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Rachel Bond

training with females versus training with males

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im not sure if this has been posted before as I'm fairly new to the forum.

id like to hear what people think about the positives/negatives of each of these experiences.

do people think women should train together exclusively or to also train with males? has anybody had difficulties in choosing either partner?

do any males think there are problems training with females?

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As a female I've had mixed experiences. I'll just speak about mine the last several years.

 

For padwork, I find I work harder when I'm with the boys as I'm trying to keep up in a sense. I am the oldest on my team by 5-15 years, and I'm also one of the smallest height and weight-wise. On pads they hit harder and faster than the girls, making it harder to hold for them (which I enjoy the challenge). I find the girls tend to talk more, both when holding and when hitting pads. I've had too many rounds where they aren't holding pads up for me because *insert reason they are discussing during the round*. I almost exclusively work with a handful of the boys for padwork at this point.

 

In spar I find guys sometimes treat me with kid gloves. I may be smaller, but we can work at a higher intensity than I feel some are inclined to work at initially. Over time my regular male partners have learned I am not a porcelain unicorn and we have a good rhythm now. I'm not saying we have to smash eachother to have a good round of spar, but if they take too much power and intensity away technique can become sloppy and ineffective. We're training to fight so we shouldn't just go through the motions. The girls almost always go "too hard," but it's a nice balance to the boys. Sadly the girls are far more inconsistent in attending spar so I tend to grab them for more rounds when they are there.

 

I'm the only female who clinches, which given the difference in size and strength between the boys and I, I wish I had at least one girl in the mix. That all said I have tossed some opponents around pretty easily when clinching, so while I may be drowning in training, it's clearly helping me grow.

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I've actually been pretty lucky with my female/male teammates. We all come in different height/weight when i'm compared to them because I'm short lol. We've all been equal in terms of sparring, holding pads, and learning from each other. I enjoy sparring with my guys because they go "all-out" and don't get all wishy-washy because i'm a girl - but there's always balance. I find that when I spar with girls, some are timid and some are quite aggressive but we both try to accommodate and try not to overwhelm each other so much, where one gets hurt because they 'hit too hard'

Another note, our gym is in Canada and some of us have a habit of saying "i'm sorry....!" when one of us smoke each other on the face/abs etc, hahaha we laugh it off and luckily we try to get back in the fighting mood. Other than that - so far so good with my gym :)    

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My gym has a lot of females now, I reckon it's around 50:50 most days. The majority have only been around a few months or don't take it super seriously, so when it comes to sparring it's just about gauging where the other person's at and adjusting to their level of skill and intensity. When it comes to padwork, I don't really mind who holds as long as they try. If they can't hold for combinations, I'll just work on speed, technique, etc. I am lucky in that there are at least a handful of women at roughly the same level as me, and many that want to do their first interclubs. 

Naturally, most of the guys do stick together but our coach occasionally tells all of us to find somebody of the opposite sex to spar and clinch with. I enjoy sparring with guys because I feel like some of the emotions that come with sparring women sometimes aren't there (there may have been another thread about this). I think there are a number of guys that avoid going with a female, and that's fine because we have a lot of people to train with.

For me it's important that I train with the guys, not only because there are more skilled guys than women at my gym, but also to show them that women can excel in this sport and they can learn a lot of things from pairing with us too.

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haha i get sick of saying sorry..its also very british of me to do it but i try not to bother. it just comes out :) i went to an all female class tonight ( sort of by accident i got the time wrong) anyway i really enjoyed it for a change as i got two good female partners who were not intimidated by me or telling me not to hit too hard. we all got stuck in and mutual respect won out :) i still prefer a male partner but i am trying to appreciate that if i do ever fight it will be with a female and so ii want to get used to training with them. ii think balance is the thing and will try to train with each genders to keep a grip of it...also attacks outside could be coming from anywhere so perhaps it s good to have awareness of both genders moves. mainly i ve been trying trying to work out is it gender, size, weight, what is it that makes a good balance with a partner. I'm concluding thats its all about experience, that an equally experienced partner is best whatever gender.

I'm glad it's working out for you! Thanks for the appreciation, I respect that! :) All about mutual respect and balance - Keep it up.

 

My gym has a lot of females now, I reckon it's around 50:50 most days. The majority have only been around a few months or don't take it super seriously, so when it comes to sparring it's just about gauging where the other person's at and adjusting to their level of skill and intensity. When it comes to padwork, I don't really mind who holds as long as they try. If they can't hold for combinations, I'll just work on speed, technique, etc. I am lucky in that there are at least a handful of women at roughly the same level as me, and many that want to do their first interclubs. 

Naturally, most of the guys do stick together but our coach occasionally tells all of us to find somebody of the opposite sex to spar and clinch with. I enjoy sparring with guys because I feel like some of the emotions that come with sparring women sometimes aren't there (there may have been another thread about this). I think there are a number of guys that avoid going with a female, and that's fine because we have a lot of people to train with.

