Oliver Ibbotson Photography (Feature Image)
The weekend of the 10th March marked the first dedicated women’s training weekend for UK HMB fighters. Once again, the weekend starts with both excitement and just a touch of stress.
I was liaising with two of the ISCA girls from Plymouth in Bristol so I could give them a lift the rest of the way to Sheffield. There was a moment of pending disappointment when Sam sent me a picture of her van key which had broken in the lock meaning she couldn’t drive to meet with me. But the luck of the gods was on our side that day, Sam and Reanne made it to Bristol where they piled into my car and we made our way North, to The Northern Lists.
We arrived near midnight, and were greeted with tea and hugs! All of us brimming with excitement to be training together the next day.
Saturday morning rolls in and already our team spirit grows stronger with more tea and a hearty breakfast. The rest of our sisters in arms arrive as does our trainer Lukas Kowal from White Company and we get to it.
WHAT A FREAKING AMAZING DAY!!!
Warm up, out of kit training, in kit training, strike training, circuit training. Hours of nothing but fighting and fitness! I wish I could live every day like that! It was so much fun!
In the past we’ve had a few comments on how people can tell when teams train together, because teams that train together are so fluid and intuitive. And I believe it’s not just being able to fight as a team that makes a great team of fighters.
When you train together, you grow together. It’s not just learning new moves, skills and techniques. It’s getting each other through the grind. Pushing each other to become better versions of yourselves. You have each other’s back mentally and physically, you pull each other through the toughest challenges and celebrate the victories together. This weekend really illustrated that to me.
From starting our warm-up around 9.30, we were on our feet and in our of armour non-stop for the whole, entire day! Sofie and Jo ended the evening with a disco profight at 10pm! (Cue Sean Paul on the speaker, a disco ball and a marshall and counters did their best in the dark) WHICH WAS AWESOME!! It really was one of the best days training I’ve experienced yet!
After a night of well earned rest, we were up bright and early Sunday morning preparing for armoured group training with the men. Once again, an immense day! This time the whole day spent in armour. One of the best things about training with experienced and skilled fighters, when fighting against them, is that it’s not a pub brawl. These fighters don’t just run all their weight into you to put you down. They don’t go 100%, because in this circumstance it’s not about them winning, it’s about us learning. A few times when I got into in grapples with one or two of the guys, they would ask me “Right, how are you going to get out of this?”, “What’s your next move going to be?” Rather than taking an easy win, they push us to think, to develop the way we fight in the list, to adapt and to work as a team.
Now that we are facing 5v5 bohurt fights for Battle of the Nations, the game has changed. We have 2 extra bodies on our side in the list and now more than ever need to have confidence in the girls to the side of you to work together and keep vigilant.
We are heading into deep waters walking into the World Championships this year. The game has changed for women all over the world, and really anything could happen!
I can’t describe how truly excited I am to be competing with the sisterhood of the Swords of Cygnus in the castle by the sea in Rome, steeped in history and representing my country. I hope you’ll find the time to tune into the live stream and support us as we progress into this new sphere of the sport.
March’s training weekend was simply one of the best weekends the UK women have had available to date and it’s all thanks to the hard work, planning and organisation of Jo. She has taken her captaincy in her stride and pushed to improve things for female fighters and to bring us as many opportunities as possible. I very much look forward to the next training event with my sisters in arms.
And if anyone would like to sponsor me so I can live to train and fight, please do!