International Women’s Day Inspiration

As we all know, this Thursday the 8th of March is International Women’s Day! The hashtag for International Women’s Day 2018 is #pressforprogress. We want to take this opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of some of our club members as they progress through their training at Xen-Do.

Charlie Hamilton began training with Xen-Do Martial Arts at the Golders Green dojo in January 2017. Her goal was straightforward – get the Black Belt for her stunt performer qualification. Even before the ‘Wonder Woman’ effect took hold of Hollywood, Charlie was determined to take her place in the entertainment industry.

It’s no easy feat—on top of the skilled labor they already provide, female stunt performers have the extra work of advocating for better opportunities and work conditions in a challenging and male-dominated field. Female-led action movies are smashing expectations at the box-office, so the work is paying off. But there is still lots of progress to be made!

We sat down with Charlie, now on her Blue-White belt, to ask how her #pressforprogress at Xen-Do has gone since she started training last year:

You knew from the beginning what you wanted to get out of your Xen-Do experience, but have your goals changed?

My goal is still the same but my motivation has changed. When I started I just wanted to tick a box and then be done with it. Now, I love training and the sense of accomplishment that grading gives me. I still want my black belt for the stunt register but it’s more than just that. I do it because I enjoy it and I feel so much fitter and stronger because of it.

Has your attitude toward training changed during your experience?

When I was in my earlier grades I was very focused on grading. I didn’t really care if I knew my combinations or if I was as good as I could be as long as I got the next belt. Now, I still care a lot about grading, it helps to give me focus, but I don’t just want to pass – I want to be good. I want to know what I’m doing, I want to improve my technique and I want to feel like I really and truly deserve each belt.

Has your training changed the way you do anything else?

Training has made me more confident that I could defend myself if it ever came down to it. It also helps me to work hard in self-led exercise like going to the gym because I am very aware of how hard I can work if a Sensei is shouting at me so I know I should not accept less from myself at other times!

Has your opinion of Martial Arts changed during your time at Xen-Do?

I think my respect and love for martial arts has grown dramatically. Before I started training I was labouring under the misapprehension that all martial arts are basically the same. I also imagined a very masculine and aggressive sort of environment. Whereas there are plenty of girls and women training at Xen-Do, and although sometimes it is necessary to channel aggression when training, usually the environment is friendly, encouraging and motivated rather than aggressive.

Do you have any advice for people who have never done kick-boxing?

Do it now. It’s amazing for confidence, self-esteem, fitness and for meeting some lovely and interesting people!

Charlie is now on her Blue-White belt. She holds a Masters in Music Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Already an accomplished climbing instructor, she has also taken up horse-back riding, diving, and screen combat. Follow Charlie’s #pressforprogress on Instagram at @professional_lemming!

International Women’s Day

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