For me it's important that I train with the guys, not only because there are more skilled guys than women at my gym, but also to show them that women can excel in this sport and they can learn a lot of things from pairing with us too.

In my gym there's a lot of females that are trying it out (even if its for a day, week or month) and only a few ever go full-time and join the team. Those are the ones who only do it for for fun or for cardio. And when they get a gist of what our classes are like (we do lots of techniques/combo/sparring/etc) they tend to get a bit discouraged because its not what they expected. In North America there are many pop-up gyms that do kickboxing classes as a cardio (like those 30-min-hit) just to burn off fat, more targeted to females who just do it for fun. Not my kind of gig personally, i like competition and the nature of contact sports. Some get really timid or shy because they cannot adjust to our mood/environment. I mean we're all helpful/encouraging and try to help newbies as much as possible. Some are willing to try but unfortunately, some just give up and never come back :'( Its too bad because I'm still searching for the best female partner of the same height (i'm short lol) and skill level.

 

But I know that feeling too - but I'm glad that there's a handful that eventually share the same passion as we all do here. 

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I could second everything everyone said above.

I started out as the only girl in the gym and it was like that on the most part. Sometimes there would pop up a girl for 2 or 3 months, just to dissappear again. I only met a few girls at interclubs and training camps that had a good technical level and were better than I am. But then again, I am much heavier than them, so it was not like we were equal. I know of two clubs around where I live, where there are really good girls, but it's too far for me to go there.

My "perfect" partner is a guy who's around 15kg lighter than me and has the same experience as I do, but is challenging me at what I'm bad at, and I'm challenging him at what he's bad at. Yeah, I actually have a guy like that in my gym! :) 

Apart from that perfect description, I like to spar with guys who are my height or a few cm shorter, and between 10-20kg lighter than me. Their punches still hurt, but I can try and deal with it.

As for girls, I don't really have much experience with training on an everyday basis with girls. I am the more experienced and bigger one usually. So I end up teaching them and trying to work out at what I can in that situation.

I feel I'm not really welcoming and warm towards the new girls, but they usually come in pairs or groups anyways, so they're not interested in making friends with the odd one out - me. And yeah, they chat a LOT.

I hope training with me has helped the other guys to get used to training with girls, so now that we have a lot of girls they can adjust to them better (it's a 50/50 ratio I'd say).

From my experience, there is a always one restless-type guy, who will get annoyed at having to slow down or soften down for a beginner girl or a guy. I feel he has a right to an attitude like that, too, because it's his time he pulls out of his schedule to spend and train hard at the gym...can't really judge that.

So I think it's best if you can do most of your training with someone on the same level of experience and some percent of it with someone weaker or beginnerish to get a look at things from that perspective. 

I have days when I want to go as hard as I possibly can, and then I'm annoyed at people struggling to hold pads for simple jabs or middle kicks. There are some days though, when I'm the one struggling ;)

Basically, I prefer training with guys, but if there were girls my size and at my level at my gym, I'd like to try training with them and see what kind of emotions we will have to deal with. :)

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I prefer someone my size and skill level over gender. I'm 5'2 and 115 lbs (probably 20-25%BF), so it's rare to find someone my size of either gender at my gym.

I'm about to make a huge generalization, but one of the biggest differences I've noticed between men/women at my gym at the beginner-intermediate level is that women focus a lot of technique but are afraid of their power with new partners, and men are so focused on power over technique. For both genders though, when people start becoming more comfortable with their partners/gym environment, they tend to even it out.

For that reason, I *hate* working with guys who are new to the gym and still trying to prove themselves with power and don't have good technique (and can't seem to implement it after being given instructions... they just hit harder with the same poor technique ugh). I don't mind working with new girls though because they're generally much more open to receiving help or making adjustments. I *love* working with men and women below 5'6 who have been at my gym for >2 months. I will say, there are about the same amount of men below 5'6 as women just because there's way more guys in general, but they're mostly all great and put forth effort (there's a few specific people I still don't like working with for various reasons- too young/small/frail, too aggressive despite being past the typical 2+ month benchmark, too mopey/ doesn't want to be there).

My least favorite thing about working with guys is when they wear long, baggy shorts because it makes it really hard to tell wear their leg is (and most importantly the crotch) for leg kicks. I've come very close to kicking some guys in the nuts because of these stupid, long, baggy shorts.

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My least favorite thing about working with guys is when they wear long, baggy shorts because it makes it really hard to tell wear their leg is (and most importantly the crotch) for leg kicks. I've come very close to kicking some guys in the nuts because of these stupid, long, baggy shorts.

