, in the ring, or on the mats I fully intend to “keep on keeping on”.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. You are doing this at EXACTLY the right time. I predict child abuse. ;-)