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Jessy

How to help women exploit their potential?

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I've read a similar post on how to improve conditions for women at the gym but I haven't quite found what I was looking for. 

A few years ago, I started to train Muay Thai. At first, I didn't feel the gender inequity because I was just working out. But now that I want to get ready for my first fight, I've hit a wall. There are not many women in Muay Thai, much less in advanced categories. I usually train with the same 2-3 women that are somewhat advanced and that I feel we can make each other better. However, I train 6 times/week. They train much more sporadically. So I'm often left to find other partners that are usually beginners which is fine once in a while but when it's 75% of my training, I quickly feel like my progress is stalling. Sometimes, I train with my boyfriend who is certainly up to par to help me progress. However, I'm 5'2 120 lbs and he's 6'1 180lbs. When I hold the pads for him, with 180lbs of muscle, his blows are too powerful. I always end up with a massive headache (from the vibrations on the pads) and pain in my forearms (from his kicks), even when he doesn't go full force.
I'm afraid that it will either cause micro concussions or a stress fracture. And even if it doesn't, it's more than an inconvenience. 
The reason I mention women and not just general people in my weight category is because I feel that the bigger issue is the gap in women's progress (also, not many people in my weight category in general).
 
So recently, I asked the head coach for a solution, explaining the situation (which of course he already knew because I've mentionned it before). His only solution was for me to go to beginners' class, where most of the women are. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body but he doesn't always understand the struggles. I was very displeased, especially that we were planning my first fight before the last shut-down we had in December because of COVID. 
I must say, my gym is very inclusive and I feel safe. I'm just frustrated I can't progress as much as I want. 
 
The thing with most women at my gym is that they do it to get in better shape but not many actually want to get better in their technique. Because they've never been told they could? Because they think getting better necessarily means they need to fight? Maybe, I don't know. I'll for sure talk to them about it.
I've been offered the opportunity to coach at that gym. I think that is one way to change women's mentality and help them progress and at least make them feel they can progress if they choose to. I want to bring forward a class or program that would make women more comfortable in progressing (many have told me that titles like 'advanced' lessons intimidate them , especially with the majority of really tall men that attend).
I feel like my post is a little scattered but I wanted to explain where the problem stems from. So, my aim is to help women exploit their potential and make the male coaches more proactive when it comes to gender problems. 
 
I was thinking of doing a women-only class tailored to the needs of those who attend, but that's as far as my idea goes. I would really like having a great plan to present to the owners and other coaches.
I'm hoping you can share your tips and tricks. I look forward to reading your feedback, solutions you've witnessed, whatever you think might help.  🙂
Edited by Jessy
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Perhaps  "Advanced course for shorter people"??   Or  Advance course in how to fight longer opps?

 

Anyway.  In a world when we have awesome stories about girls and women breaking upp the roof,  where much HAD been established re equality and reasonably alike possibilities,  for women, but really for all;  so to notice  its not over yet.   The battle is won, but the war goes on and battles must be fought and won again and again...   So to speak...

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Hey, I'm familiar with the struggles with partnering with beginners.  Once is a while is fine, but you don't get as much out of the class as you would with someone at your level.  Here are things I've done in the past:

1) ask the advanced women to come help me train (either in class of outside of class) 

2) invite the women that are less advanced, but seem keen on learning, to train with me outside of class, say casually for just techniques (I specified no sparring).  Also give them opportunity to suggest what to work on during those times you train together. 

The 2nd one was very hard initially for me, as it involved setting up this new group training.   Our gym had ladies' sparring before that ended in disasters, so I tried to steer us away from that.  Also talking to be ppl I don't know and managing multiple new relationships makes me very anxious and mentally exhausted.

But that investment of energy pays dividends -  I started this a few years ago and I have a few women from there that developed a lot since and partners when me in class consistently.  We train together outside of class also.  We even met up in parks to train when the gym got shutdown during covid (but small groups outdoor gatherings were allowed).

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