This is my biggest problem too!! I guess I got quite a good lowkick and I don´t use it as much as I should/could/want to because of this. My absolutely favorite part of sparring with guys though is when I kick a roundkick and they, like, turn their crotch towards the kick or something.

 

In general, I like working with people at the "same" experience level as I am. Like, I am "comfortable" sparring with people from the more experienced group (not exactly comfortable, but at least I´m don´t have to be afraid of beeing kneed full-force in the face in the middle of a technical sparring), but I try to avoid sparring with the new guys, since they really tend to assert their dominance by going too hard and stuff.

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Tonight i grabbed the first male partner i could see..he was looking a bit lost so i bagged him...it turned out to be his very first night! So i went easy on everything except my kick cos I'm still working on that roundhouse. Anyway it was an experience. I was ok with it cos i had lifted weights and gone swimming earlier and was pretty tired anyway...my coach says to me its not a sprint. Its a marathon. so i can see why at first i was dead keen to see just how hard i could hit everything and now its naturally calmed down and tonight was just hanging in. Its all about experience i suppose i was being greedy for the best experienced fighters to train with and maybe it just goes around...ive also discovered that being whipped with a female's toes is not as gross as being whipped by a males..haha i don't know why...its just euww.

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Tonight i trained with a youngish lad about 16/7 i think. he was a great partner in that he was strong but not so much as to over power me or overwhelm. we both kept an eye on technique rather than going for power. i was really impressed with his endurance in the combos. i realise that of course not just one partner can teach you everything...im finding that changing partners regularly is keeping it fresh and each has something different to offer..ie in this case i was learning from his ability with breath control and stamina, maintaining a good speed and pace. i would like to think i can offer something in return although I'm not sure what that is yet :) So together with the female partners i trained with earlier in the week i feel its been a good balance. My female partner was very strong with power and challenging in terms of pad work. I'm always wowed by strong power levels even though I'm learning about reducing mine in favour of control of my movements and breathing technique. 

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I'm about to make a huge generalization, but one of the biggest differences I've noticed between men/women at my gym at the beginner-intermediate level is that women focus a lot of technique but are afraid of their power with new partners, and men are so focused on power over technique. For both genders though, when people start becoming more comfortable with their partners/gym environment, they tend to even it out.

 

I also noticed that men try to make up for the lack of technique by using power in their moves (also in sparring). Instead of keeping it calm and build a solid base first.

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My least favorite thing about working with guys is when they wear long, baggy shorts because it makes it really hard to tell wear their leg is (and most importantly the crotch) for leg kicks. I've come very close to kicking some guys in the nuts because of these stupid, long, baggy shorts.

Sorry to reduce your great post down to one point, but I totally relate to this. My trainer wears very long, baggy shorts (he's Thai) and I teep him in the cup ALL THE TIME. Good thing he wears one.

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I'm pretty sure the guy i trained with on fri was actually going commando/ loose boxers..eee...i did hit something squishy with a wonky teep which was embarrassing but he got me back with one to the boob later on :D thankfully we were both going at very low power..ive taken the advice and now 'padding out' combos to get accuracy and speed..im even slowing that down as i was landing moves at the right speed but bits of technique were missing trying to keep that speed up...something i wouldn't have known had i not taken the power out...this partner was unique in that he was a male training with no power. he said he saves all his power for the bags.it was still great to train with him as he is tall enough to stretch all my kicks out. i am also more focussed on setting my own practice and not looking for any outside approval of it. at first i was too consumed with the idea that i wanted some approval or encouragement from trainers. my trainer seems to be letting me get on with it which i taking as a good sign. being concerned how my training 'looked' seems a bit ridiculous now and with more control over what i am doing i feel a greater sense of accuracy that feels good. its much better to feel it rather than try and make it 'look' it. 

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Another note, our gym is in Canada and some of us have a habit of saying "i'm sorry....!" when one of us smoke each other on the face/abs etc, hahaha we laugh it off and luckily we try to get back in the fighting mood. Other than that - so far so good with my gym :)    

I am from Canada too- I find that the guys apologize a lot, both in sparring and if they accidentally hit me when we do drills. I usually just smile and say it's ok. In the rare occasion that I have a girl partner (I'm usually the only girl in my classes), we just go at it normally, no apologies and no worries.

Whereas I do the same when I spar in jiu jitsu (at a different place), because I am fairly new to jiu jitsu and sometimes I am not sure if I'm doing something too hard to my partner. Sometimes I manage to roll out 10 "sorry"s in a 3 minute sparring round... :mellow:

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Our group of people that train together is a very mixed one. Everything from older men to 12-year-olds. I like training with different people, instead of always ending up with the same partner. Training with males does have its advantages, I feel, as there is definitely less talk and more of the real deal :) When clinching I feel really bad for the skinny young girls that must be all bruised up afterwards!

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