I Love A Good Bruise
Fun, outgoing, and bruised (literally). Those are three words that best describe muay thai lover Jody Bottone. A graphic designer by trade, Jody connected with us via twitter and began to show us how much she loved MMA and muay thai. Today she shares her kickboxing life with us all.
I have celiac disease which means I can’t eat gluten, not only can’t I eat it, it can’t even touch my food or I’ll get sick. It causes vitamin deficiencies in me which led to osteopenia. I lost bone mass and shrunk an inch because of it. I read an article about a woman who reversed her bone loss so I wanted to do the same, and I did. I no longer have osteopenia, although I did not grow an inch back! I’m also allergic to a bunch of foods so I eat a pretty clean diet on a daily basis. I always exercised before muay thai but would get bored easily. I haven’t gotten bored yet and it’s something I can see myself doing for a long time. It keeps me in good shape and I feel not only the physical benefit, but the mental benefit as well. It definitely helps relieve a lot of stress. I’m just amazed at what my body can do. I remember times when I would think to myself “There’s no way I can do that” and then I would do it. It’s such an amazing feeling. You keep doing that and eventually those “I cant’s” don’t creep into your mind.
I was actually looking to take some form of kickboxing, and I had never heard of muay thai before. I didn’t even know what MMA was. I just looked up kickboxing in my area and that’s when I found out what muay thai was. The funny thing is that when I started I wanted nothing to do with sparring but after a few classes I really took to it, and after a couple months I couldn’t wait to spar. Now I’m hooked. I normally don’t bring it up when I meet people. I get all kinds of reactions. Most people don’t even know what muay thai is! If I tell people I kickbox they think I do tae bo or cardio kickboxing. I usually just tell people I take a martial arts class. I think it’s intimidating to some people, or they think you’re a violent person.
I think it’s a little tougher as a woman because you have to work harder and you have to earn respect. Sometimes the expectations of women are that they can’t do what the men can do but it is simply not true. I’ve seen it. It also can be hard to find good sparring partners. Not all men feel comfortable hitting a woman in the face, so it can be hard to progress in sparring if you are around people like that. Most men that I’ve sparred with are usually bigger than me so I usually have a reach and height disadvantage (oh yeah and they weigh a lot more than I do) but that actually ends up being good as far as the learning process. It’s nice to spar with people your own size and its super awesome when you have a reach advantage, which happens very infrequently to me. I’ve sparred with quite a few guys who punch me in the arm or don’t punch at all. They just defend and that definitely doesn’t help me learn. I wish more women would become interested in martial arts in general. It would be nice to see more women taking classes and in the ring. There really aren’t that many woman who fight muay thai or MMA in my area. There are plenty of girls who can’t compete because there’s nobody out there in their weight class.
Are woman looked at differently? Yes and no, depends on the people. I’ve been around both types of people. It’s no fun when you’re not taken seriously just because you’re female but it does happen. The first gym I went to there were no girls who wanted to spar but I was very lucky to start sparring with guys who didn’t look at me different, they didn’t go easy on me at all and I’m so grateful for that. I want to be treated just like everybody else. On the flip side, here’s a cute story, the scenario is I’m the only girl at the gym and it’s time to spar. One of the guys says ‘I’ll go with the girl, I’ll take one for the team’… really he said that out loud standing right next to me. After we sparred, he told me I had better technique than any of those other guys. So I have to say it sucks when you work really hard at something and somebody’s first impression of you is based solely on the fact that you are a woman and they think you can’t do something. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
I really love to push myself. I’m sure most people who train in martial arts do, so injuries are very common. Something always hurts, usually my shins, legs and/or feet. You end up just pushing through a lot of stuff, you get used to it, and it’s just part of it. Somebody always has something taped up at the gym. You find other exercises that you can do when those minor annoyance injuries occur or you just double up on the other side. Right now I have tendonitis in my elbow so I actually rested for a little over a week. I’m not a fan of taking a rest, I always feel guilty but I’ve learned over the years to listen to my body. I also love a good bruise, but those of you that follow me on Twitter already know that, it makes me feel like I’m working hard.
As far as training goes, I don’t think there is a “worst part”. When it’s over is the worst part! I love muay thai class. I can’t think of anything that I don’t enjoy. I’m sure my instructors could think of a few things to make me cringe, it’s usually not the exercise but the amount of it we do. It can be brutal at times, but I love the challenge. You feel so good when you’re all done and you say to yourself “I did that!”
I’d like to have my first ammy muay thai fight this year. I wanted to compete last year but my life got really crazy, I moved, and switched gyms, so I’d like to get in there this year. I don’t have any long term goals but would love to be involved somehow maybe judging or clapping the sticks at the 10 second mark!
When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.